African-Centered Schooling in Theory and Practice

By Diane S. Pollard; Cheryl S. Ajirotutu | Go to book overview

5
Surface to Deep
Transformations

In this chapter we move to a description and analysis of the transformations that occurred on the classroom level in the two African American Immersion Schools. The analysis of classroom transformations in these two schools is derived from two related theoretical orientations. One has to do with distinctions between surface and deep cultural transformations ( Boykin, 1994, 1999). The other is related to differences between expert and novice teachers ( Sternberg & Horvath, 1995; Westerman , 1991).

Boykin ( 1994) discussed the distinctions between surface and deep cultural transformations in African-centered schools and classrooms. He described surface cultural infusion as the presentation of important information about African and African American history and culture. This information is conveyed through images, stories, and facts. Deep cultural infusion, on the other hand, involves consideration of the processes and rationales for schooling. It often includes consideration of values underlying teaching and changing the overall ethos or culture of the school or classroom. A number of other writers and researchers have supported this distinction. They have argued that the establishment of an African-centered classroom involves both changes in the information presented and changes in the ways the classroom is organized, in the pedagogical practices used and in teachers' perspectives on students ( Allen & Butler, 1996; Bell, 1994; Boykin, 1999; Delpit, 1995; Lee, 1992).

The growing literature on expert and novice teachers also provided a contribution to our analysis of classroom transformations at these two African American Immersion Schools. Several studies have suggested that expert teachers differ from novices in important ways and that these differences may have important implications for student learning ( Gormly, McDermott, Rothenberg, & Hammer, 1995;

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