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The Skin That We Speak: Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom (Large Print 16pt)

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  550 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Now in paperback, The Skin That We Speak takes the discussion of language in the classroom beyond the highly charged war of idioms and presents today's teachers with a thoughtful eYesploration of the varieties of English that we speak, in what Black Issues Book Review calls ''an essential teYest.'' Edited by bestselling author Lisa Delpit and education professor Joanne Kil ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 358 pages
Published July 19th 2010 by ReadHowYouWant (first published February 1st 2001)
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Paul de Barros
Jul 08, 2008 Paul de Barros rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in linguistics or education
I cannot begin to laud this book enough. It was fantastic. It is a collection of essays about the stereotypes and biases associated with various dialects of English. It very strongly makes the case that Standard American English is merely one of a multiplicity of valid dialects. The standard dialect is no more correct, just more common and more respected. It goes on to suggest that the best way to get students to learn Standard American English is to begin by respecting their existing speech pat ...more
Harley
Jun 27, 2011 Harley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the essays in this collection are quite diverse, hence the name of the book! I was able to think deeply about how I will tackle diversity in my own classroom, even in English... the reality is that teachers are not quite up to speed on what needs to be considered when thinking about culture and about teaching away the concept of racism, linguisim, and classism.... but this book is a start.
Lisa Brown
Mar 18, 2011 Lisa Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, education
it's not often that i say "this book changed my life," but this one did - insofar as it changed the way i think about the various forms of english spoken on either side of the pond, which is more than a mildly important part of my world. it formalized and validated some things i had sort of intuited about certain dialects and speech patterns, and it shed valuable light onto the crucial role language plays in the learning process, regardless of subject matter. some of the essays are a little date ...more
Tracy Nomensen
Sep 27, 2010 Tracy Nomensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for every educator, every human.
Erin Cardis
Dec 30, 2012 Erin Cardis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that every future teacher should read.
Daniel S
“If it means forgetting that the language of everyone else around you bears witness to two hundred years of cross-pollination, then so be it” (7)

“We were given all the latitude in the world to suspend our reality as Trinidadians, the proud survivors of three hundred year of British, French, and Spanish domination, and to perfect the one language system that we should have ripped from our throats at the earliest age possible. Instead, we made our throats moist and forced our tones up an octave so
...more
Allison Hoefener
I wanted so badly to love this book. Having a background in sociolinguistics and being a teacher, I found that some of the essays were unoriginal. I've read countless other articles, essays, and books that reiterate similar ideas. However, there were a few standouts. Judith Baker's essay, "Trilingualism," offers an accessible entry point for introducing linguistics to students. She has her students list the different types of English they speak and the features of each dialect. She also has them ...more
Kb
Jun 09, 2010 Kb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is yet another book that I picked up after reflecting on how who I am affects how my words are perceived, what Herb Kohl, in Ch. 9, refers to as "attunement." Of course, there is no changing my background and, as a result, who I am. As Gloria Ladson-Billings lays out in "Dreamkeepers," it is on me to become hyper-aware of the respective realities of my students, which affect how knowledge is constructed. In this book, Lisa Delpit presents this issue through the specific lens of language. Th ...more
Wendi
Jul 03, 2015 Wendi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a teacher, parent, or an aware citizen in the world today, this is a must-read. As a native English speaker in America, there are many things I take for granted in the realm of "standard English", but in today's society, assumptions require a deeper look. What, truly, is "standard" when language is so fluid? How can we possibly judge another person's superiority or inferiority based on the structure of their expressions? Our students (and us adults as well!) deserve to learn why such ...more
Pashew Majeed
The influences language and color have on our life and the changes it makes is just unbelievable. Most of us has been pre-judged by the way we look and speak on daily basis. By the look I do not solely mean color but the appearance of you face as well. I have enough living personal examples in the regard of language influences. Those cultural misinterpretations which led and leads to misunderstanding and the aftermath is a cultural clash. Educationally speaking, the aftermath will be a culturall ...more
Gretchen
May 23, 2012 Gretchen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Skin that We Speak is a collection of essays by scholars about the struggle of language and culture in the classroom. They mainly address the issue of "Ebonics" and why it is looked down on as an "inferior" language. They talk about what we can do to change this negative outlook and why it's important.

This book's pretty boring. I had to read it for my Literacy/Language/Learning Theory class next semester. A lot of it is common sense or personal examples, which are kind of boring. They point
...more
Allegra
Oct 01, 2011 Allegra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, education
I had already taken college courses about the validity of African American Vernacular English as a systematic and rule-governed language, but I thought the essays included in this book really went deeper into how perceptions of speakers of non-Standard English are formed and reinforced, how to change how students think of each other and themselves in order to help everyone succeed in school, and how to address the preconceptions of some teachers regarding the languages used by their students in ...more
Danielle Krause
Jan 30, 2013 Danielle Krause rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, school
A collection of powerful essays written to make the reader a bit uncomfortable. I think every future educator (and parent) should read this text. The authors have incredible insight into the dynamics of language, race, and power and their relationship to student identity and teacher strategies. There is some wonderful advice, and the essays complement each other well. An essential read for any future teacher and anyone interested in the dynamics of language in schools today.
Molly
Nov 22, 2011 Molly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This book shed valuable light onto the crucial role language plays in the learning process, regardless of subject matter. It helped me reflect on how Standard American English is really only one of a myriad of English dialects. I never realized before how some students are at a disadvantage when their dialect of English is invalidated. I found some of the works a bit dated, but it was interesting overall.
Michael
Apr 30, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book looks at the problem we have of looking at certain ways of speaking as "lesser" than Standard English. These essays illustrate the problem and show some possibilities for addressing cultural differences within the classroom. I found this quite eye-opening, as I haven't read much about the topic before, and my own speech has never been challenged by a teacher. I feel quite fortunate in this.
Susanna
Feb 21, 2007 Susanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would emphatically recommend this book to anyone who is attempting to teach standard English to non-standard English speakers...but I think that it is worth a read even if you are not a teacher. Because we live in a society with both standard and non-standard English speakers, we could all benefit by considering the ideas presented in this book.
Blaine Morrow
This collection serves as a good introduction to linguistically biased education - particularly in the United States. The essays are informative and provide different insights, though all are against the "standard English only" approach. There's a lot of good information and background, but I wish there were more depth to both the research and the suggested solutions.
Lauren
Aug 14, 2008 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dowdy puts together a great collection of essays about language and how our speech informs our world-view, self-esteem and educational options. While centered around the debate over Ebonics, the book also touches on everything from various British dialects to Appalachian English. A must-read for educators; an unusual but satisfying read for those generally interested in social justice.
Laurel Kane
The essays in this book are well written, but didn't feel like anything new to me. I liked the the Kohl one the best - "Topsy Turvies: Teacher Talk and Student Talk" because he addresses the need for authenticity in the classroom, particularly that it's not enough to just "play at" being a teacher, you need to be real.
Jill Jepson
Sep 01, 2013 Jill Jepson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent introduction to important issues about culture, ethnicity, and race with a focus on how language functions in the classroom. I'm teach a university course titled Language as Power, and have used this book as one of my texts for years.
Bernadette
This is a collection of essays about dialects and languages and how the prejudices that may come along with them. This book should be a must read for any educator because it sheds some light on how language differences in the classroom may lead to unconscious judgements on the teacher's part.
Sarah
Jan 31, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I'd read this years ago. This book is enough to cause one to re-think existing beliefs and perspectives. Such a valuable and engaging commentary; there are so many people who could benefit from the information and arguments in this book.
Ginny
Feb 02, 2012 Ginny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
This is a wonderful book for any urban educator to read, regardless of their content area. It is especially poignant for language arts teachers, but anyone could benefit from it. One of the best books I have ever purchased for a course, hands down.
Cyndi Lu
the essays in this book demonstrate the intertwined nature of culture and language. for white instructors, this book explains the struggles and frustrations minorities feel when their on mother tongue is devalued while also explaining the complexities of mother tongue. loved this book.
Mrs. Schonour
I had to read this for a grad class and didn't really enjoy it. The book is a compilation of many different authors' experiences with language and race. It was somewhat useful for this white girl, but I didn't find anything especially eye opening or completely new.
Kirsten
Jul 24, 2013 Kirsten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic and important read for every teacher. For policymakers and educators responsible for teacher development, this is a must read, especially in the area of teacher evaluation.
Kristin
Sep 30, 2007 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A collection of essays by teachers who give an in-depth look at how language is intricately linked to identity, culture, and to how people perceive each other.
Sara
Jul 26, 2007 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
love this book. just love it.
Dave
Aug 13, 2007 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers
Observations of how little things in the classroom mean a lot!
Tabitha
Mar 26, 2016 Tabitha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is required reading in one of my pedagogy classes. It's a total game-changer. Highly recommended.
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Book Presentation 1 8 Mar 12, 2009 10:05AM  
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  • Can We Talk about Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation
  • Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
  • 'I Won't Learn from You': And Other Thoughts on Creative Maladjustment
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  • Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice
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  • The Trouble with Black Boys: And Other Reflections on Race, Equity, and the Future of Public Education
  • Holler If You Hear Me: The Education of a Teacher and His Students
  • Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning
  • Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S.
  • The Skillful Teacher: Building Your Teaching Skills
  • Relentless Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches with Teach for America

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