Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know but Are Afraid to Ask about African American Students
Howard-Vital, Michelle, The Western Journal of Black Studies
Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know but Are Afraid to Ask About African American Students
AUTHOR: GAIL L. THOMPSON
JOSSEY-BASS, CA 2007, PAPERBACK
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Gail Thompson affirms that theories that have been proffered to explain the academic achievement of African Americans and to initiate educational reform have failed because they do not address the relationship between academic achievement and the cultural mismatch between teachers and students. Thompson views the achievement gap as the result of an intricate, culturally sensitive chasm between many teachers and African American students. A former public school teacher, associate professor, scholar, and facilitator for professional development for teachers, Thompson uses her "ebony eyes" to illuminate this chasm. Thompson affirms that "Teachers' beliefs affect students' learning" (p. 20). She supports her position and "strong opinions" in ten chapters that are filled with autobiographical anecdotes, research findings and findings collected from professional development seminars. Personal stories and experiences form the core of Thompson's book. She believes that these stories have messages for teachers "searching for ways to increase their efficacy with African American students" (242).
Through numerous personal stories and the review of relevant theories, Thompson identifies differences in beliefs, values, communication styles, expectations, attitudes, socialization, and preconceived notions between African American students and many of their teachers. Similar to a professional development seminar, Thompson offers useful strategies that teachers can apply to strengthen their relationships with African American students. These strategies might be viewed as common sense by veteran teachers, but they could serve as needed guideposts for fledging teachers. Regarding effective instructional practices for African American students, for example, Thompson advises …
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Publication information: Article title: Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know but Are Afraid to Ask about African American Students. Contributors: Howard-Vital, Michelle - Author. Journal title: The Western Journal of Black Studies. Volume: 30. Issue: 3 Publication date: Fall 2006. Page number: 182+. © 1999 The Western Journal of Black Studies. COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group.