Lisa Delpit's View on Different Languages, Stereotyping and How Students and Teachers Relate in Other People's Children

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 901 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

Words: 901|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

I am a white female and attended a high school that had a total minority enrollment percentage of only 18%. Growing up in a town with few minorities I never really witnessed any acts of racism. Up until this course I was pretty sheltered and unaware there are still inconsistencies and unfairness between different cultures in the classroom. Lisa Delpit brings many topics and issues to light in Other People’s Children, but three that I found most intriguing were that of language diversity, stereotyping and the student-teacher relationship.

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In part one, of Other People’s Children, Delpit discusses some of the experiences she encountered being a black educator. One topic she discussed was the main controversies of language diversity and learning. When I saw the title of this section I assumed it would be talking about dealing with students who’s first language is something other than English, although it does go into that, I found it interesting that the first focus was on the differences in grammar and syntax. Delpit described how, Marti, one of her students asked, “Teacher, how come you talkin’ like a white person” (Delpit 1995, pg. 48). I can remember growing up and hearing students speak like this so I feel it is an important topic for future educators to learn about. Delpit goes into explaining that teachers cannot just suggest that “this form is ‘wrong’ or, even worse, ignorant” (Delpit 1995, pg. 53), because that is probably how their loved ones speak and how they were brought up, so the teacher would be, “suggesting that something is wrong with the student and his or her family” (Delpit 1995, pg. 53). With this being said, teachers do need to teach the student the politically proper dialect form in this country, that is Standard English, because they will be less likely to succeed economically than their peers who do (Delpit 1995, pg. 53). There are a plethora of techniques teachers can use to address this problem. They can have students become involved with standard forms through role-play, having groups of students create bidialectual dictionaries of their own language form and Standard English, or producing news shows everyday for the rest of the school mimicking how famous news castors talk (Delpit 1995).

Delpit explains do’s and don’t’s for teachers in the classroom and stereotyping is a reoccurring “don’t” throughout her book. Many teachers typically link “failure and socioeconomic status, failure and cultural difference, and failure and single-parent households” (Delpit 1995, pg. 172). The issue is not the student the issue is that since teachers are creating these links with failure they are teaching less instead of more. Delpit provides an example where a black mother asks her son, Terrance’s, teachers how he is performing academically in class. The teachers all replied that Terrance was doing “just fine” (Delpit 1995, pg. xxiii). However, when Terrance’s mother received his report card it had all Cs and Ds. His mother was upset and when she asked how the teachers were able to respond with “just fine” they replied with variations of, “For him, Cs are great. You shouldn’t try to push him so much” (Delpit 1995, pg. xxiii). This shows how some teachers may treat students, in this case of color, differently. It would be one thing if Terrance normally failed classes but that is not the case. The teachers should be treating all students equally and they should hold high expectations for all children instead of just certain ones. They need to teach the content but incorporate all students’ experiences. This may be hard but there are ways to do so. They can prepare for diverse classrooms with not only the scheduled parent teacher conferences but if they see a student struggling, contact the parents of that specific student and get to know what their home life is like. They can also talk to the student themselves to get to know what his or her life is like “outside of the realms of paper-and-pencil work” (Delpit 1995, pg. 173).

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I think, arguably, the most important lesson to be learned though out the book is how students and teachers interact. There are many different opinions on student-teacher relationships and one that was brought up was the Schulman-reported model (Delpit 1995, pg. 139). In short, this model portrays the content being taught as the mediator between students and teachers and explains this is the way students and teacher are supposed to interact. Delpit explains while content is a way for students and teachers to interact it is not the only way. There are many other interactions that need to happen. Teaching is not jus about content it involves forming relationships. I could not agree more. Growing up the classes I learned the most in were the classes where I had a strong relationship with my teacher. Having a strong relationship with students can help solve many of the issues discussed in Other People’s Children. The more a teacher gets to know about their students lives, both in and out of the classroom, the easier it will be for the teacher to teach the curriculum and the easier it will be for the student to understand and obtain the curriculum. As time passes and we move forward I think that the issues and controversies that come along with having a diverse classroom will become less and less of a problem.

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Lisa Delpit’s View On Different Languages, Stereotyping And How Students And Teachers Relate In Other People’s Children. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 4, 2023, from
“Lisa Delpit’s View On Different Languages, Stereotyping And How Students And Teachers Relate In Other People’s Children.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
Lisa Delpit’s View On Different Languages, Stereotyping And How Students And Teachers Relate In Other People’s Children. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 4 Dec. 2023].
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