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“The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People’s Children”. Summary and Response to Lisa Delpit’s article by Amanda Rochwick. From Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. What must be done to help teachers and students better understand each other?
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Silence occurs when nonwhite teachers are “left out of the dialogue about how best to educate children of color” (23).
How can such complete communication blocks exist when both parties truly believe they have the same aims?
How can the bitterness and resentment expressed by the educators of color be drained so that the sores can heal?
What can be done?
“The differing perspectives on the debate over ‘skills’ versus ‘process’ approaches can lead to an understanding of the alienation and miscommunication, and thereby to an understanding of the ‘silenced dialogue’” (24).
Lisa Delpit claims that aspects of power have created the schism between liberal educational movements and that of non-white, non-middle-class teachers and communities.
There are Five aspects of Power:
1. Issues of power are enacted in classrooms.
Ex. Power of teacher over students, power of publishers of textbooks, etc.
2. There are codes or rules for participating in power; that is, there is a ‘culture of power.’”
Ex. Linguistic forms, communicative strategies -- ways of talking, ways of writing, etc.
3. The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power.
Therefore, success in school is predicated upon acquisition of those who are in power.
4. If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier.
Think about going to a new place: Wouldn’t you like to be directly informed about the culture?
5. Those with power are frequently least aware of -- or least willing to acknowledge -- its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence.
Consult with adults who share your students culture to find the best ways to teach them.
Understand the need for both “skills-oriented” and “process-oriented” approaches.
Communicate across cultures, and listen to alternative points of view...What we can learn:
“To do so takes a special kind of listening, listening that requires not only open eyes and ears, but open hearts and minds. We do not really see through out eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs” (46).
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