After reading and viewing the video I can attest that educators face many challenges educating black males. Statistics after statistic all point to a crisis among black males. This crisis begins in homes, stretches to K-12 educational experiences, and leads straight to the cycle of incarceration in increasingly high numbers. Kafele (2012) states that the crisis doesn’t begin when students drop out of school. In far too many cases, it begins before they even enter school (pg. 67).
In the video, Kafele, states that teachers have a lack of connection with their black boys.
He also proposes a plethora of strategies that teachers can implement to meet the needs of this population. Kafele mentions the importance of getting to know your students and relating to them so you can help them. It’s vital for me to develop relationships with my students in order to create a classroom conducive to learning as stated by Kafele. In the past and currently, I also show interest in attending my students sports events, recitals, etc.
When my boys extend an invitation to their events I make the effort to attend. This shows that I care about all areas of their lives and not just their academics.
Other strategies include creating a welcoming environment where my students can get the support they need from me; finding the underlining issue behind their behavior and providing support; inviting male mentors and/or utilizing males (custodians, teachers, security, and the principal) to incorporate a town hall meeting with the boys to discuss different topics; exposing my boys to their culture through the lessons, books, videos, and field studies; inviting male mentors from the community to spend time with the boys during lunchtime or after school, field trips to different colleges (Morehouse College); and catering my lessons to their learning styles.
After reading this article and viewing the video, I’m inspired to create a climate and culture where my black boys will flourish in the classroom and outside of the classroom.
Tatum (2006) states that African American males face internal factors that include self-concept and identity issues and teachers should take this into consideration when selecting enabling text for their students to read. Moreover, they face external problems that try to limit their future success. As stated in the text literacy instruction must be responsive to the needs of African American males. In particular, schools must provide culturally responsive literacy instruction that links classroom content to student experiences (pg. 44).
My African American boys have a great exposure to cultural, academical, emotional, and social literacy text that I incorporate in the curriculum and located in the class library. I teach U.S. History which touches on African American History, however, it focuses on slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement. Many African Americans grow up believing this is how they derived and that this is the only event that occurred in their history, which is inaccurate. The history I teach doesn’t focus on the richness or diversity of the African American culture.
Tatum (2006) states that by selecting appropriate reading materials, teachers can engage African American adolescent males with text, particularly those students who have not mastered the skills, strategies, and knowledge that will lead to positive life outcomes (pg. 45). It is vital that I introduce enabling text to meet my students’ literacy needs academically, socially, emotionally, and culturally. The books that Tatum suggests on page 46 that will work in my classroom depending on the student’s reading level; With Every Drop of Blood: A Novel of the Civil War, 47. Walter Mosley, Handbook for Boys: A Novel, The Beast, Nightjohn, Yo, Little Brother: Basic Rules of Survival for Young African American Males, A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League, and Rite of Passage. When teachers provide students with enabling text, they have the opportunity to be exposed to books they can relate with because they see a reflection of themselves or someone else who looks like them.