The truth about music.

"Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtues"


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Other People's Children: The Silenced Dialogues

I thought Other's People Children by Lisa Delpit is an extraordinary read and I would highly recommend people would read it.  Lisa Delpit writes about an issue that affects both race and social class and how the communication boundaries conflict.  Lisa uses a few examples of this distinction of language from experiences that teachers and students have endured with communication matter and how it affects the students capability to learn and teachers power to teach.  Lisa's composition describes a struggle of communication from over the years and how it greatly alters our society.  She also wrote about five aspects from her theme called "the culture of power".  The five aspects are
1) Issues of power are enacted in classrooms.  2) There are codes or rules for participating in power, that is, there is a "culture power".  3) The rules of the culture and power are the reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have 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.  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.  These five aspects are the categories related towards these differences between communication and the education of all children.  

I personally agree with Lisa's research and her point of view.  In order for teachers to teach and students to learn, we have to answer questions like "how can we communicate better?”  Communication is the only way the education system can function and work.  Since people have different back rounds and lives, teachers have to be able to adapt to these language barriers and vise versa for the students.  Teachers, students, and even parents talk differently in many ways that affect their ability to respond and interact with each other.  One example of these boundaries Lisa uses is the possible difference between a Caucasian mom and mom of color tell their child to get ready for a bath.  The Caucasian mom might ask her child "Isn't time for you to take your bath?"  While she heard a mom of color said to her child "Boy, get your rusty behind in that bathtub!”  The contrast between these diverse conversations needs to be incorporated in schools.  Every kid learns differently, some need to be talked to with an aggressive tone while another needs to be asked to do something in a modest tone.  Besides a more hostile way of communication, there are many more characteristics that can influence the students capabilities to learn.  It's not the fact that there are these language barriers, it's the fact that the education system hasn't accepted these ways to communicate to students and be able to adapt to how the students understand what they are learning.  Teachers can't change the way students communicate. They are suppose to teach them how to write and speak in a way that's considered formal.  That doesn't mean that the way a student speaks or retains information is wrong, just different.

One quote that caught my attention occurred on the second to last page of this publication.  She is summarizing the whole purpose of this article.  Talking about how we need to change our perspective on how teachers teach and communicate to their students.  How the education system needs to go beyond their beliefs and simply put the students first.

"To do so takes a very kind of listening, listening that requires not only open eyes and ears, but open hearts and minds.  We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs.  To put our beliefs on hold is to cease to exist as ourselves for a moment - and that is not easy.  It is painful as well, because it means turning yourself inside out, giving up your own sense of who you are, and being willing to see yourself in the unflattering light of another’s angry gaze.  It is not easy, but it is the only way to learn what it might feel like to be someone else and the only way to start the dialogue."  (Lisa Delpit)

This is one picture that I found that is apparently a stereotypical Caucasian mom and a mom of color conversation to their children.


  1. Hey! I thought your blog was really good! I really liked how you wrote out the five aspects of power because it gave proof to your argument and because it allowed me to relate to what you were saying without having to refer back to the article. I also got a lot from Delpit's bath example, it was a real eye opener for how we communicate. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Jamie, Thanks for commenting on my Blog. I am quite taken by your quote from Plato. Music is the universal language, as is art. It would be interesting to see how you could break down barriers between cultures through music. . . do you know about
    Playing for change? check this out. . . . See you in class. . . .

  3. Doug, I agree with all of your points! I liked how you explained Delpit's five points on the "culture of power". I agree with Jamie's comment, it was nice that you listed them so we didn't have to continuously go back to the text! In addition, I liked how you talked about the importance of communication. It's not necessarily a "language barrier", yet how the way students understand how to learn. Lastly, I loved that picture you added, it's funny yet it goes perfectly with what Delpit was saying! Great job! :)

  4. Dougie! I loved how you focused most of your discussion of the article on communication. It is such a valuable and vital tool in education. I loved the quotes and pictures as well! Great job :)