Gloria Ladson Billings Effective teaching of African American students Inner-city schools are de facto segregated schools Public schools have not sustained an effort to provide quality education for African American students African American students attending small African American schools perform better Separate schools? Culturally relevant teaching Does culture matter? “I don’t really see color” ‘Dysconsciousness’ …these attempts at colorblindness mask a ‘dysconscious racism,’ an “uncritical habit of mind that justifies inequity and exploitation by accepting the existing order of things as given.” This is not to suggest that these teachers are racist in the conventional sense. It is about being culturally unaware Does culture matter? Culturally diverse students’ failure stems from societal conflict and a struggle for power; specifically for African American students, there are special historical, societal, economic and political aspects to the role race plays in that struggle. Aim is develop a “relevant black personality” that allows African American students to choose excellence in school yet still identify with African and African American culture. Students should be able to hold their own in the classroom without forgetting their community. Cultural relevant teaching is… An approach that empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally and politically by using cultural references to impact knowledge, skills and attitudes. CRT Communication of high expectations Active teaching methods Teacher as facilitator Inclusion of culturally and linguistically diverse students Cultural sensitivity Reshaping the curriculum Student-controlled classroom discourse Small group instruction and academically-related discourse Seeing color, seeing culture Teachers who practice culturally relevant teaching use student culture in order to maintain it and to transcend the negative effects of the dominant culture. Empowers student by using cultural references to impart knowledge; moves between two cultures but recognizes each as legitimate Antithesis of assimilation – emphasizes sharing responsibility We are family • Teachers establish strong, caring relationships with all students • Recognize that teachers perceptions of students have a significant impact on student learning • View themselves as part of the community, and as giving back to that community • Connectedness between themselves and their students • Teaching is an art not a skill Tree of knowledge Knowledge is continuously recreated, recycled and shared by teachers and students Knowledge is viewed critically Teacher is passionate about content and helps students develop necessary skills Teacher takes student diversity and individual differences into account Knowledge builds on what students already know There is more than one way of knowing, and there is more than one side to a story Highlights students’ strengths and gives them confidence to confront their weaknesses Lewis vs. Deveraux Students whose educational. Economic, social, political and cultural futures are most tenuous are helped to become intellectual leaders in the classroom. Students are appreciated in a learning community rather than taught in an isolated and unrelated way. Students’ real-life experiences are legitimized as they become a part of the ‘official’ curriculum. Teachers and students participate in a broad conception of literacy that incorporates both literature and oratory. Teachers and students engage in a collective struggle against the status quo. Teachers are cognizant of themselves as political beings. Dreams into reality Administrators and Teachers’ power and responsibility: Administrators should recruit teachers who have expressed an interest and desire to work with African American students. Provide educational experiences that help teachers understand the central role of culture Provide opportunities to critique the system in ways that will help them choose a role as a challenger of or a defender of the status quo Require teachers to have prolonged immersion in African American culture Provide opportunities for observation of culturally relevant teaching Conduct student teaching over a longer period of time and a more controlled environment Dreams into reality What a school would/should look like: • Provide educational self-determination • Honor and respect the students’ home culture • Help African American students understand the world as it is and equip them to change it for the better “From the spirituals of enslaved African Americans to the powerful oratory of civil rights leaders, African American dreams have challenged the “American Dream” to make itself manifest for those citizens who have been excluded from full citizenship. African Americans have believed that as long as they continued to dream, there was still a reason to look toward tomorrow. One of the most tangible vehicles for these dreams has been education – even when it was substandard and alienating. African Americans believed that somehow education could make their dreams a reality. I too believe and hope that if we can dream it, we can surely do it.” ~ Gloria Ladson Billings Ladson-Billings, G. (2009). " The dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African American children." San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.