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Internationally acclaimed educator Lisa Delpit visits the UNCW Campus

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lisa Delpit visits the UNCW Campus

Promoting scholarship through research and the sharing of knowledge and ideas is central to WCE’s mission. This fall the college was pleased to welcome internationally acclaimed educator and author Lisa Delpit to campus as the second annual WCE Public Speaker Series got underway on Oct. 15.

Lisa Delpit

Author of the bestselling Other People’s Childrenand recent sequel, Multiplication is for White People: Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children, Delpit said her strongest passion is “finding ways and means to best educate marginalized students, especially students of color.” She told a packed audience of faculty and students at UNCW’s Lumina Theater that she views teaching as anthropology. “Culture is as important as methodology when it comes to student learning,” Delpit said, citing research that proves there’s no academic achievement gap at birth.

Delpit said most Americans live inside a narrow framework and aren’t comfortable exploring beyond it, but to be effective, teachers need to work to understand the lived experiences and interests of students which are often different than their own. This means acknowledging that stereotypes exist and pushing beyond them by exploring the culture and the community that exists outside the school.

Delpit believes teachers should set high expectations and encourage students to meet them, but she cautions that academic rigor is not enough. Students also need social support and strong relationships inside and outside of school to succeed. Asked to define social support within the classroom, Delpit said “Know who your students are, gear your instruction to them and create an environment that allows students to try, take risks and fail” because that’s when they learn.