Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Talking Points #1 (Quotes): Delpit, The Silenced Dialogue from Other People’s Children.

I have taken the following quotes from Delpit’s “The Silenced Dialogue from Other People’s Children.”  I have chosen quotes that jumped out at me while I was reading the article so I felt the need to elaborate and give my opinion and argument for or against these very powerful messages in the reading. 
“Teachers do students no service to suggest, even implicitly, that product is not important.  In this country, students will be judged on their product regardless of the process they utilized to achieve it.”  I feel that this statement is somewhat hypocritical.  In some of our schools we require children to learn things a certain way using a very specific method or program.  If a child veers away from the specific method being taught, many times they are looked at as “not getting it.”  Whereas on the other hand, we give our students a standardized test and require them to somehow find the correct answer and fill in the corresponding bubble requiring the students to show no work at all.  I truly believe that a standardized test does a student no justice.  It does not tell us by any stretch of the imagination how much a student knows.  We should rather, acknowledge students’ higher level thinking and encourage them to find a solution however they can.  Who’s to say that the district or state’s way of solving a math problem or comprehending a text is any better than a student’s way of thinking.  We need to encourage our students and support them to use the skills they are learning but not to limit them to those skills.  We can learn a lot from our students and even different ways of thinking to get to the same solution. 
“I have frequently heard schools call poor parents ‘uncaring’ when parents respond to the school’s urging, saying, ‘But that’s the school’s job’.”
I do not think it is any teacher’s or administrator’s job to judge the parents of their students by their socioeconomic status.  Parents’ money has nothing to do with whether or not they care about their child’s education. Unfortunately, parents who struggle to make ends meet are forced to put their child’s schooling on the back burner not because they don’t care but because they have far more important things to be doing other than homework such as working long hours to put food on the table so their children don’t starve.   
“To deny students their own expert knowledge is to disempower them.”
I think this last quote relates back to the first quote I took from the text.  Who are we or any other individual to say what a student does or does not know based on how we perceive their learning.  Children are much more capable than many people give them credit for.  We need to encourage them to use their creativity to tap into their higher level of thinking. 

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