Curriculum Strategies: Social Skills Intervention for Young African-American Males

By George R. Taylor | Go to book overview

the teacher, the greater the likelihood that their learning needs will not be met. Studies have shown that students receive higher grades and more favorable evaluations when their styles more closely match those of their teachers. Further, most students begin to experience success when they are permitted to pursue an interest in their preferred learning style ( Athanases, 1993; Gregorc, 1993).


SUMMARY

The preponderance of research on cultural and learning styles of minority individuals has demonstrated the value of matching these two styles to facilitate the learning process. It is widely believed that such matching can facilitate classroom instruction and provide young African-American males with the skills necessary to succeed in school. Despite some caution in matching cultural, learning, and teaching styles when applied to educating minority individuals, there is little disagreement in the professional literature concerning the relationship between learning and culture styles and their impact on academic and social success in school.

Research conducted over the last decade has revealed certain learning patterns as being characteristic of certain minority groups ( Hilliard, 1989; Shade & Edwards, 1989; Vasquez, 1991; Bert & Bert, 1992). African-American groups, for example, tend to use oral experiences, physical activity, and interpersonal relationships over other approaches and patterns. The implications for instructional intervention for these individuals should be self-evident.

As indicated earlier, there is not universal agreement on the application of cultural and learning styles to instruction. Some advocate that applying cultural and learning styles to the instructional process will enable educators to be more sensitive to cultural differ ences. Others maintain that pinpointing cultural values will lead to stereotyping ( Guild, 1994).

Another controversy evolves around the extent to which culture and learning affect achievement. Research findings have consistently pointed to serious inequities when schools do not value or accept certain cultural values. Some studies have shown that incorporating cultural and learning styles in the learning process does not significantly increase achievement unless inequities in delivery/instructional procedures are improved ( Hilliard, 1989; Bennet, 1986).

A third controversy centers around how teachers operating from their own cultures and learning styles can successfully teach minority populations. Most of the research shows that caring teachers who provide opportunities for children to learn are more valuable than

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