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[Xmca-l] Re: The Highlander Center in Tennessee

Henry, not noted that Lisa Delpit is associated with the "dark side" in literacy for minorities.  

i'd like to suggest that those proponents of explicit teacher to children of minorities (in which i also include white children in poverty) have misread Delpit.  yes, she supports of explicit teaching to all students the culture of power.  this is very much a foucaultian project, as well as a Freire project.  i add here a quote from the Lisa Delpit entry in wikipedia:

 "In one of her most heavily cited works, The Silenced Dialogue,[9] Delpit argues the focus on process-oriented as opposed to skills-oriented writing instruction reduces the chances for black children to gain access to the tools required for accessing the "culture of power", which she describes as follows: (1) Issues of power as being enacted in classrooms; (2) Codes or rules established for participation in power, lending credence to the existence of a "culture of power"; (3) Rules of the culture of power being a reflection of the rules adhered to in the culture of those who have power; (4) Understanding explicitly the rules of a culture of power as fundamental to acquisition of the power of that culture; and (5)Tendency of those within the culture of power to be least aware or willing to admit that a culture of power exists. Delpit explores stances taken by teachers towards black children within the classroom and emphasizes how essential it is for teachers, both black and white, to communicate effectively and positively with black students if they are to achieve academic success. She concludes the skills/process debate is fallacious because it subscribes to the view that black and poor children can be categorically organized. Rather, she asserts the need for equipping black students to communicate across cultures. She believes teachers can play a major role as they give a voice to people and to children of color.[9]"

it is true that in one of her original works - teacher other people's children - she advocated the reading program distar - which is highly directive and controlling of both students and teachers - , but i've not read anything like that since.  she did believe that whole language as an instructional method supported middle class children who already had acquired the 'rules' of literacy as practiced by middle class families - something that Shirley Brice Heath also demonstrated in "Ways with words".

i write this hoping that with additional readings of Delpit you might reconsider her theoretical positions regarding the education of minority children.


Phillip White, PhD
Urban Community Teacher Education Program
Site Coordinator
Montview Elementary, Aurora, CO
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Henry G. Shonerd III [hshonerd@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2014 3:27 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Highlander Center in Tennessee

Hi Robert and Andy,
Taking a biographical perspective on a smaller scale, it's interesting that an Australian Vygotskian/Hegellian/dialectic scholar would find so interesting the civil rights work of a courageous Black woman, that a white professor who gets impetus for writing while in movement (as he explains in his letter to Vera) would have a thorough knowledge of her work, and that a Black scholar (Lisa Delpit), should be associated with the "dark side" in literacy for minorities. How pun-ishingly ironic, maybe at the heart of the dialectic? Does it make sense to see such "entanglements" as consonant with a fractal model of history and culture, fractal formations at any scale being "self similar" and complex. Surely dialect thinking and fractal thinking are blendable, just as science and art are blendable. I am thinking about Fauconnier and Turner (on blending), Cantor (on fractals) and articles by Andy on metaphor and narrative, romantic science and the interaction of conceptual and pre-conceptual thinking. One more personal anecdote ties in. Two weekends ago my wife and I had lunch with Vera and Ruben in Santa Fe. She talked about the creative "leap". In her 1985 Notebooks of the Mind, Vera talks about "the joining of rapid bursts of thought with a regime of disciplined work". And finally, Anna Stetsenko in the the letters to Vera (Constructing a Community of Thought), argues that "Creativity…is an ineluctable feature of all and every person in their even utmost mundane activities and pursuits of everyday life." Vera and Vygotsky bring us creativity at all scales. Typically, "going to scale" means growth. Cancer is a growth. Destructive. Creativity is generative, nurturing. In all of this I find hope, which was got me into the xmca dialog in the first place.