Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Engaging African American Males in Reading by Alfred W. Tatum


After reading the article, please respond to each of the following questions:

1. What were the "aha" moments for you in this article? What did you learn?

2. How can these learnings be applied in your classroom or in our school?


  1. Tatum jumps to heart of the matter when he summarizes how authentic relevance needs to be at core of reform if we are to bring about real change and close the gap. How many of our units of study are truly relevant to all learners? How are we going to teach the skills that need to be taught in a manner that works for all students?

    Application: Let our actions in our school and classrooms be a reflection of our beliefs.
    We now know the research and it is time to make some changes, or we will continue to get what we have always gotten.

  2. The English department is getting ready to review all of their literature selections. This is an important place to start, and all of us should follow their lead.

  3. Shizz says ...

    After our professional development and the reading of this article, I am even more convinced of the importance of reviewing and evaluating the literature that we teach in the English classroom.

    We must once again ask ourselves - What is in the best interest of the student? Even though we may personally love a particular novel/play/etc., we must put our personal feelings aside. We are forced to question whether we are choosing books that will add to the literary legacy that our young black males want and need!!!!

    While we have not yet made any decisions, we need to do so soon, especially as we consider the data about the number of young men we lose each year at SciTech. If we can make a difference in at least one area, we must do so to the best of our ability.

  4. I agree, Jill. I look forward to meeting with the English department to review the literature selections. The anthology of Af Am Literature that Seth recently purchased gives many good selections. THe challenge, as you said, is to put aside our preferences, and choose books that add the literary legacy that our young men need.

  5. Desiree said: The aha moment for me was the importance of relevant material in the literacy achievements of African-Amaerican males. I got a better understanding of the disconnect of our boys with the educational process. The factors mitigating against their academic success are many and daunting, but it was reassuring to me that at least we do have some control over curriculum. We have to be really careful, however, in our selection of materials, that we choose materials that promote a positive image of African-Americans and do not add to the negative stereotyping to which our boys are too often subjected.

    Application: I think that appropriate text selection will revitalize our curriculum for all students and make for more relevance in learning material. The prospect is exciting and invigorating for teachers as well as students. Vamonos! Let's do it together!

  6. Deb says...I, too, am excited about taking a critical look at our text selections. There is much to offer in terms of multicultural literature and I want to help you find some of the Carribbean literature that you are searching for to supplement your curriculum as well.