Fortunately or unfortunately, in the modern materialistic civilization deeply impacted by the industrial and internet revolutions, education and career are linked emphatically and inseparably. The real purpose of education is lost somewhere. The essence of education is the transmission of knowledge, to mold noble human beings. More education can help the individual and the society only if it produces more wisdom. Education is not mere training; it is something more than it; it is not mere acquiring knowledge; it is something more than it. Education is something more than mere diversion in life. Education must lead to the true manifestation of the inner personality of an individual and assist the generation of peace and prosperity in the society.
Lisa Delpit on education….
A) What are some ways a person can be made to feel different or invisible in our educational system?
The one important problem zooming in the American classrooms is simple and obvious. Nearly 40 percent of the children belong to minority groups and the teacher is white. The issue of miscommunication is real. The teaching time becomes the mental struggle for the children and if their domestic conditions are also poor, it is double tragedy for them.
A sincere teacher has to waste lots of time on account of this communication gap and to reduce the inferiority complex among such children. What Lisa propounds is not anti-white. She is pro-poor and for the downtrodden and wishes to make the best out of the education system for their future growth and suggests improvements. She is African-American but her analysis of the malady in the educational system, is honest and impartial. Misunderstanding about cultures is really great in American Schools.
B) What are some ways you have felt silenced, different and /or invisible in your own education? Describe some specific examples and how each affects you.
As a young student, I belonged to a poor family, and from the recollection of the past, I could clearly see how most of the teachers, differentiated between the rich and the poor students. The rich could afford private tuitions, from their own teachers, and the parents of such students had good rapport with the teachers. There were occasions, when such students brought costly gifts for the teachers on their birthdays, etc. But as for teaching in the class, the teachers took pains to teach, treated the students well and did not differentiate on counts of economic status.
C) What were some helpful insights you gained from this book for bringing the gap between a child’s home and school culture (or therapeutic setting)?
Lisa has succeeded in dealing with the issue of multi-cultures with a human face. This is not the problem of the school education alone. It is only the part. The problem has bigger dimension, as it affects the social set-up of the whole of USA. The ripples of the problem are naturally expected to impact the school-life of children.
The tactful handling of the situation by the teaching community is one of the solutions to the vexed problem because the values taught to them at the formative stage of their lives, will leave positive or negative imprints for their entire lives. I do get the feeling, as I go through the contents of the book that the honest philosopher in Lisa, who touches the borders of spirituality, speaks for the benefit of humanity. The contents of the books are like the gush of fresh spring-water. Classrooms are the miniatures of the US society, and Lisa is aware of the implications of what is taught in the class.
D) Are there any ideas and / or beliefs that you disagree with the book?
The argument of Lisa that many minority students are erroneously labeled as “underachievers” due to failures of communication between teachers and students is part of the truth, not the whole truth. The teacher is always supposed to be more intelligent and experienced than the students, and the students hailing from poor families and minorities, in their endeavor to learn the topics detailed in the syllabus, have to mostly depend upon what is taught in the school, within the limited hours.
They can not be expected to get support from the family and social environment in which they live. This is the main problem of such students, but there are many instances when such students have tackled this obstacle and converted it into an opportunity, and have sterling academic achievements to their credit. I have nothing to strongly disagree of what is propounded in the book.
The problems of the American classrooms are linked to big and vexed social issues of the country. To expect that a white or black teacher will find the permanent solutions for them in the classroom, is asking for the moon. But the teachers, whose influence carries immensely, need to provide a sense of direction to the students, to enable them to understand the perspective of American life impartially and without bias/hatred.
Delpit, Lisa: Book: Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom (Paperback)
Paperback: 206 pages
Publisher: New Press (February 1996)