A Walk in Their Kicks: Literacy, Identity, and the Schooling of Young Black Males

A Walk in Their Kicks: Literacy, Identity, and the Schooling of Young Black Males

by Aaron M. Johnson

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Overview

This compelling new book provides a deep examination of the experience of African American males in schools. Moving beyond basic notions of culturally relevant instruction, A Walk in Their Kicks offers new understandings that will assist educators in developing instruction that respects these young men and fosters their participation and success.

Through research data and conversations among teachers, readers will explore the impact that trauma has on the lives of African American students, examine how their own identities and perceptions of these students influence their text selections and instruction, and identify the conditions that need to be present to engage African American male students in literacy. Chapters end with “What Teachers Can Do Right Now” and “What Administrators Can Do Right Now,” sections that provide easy-to-implement, practical strategies.

“This is a uniquely important book that mixes history, theory, research, and practice in a masterful way. Johnson offers deep insights into one of the most timely issues in our society today. Aaron Johnson is a trustworthy guide not just through the issues and the complexities but to solutions, or at least to much better ways to proceed.”
—James Paul Gee, Arizona State University

“A Walk in Their Kicks elucidates what’s possible for educators and what’s essential to the schooling of African American males in our quest to eliminate the gaps in opportunity, access, equity, equality, culture, relationships placement, discipline, rigor, and more that manifest themselves as the gaps in achievement so prevalent among this student population.”
—From the Afterword by Jay B. Marks, Oakland Schools, Oakland, MI



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807777336
Publisher: Teachers College Press
Publication date: 12/28/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Aaron M. Johnson is an associate superintendent of instructional services and organizational leadership for Farmington Public Schools in Michigan and adjunct lecturer of reading, language, and literature at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

Table of Contents

Foreword Elizabeth Birr Moje ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1
How This Book Is Organized 10
How to Use This Book 11

PART I: NOTES ON THE STATE OF . . . Detroit . . . Education . . . Race . . . Schooling . . . Literacy . . . Socialization 13
. . . on the state of the west side 13

1. His Story: The History of School and Literacy Development of African American Males 15
Segregation, Jim Crow, and African American Academic Achievement 20
School Desegregation 22
The Great Migration 25
School Busing 27

2. Hustle and Flow: Student Literacy, Flow, Agency, and Motivation 31
Flow Theory 31
Learning and Literacy as Social Constructs 32
Agency and Identity 39

3. Black Boy Fly: The Black Male Literacy Paradigm as an Instructional Framework 43
The Black Male Literacy Paradigm 43
Home Versus School Language 45
Contextual Understanding 47
Culture and Socialization 48
Teacher Perceptions 56
Power, Agency, and Identity 57
Teacher Preparedness 58
Summary of the Black Male Literacy Paradigm 59
Literacy Assessment Instruments and Literacy Development 60

4. We’ve Got the Power: Culture and Socialization 68
Power and Contextual Understanding and the Relationship to Literacy 68
The Academic Achievement Gap Versus the Education Debt 70
Student Socialization 77

5. You Mean I Can’t Even Be Black in the Hallway?!?: Discourse Communities and the Relationship Between Power, Agency, and Identity 84
Student Identities 84
Disidentification with School 87
Student Social Power and Valuing Students’ Identities in School 92

PART II: NOTES ON THE STATE OF . . . Black boys 99
educator’s oath 99

6. Where I’m From: Teacher Identities and the Impact on African American Male Students 101
Understanding Literacy Through a Sociocultural Paradigm 101
Meet the Teacher Participants 103
Teacher Identities and the Roles They Play in Building Student Literacy 108

7. A Walk in Their Kicks: Understanding the Literacies of African American Males 117
Engaging African American Males in Literacy 117
Teachers’ Recognition of the Importance of Students’ Connections to Teachers, School, and Texts 118
A Deeper Look at Turmoil: Home-Based and School-Based
Adversities That Impact Student Learning Outcomes 142

8. Literacy Is . . . : Looking at Literacy Through a Different Lens 150
Teachers’ Expansions of Their Definitions of Literacy 150
The Necessity of Teachers’ Use of Evidence-Based Instructional Strategies 157
Teachers’ Improved Understandings of Students’ Literacy Practices 158

9. The Choice is Yours: “Giving a Damn” as a Strategy for Improving Student Outcomes 162

10. Are We on Ten Yet?: Reconceptualizing Schools for African American Students 168
Teachers’ Recognition of the Importance of and Relationship to Students’ Connections to Teachers, School, and Texts 169
Teachers’ Expansions of Their Definitions of Literacy 170
Teachers’ Improved Understandings of Students’
Literacy Practices 171
The Necessity of Teachers’ Use of Evidence-Based Instructional Strategies 172
The Education Debt . . . Revisited 172
Recommendations 177
Implications 178
Challenges to This Work 180
. . . until we meet again 181

Epilogue 184

Afterword Jay B. Marks 187

References 189
Index 197
About the Author

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A Walk in Their Kicks is a powerful book that is sure to open the eyes and hearts of many teachers. . . . Read Dr. Aaron Johnson’s book if you want to learn not only about systemic racial and economic oppression, but also about ways that educators can counter such oppression through everyday practice."
—From the Foreword by Elizabeth Birr Moje, University of Michigan


“This is a uniquely important book that mixes history, theory, research, and practice in a masterful way. Johnson offers deep insights into one of the most timely issues in our society today. He is a trustworthy guide not just through the issues and the complexities but to solutions, or at least to much better ways to proceed.”
—James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies and Regents’ Professor, Arizona State University


"A Walk in Their Kicks elucidates what’s possible for educators and what’s essential to the schooling of African American males in our quest to eliminate the gaps in opportunity, access, equity, equality, culture, relationships placement, discipline, rigor, and more that manifest themselves as the gaps in achievement so prevalent among this student population. This thought-provoking text provides practical solutions to reversing the educational trajectory for African American male students."
—From the Afterword by Jay B. Marks, diversity and equity consultant, Oakland Schools, Oakland, MI

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