The Skin That We Speak: Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom

New Press/ORIM
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“Lucid, accessible” research on classroom language bias for educators and “parents concerned about questions of power and control in public schools” (Publishers Weekly).
 
In this collection of twelve essays, MacArthur Fellow Lisa Delpit and Kent State University Associate Professor Joanne Kilgour Dowdy take a critical look at the issues of language and dialect in the education system. The Skin That We Speak moves beyond the highly charged war of idioms to present teachers and parents with a thoughtful exploration of the varieties of English spoken today.
 
At a time when children who don’t speak formal English are written off in our schools, and when the class- and race-biased language used to describe those children determines their fate, The Skin That We Speak offers a cutting-edge look at this all-important aspect of education. Including groundbreaking work by Herbert Kohl, Gloria J. Ladson-Billings, and Victoria Purcell-Gates, as well as classic texts by Geneva Smitherman and Asa Hilliard, this volume of writing is what Black Issues Book Review calls “an essential text.”
 
“The book is aimed at helping educators learn to make use of cultural differences apparent in language to educate children, but its content guarantees broader appeal.” —Booklist
 
“An honest, much-needed look at one of the most crucial issues in education today.” —Jackson Advocate
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About the author

Lisa Delpit is an African American and a lifelong teacher who promotes the idea of having "visions of success for poor children and children of color." Her 1995 book, Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, discusses how to better train teachers by using nine specific factors, among them understanding the brilliance of the children, recognizing and building on the children's strengths, using familiar metaphors and experiences from the children's world, and nurturing a sense of connection to a greater community, of which they are a part. Delpit's father owned a restaurant and her mother taught high school. Her parents set an example by providing free meals for local elementary school children who could not afford to buy lunch. This fostered in Delpit a commitment to helping others. Delpit was one of the first African Americans to attend desegregated Catholic schools in Louisiana. She also attended Antioch College in Ohio and Harvard University. She has worked at the University of Alaska, Morgan State University's Urban Institute for Urban Research, and Georgia State University, holding the Benjamin E. Mays Chair of Urban Educational Leadership. Delpit received a MacArthur Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1993.

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Additional Information

Publisher
New Press/ORIM
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Published on
Apr 9, 2013
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781595585844
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Multicultural Education
Education / Urban
Language Arts & Disciplines / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics
Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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From the MacArthur Award–winning education reformer and author of the bestselling Other People’s Children, a long-awaited new book on how to fix the persistent black/white achievement gap in America’s public schools

As MacArthur Award–winning educator Lisa Delpit reminds us—and as all research shows—there is no achievement gap at birth. In her long-awaited second book, Delpit presents a striking picture of the elements of contemporary public education that conspire against the prospects for poor children of color, creating a persistent gap in achievement during the school years that has eluded several decades of reform.

Delpit’s bestselling and paradigm-shifting first book, Other People’s Children, focused on cultural slippage in the classroom between white teachers and students of color. Now, in “Multiplication Is for White People”, Delpit reflects on two decades of reform efforts—including No Child Left Behind, standardized testing, the creation of alternative teacher certification paths, and the charter school movement—that have still left a generation of poor children of color feeling that higher educational achievement isn’t for them.

In chapters covering primary, middle, and high school, as well as college, Delpit concludes that it’s not that difficult to explain the persistence of the achievement gap. In her wonderful trademark style, punctuated with telling classroom anecdotes and informed by time spent at dozens of schools across the country, Delpit outlines an inspiring and uplifting blueprint for raising expectations for other people’s children, based on the simple premise that multiplication—and every aspect of advanced education—is for everyone.

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