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Literature Review

Literature Review

Noguera, P. A. (2003) City Schools and the American Dream, Ch 3
This literature review allows one to understand the link between race and academic achievement amongst minorities who are underprivileged. According to the author “minority and disadvantaged children tend to not do as well in school than affluent white students” (Noguera, 2003). There are children who are not able to have the same opportunities as other students. They get sent to schools that do not have enough funding, which cause the students to have less than they deserve. The schools that are funded and have the resources are geared to children who in a higher class and have the means to get a good education and achieve academically. They analyzed a school in East Bay (Richmond, Berkeley, and Oakland) and it showed the outcomes of the student’s academics. There was a study that showed academic outcomes of children was linked to a child’s race and class based on the characteristics of their neighborhood. Also a child’s culture may determine how they perceive education and the importance of it. Though this is happening, there is no one making a big enough impact because there are still failing schools and students who are dropping out.

“The Attitude Achievement Paradox Among Black Adolescents” by R. Mickelson in Journal of Sociology of Education
In the Mickelson article “The Attitude Achievement Paradox among Black Adolescents” they mention how young people have two different mindsets on education. It is explained that Blacks have a positive attitude toward education but they have poor academics. They know having an education is important but continue to fail academically or drop out. They know they do not have the same opportunities as their white counterparts. They have these attitudes that cause them to act and think this way. The first attitude is called “abstract attitude” which is a global way of thinking and deals with cultural values. Abstract thinking is how we view success and goals. We know that school is a way to be successful. On the other hand, there’s “concrete attitudes” that shape our realistic views on education and our experiences. Concrete attitudes are situationally based. A study was done on 8 schools which included 1,193 seniors in a social studies course. They were given a questionnaire on their concrete and abstract attitudes toward education, family background, peers, and leisure and work history. The findings showed that all students have abstract and concrete attitudes but when it came to race and class, they only had concrete attitudes. It showed that concrete predicted academic achievement. With that being said, the relationship between, race, class, and school performance has been one of the most consistent features of education in the United States and has an effect on academics and future success.

Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American children by Gloria Ladson-Billings
Gloria Ladson-Billings is considered one of the leaders in scholarship concerning the education of African-American children today. Ladson-Billings’ research examines the pedagogical practices of teachers who are successful with African American students. Most notably she is credited with the concept of “culturally relevant pedagogy,” which is explored in great depth in her book, The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children. She asks the African-American community in her study to identify good teachers (regardless of race) and develops profiles of those teachers. She also investigates Critical Race Theory applications to education.
Mrs. Ladson-Billings shows that culturally relevant teaching is not a matter of race, gender, or teaching style. What matters most are a teacher’s efforts to work with the unique strengths a child brings to the classroom. With a brilliant mixture of scholarship and storytelling, The Dreamkeepers challenges us to envision intellectually rigorous and culturally relevant classrooms that have the power to improve the lives of not just African American students, but all children. She makes you understand that participating in culturally relevant teaching essentially means that teachers create a bridge between students’ home and school lives, while still meeting the expectations of the district and state curricular requirements. Culturally relevant teaching utilizes the backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences of the students to inform the teacher’s lessons and methodology. Teachers who use culturally relevant pedagogy provide students with a curriculum that builds on their prior knowledge and cultural experiences.

Culturally Responsive Teaching by Geneva Gay
Gay points out that there needs to be recognition that underachievement may have more to do with the education system and less to do with the students who are participating in it (especially those who are struggling). The author supports this concept with some common misconceptions about education and diversity such as “education has nothing to do with culture and heritage” and “good teaching in transcendent; it is identical for all students…” (22). Gay argues that this is the opposite of what should be expressed in a diverse classroom. Students’ individuality (and thus their identity in their cultural and ethnicity) need to be considered when striving to provide them with the best education possible. Not only will implementing cultural components that every student can identify with help the individual student from that particular culture or ethnic group, but the class as a whole will benefit from the positive exposure to the cultures of their classmates.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly D. Tatum

Tatum addresses specific topics in which give the reader a better understanding of race, the influence it has on an individual and the influence it has in society. The main topics discussed throughout the book initiate with defining racism and identity, how children are influenced by racism in schools, the outcome of identity development in adults, white identity, identity development beyond black and white, identity development in multiracial families and cross-racial dialogue. Race is the main topic in this book and Tatum goes into depth to talk about the levels in which it affects our lives. She explains how race is “system of advantage based on race” and through this system, individuals in such a society, are defined by their race (Tatum p. 7) Further into the book, she discusses how this idea of having society define us is implemented in our minds. This creates an imbalance amongst races by creating a false perception about what each individual’s role should be in society based on race instead of the individual. Every topic discussed by the author was supported in her agenda through evidence she provided such as her expertise in the field of psychology, research on black families in white communities, racial identity in teens and the role of race in a classroom. She uses different models such as Cross’s Model, Helms Model and Phinney’s Model to further explain the idea behind seclusion amongst races, how this idea must be approached and ultimately how to achieve identity development over time. The implications Tatum illustrates in her book for the future of unprivileged children in the urban education system aid to resist negative societal messages and develop an empowered sense of self in the face of a racist society. In other words, because differences will always exist amongst each individual in society whether it has to do with race, culture, sex etc., one must achieve acceptance within him/herself through the development of identity and learn how this can be applied to society to create a just environment.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

In chapter 2 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire discusses the concept of banking, a tactic in which has been used in the education system to teach children. This banking concept consists of feeding children’s minds with information in which they are to carelessly memorize various teachings such as certain events, important dates and specific individuals throughout history. The problem with this system is it doesn’t allow for outside information to be discussed  to expand the child’s mind beyond the given information in which can allow the child to raise questions and think outside the box. Students are treated like robots where they are given this information to recite, use this information to succeed in state tests, and dispose of the information once it is no longer useful to them. What this is taking away from the child is the ability to develop an independent way of thinking because all the child is being taught is how to memorize. Through this concept, the child will grow up with facts that may or may not be remembered and the inability to contribute anything besides these facts because the mind wasn’t trained to creatively and critically think.


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