Kelsey Staub Rough Draft 3/28/13 Need a Catchy Title… As a soon-to-be English as a Second Language teacher, there are many

things that I worry about in terms of my qualifications to teach that subject. Teaching any language is a big responsibility—the student’s ability to read, write, and speak the language r elies greatly on my ability to teach. This in itself is a daunting fact to come to terms with, and something that I frequently wrestle with when thinking about my future career choice. Growing up in a small, minimally diverse Idaho town, I admit that I have had very little exposure to people from different ethnic backgrounds or cultures outside of my own family. My entire experience with cultural diversity, in essence, has been from a college classroom. With this in mind, I fear that my limited background with hinder my ability to understand where my students are coming from. *I was automatically added to the dominant discourse, so how can I relate to my students who do not have it as easy*? ***This part needs help*** Fortunately, Lisa Delpit addresses many of the questions and concerns that I have about teaching culturally diverse students in her article, “The Politics of Teaching Literate Discourse.” Throughout her article, Delpit makes a strong argument in favor of allowing all students-regardless of culture, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status—to become part of the dominant discourse in order to liberate them from oppressive teaching practices. At the beginning of her article, Delpit states that many teachers struggle with expecting their culturally diverse students to join the dominant discourse because “. . .they question whether they are acting as agents of

Delpit made it clear in her article of her strong opposition to James Paul Gee’s ideas that “people who have not been born into dominant discourse will find it exceedingly difficult.” Instead. What was the end result? All but one of their eight children soared through their academic careers and went on to become either doctors or lawyers. They knew that was the ticket to success in their new country and they would not accept anything less from an American education. Contrary to Gee’s ideas. Reading these examples caused me to reflect upon my own family members’ struggles—and ultimate success—in transitioning from one discourse to another. if not impossible. . she provides numerous examples of minorities whose academic success can be attributed to their successful assimilation into the dominant discourse. to acquire such a discourse (492)” and that “…an individual who is born into one discourse with one set of values may experience major conflicts when attempting to acquire another discourse with another set of values (493). my great-grandparents made education the number one priority for their eight children. my great-grandparent’s genuinely wanted their children to acquire another discourse and another set of values. this is something tha t I have considered and struggled with immensely when imagining my future classroom. my paternal great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from Mexico with the dream of bettering their lives by providing their children with greater opportunities. Living on a modest income. they scraped together every spare penny they could in order to ensure that their children were able to attend the best private schools in the area. Like many Americans.” Personally. Although they were not well-educated themselves.oppression by insisting that students who are not already a part of the ‘mainstream’ learn that discourse (491).

for whatever reason. is so much more harmful than the opposing oppressive teaching styles. Delpit addresses this situation of students choosing to “not-learn” by quoting Herb Kohl. who says. as Delpit also demonstrated. do not share the same motivation and enthusiasm for joining the dominant discourse.” How does a teacher respect the student’s desire to hold on to his home culture while simultaneously working to assimilate them into the dominant discourse? Some teachers might take the “radical or progressive” (i. in my opinion. By not teaching their students even the basics of the dominant discourse. In such situations there are forced choices and no apparent middle ground (497). and identity. easy) route when faced with this problem and decide to simply “not-teach (498). integrity. it is important to realize that they are by no means the norm. style.Although stories like my family’s are not unusual. form. Teachers must realize that they are going to have students from any race or culture who. and so forth) of dominant discourses (498). “Not-learning tends to take place when someone has to deal with unavoidable challenges to her or his personal and family loyalties. What about the minority students who want to be accepted as part of the dominant discourse? Should they be forced to wave the white flag and surrender to the idea that their writing is only useful to the dominant discourse as a n example of a “true authentic voice (498)?” .e. they are essentially sending their minority students the message that they are inferior and therefore are incapable of ever becoming part of the dominant discourse.” According to Delpit. these teachers “appear to believe that…their role must be to empower and politicize their most disenfranchised students by refusing to teach what Gee calls the superficial features (grammar.” This teaching style.

As Gee argues. I believe that all students should be granted equal opportunities to become part of the dominant discourse. Rather. “…all discourses are not equal in status…some are socially dominant—carrying with them social power and access to economic success…(492). However. that is not to say that a teacher should expect their student to completely abandon their cultural identity and replace it with the more dominant culture: they shouldn’t. Teachers should not try to bring their “disadvantaged” students down.Much like Delpit. I do not think that lowering the standards of discourse for minority students is by any means a beneficial teaching practice. . they should strive to find a balance between the students’ “home discourses and the discourse of school (500). *Still need to weave in another source and compare them. socioeconomically. but instead strive to give them the best educational opportunities possible. This means treating all students as equals and expecting the same quality of work out of an African-American student as they would expect out of a Caucasian student.” Why should some students be denied of these benefits simply because they are ethnically. or culturally diverse? With that in mind. but this dialect should not be the expectation for every writing piece. minority student should be encouraged to write stories in their authentic voices.” In other words.