Children must be taught how to think, not what to think. –Margaret Mead
Power Concept: There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning. —Jiddu Krishnamurti
As low-test scores around the state of Kentucky starts to become a real issue, we must remind ourselves that education is a life long process of learning that will encompass a diverse array of teachers, philosophies, ideologies, lesson plans, field trips, sports and cultural experiences. K-12 isn’t the end in all be in all of learning for students in general and particularly students of color. From the moment we are born the educational process begins and as “Jiddu Krishnamurti” explains, doesn’t end until we leave this earth. Contrary to the “No child left behind act, school choice philosophy, charter ideologies and accountability measures in public education something isn’t adding up. Our children are beginning their sojourns in public education starting at K-5 and about the time they enter middle school they are either severely bored or just disengaged from the process of reading.
There is countless mentoring, fathering and adolescence programs that are available to help young men of color make a positive impact on themselves and in the community. We cannot dismiss the white and black & Hispanic teachers that are in the gaps fighting for our young men as well. As an educationist, activist, writer and change agent I represent those who are currently trapped and those who are being slowly filtered through the education bureaucratic system. These students need fathers and digital technologies that speaks their cultural language. Given, the faction of our digital technologies (i.e. block-chain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality etc.), new opportunities and technological breakthroughs are beginning to emerge that is making outdated modes of teaching obsolete.
The collaborative vibration of this new digital age of disruption and transformation is beginning to open new levels of research concerning how students are learning regarding their social upbringing and aptitude. Kid prodigies like Elijah Precciely isn’t an anomaly. Trapped in every child of color lies a supreme creative energy of epic proportions. Educating children to become productive 40-year-old competent adults ought to be the goal. Getting children to read, graduate high-School then college isn’t enough. The entire educational model must become tailored around a generational concept that allows the education of one to become food for the great, great grandchildren to come. An all inclusive and progressive learning modality that speaks the culture of an individual, uplifts their spirit and produces the means for building moral and fundamentally sound American culture.
Biggs and Tang (2007) identify the following principles for effective teaching based on research about student learning:
- Create an appropriate motivational context, which includes meaningful activities, clear expectations about what is required of them and how they will be assessed, and a supportive learning environment in which students are able to explore and fail.
- Build a well-structured knowledge base by engaging students’ prior knowledge so that they can assimilate new information in an organized way that relates to their existing knowledge.
- Encourage active learning that includes communication and social interaction. Students should be encouraged to share, question, reflect on and challenge ideas to develop and advance their understanding.
- Students learn better when they are aware of their own learning processes, the strategies they use, and continually monitor and reflect on their understanding.
Although, these concepts are being established for the University, I still find them to be relevant in terms of the process a teacher could use for engaging a student of color for which she may have little interest in doing. To facilitate the learning of these new age minds will require a more collaborative approach towards resisting the racism that exists in the field of education. The curriculum must be anti-racist and filled with ways to utilize todays transformative digital tools. Below, I highlight 5 concepts that will help facilitate student learning in 2020 outside of the methodologies that are currently producing wonderful results.
Alpha Level: The probability that a statistical test will find significant differences between groups (or find significant predictors of the dependent variable), when in fact there are none.
- Before you run any tests on black & brown children of color with the intent to place them in special education or to label them as learning deficient, make sure you test your own biases in terms of your ability to make right or wrong decisions concerning the intelligence of any child. Aptitude tests shouldn’t aid in facilitating the “School to Prison Pipeline” narrative.
Beliefs: ideas, doctrines, tenets, etc. that are accepted as true on grounds which are not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.
- If any teacher in America believes that a child can’t learn should not be teaching at all. The rationale behind this concept is a notion called the “Belief Gap”, which is the gap between what students can achieve and what others believe that can achieve. Never allow your belief stand in the way of Advancing the Kingdom of America.
Educational Bias: A type of prejudice against a person, event, situation, or group.
- Teachers would do a better job of facilitating the learning of students if they don’t make test scores their Gods. In other words, don’t limit the time spent teaching a child who has difficulty understanding the subject matter, in lieu of students who are able to grasp subject matter quicker than others. On average African-America students score lower on standardize tests than their counterparts, or what is known as the Black-White test score gap. If this is the mindset and thought process of every teacher that faces a student of color; the child of color automatically is placed at a disadvantage in the minds of white women who operates as most public education teachers.
Bracketing: A process used by researchers working within the Husserlian phenomenological tradition to identify their preconceived beliefs and opinions about the phenomenon under investigation in order to clarify how personal biases and experience might influence what is seen heard and reported.
- If teachers would find a way to identify their preconceived notions and opinions about black and brown children of color, then they would be able to clarify the issues and why such manifestations are occurring. The idea here is for teachers to realize the effects of how their biases whether personal or otherwise is influencing children. Again, it’s more about the assessing of behaviors and why it’s impossible to escape the accountability that God places on the heart of teachers for growing the seeds of greatness that has been planted on the inside of children.
Facilitating the learning of our youth will require a group effort. It doesn’t matter about age, gender or race, it will take a village to raise the aspirations and IQ of these less fortunate children who come into the public education system with a staggering disadvantage. What can you do to help facilitate the learning of your students? Could you tweak your lesson plan a little in order to remove bias that you may see but won’t confront because of job security? We need your years of wisdom, intelligence and patience that you display daily in the pubic education system. Spread the word and help motivate the masses towards breaking the status quo.