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Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2009

    Mixed Feeling on Other Peoples Children

    Lisa Delpit's book "Other People's Children" has an interesting opinion on education today. Delpit is able to dive into different cultures and explore their educating systems. Delpit's ideas are ones that challenge your ideas in education. The book gives you ways of teaching that would be conducive to all types of students. She focuses on ethnic children and issues they face in the classroom. Delpit is an educator who believes that you must know your students and care about their success in the classroom. She takes a close look at how you can better communicate with students no matter their backgrounds. Delpit knows the importance of the personal touch in the classroom. She spreads this knowledge in the book with the readers. Delpit raises ideas that ask you to move outside of your comfort zone and into the lives of the children in the classroom. We as readers are able to come to the realization of what are battles in the classroom and what are misunderstandings. She informs teachers there are ups and downs in the learning process. She gives the teachers examples on how to communicate with students who are productive in the classroom. Delpit covers the vital topic of communication. She explains that education and diversity does not stop with your students. You must also be able to educate your colleges. It is important to have diverse people decide how the students can be taught. You never know what insight one person may have on a particular topic. Delpit explains the severity of having this surety. This could be the difference between students who understand material being taught and students who are not successful in the class. While reading this book I feel that Delpit did not cover some topics are well as she could have. Delpit did not seem to be able to look at the range low and high achieve minority students. Delpit also sees to be attacking all teachers in the education field at times in this book. Delpit ask the question of why have things not improved and tries to push education in a new direction. Throughout Delpit's book she explains diversity in the classroom. I did not agree with everything that Delpit had to say throughout the book, but she was able to interest me in new ideas I had not addressed before. If you are look for a good educational read, with a controversial opinion then this is the book for you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2009

    Order is everything when it comes to this book, including how you read it.

    Lisa Delpit wrote Other People's Children to teach us of how everyone has a different way of learning, and that incorporating all of the different styles can be beneficial to the children in the classroom environments. Lisa's writing style in this book feels very blunt and emotional: two adverbs normally not used together, and yet they feel appropriate with this piece of work. Each chapter, she covers a different society of people, whether it's native Alaskans, laid back Papua New Guineans, or even the traditional American citizen. Lisa gives stories and testimonials from the people involved to explain how everyone has a different style of learning, and offers suggestions for including them in more traditional classrooms.
    Just about all of the chapters are excellent. The start of the Teachers' Voice chapter in particular highlights some of the changes in society: what is right now considered a minority group -- effectively, anyone that is not of white descent -- is often the majority inside our high schools. There is a strong possibility that society will reflect that within our lifetimes.
    The only problem I can foresee with this book is how future readers feel about the author. There can be many that will feel animosity towards Lisa. A lot of it depends on what chapters are read first. Reading this book in the order given, from left to right, can make one want to hate Lisa wrongfully. Considering that most people read books in order instead of picking and choosing chapters, this is how I feel most will feel. If it is read in a particular order, one usually noted by a teacher or professor that has read the book previously, she is usually seen in a better light than most.
    To my classmates and other future teachers, I give Lisa Delpit's Other People's Children 4 stars out of 5. Unlike most of my classmates, I enjoyed reading the various scenarios that were written explaining the many learning conditions of the children. I had no malice towards her. Then again, I did read the book out of its intended order. For the rest of the populace that would read this book in order, I give it a 3 instead.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2009


    Personally I would not recommend Other People's Children to future teachers. I found the book to be a little on the boring side, however the book is very informative for beings interested in working at a school. What I did like about the book was the conflicts it presented. I found this book to be slightly racist in quite a few parts. Many of the stereotypes it presented though do hold true.
    Things like don't call on the Native American students because they don't like it or all Asian students excel at math are some of those. Delpit explains that these generalizations are extremely destructive towards a child's ego and education. If the children are at-risk or come from a bad home life these stereotypes become true. A change needs to be made moving from stereotyping children to accepting that you know nothing at all about them. I agree with this for the most part although it's not just minorities.
    There are stereotypes for white children attending school in America as well. Luckily she does address this. It's not as much as we need to catch anyone up, but more a question of how can we make our teachers better. This book tries to offer this solution by explaining the importance of every student. Teachers have a ton of students each semester to teach. What Delpit says is to try and get to know everyone. All students learn in a different way. Whether it's reading, lectures, homework, or peer group activities. This is a tricky task indeed. Every student is a puzzle the first time you meet them. Getting to know them requires understanding pieces at a time. So many factors must be taken into account such as their socioeconomic status, race, gender, sexuality, etc. Delpit wants to push away from the stereotypes, and do much more communicating with the students.
    The book was interesting, but not really eye-opening. I learned a few different stories and scenarios, but it wasn't really new information. It does a really good job showing what is going on in parts of America and parts of the world, but since every child is different every teacher all over the world should strive to understand their students. Not just those in America. I wouldn't recommend this book because it didn't hold my attention for very long, but I won't go as far as to say it's useless in a classroom setting like ours.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good for teachers!

    Why is there a problem with minority students lagging behind others in school? Is there a way to reach students that on the surface, appear unreachable? The book, Other People's Children, written by Lisa Delpit, explores the world education from the perspective of an outsider looking in. Delpit uses examples of successful educational techniques that have been used around the world to enrich the educational experience of diverse students.
    Delpit's approach to her book is to help the reader see the world from the perspective of the students. A predominant theme is that most teachers do not possess the same racial/cultural background as their students. One group that she explores is the Native Alaskans. She states that, "most Native Alaskan students, just as most children of color throughout this country do not have teachers from their own cultural group." Delpit contends that the culture and language of the Native Alaskan student is very different from white-skinned teachers who have migrated from further south. Delpit points out that students tune into academic lessons much better when a teacher understands the culture and is able to teach within that culture.
    Delpit uses this correlation of race and culture with African-American students. She acknowledges that students of color in American high schools largely come from a different culture than white students, and bring with them a slightly different dialect from Standard English, both of which add to the difficulties that African-American students have in performing to their potential in public schools. All students must be open to changing themselves somewhat to conform not only with the accepted standards that are the basis of a high school education, but also to learn what is accepted to be successful within the society in which they live. Delpit supports teaching minority children within their own cultures and dialects. The problem with this theory is training teachers to be sensitive to the variety of cultures within their classroom while maintaining their own personality traits. When someone tries to be someone they are not, the students will see right through their façade. While Delpit's approach seems to be one of supporting a racial/cultural divide, further reading reveals her mindset toward a solution to this problem.
    Delpit describes the educational system in Papua New Guinea to make her point. There the first exposure that children have to education is conducted in their native language. Once the students learn their lessons in their native tongue, they learn further lessons using the English language. The parents of the students apparently provide strong support for this approach. In the case of Papua New Guinea, students are taught elements that help them hold onto their culture, yet prepare them for success in global society and business. One might reach the conclusion that Delpit would support a re-segregation of public schools. This is not the case.
    What Delpit does make a case for, however, is the understanding that teachers must have for students of varying racial/cultural backgrounds. This will involve teachers getting to know their students and the students' communities better. Delpit causes the reader to wonder why there isn't a more racially diverse demographic in the teaching profession. All prospective teachers should read this book for the questions that it asks and the thought that it provokes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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