The Skin That We Speak: Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom

Lisa Delpit (Editor) Joanne Kilgour Dowdy (Editor)


"Lucid, accessible" research on classroom language bias for educators and "parents concerned about questions of power and control in public schools" (Publishers Weekly).

In this collection of twelve essays, MacArthur Fellow Lisa Delpit and Kent State University Associate Professor Joanne Kilgour Dowdy take a critical look at the issues of language and dialect in the education system. The Skin That We Speak moves beyond the highly charged war of idioms to present teachers and parents with a thoughtful exploration of the varieties of English spoken today.

At a time when children who don't speak formal English are written off in our schools, and when the class- and race-biased language used to describe those children determines their fate, The Skin That We Speak offers a cutting-edge look at this all-important aspect of education. Including groundbreaking work by Herbert Kohl, Gloria J. Ladson-Billings, and Victoria Purcell-Gates, as well as classic texts by Geneva Smitherman and Asa Hilliard, this volume of writing is what Black Issues Book Review calls "an essential text."

"The book is aimed at helping educators learn to make use of cultural differences apparent in language to educate children, but its content guarantees broader appeal." --Booklist

"An honest, much-needed look at one of the most crucial issues in education today." --Jackson Advocate

Product Details

$17.95  $16.51
New Press
Publish Date
May 01, 2008
5.67 X 0.66 X 8.21 inches | 0.65 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Lisa Delpit, a MacArthur Fellow, received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Education in 1993 from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which hailed her as a "visionary scholar and woman of courage." She is the author of Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom (The New Press) and is currently the executive director for the Center for Urban Education and Innovation at Florida International University. Joanne Kilgour Dowdy is Associate Professor of Adolescent/Adult Literacy at Kent State University in the Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Curriculum Studies. She is the author of GED Stories: Black Women and Their Struggle for Social Equity.


"Although these lucid, accessible pieces speak most directly to teachers and would be teachers . . . the issues are broad enough to attract more general readers, especially parents."
--Publishers Weekly