first thoughts on Lisa Delpit’s essay

OK.  So, now we try something new.  In class on Wednesday, we had a discussion of Lisa Delpit’s essay, “Skills and Other Dilemmas of a Progressive Black Educator.”  I want you to post a comment to this blog discussing your initial thoughts on the essay.  We will take a look at some of your thoughts in class on Monday.


11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Brian Oshinsky on October 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    After reading “Skills and other Dilemmas” by Lisa Delpit my initial reaction to the story was that i was very confused with how the story ended. At first i thought that the ending points were that African Americans are considered the minority in the education system and that their input does not affect the majority outlooks on education teaching styles. Although this was semi true, in class i learned that not only was Lisa frustrated in the end of the story, she also explained that with out the two main elements of teaching, students can not properly progress to further their educational and future goals.

  2. Posted by Danielle H. on October 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    My initial reaction to Lisa Delpit’s essay is that I agree with what she said about how skill and fluency pretty much go hand in hand. Someone could be very fluent and able to think critically, but not having the skills can limit them from communicating correctly. They won’t be able to fully express themselves or interact successfully with others. Therefore this could limit that individual from good employment or even a higher education.

  3. Posted by Pamela Santamaria on October 23, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    My initial thoughts on the essay: “SKILLS AND OTHER DILEMMAS OF A PROGRESSIVE BLACK EDUCATOR” written by Lisa Delpit, were in a way the same ones we discussed in class. In general it describes a person’s perspective of racism and feelings towards representing a minority. The essay in a way confuses the reader by having different perspectives which lead to the author’s objective, which is leave a message to the specific readers. At the beginning of the essay she gives information about her received awards, teaching skills, and even personal experiences of being a teacher. However, these leads to the second perspective, the one where she says: “Cathy had stirred that part of my past I had long avoided” (paragraph 20). The quote represents the way she was lying to herself; the fact that she didn’t realize that teaching to the minority was useless, because of racism. After this perspective her writing becomes more symbolic to the text. The essay has a great conclusion, as it becomes the message: “I truly hope that those who advocate other potentially important programs will do a better job” (paragraph 30). The quote reflects the union of all her perspectives and the way they connect within her life. The fact of she being a teacher for students with limited education, makes her teaching skills and experiences highlight that other teachers should understand the differences between students, and stop being racists.

  4. Posted by Sergei Drumm on October 24, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I didnt really understand the text but i did like that the students were rapping and stuff. I also felt her frustration with her teaching and her students can not get better in the future because their ruining their goals.

  5. Posted by Lynn Diaz on October 25, 2010 at 1:04 am

    As i read the article “Skills and Other Dilemmas” i kept thinking how dedicated Lisa was to her class. I wish I had a teacher that cared so much about the ways I learned the best, and tried different things in the classroom. I was interested to see which teaching styles worked the best for her students. I was a little confused about the rest of the article, i know Lisa talks about her struggles throughout her life, and how she went back to school to be further educated. All of the articles had teaching in common, and they all were hard for me to comprehend.

  6. Posted by Katie Williams on October 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Reading the article i was impressed on how Lisa studied her students because the African American students were lacking “open classroom technique”. She than realized that they were better off doing the structural way of the classroom setting. She noticed that each student had a different way of learning in which she agreed on using all types of learning styles but there had to be two elements for the students to succeed, Lisa struggled to teach them and help them do better and she made her way through.

  7. Posted by Faith Dickson on October 25, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    While reading Lisa’s article it was very hard for me to comprehend what exactly Lisa’s point of the article was. I understand that Lisa was talking about the “open-classroom” teaching style and about “skills and fluency”. From the little that I understood I do agree with the point that to succeed you need skills and fluency. You can have the fluency to write a great paper, but without the skills to write a paper you can not succeed.

  8. Posted by Eliana Pena on October 26, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    My initial thoughts on this essay were not that Lisa Delpit was a terrible teacher. I am sure that she was a great person but maybe the lifestyles of the children at home were just not suitable for the children, so that makes learning a little more difficult for them. She explained a lot about skills and fluency and how of course everyone needs them to get by and her idea was to try and get these children to have both the skills and fluency on a kinder garden level. She thought she failed but she did not of course, she simply did her best using different teaching methods. While the minority students adapted more towards traditional learning styles with desks and chairs, the white students learned best with open classroom techniques. So technically their failure is not exactly her fault, she tried her best to teach them using both state of the art teaching methods as well as traditional methods.

  9. Posted by moe starkey on October 26, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    After reading this article I feel that Lisa Delpit was getting at the fact that writing programs are pushing kids to write the way they think is right. To me the article is saying since there are many different learning techniques and depending on where a child is from their writing style well be different then other kids writing styles. From what I got out of the article, writing programs look at only certain skills instead of skills and creativity.

  10. Posted by Lateef Medley on October 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I think that it is not to her fault that she feel as though she failed. I think she mostly owes it to the way she was taught, but from her experiences she realized that a balance between “skills” and “fluency” is the key between bonding the class together and to include all backgrounds so that they may learn at a rate that is not as far apart as it was when she tried to teach in philly the first time. I feel as though that a “fluency” oriented class will only tend to those with the skills, but need the “fluency” to make it in American society. But disregards those who already have “fluency” (seen or unseen) and lack “skills.” And vice-versa for a “skill” oriented class. As for racism, I think that the system isn’t racist just blind to realize anyone other than those who are born innately with “skills.” (white people mostly) lol… So in saying this I think that some serious amendments need to be made to the way teachers are taught.

  11. Posted by Erica Flannery on October 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

    My initial response to Lisa Delpit’s essay was, what???? To be truthful I just wanted to skim this essay so I can write a response. That, did not work, I attempted reading it over and over and was still confused. Lisa Delpit starts off this essay out of nowhere, there is no intro or a background of any kind. Lisa starts her essay off with a question, and a confusing one at that. I found it wierd how she was stressing skills and fluency, when to me it wasnt fluent, nor written with skill because I couldnt understand it.
    Lisa Delpit, great teacher, confusing writer.

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