Best Practices: Teaching African American Students
There is the old cliché that states, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” but this does not apply to education of African Americans in the United States, for they have always ranked at the bottom of education statistics. This equity gap highlights problems that are rooted in issues beyond what the statistics themselves yield or can explain. African American students are complicated, and it is problematic to define them solely by statistics, and prejudices about their capacity to learn.
Additionally, equal opportunities and access have historically eluded African Americans, and cultural subtleties play a crucial factor. Hence, "best practices" for teaching African Americans cannot be singular, and must consider who they are as a people, their cultural heritage, and the value they bring into the classroom.
In the Best Practices: Teaching African American Students faculty interest group, we interpret "best practices" as those which "demonstrate instructional balance in learning." In the education of African Americans, these are not panaceas for all the ills in the education system, but rather a prudent way to achieve measurable success.
With a focus on fostering a collaborative atmosphere conducive to learning, we will discuss curriculum design and pedagogical practices, and we will examine the teaching of African Americans through the lens of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Collective Third Space Education.