5. Is This English?: Race, Language and Culture in the Classroom

by Bob Fecho

Another self-congratulatory teaching book written by a white guy teaching bloack kids. Oddly, after having read the book I am not sure why he chose that particular title.

I think the most useful thing I've gotten from Fecho's book is a clearer idea of what is meant by "learning across borders" and his well articulated discussion of the discomfort we experience in dialogue when situated outside our comfort zone. I am encouraged by his insistance that we cross boundaries, take risks, interrogate eachother and "share the discomfort," and to learn about that.

I appreciate Fecho’s argument about making inquiry not just an occasional component to classroom teaching, but the center of it. Inquiry is not something students can turn on and off depending on the demands of our lessons. Rather it is a habit of the critical mind, to be cultivated daily. It is the process of learning. Not only that, an inquiry based classroom gives itself permission to take the risks we "experts" fear will reveal how little we know about eachother and our differences.


Are you still reading this?

Thoreau's Walking

In Thoreau's essay Walking he says that man should be so free that he can go for a walk he have no reason to return. The essay is on the necessity and art of walking, but I was once again struck by his extreme position on freedom.