Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know But Are Afraid to Ask About African-American Students / Edition 1

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In this book, Gail L. Thompson takes on the volatile topic of the role of race in education and explores the black-white achievement gap and the cultural divide that exists between some teachers and African American students. Solidly based on research conducted with 175 educators, Through Ebony Eyes provides information and strategies that will help teachers increase their effectiveness with African American students. Written in conversational language, Through Ebony Eyes offers a wealth of examples and personal stories that clearly demonstrate the cultural differences that exist in the schools and offers a three-part, long-term professional development plan that will help teachers become more effective.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, educator Thompson finds the public schools system continues "to grapple with issues pertaining to race and ethnicity." Prompted by this observation and concerns about the achievement gap between black and white students, Thompson set out to help prospective and current teachers "increase their efficacy with African-American students," particularly those in urban areas. Thompson (African American Teens Discuss Their Schooling Experiences; etc.) doggedly tackles the multiple theories educators have proposed to explain the achievement gap. Among them are the "low teacher expectation" theory, in which students are confronted by teachers who think little of their chances for success, and the "acting white" theory, in which some black students "infer that they have to reject their home culture to succeed academically." While Thompson supports these theories, she comes down harshly on the "parents-are-at-fault theory," insisting "most African-American parents do care about their children's education." The author explores the observation that "poor children and children of color... are more likely than others to end up with underqualified and ineffective teachers." Although Thompson spends a considerable amount of time complaining and calling on research and statistics, she also shares triumphs and challenges from her own days as a student. She offers advice, stressing the importance of "reminding students of the big picture" and the value of their education, and advising teachers to use hypothetical questions to spark discussion and showcase students' talent, acts that are important for boosting esteem in all children, regardless of color. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787970611
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/2/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Gail L. Thompson is associate professor of education at Claremont Graduate University. Her research has focused on the schooling experiences of students of color. She is the author of African American Teens Discuss Their Schooling Experiences and What African American Parents Want Educators to Know, as well as numerous journal articles.
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Read an Excerpt

Guidelines for Closing the Black-White Cultural Gap

"Reading this book is like talking with a trusted friend about serious and sensitive issues. Dr. Thompson has provided a real service for teachers and everyone else who cares about the success of African American students."
—Diane F. Halpern, director, Berger Institute for Work, Family, and Children and professor of psychology, Claremont McKenna College

"For those teachers, administrators, and researchers who deal with culturally sensitive issues, Through Ebony Eyes is a powerful tool. Gail Thompson writes with passion and authority on teachers' beliefs and attitudes regarding African American students, and how these affect their instructional practices and achievement. Her research and observations are insightful, and her recommendations essential."
—James P. Comer, M.D., Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale Child Study Center, associate dean, School of Medicine

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Table of Contents

List of tables
The author
Introduction : persistent problems 1
1 If African American kids aren't dumb or lazy, why are they still underachieving? related theories 13
2 Effective instructional practices 38
3 Effective classroom management 69
4 How can teachers reach African American students from challenging backgrounds? 109
5 Standard English or Ebonics : should we force them to speak "correctly"? 132
6 Can they call each other the "N" word? 149
7 What should I do when African American students accuse me of being racist? 167
8 Why do African American students need a culturally relevant education? 189
9 Other controversial issues 209
Conclusion : can beliefs be changed? 241
Notes 257
App. A The time line project 279
App. B The all about me project 281
App. C The cultural awareness project 283
App. D The community problem-solving project 285
App. E Writing about music, writing to music 287
App. F Using writing assignments and student artwork to create a class anthology 289
App. G Using "quotes of the week" for writing assignments and to improve critical thinking skills 291
App. H Vocabulary building strategies 293
App. I The six-hour inservice and the four schools 295
Index 313
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