Culture Talk

Introduction to Culture Talk

In schools, people make a lot of quick, under-informed claims about culture “groups” as if we know a lot about other people’s everyday lives and behaviors, even when we don’t. Such claims are dangerous not only because they distort our sense of people, but because they make getting to know actual people seem unnecessary.

In this section of, we’ll post resources that help us go from shallow “culture talk” to deeper understanding of people’s real experiences!

Featured #schooltalking effort

In Chapter 4 of Schooltalk, I argue that equity effort requires "a basic willingness to respectfully learn more about and from the complex people [we share] schools with, in order to better support students." Can home visits help? Many educators have found that they indeed can build relationships and trust with both families and students through home visits, if they approach home visits as opportunities to learn from and bond with parents and students rather than only get school information “out.” As one educator I know put it, teacher home visits had been great for her as a child: “I recall feeling a great deal of pride when my teachers came to participate in our home life. They didn’t visit to tell us what we were lacking or doing wrong. They came to get to know us, to share information, to sometimes even eat and drink with us.”

Here’s a teacher’s description of visiting her fourth graders’ families for the first time. I like how it describes in detail how the teacher carefully overcame an initial teacher-family power differential by listening respectfully to parents as sources of knowledge, rather than just talking at them. Check it out!


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