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 Delpit 
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I think the author is right in suggesting that teachers should act as ethnographers similiar to what anthropologists do in taking detailed notes in the field. She/he could help students of differing cultures feel that they are active participants in the classroom giving them a degree of power.

Also, the teacher needs discipline in the classroom. Students need a teacher that they can respect and displays control in the classroom. Teachers should speak clearly and not use process communication to get their ideas across. It is misleading to many students of poor backgrounds to use such indirect communication.

What are your thoughts?


Sat Nov 29, 2003 2:55 pm
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I read this entire book over this Thanksgiving break, trying to get the "whole picture" from Delpit. However, since it was a collection of speeches and essays, it never did summarize the "whole picture". It gave me some good insights, yet somehow I still feel as if I don't have all of the information that I would need to teach minorities effectively. Since it is possible I might end up teaching in Caldwell or Burke Counties where there is a teacher shortage, and many minority students (African American, Hispanic, and Hmong) I would truly like to be equipped to teach minority students well.

I did a little digging around on the internet - I see that Lisa Delpit has written at least two books since Other People's Children in 1995.
In 1998, she published The Real Ebonics Debate: Power, Language, and the Education of African-American Children. In 2002 The Skin That We Speak; Thoughts on Language & Culture in the Classroom - came out.

I also found a short list that Ms. Delpit used as a "hand out" for a speech in 1999: (you can see this at http://www.essentialschools.org/lpt/ces_docs/69.)


Ten Factors Essential to Success in Urban Classrooms:

1. Do not teach less content to poor, urban children, but understand their brilliance and teach more.

2. Whatever methodology or instructional program is used, demand critical thinking.

3. Assure that all children gain access to "basic skills", the conventions
and strategies that are essential to success in American education.

4. Challenge racist societal views of the competence and worthiness of the children and their families, and help them to do the same.

5. Recognize and build on strengths.

6. Use familiar metaphors and experiences from the children's world to connect what they already know to school knowledge.

7. Create a sense of family and caring in the service of academic achievement.

8. Monitor and assess needs and then address them with a wealth of diverse strategies.

9. Honor and respect the children's home and ancestral culture(s).

10. Foster a sense of children's connection to community - to something greater than themselves.


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These all sound like things I would have tried to do anyway - although finding "familiar metaphors" is probably harder than it sounds, if the students' culture's are foreign to the teacher.

I have even considered writing to Ms. Delpit - I did find an e-mail address. What I would say hasn't quite "gelled" in my mind, yet. I would ask for what her specific (do's & don'ts) advice to white teachers of minority students would be!

I am not familiar with this "process" approach - does it apply to more than just writing? If it results in people having to quit school because they can't pass an exit exam (as described in this book) - it doesn't sound like a very effective instsructional strategy!

What has anyone learned from this book that you will apply to your own schools/classrooms?

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Joyce Jarrard


Sun Nov 30, 2003 3:20 pm
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Location: Newton-Conover Middle School- Newton, NC
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Process approach is a wonderful tool when used on students who have the basics, however, if students do not have the basics, the teacher must use a directive approach in the instruction. This is no different from what they teach us about leadership styles. We must use a directive approach for those employees that are not at a certain level within their jobs, whereas, others way be asked to collaborate and facilitate changes within the workplace. It should be the goal of teachers and work place leaders to effectively deal with all students or employees. To start with students or employees at their level, if basic or whatever, and move them to a more process (collaborative) level.

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Amy E. Wilson


Mon Dec 01, 2003 1:38 pm
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