How to Help Minority Students
To my benevolent majority teachers, please accept my thanks in advance for your teaching our sisters and brothers. Thank you for being understanding of their lives and for having patience with their differences.
Thank you for believing in them, knowing that they are good people and are gifted in ways that can be manifested with your continuous working with them. Thank you for showing them how to do things—how to do right things that will help them love themselves and to help them in higher education and to help them be received in society, so that they will have a meaningful life.
Too many of our sisters and brothers have not had the same opportunities as you may have, e.g., to receive a quality education and to make something of themselves that will bring about respectability among themselves: It’s not their faults. (See excerpt end of this post, below)
[“Societal efforts to overcome the ill effects of prejudice and discrimination for African Americans have not been effective enough”—]
Our sisters and brothers have inherited many of their appearance of inadequacies through societal treatment of them, and these treatments are so ingrained in their beings that even their parents or grandparents cannot help them to improve because they, too, might have been treated the same or worse.
You know the history of underprivileged persons living in America. (See “African Americans” Britannica.com). “. . . Education is an important aspect of American life for careers and work options, for economic stability, health, and social opportunity.”
In light of this urgency, I merely ask you for your continuance in teaching them because you have a different spin on lessons and can paint a vivid picture for our sisters and brothers to give them ideas to think about, ideas about scholarship programs and job opportunities and professions that they will appreciate knowing about: These are just few of the ways you can help enforce their gain.
Sharing these ideas with our sisters and brothers will be well-received by many of them because they do not know much about the occupations that they could study and eventually create a good life for themselves: They do not know, but you know.
Some of our sisters and brothers may be challenging to manage, for their bold voices and quick movements can be intimidating, yet these are simply heavenly traits of our sisters and brothers. Please accept these natural attributes of theirs to help them succeed in this society. Please approach our sisters and brothers with wide arms and a clean heart. Give them a chance to show you what they can do. Please help them excel.
You may have experienced a different life from our sisters and brothers, one that could be perceived as yours being “better.” If that is the case, it is also the reason for your continuance in showing understanding and appreciation of them.
Our sisters and brothers need to understand new ideas that give them something to think about and for them to adjust their mindsets from negative to positive. You can help them with this imperative, for you are wise and capable and know of a different way.
I believe you have tried what you believe to be your best, yet please look deeper, just a little deeper to
make a greater, loving penetration into their lives, okay? Reach out–
To be honest, our sisters and brothers may not succeed without your help.
Below are 15 TIPS to help you deliver a positive, teaching and learning experience for our sisters and brothers:
1. Look ‘into’ our sisters and brothers, not look ‘at’ them.
4. Ask, “What would you like to learn today?”
5. If our sisters and brothers are not sure about what they desire to be in life,
introduce them to different occupations.
6. Connect learning objectives with their personal interests.
7. Teach values, beliefs, and goals of citizenship.
8. Record passing grades for their completed work with your added comments of improvement and encouragement.
9. Remind our sisters and brothers of classroom rules every day before beginning class instructions.
10. Talk importance of education.
11. Thank our sisters and brothers for a “good day” upon their leaving after the bell rings.
12. Think of our sisters and brothers as earthly kinfolk.
13. Look upon them with kindness.
14. Share your “smarts” to inspire them.
15. Pray for a true heart.
Thank you for–well, being there.
Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D.
Professional Development Creator
EXCERPT from “Addressing the African-American Achievement Gap: Three Leading Educators Issue a Call to Action”:
This article shows the urgency for your help. Access link above to read entire article, for it is filled with helpful information about student of color and their need for earnest help.
Development and learning
“Like all children, African American children are born with the ability to learn, but require experiences to bring their potential to fruition. Capabilities develop through interactions with people and things that shape the brain circuitry controlling children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Some aspects of development—like learning language, being sociable, using symbols, and making categories—are propelled by inborn drives to learn. Most children master these tasks at about the same ages and in similar ways.
Other learning is culture specific, such as learning a particular language, creating unique ways to categorize the environment, and interpreting the meanings of events. For example, the vast majority of young children learn language (an inborn drive), but whether they learn Black English or Standard English depends on their experiences in their language communities.
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Children’s experiences in the social world of family and community play a critical role in what and how well children learn in school. The importance of warm interpersonal relationships cannot be overstated.
Adults are needed to provide consistent physical care, social guidance, intellectual stimulation, and emotional support. Children attach to meaningful caregivers and depend on them for physical and emotional security. They identify with, imitate, and begin to internalize their caregivers’ attitudes, values, ways of expressing themselves, and approaches to solving problems; this sets the stage for social, emotional, physical, and cognitive characteristics that in turn affect everything from moral and ethical behavior to manipulative skills and executive functioning.
Children who begin life in safe relationships that are continuously responsive to their evolving needs are most likely to reach out, explore, and learn. This is particularly important for children who live in challenging environments. Further, the most successful learners are born into families that have access to a baseline of resources, including physical security, health care, adequate nutrition, attentive care-giving, and opportunities to learn.
Most African American children have positive adult relationships and achieve their basic developmental potential. That is, at the appropriate ages, they master the complexities of language, process sensory information, manage their bodies, and even use symbols (such as a wooden block to represent a piece of toast). However, some do not have a learning environment that includes opportunities to develop school-related language, knowledge, and skills (such as literacy in Standard English, mathematics, or science).
Others, given continued racial exclusion, do not think the work of education will pay off for them.
And some are growing up in circumstances that are too stressful for healthy development.
These students do not get the extra doses of emotional stability and guidance needed to face the adversity they are exposed to, including adapting to the demands of school. . .”
See full article. Access link above.