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Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom

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  • Posted October 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Book Review of "Other People's Children" by Lisa Delpit

    In Lisa Delpit's "Other People's Children", Delpit explores the intricacies of multicultural classrooms across the world and the effects that are had on multicultural students. During her time as an educator and researcher Delpit explores the dynamics of many different cultural settings, from the students of Papa New Guinea to the remote locations of the Alaskan education system. Delpit tackles many issues concerning the different uses and forms of communication and language in the classroom and infers that the students of each different culture should be allowed to maintain the differences between their separate cultures and not necessarily be mainstreamed or pressured to use "standard English" by the current school system. Delpit focuses squarely on the teachers in the educational system and points out many flaws that are currently in established practice in today's modern classroom.

    While I agree with the need to respect and embrace different cultures in the classroom, I feel one of the flaws of Delpit's book is the fact that she never discusses any problems outside of the teachers in the classroom. She constantly places blame on the White educators of America and does not really over any solutions to the problems that are tackled in this book. She relies heavily on other people's research and I would have liked to hear what Delpit thinks would be the best solution to the current system of teaching that we have in place today. I think that she leaves out an important argument that has forced our education system to become what it currently is today. I feel that the lawmakers and administrators of our current educational system have forced our teaching professionals into the practices that are used in today's classroom. Delpit however, never embraces that notion in her work.

    For the most part, I was at odds with Delpit's views and theories of the modern day classroom. Some parts of the book left me inspired to become an educator, while some parts wanted to make me put down the book altogether. However much I disagreed with Delpit though, I feel as a student with an open mind and currently in an education program that this book was an important read to at least get me to think about important issues regarding race and culture. The book will definitely make you think and allow you to examine your own feeling on different races, cultures and the classroom.

    I would like to leave the potential readers with this quote from Delpit and something that inspired me. "Why can't we figure out ways to make that child happy in school?" (p. 99) As a future educator and regardless on my views on Delpit's Book, this question is one that has to be answered by anyone who wishes to enter or has already entered the teaching profession.

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    Posted March 9, 2011

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