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Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, Updated Edition

Customer Reviews:

this book is not anti-white--it's the answer we have sought

By Virginia Coklow - March 9, 2003

I think a lot of people have read this book with a defensive attitude and have totally misunderstood it. If we want to be better educators, we need to listen with an open mind and humble attitude. Pay attention to Dr Delpit's life story--she is not coming from an anti-white perspective; she is coming from the perspective of one who has made the same mistakes that we as white educators tend to make. She has a lot of relevant life experience AND relevant research and theory. What's more, her words fit perfectly with everything I have observed. As a white person from upper-class background who has been trying to "make a difference," and has been bewildered when my best efforts still seem to fail to reach some kids, I felt that this book was the answer I have been seeking for years. If you think you already know everything you need to know, don't bother reading this review or the book. But if you keep questioning why African-American kids fail in such dramatic numbers, and if you... read more

Eye-Opening, Alarming...

By Mike MacFerrin - May 30, 2001

Currently a recent college graduate from a predominantly-white Midwestern background, this book got me on a serious soul-searching thought process. This fall, I will teach high school students from a culture considerably different from my own... a Public School in the primarily Cajun and Creole areas of Southern Louisiana (where Lisa Delpit was raised!). I'd always thought I could rely on my own memories of great teachers from my childhood to guide me in my own techniques. This book opened my eyes to the fact that my own assumptions are based in my own culture. Effective methods of learning, communicating, and especially TEACHING children of other cultures can and probably will vary significantly from my own.I think a previous reviewer seriously misjudged Ms. Delpit's intent by saying she implies "we need to separate our students by cultural backgrounds to teach them individually using different approaches." Far from that, Ms. Delpit simply explains that we need to... read more

Other People's Children was Transformative

By J. Mills - October 27, 2005

I am a teacher and a Ph.D. student in education, and of all of the hundreds of articles and books I've read about education, Other People's Children has been one of the most useful, both in terms of my intellectual development and also in practical, common-sense classroom strategies. If you are an educator who is ready to stop blaming your students' parents for everything your students do wrong and who is ready to start asking what YOU can do to help your students achieve more, this book is an excellent choice for where to start.

Of particular interest were sections describing how well-intentioned teachers (not "the enemy" as another reviewer grossly mischaracterized) often enact policies that end up handicapping students who come from different backgrounds. Delpit describes the policies and the good intentions that led to them but also what the unintended consequences were and suggestions for how to deal with those consequences. Other helpful topics include descriptions... read more

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