Culturally Responsive Education

The learning environment in many schools — shaped by overt and implicit racial bias — contributes to a “culture gap” that feeds the achievement gap. A commitment to Culturally Responsive Education could help address this problem. Check out the Coalition for Educational Justice’s campaign.

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood

In his excellent book For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood, Christopher Endwin discusses how racial bias contributes to perceptions of how white and black children best learn. Teachers in more affluent schools, where many students are white, emphasize a caring, nurturing approach, whereas teachers perceive black students as benefiting more from strict discipline and heavy structure.

Emdin debunks these assumptions and trains teachers to adopt a “reality pedagogy,” a style of teaching that acknowledges and respects black culture rather than trying to erase it with one-size-fits all standards:

Video: An Educational Divide

The videos below illustrate the way school leaders often view the needs of first graders from high-poverty communities differently than they view the needs of middle- and upper-class first-graders.

Reading Lesson I (below) is a training video from a large charter school network that caters mostly to black and Latino students. Reading Lesson II is a video assessing the performance of a teacher in a middle-class public school, where the majority of students are white. Notice how differently the teacher in Lesson I (charter school) talks to her students compared to a teacher in Lesson II. Notice how the young students in Lesson II are able move their bodies without the restrictions imposed on the children in Lesson I.