African American Culture:  Some Implications for Teachers Craig W. Clarke, Jr. Karla Bennett Terri Stanton
Three Views of African American History <ul><li>Catastrophic </li></ul><ul><li>Contributionist </li></ul><ul><li>Survivali...
Catastrophic View <ul><ul><li>Many disasters caused by White oppression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blacks were compensated...
Problems with Catastrophic View <ul><li>Ignores positive, adaptive ways Blacks survived </li></ul><ul><li>Tends to promote...
Contributionist View  <ul><li>Blacks’ “contribution” to “civilization.”  </li></ul><ul><li>Usually seen as irrelevant. </l...
Survivalist View <ul><li>Slavery was horrible </li></ul><ul><li>Blacks triumphed & kept African roots despite a destructiv...
Survivalist View (cont’d) <ul><li>Blacks taught that they were lucky to be “civilized” by white men.  </li></ul><ul><li>Th...
Responses to Slavery <ul><li>Revolted </li></ul><ul><li>Slowed work down </li></ul><ul><li>Mutilated crops </li></ul><ul><...
Resistance <ul><li>Suicide </li></ul><ul><li>Infanticide </li></ul><ul><li>Escape </li></ul>
Loss of Africanism During Slavery <ul><li>New arrivals placed in charge of trusted slaves </li></ul><ul><li>Taught not to ...
Customs in Slave Era <ul><li>“ Uncle, Aunt, Sister” </li></ul><ul><li>Revered ancestors & elderly </li></ul><ul><li>Wore h...
Influences on African American Culture <ul><li>Black tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure to conform to American mainstrea...
African Americans After Slavery <ul><li>Isolated group – interact with other African Americans </li></ul><ul><li>All black...
Unique Customs Post-Slave Era <ul><li>Posture, speech, eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Funerals </li></ul><ul><li>Folklore  ...
Unique Customs   (cont’d) <ul><li>Highly emotional, expressive religious practices </li></ul><ul><li>Child-naming practice...
African Americans in Schools
Deficiency Approach  <ul><li>Suspension rates are twice that of European-Americans </li></ul><ul><li>Twenty percent are li...
Constructivist Approach <ul><li>Teach from knowledge base of the learner.  </li></ul><ul><li>By appreciating what students...
Curriculum <ul><li>Legitimize students’ knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Build on productive cultural practices </li></ul><ul><...
Curriculum  (cont’d) <ul><li>Promote service to family & community </li></ul><ul><li>Affirm a positive, self-sufficient  f...
Empowering  Literacy <ul><li>Use student texts </li></ul><ul><li>Students critically view messages of dominant society </l...
Teaching Black History <ul><li>“ Black” history  is  American History </li></ul><ul><li>Teach it year-round </li></ul><ul>...
Teaching Black History <ul><li>Don’t </li></ul><ul><li>Stop your “regular” curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>De-contextualize h...
Culture
Cultural Values <ul><li>Movement </li></ul><ul><li>Expressive individualism </li></ul><ul><li>Social time </li></ul><ul><l...
Community, Home & Church <ul><li>Much variety and  stimulation   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TV playing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><...
“ Verve” <ul><li>Increased behavioral vibrancy </li></ul><ul><li>Affinity for stimulus, change, and intensity </li></ul>
Recommended Practices <ul><li>Incorporate body movement into learning </li></ul><ul><li>Present prose orally, in writing, ...
Use Open-Ended Materials <ul><li>Clay </li></ul><ul><li>Water play </li></ul><ul><li>Sandboxes </li></ul><ul><li>Socio-dra...
Learning Styles
Analytical Learners <ul><li>Sequential. detail-oriented; remember facts  </li></ul><ul><li>Prefer traditional classroom </...
Global Learners <ul><li>Learn in large jumps, absorb material almost randomly without seeing connections, and then suddenl...
Global Learners <ul><li>Need more time to understand instructions before proceeding </li></ul><ul><li>May need optional  w...
Use Cooperative Group Work <ul><li>Allow collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Students check each other’s work & explain concep...
Don’t Assume… <ul><li>Although many African Americans are Global Learners, assess students’ learning styles & vary instruc...
Challenges to Cultural Understanding <ul><li>Need to research & reflect </li></ul><ul><li>Must know students’ contexts & c...
Multicultural Activity
The Blues & Langston Hughes <ul><li>Poetry and History lesson for middle school students </li></ul><ul><li>Connects blues ...
What is “The Blues?” <ul><li>Defined in a children’s poem entitled, “The Blues,” by Langston Hughes </li></ul>
“ Good Morning Blues” by Lead Belly <ul><li>How does this song fulfill the definition of the blues?  </li></ul>
Blues in Hughes’ Poetry <ul><li>“ Homesick Blues”  </li></ul><ul><li>“ Young Gal’s Blues” </li></ul><ul><li>Stanza structu...
Listening for the Beat <ul><li>“ Good Morning Blues”  </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>da-DUM,  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><...
Creating a Blues Stanza <ul><li>Anything can be turned into the Blues… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Green Eggs and Ham </li></ul>...
Expected Results <ul><li>Validate history of blues & its evolution as a poetry form </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight important ...
References <ul><li>Reel Works Teen Film Making (Producer) & Davis, K. (Director). (2005).  A girl like me.  (Available at ...
<ul><li>Lead Belly. Good Morning Blues. Available at  http://www.smithsonianglobalsound.org/archives_05.aspx.   </li></ul>...
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African Americans: Some Implications for Teachers

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African Americans: Some Implications for Teachers

  1. 1. African American Culture: Some Implications for Teachers Craig W. Clarke, Jr. Karla Bennett Terri Stanton
  2. 2. Three Views of African American History <ul><li>Catastrophic </li></ul><ul><li>Contributionist </li></ul><ul><li>Survivalist </li></ul>
  3. 3. Catastrophic View <ul><ul><li>Many disasters caused by White oppression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blacks were compensated to rebuild their community </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Problems with Catastrophic View <ul><li>Ignores positive, adaptive ways Blacks survived </li></ul><ul><li>Tends to promote Anglo-Saxon family as model </li></ul>
  5. 5. Contributionist View <ul><li>Blacks’ “contribution” to “civilization.” </li></ul><ul><li>Usually seen as irrelevant. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Survivalist View <ul><li>Slavery was horrible </li></ul><ul><li>Blacks triumphed & kept African roots despite a destructive, hostile environment </li></ul>
  7. 7. Survivalist View (cont’d) <ul><li>Blacks taught that they were lucky to be “civilized” by white men. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus many Blacks rejected Africa & their heritage. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Responses to Slavery <ul><li>Revolted </li></ul><ul><li>Slowed work down </li></ul><ul><li>Mutilated crops </li></ul><ul><li>Misused tools </li></ul>
  9. 9. Resistance <ul><li>Suicide </li></ul><ul><li>Infanticide </li></ul><ul><li>Escape </li></ul>
  10. 10. Loss of Africanism During Slavery <ul><li>New arrivals placed in charge of trusted slaves </li></ul><ul><li>Taught not to be “savage” </li></ul><ul><li>When resigned to slave status, more apt to accept culture of master </li></ul>
  11. 11. Customs in Slave Era <ul><li>“ Uncle, Aunt, Sister” </li></ul><ul><li>Revered ancestors & elderly </li></ul><ul><li>Wore head kerchiefs </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperation/sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Corporal punishment </li></ul><ul><li>Magic </li></ul>
  12. 12. Influences on African American Culture <ul><li>Black tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure to conform to American mainstream </li></ul><ul><li>Majority at bottom of American society </li></ul>
  13. 13. African Americans After Slavery <ul><li>Isolated group – interact with other African Americans </li></ul><ul><li>All black churches, voluntary organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Preserve & transmit culture </li></ul>
  14. 14. Unique Customs Post-Slave Era <ul><li>Posture, speech, eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Funerals </li></ul><ul><li>Folklore </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Uncle Remus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Song </li></ul><ul><li>Dance </li></ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Colored People’s Time </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Unique Customs (cont’d) <ul><li>Highly emotional, expressive religious practices </li></ul><ul><li>Child-naming practices </li></ul><ul><li>Audience/performer – “Amen! Get down! Right on!” </li></ul>
  16. 16. African Americans in Schools
  17. 17. Deficiency Approach <ul><li>Suspension rates are twice that of European-Americans </li></ul><ul><li>Twenty percent are likely to drop out before graduation </li></ul>
  18. 18. Constructivist Approach <ul><li>Teach from knowledge base of the learner. </li></ul><ul><li>By appreciating what students already know, we validate the idea that they can learn. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Curriculum <ul><li>Legitimize students’ knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Build on productive cultural practices </li></ul><ul><li>Use and extend student language </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforce community ties </li></ul>
  20. 20. Curriculum (cont’d) <ul><li>Promote service to family & community </li></ul><ul><li>Affirm a positive, self-sufficient future for African Americans </li></ul><ul><li>Support a critical consciousness </li></ul>
  21. 21. Empowering Literacy <ul><li>Use student texts </li></ul><ul><li>Students critically view messages of dominant society </li></ul><ul><li>Students analyze own history, lives, and education </li></ul>
  22. 22. Teaching Black History <ul><li>“ Black” history is American History </li></ul><ul><li>Teach it year-round </li></ul><ul><li>Connect to past & current issues </li></ul><ul><li>Include political & social context </li></ul>
  23. 23. Teaching Black History <ul><li>Don’t </li></ul><ul><li>Stop your “regular” curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>De-contextualize heroes or holidays </li></ul><ul><li>Sugar-coat Black History </li></ul><ul><li>Promote a Eurocentric perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Shy away from controversial or unresolved issues </li></ul>
  24. 24. Culture
  25. 25. Cultural Values <ul><li>Movement </li></ul><ul><li>Expressive individualism </li></ul><ul><li>Social time </li></ul><ul><li>Spirituality </li></ul><ul><li>Harmony with nature </li></ul>
  26. 26. Community, Home & Church <ul><li>Much variety and stimulation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TV playing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Music playing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many people talking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Variety of activities taking place </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. “ Verve” <ul><li>Increased behavioral vibrancy </li></ul><ul><li>Affinity for stimulus, change, and intensity </li></ul>
  28. 28. Recommended Practices <ul><li>Incorporate body movement into learning </li></ul><ul><li>Present prose orally, in writing, & in pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Use & allow rhythmic verbal interplay </li></ul><ul><li>Honor cultural perspectives on time </li></ul>
  29. 29. Use Open-Ended Materials <ul><li>Clay </li></ul><ul><li>Water play </li></ul><ul><li>Sandboxes </li></ul><ul><li>Socio-dramatic play props (dress-up clothes) </li></ul>
  30. 30. Learning Styles
  31. 31. Analytical Learners <ul><li>Sequential. detail-oriented; remember facts </li></ul><ul><li>Prefer traditional classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Have preferred way of doing work </li></ul><ul><li>In groups, tend to believe their way is best way. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Global Learners <ul><li>Learn in large jumps, absorb material almost randomly without seeing connections, and then suddenly &quot;getting it.“ </li></ul><ul><li>May solve complex problems quickly but have difficulty explaining how they did it. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Global Learners <ul><li>Need more time to understand instructions before proceeding </li></ul><ul><li>May need optional way to complete assignment </li></ul>
  34. 34. Use Cooperative Group Work <ul><li>Allow collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Students check each other’s work & explain concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Mix analytical & global learners in group work </li></ul>
  35. 35. Don’t Assume… <ul><li>Although many African Americans are Global Learners, assess students’ learning styles & vary instruction accordingly </li></ul>
  36. 36. Challenges to Cultural Understanding <ul><li>Need to research & reflect </li></ul><ul><li>Must know students’ contexts & communities </li></ul><ul><li>Culture varies across class, gender, age, and region </li></ul>
  37. 37. Multicultural Activity
  38. 38. The Blues & Langston Hughes <ul><li>Poetry and History lesson for middle school students </li></ul><ul><li>Connects blues poetry of Langston Hughes with its musical source </li></ul>
  39. 39. What is “The Blues?” <ul><li>Defined in a children’s poem entitled, “The Blues,” by Langston Hughes </li></ul>
  40. 40. “ Good Morning Blues” by Lead Belly <ul><li>How does this song fulfill the definition of the blues? </li></ul>
  41. 41. Blues in Hughes’ Poetry <ul><li>“ Homesick Blues” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Young Gal’s Blues” </li></ul><ul><li>Stanza structure: repeats first statement; rhymes on third statement </li></ul>
  42. 42. Listening for the Beat <ul><li>“ Good Morning Blues” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>da-DUM, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>da-DUM, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>da-DUM </li></ul></ul></ul>
  43. 43. Creating a Blues Stanza <ul><li>Anything can be turned into the Blues… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Green Eggs and Ham </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. Expected Results <ul><li>Validate history of blues & its evolution as a poetry form </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight important historical and literary contributions from an African American art form </li></ul>
  45. 45. References <ul><li>Reel Works Teen Film Making (Producer) & Davis, K. (Director). (2005). A girl like me. (Available at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1091431409617440489). </li></ul><ul><li>Hale-Benson, J.E. (1986), Black Children: Their Roots, Culture, and Learning Styles. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Hanley, M. S. A Culturally Relevant Lesson for African American Students. Retrieved February 17, 2007, from www.newhorizons.org/strategies/multicultural/hanley2.htm. </li></ul><ul><li>Jackson, C. Do’s and Don’ts of Teaching Black History. Retrieved February 17, 2007, from www.tolerance.org/teach/activities/activity.jsp?ar=794. </li></ul>
  46. 46. <ul><li>Lead Belly. Good Morning Blues. Available at http://www.smithsonianglobalsound.org/archives_05.aspx. </li></ul><ul><li>Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies. (Spring 2006). Smithsonian in your classroom: The music in poetry . Retrieved February 11, 2007 at www.SmithsonianGlobalSound.org/Sivc. </li></ul><ul><li>Young, C., Wright, J. & Laster, J. (2005), Instructing African American Students. Education , 125(3), 516-524. </li></ul>

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