Sunday, October 26, 2014

Delpit Revisited

In Delpit’s The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children, the author Lisa Delpit discusses what she calls the “culture of power”.  Delpit argues that children should be explicitly what to do, verses being asked in question form. For example telling a child “ Stop doing that” instead of saying “ Should you be doing that?” confusing the child into thinking that they could be doing that instead of directly telling them to stop.
The first quote I choose relates to this argument. A black principal at an elementary school who told her that she has frequent troubles with black students in white teachers’ classes contacted Delpit. “The teachers often send the children to the office for dis- obeying teacher directives. Their parents are frequently called in for conferences. The parents ' response to the teacher is usually the same. "They do what I say; if you just tell them what to do, they'll do it. I tell them at home that they have to listen to what you say.” This shows that the rules and codes of power are not being taught to these children at home. Not that they are not as smart as the other children but they are just used to being directly told what to do.
My second quote that I liked I pulled from my think piece from the beginning of the semester when we first read Delpit. It is from the beginning of her work were she says “You can try and talk to them and give them examples but their so headstrong, they think they know what’s best for everybody, for everybody’s children.” Speaking mainly about white teachers. White teachers tend to come from homes within the codes and conducts of power. Which she pointed out in one of her five main points in her work and is my third quote. “Those with power are frequently least aware of- or are least willing to acknowledge it existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence.”  Where the white teachers may think that there way of teaching with in the codes of power are the right way it may not be true in all circumstances where a child not taught the codes of power at home will suffer. Where as if all the teachers where more direct everyone would be on the same page in the classroom.

As well Delpit says, “If schooling prepares people for jobs, and the kind of job a person has determines her or his economic status and, therefore, power, then schooling is intimately related to that power.” Which to me she Delpit is saying that the school curriculum is set up for people who know the rules and codes of power to succeed. Making children from homes that are not within the codes of power will struggle.

In closing I found this quote that I feel really summed up the reading. It really put into perspective the role that the teacher plays in the classroom. Delpit explains that teachers are there to get all the information on the table. “ Teachers are in an ideal position o play this role, to attempt to get all of the issues on the table in order to initiate true dialogue. This can only be done, however, by learning to give their words complete attention, by understanding one’s own power, even if that power stems merely from being in the majority, by being unafraid to raise questions about discrimination and voicelessness with people of color, and to listen, no to hear what they say.”
For my link this week I found a good interview with Lisa Delpit

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