Literacy With An Attitude
Educating Working-Class Children In Their Own Self-Interest
Patrick J. Finn
For this blog, i'm choosing to connect ideas that Patrick Finn expressed with ideas and beliefs of Lisa Delpit. In Finn's writing, he expressed how their are different teaching styles. The way you talk to your students and how you go about teaching them, play a huge role in their ability to learn. As you teach all different kinds of students, you see a difference and that all goes back to class, the society we live in and the stereotypes we have on certain groups of people. There was a section that I came across in Finn's writing that immediately made me connect to Delpit.
"When I discussed discipline problems with other teachers, a frequent topic of discussion in the teacher's lounge. I would talk about my teaching methods as methods of control. I had work assignments on the board when the students entered the classroom, and so there wasn't a moment when they didn't have anything to do. I didn't say to an errant student, "What are you doing?" I said, "Stop that and get to work." No discussion. No openings for an argument." (Finn, 3-4)
I was able to right away connect this to Delpit because this is all about the culture of power and being told explicitly the rules of being in that classroom. I think this example relates to Delpit's fourth aspect of power the most. "If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier." (Delpit 25) In other words, Delpit is saying that if your are not in the "power" group, it is easier to survive and "fit it"/ get by easier if you are being told the rules in all detail. How else would they know? Everyone comes from different homes and discipline comes in all different ways. One child might listen to something an adult says while it just flies over the other child's head. It's all about where they come from, how they were brought up and also, how their parents choose to show control in their own households. This also connects to Delpit's other example of the child having to take a bath. One parent approaches the issue with, " Isn't it time for a bath?" and another parent would say, "Get your rusty behind in that tub." (Delpit 34) Both parents are saying that their child needs to take a bath, but they say it in different ways because children see power in different forms.
Connecting back to the quote from Finn, in his experience he didn't give any room for a child to get out of control and misbehave. Having that assignment on the board, gave all the children something to do. They know to come in class and get right to that assignment because that's the kind of power he had in his room. " Stop that and get to work", is his way of making sure every child understands it the same way. Whether each student sees control and power different, he created his power in the classroom in a way that everyone will understand who has the control.
Questions/Comments & Points to Share:
"The status quo is the status quo because people who have the power to make changes are comfortable with the way things are. " (Finn; Preface)
** This quote is important and I think it will bring up discussion because it's almost like saying it's just an up hill battle. It's not going to go anywhere and the problem will always be there. In this case, the fact that stereotypes are still being supported by people's actions make it harder to go away.