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Promising Pedagogical Practices in African American Learning Communities


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by Dr. Tess Hansen

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Promising Pedagogical Practices in African American Learning Communities

  1. 1. Research Questions Parallel study conducted with Dr. Rose Myers
  2. 2. Definition of Umoja Umoja “unity” programs establish social networks and resources dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African-Americans Focus on developmental classes Learning community model Cohort model
  3. 3. Methodology Case study design Data collection from 3 campuses  Instructor interviews  Classroom observations  Student interviews and focus groups  Physical artifacts from instructors
  4. 4. Findings Pedagogical practices Intentional use of race and cultural identity Students’ development as African American students Integration and intrusiveness of support services and instruction
  5. 5. Active Learning Active learning  Example from discussion on Manchild in the Promised Land  Example of teacher’s mistakes on math problems Active learning encourages higher order thinking and student’s integration into academic community (Braxton, Milen & Shaw Sullivan, 2000)
  6. 6. Collaborative Learning I think the best part for me is the fact that we’re able to work in groups. So, Ms. Mason puts out a plate for you, everyone picks and eats out of it and then in the end, we all get back together and talk about how good that meal was. That’s how I see the math. So she teaches us the math, we work on it, and then we all argue real loud, but we try to understand what’s going on. (Chantel)
  7. 7. Authentic Teaching There’s lots of ways to express “live learning,” but some of the basics I guess are that you walk into the classroom, you have something in mind basically … but you don’t make the meaning. They make all the meaning. And you facilitate the meaning, but if you want to up it because you think it would be more abstract, more translate to academic work, or just more get closer to their pain, then you can up it, but it’s organic because it’s right in what they’re talking about. (Rob LaSalle, English instructor)
  8. 8. Authentic Teaching I will take the mathematics and I will not put it in mathematic jargonese. I will explain it because my purpose is for you to understand … I can train a monkey to do something, I want you to understand, so when you see this in any kind of class, you know what you’re doing … This ain’t about coming in here and passing quizzes. This is about understanding mathematics so when you walk out of here, you’ll know what you’re doing. (Sue Davis, math instructor)
  9. 9. Othermothering Teachers take on a surrogate mother role to encourage and expect the best from them (Guiffrida, 2005)
  10. 10. Othermothering Yeah and then Ms. Mabel and Ms. Davis, they see you messing up and theyre like, ‘Where you at? Youre gonna come talk to me today right?’ Like they see it before you see it, and then, like, stop it before it happens. They dont like stop working for you even if … theyre off the clock. And you know like even if you get mad at them, you cant help but respect them. I look at Ms. Davis as if I was looking at her on the same level as a grandparent … shes just like always been there. (Astra)
  11. 11. Warm Demander Teacher’s insistence that students perform consistently and exceptionally (Ware, 2006)
  12. 12. Warm Demander I don’t want nothing late, and don’t be emailing me at the last minute talking about “my car broke.” Leave the car, bring my test. I’m serious, ok? (Sue Davis) Ms. Mabel and Ms. Davis, they kind of like work really hard to make you do good and sometimes it feels like they your grandparents because they just get on you over everything like, everything, but you cant help but respect them because theyre looking out for you, you know? (Astra)
  13. 13. Culturally Responsive Curriculum “Culture is at the heart of all we do in the name of education, whether that is curriculum, instruction, administration, or performance assessment” (Gay, 2010,p. 8)
  14. 14. Students’ Development: Understanding History Because it taught me a lot about my background and my history. And a lot of things that I didnt know that I was able to learn about myself and to where that Im just as equal as everybody else … So that helped me give me a little boost to my self like about, “OK if I really have that desire, then I really can. All I gotta do is do it.” (DaShawn)
  15. 15. Students’ Development: Racial Identity It showed me how unfair the justice system is and how unfair the world is. When you dont experience things like that, you think the world is fine, but when you see somebody whos coming from your same background experience something like that and not be treated fairly, it makes you think that could happen to anybody. That coulda been me or my dad. so those assignments like they really change my perspective on who I am and where I come from and how the world looks at me. (Manny)
  16. 16. Students’ Development: Finding a Voice It makes me feel powerful. It makes me feel like we really have to stand up and do something. Like because the stories we read were like kids our age that really stood up back in the days and we could still do the same to make it better. (Sunny)
  17. 17. Finding a Voice (cont.) The most valuable thing about [the program] is that I was able to be successful …I was able to express my opinions … When I first got to English I was like, “Oh I dont know how to write a paper. I dont know how to do this. I dont know how to talk." But after being in [the program], it helped me just become more prepared and just satisfied as a writer … when I first got to English, a 2- page paper made me shiver. And now I got an 8-page paper [assignment] and I said, “Oh thats it? Ok!" And I had written a 10-page paper and had to cut it down because I wrote too much. (Dashawn)
  18. 18. Integration of Instruction and Student Services Counselor in the classroom Assignments on support services Use of services a joint responsibility
  19. 19. Intrusive Support Services Requirement to use services