Sunday, March 27, 2016

Literacy with an Attitude- Educating Working- Class Children In Their Own Self Interest - By: Patrick J. Finn (1999)

Extended Comments: This week I chose to use Katherine's blog to do extended comments on. Katherine's blog really caught my attention because we had a similar reaction while reading Finn's article. Delpit was the first thing that came to my mind after reading Finn's quote, "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 also agree with Katherine, this quote is a perfect example of Delpit's 4th aspect of power "If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier."  I think Finn did a great job explaining the importance of the way you phrase statements or questions to your students. As a teacher you need to be educated on the most effective strategies for using discipline with your students. As a future teacher, both Delpit and Finn have taught me the importance of being aware of the cultures in your classroom. Too often educators neglect to recognize the cultural differences that are present in their classrooms. As both authors explained, discipline is demonstrated in many ways when students go home. Students who are already part of the culture of power are familiar with the rules and codes and know how to succeed. When it comes to those who are stuck outside the culture of power they are at a huge disadvantage. Unfairly, teachers tend to write those students off assuming that they don't want to learn, when many times thats not the case at all. Those students are just not knowledgeable of what what is expected. That is why I really admire the strategies Finn uses with his students. The fact that he always has an assignment on the board conditions his students to know what is expected of them. He demonstrated his power in the classroom in a general way that all the students understand. Finn also uses an effective technique with his students when they are off task. Instead of asking a question, he makes sure to use a statement so their is no opportunity for argument or confusion. This can also be related to Delpit's aspect of power, "Issues of power are enacted in the classroom"(Delpit, 25) The title, Educating Working- Class Children In Their Own Self Interest is the most fitting name for what every future educator and educator needs to become educated on. It is extremely crucial for educators to educate their students in their own self interest in order to provide their students with the opportunity to learn as much as they can...but more importantly to prepare them to succeed and achieve. 

Questions/ Comments/Points to share: 
"When rich children get empowering education nothing changes. But when working-class children get empowering education you get literacy with an attitude." (Finn, preface) I think that this quote of Finn's is extremely significant because it can be related to  Delpit's 5th aspect of power, "Those with power are frequently least aware of-or least willing to acknowledge its existence. Those without power are often most aware of its existence." ( Delpit, 24)  Similarly, it can be related to TAL, the importance of school integration, and Mah-Ria's story. The parents and students at Francis Howell were already participants in the culture of power. They do not have the same appreciation for the education provided at Francis Howell as the students from Normandy do. 

P.S. I found this really cute video. I think it is relevant to the idea of empowering education. The little boy in the video makes a great point, "You wanna change the world, you gotta know about it!"  


  1. Great Post Grace ! I think you did a good job explaining more about the main points of this article. After reading, I clicked and watched the video of the little boy and I think it was adorable. "You wanna change the world, you gotta know about it!" is a great point I agree because people have to know what and who makes our society the way it is.

  2. Grace, I really like the video I thought it was a cute way to end the blog :) I also used the power quote and related it to Delpit as well. Nice job!

  3. Grace, great job with your post and use of extended comments in your own way. Good links to outside sources that relate to the topic at hand and connect it to your points to share.