The Journal of Negro Education: In Search of Responsive Teaching for African American Males
The greatest mandate for educator is to provide education to diverse student populations, with equal access to learning and create understanding of the cultural encounters of students from minority groups. As such, Murrell’s In Search of Responsive Teaching for African American Males is a vital resource for educators to evoke thoughts of enhancing teaching skills to deliver education in a multicultural setting effectively. In this resource, Murrell describes a prominent issue confronting the education sector, the underservice of African American children, especially male, by public schools. Agreeably, African-Americans males are disproportionally victims of suspensions, expulsions, relegation to special education practices, dropping out, and subsequently under-resourced compared to their European and American counterparts. Convincingly, a range of political, sociological, and economic combine to affect the ability of schools to promote educational achievement among African-American children equitably.
In this article, Murrell highlights the educational matters affecting children from minority groups, such as African-Americans and Latinos, to provide critical insights into promoting the academic attainment of learners from these groups. As in many cases, promoting the academic achievement of minority groups is compounded by incomplete and insufficient knowledge about these students’ development and socializations. The limited knowledge can be attributed to factors such as limited access to teacher preparation programs to enhance pedagogical expertise drawn from the language, culture, and history of African American societies (Murrell, 1994). As a result, most educators of diverse populations cannot understand the developmental learning of the students to make sense of the curriculum in the context of distinct racial, ethnic, political, and cultural identities. These elements make it imperative for educators to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of the education settings comprising these students to identify and tackle the political, economic, and sociological elements that hinder instructors, school systems, and school from promoting uniform educational success among African-American learners.
Going forward, insights from this article will significantly enhance my responsiveness as a professional educator by understanding the role of cultural background, practices, and beliefs in students’ academic excellence. Insights from this article will be critical to enhance the academic productivity of minority groups by incorporating cultural experiences in the curriculum and instructional strategies. One takeaway from the article is how instructors can enhance cultural progress between learners’ home and school experiences by discerning and activating strengths of learners and situating learning in their lives and their families (Murrell, 1994). Integrating and implementing cultural responsive instructional practices such as multicultural books in practice or using issues in the learners’ community can be vital for instructors to promote the academic achievement of minority groups.
In the pursuit of delivering education uniformly for all learners amid their varying backgrounds, instructors must be keen to respond to the psychological needs of relatedness, autonomy, and competence. Murrell advices that attending to these psychological needs of learners can help to moderate the relationships between risk factors and academic outcomes of African-American male learners. The lack of responsiveness to these psychological needs may cause students to internalize negative perceptions about their racial group, thus adversely affecting their performance in school. However, when instructors intervene for these demands, they help learners to develop self-determination and engagement in learning processes. Therefore, it is imperative that educators demonstrate responsiveness to the social, political, and economic factors that determine the experiences of students of color to reveal the underlying relationships between engagement, motivation, and academic performance and minimize discrepancies in the classroom and in schools.
Murrell, P. C. (1994). In search of responsive teaching for African American males: An investigation of students’ experiences of middle school mathematics curriculum. The Journal of Negro Education, 63(4), 556. https://doi.org/10.2307/2967295