Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Talking Point #5: Teaching Multilingual Children by Virginia Collier and Aria by Richard Rodriguez – Extended Comments


Extended Comments...

After reading both of these articles, I decided to look at Bridgette’s blog and discuss the points that she connects between Collier and Delpit. I felt that both of these readings connected to Delpit’s “culture of power” philosophy within a bilingual classroom.
Being an ESL educator, I found Collier and Rodriguez’s articles to be very empowering because they addressed issues that I deal with on a daily basis in my classroom. Collier discusses the attributes that a successful bilingual teacher should possess.  She states that bilingual teachers should “help students master the language used in formal schooling and at the same time give students language tools for use in all context in the outside world” (pg. 227). This means that bilingual teachers should educate students in a way that prepares them to succeed in society using society’s dominant language. Both the first language and the language being taught should be used within a bilingual classroom at certain times. Collier also discusses how a literacy curriculum should be developed that would enhance the use of both language for ELL students.
Richard Rodriguez’s reading shares the point of view of a bilingual student who has to learn to master the dominant language in order to be in the “norm” of society. However, while doing so, that student also loses his first language at home and daily communication with his Spanish family. This demonstrates that “children lose a degree of ‘individuality’ by assimilating into public society” (pg. 38).  From a teacher’s perspective, I feel that it is not only important to teach students the language that will help them to succeed most in society, but to let them retain the culture and language that they were born into.
During Bridgette’s blog on these articles, she compared Collier and Rodriguez’s articles to Delpit’s The Silenced Dialog. I completely agree with her when she says “Delpit would agree with Collier and Rodriguez that students should be taught English in order to be successful in our society”. Delpit’s article primarily focuses on the notion of “culture of power”, which she defines as the codes or rules of the dominant class in society. In Rodriguez’s article specifically, you are able to read about a student who spoke very little English at the beginning of his bilingual education, yet he and his family conforms into the norm of society by learning English. Delpit would say that this is a must in order to by successful in society after one receives proper education.
Bridgette also states in her blog “Collier has a more idyllic perspective on the issue of educating children of color”. This, I felt, was evident when reading Collier’s Teaching Multilingual Children. Collier feels that the key to a successful bilingual classroom is “the true appreciation of the different linguistic and cultural values that students bring into the classroom” (pg 223). I would honestly have to say that I agree more with the perspective of Collier than Delpit. Collier feels that embracing language and cultural differences within a bilingual classroom is a major part of actually teaching the new language. However, I have to agree with Bridgette when she states that Delpit would not agree with this as strongly as Collier presents it. Although Delpit thinks that it is an important factor, she feels that there is a “political power game” being played, and that the most important thing to acquire in a bilingual classroom is the dominant language and culture of society if you want to succeed. In conclusion, I agree with Bridgette when she says that Delpit, Collier, and Rodrigues hold the same opinion that students needs to be taught within the “culture of power” in order to be successful.  


  1. Hi Alison, you did a nice job connecting to Brigette's blog as well as to Delpit. I too made the connection between Collier and Delpit.

  2. Hi Alison, great connections to Delpit! I agree that she would definitely think that children should be taught English so they have to tools to be a successful member of society.