“I reread this part about four times…”

Bryan Anderson on Part One of Vilson’s book:

At first it took me a little while to understand José and his writing style.  In fact, I reread this part about 4 times.  He blends what he wants you tell you with many different stories and accounts in his life which sometimes convoluted his message (at least to me).  Since I have spent the past 12 years teaching on a public school on a reservation, he has my attention when he talks about teacher perceived behaviors versus actual student ones.  I have often wondered how many teachers have dealt with student in the same way before they walk into my door.

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Should Stories Make Policy?

In Michael’s post he wondered about the relationship between Vilson’s memoir and his policy recommendations.

These first chapters represent one end of a continuum – the intensely personal and specific – and most policy discussions represent the other. Should we read Vilson as arguing for shifting policy-talk away from abstractions towards the personal? What would such a debate look like? Are there also dangers in leaning heavily on the personal? Finally, what does the space between the abstracted and the personal in policy discussions look like?

Full post is here.

“Can You Teach Empathy?”

That was Sharon Vestal’s question after reading Part One of Vilson’s book.

While I don’t disagree with Vilson that students of diverse backgrounds need teachers with similar backgrounds as role models, it is more than the color of your skin.  I suspect that Vilson’s students are more willing to talk to him because they can tell that he truly cares about them, he believes in them, and he has empathy for them.  Not all of Vilson’s role models resembled him—some were white, but they ALL believed in him.

Go check out the full post here.