How to Reach — and Teach — Black Males

Learn how to use five tools to engage the black male students in your classroom and start to close the achievement gap.

Stop pretending that all students are alike. Teaching to their differences will improve their chances for academic success.

Plenty of reports and research have documented the achievement gap between black males and other students. But few have acknowledged that current structures and practices have contributed to that gap.

To address the low achievement of black males, schools must be willing to accept that there are ways of looking at the world, modes of communication, and approaches to teaching and learning that are unique to black males. At the same time, educators must also acknowledge that these unique ways of being are just as complex as those of other students. The tie that binds all students is the desire to be academically successful.

Too often, educators are afraid to acknowledge that differences exist between black males and others. This is due to a commonly held misperception that educators who acknowledge such differences are in some way supporting a racist agenda. They are not. Instead, part of our collective failure to meet the needs of black males is a fear of acknowledging that they are always being compared to a white middle-class norm from which they often differ. This culture of fear, stoked by political correctness, only serves to hamper efforts to meet their needs and will inevitably maintain achievement gaps.

Once difference is fully acknowledged, educators can equip themselves with tools that can be used to encourage black males to become more interested and effective learners.

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