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Scholarly Article Individual Paper

Scholarly Article Individual Paper

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Published by: cristenschwab on Nov 10, 2009
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Cristen SchwabScholarly Journal ArticleDelpit, L. (1996).The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Education Other People’sChildren. Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, pages 21-47.
The Silenced Dialogue
constructed by Lisa Delpit, is an article discussing the power struggles of whites versus non-whites. Within the article, Delpit utilizes multipleexcerpts and perspectives from those whom have experienced power struggles on the both sides of the spectrum. Delpit's concern is that there exists a differing perspective ondebates over "skills" versus "processes," approaches to learning. This then leads to muchmiscommunication, thereby revealing a silenced dialogue hindering education in schools.Delpit believes that educating teachers and students to become ethnographers, in a truesense, can help to battle these power struggles.Theme: The Culture of Power:Using the theme "the culture of power," Delpit outlines five points of interest in relationto this silenced dialogue:1. Issues of power (occurs in the classroom)
 Ex: Power of the teacher over the students, power of the publishers over books
2. "The culture of power" - there are required codes or rules for participation(occurs in the classroom)
 Ex: Linguistic forms, communicative strategies, ways of dressing 
3. The rules of the culture or power are a reflection of what those who have power practice (occurs in the classroom)
 Ex: Success in institutions is predicated upon acquisition of those in power,upper- middle class kids come equipped with culture power, and other's do not.
4. If not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly therules of that culture makes acquiring power easier (seldom addressed inschools)
 Ex: Members of a culture transmit information implicitly to co-members. Taboo,one has to have a lifetime of leisure of "immersion" to learn these.
5. Those with power are frequently least aware of its existence, those with less power are often most aware of its existence (seldom addressed in schools)
 Ex: Explicit communication when in power, indirect communication when not in power. Children's success has less to do with instructional efficacy, but moreto do with explicit control exhibited by the teacher.
Implications For Improving Instruction:
Point 1: I know that power will always exist in some form, yet as the teacher, Ihold the responsibility of being aware of this for the lesser effect on my students. For example: if I pick a text book for my students, I need to be aware of the grade level of reading this requires and if all of my students will be able to benefit from this piece of work. Although the publishers hold the power over that book, I as the teacher take someof that power away by simply analyzing what a best fit for my students is. This can be
applied across all grade levels. The teacher simply needs to be well read, educated, andhave performed beneficial assessments on students, to make a wise choice.Point 2: My future classroom will become my school "family." Therefore, we allwill need to hold the same codes or rules for participation. I believe creating new or agreed upon commonalities of language and ways of acting, can help combat certainstudents feeling like an outsider in the communication that occurs in that family. Thiscan be applied across all grade levels and could be implemented in the very first days of the school year.Point 3: Acquiring an awareness of the home life of each child is crucial. If Icould, I'd make a home visit prior to the school year beginning to get a feel for eachchild's experiences or life outside of the classroom (I'd also conduct this visit half waythrough the year to observe any changes). I also would encourage sharing and openended discussions that cause children to speak of his or her life outside of school. Thiscan best help the teacher and student's peers get a feel for where that child comes from.Unconsciously we become less aware of power and more in tune with commonalities of each other. Also, this will help students to discuss his or her own personal codes andrules with one another (eliminating point 4). This too can be conducted across all gradelevels.Point 5: I believe it will be my full responsibility to create conscious learners. Aswe discuss our home lives, as we share with one another, it is my job to supplementconversation. I can use the children's dialogue in my lessons to help student's be aware of their strength, weaknesses (tactfully), similarities, and differences.Cultural Capital:"Cultural Capital" is a term used to describe how much a student has been exposed to in aculture along with the power it holds. Depending on how much capital a child enters aschool with then predicts his or her success in school. Educators hold the goal in site of creating autonomous learners. If a child enters a classroom with much cultural capitalthey will attain this quickly, the opposite effect will occur for the learner with lesscultural capital. This forever handicaps the child with less cultural capital.
Implications For Improving Instruction:
Although it is important to create autonomous learners, creating a passion for or interest in learning comes first. Using motivation (intrinsic and extrinsic) I believe thatstudents can teach themselves to be autonomous learners. To learn to do something onone's own, there must be interest to do so. Using applicable real world experience,allowing students choices in their learning, and allowing for flexibility can help studentsfeel as though they have more power/motivation over their own learners. This ultimatelywill gradually release responsibility to students, therefore creating an autonomouslearner.Research Based?:White people conduct the research the education system utilizes, then, white peopleautomatically hold power. Little to no evidence is presented on how process approachesover other forms of literacy instruction are more efficacious for children of color.
Implications For Improving Instruction:
Simple, create my own new research or seek out research that is more whollydesigned. I must research the research I'm analyzing, I must be able to know if it wasconducted over different populations, how long it was completed, what tools theconductors used, etc. There is no sense in using research-based theories, ideas, if theresearch is not credible.Best Practice:Too often teachers hide behind big words and make their personal self inaccessible tostudents. Actual writing for real audiences and real purposes is much more effective thandirect instruction that a child cannot understand. This is an example of power of theteacher over the students.
Implications For Improving Instruction:
Mini lessons that consist of direct instruction, a standard writing convention, andstudent-centered conferences with the teacher, are the best predictors of student success.Having my students recognize me as a learner along with them will really be important,especially in the higher grades. In becoming a learner along with them, I mustdistinguish that I still am their instructor (don't want to come off as a lush). Havingindividual time with each student will help me as the instructor assess them and help thatchild feel as though his or her personal learning is important, improving, and worth theeffort he or she puts forth. Making mistakes also helps teachers seem human, if a mistakeis made it's okay for me to have the students help me figure it out, laughter is a goodmedicine! I also believe in the ability to say in once sentence what I'd like students tolearn in a certain lesson, the teacher must be able to articulate what they hope for students, be able to do that, and be flexible for the students to take the lesson in a newdirection (via questions, etc.).Authoritarian Style:Different classes of society often misinterpret the authoritarian style of teaching. Many people of color admire authority, as it is a sign of personal effort. White people ofteninterpret authority as a severe or harsh way of being. Parents of upper-class childrenoften use an indirect style of direction, while middle-class use direct communication. If ateacher's goal then, is to seem less powerful by being indirect with his or her communication, it is in fact lending more power to them self as the children of middle-class homes don't properly interpret intentions. The child coming from the middle-classmay then not understand a teacher's indirect style of communication and this gets predicted as misbehavior, when it was miscommunication. The use of good student-teacher relationships and composure in a classroom can help to steer around thesedifficulties. The goal is to accept students and take responsibility of teaching each one of them.
Implications For Improving Instruction:
I think developing a set of class norms could help divert this. As each student isasked to share his or her life experiences with the classroom, this too is the teacher'sresponsibility. I will allow students to know who I am, where I come from, my habits(good and bad), and I would have a beginning of the year discussion as to how I am andwhy I am that way. I'd talk about how I talk, how I dress, and I'd also conduct an activity

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