Educating Black Kids: What Does the Research Say?

I was reading a few peer reviewed articles in my educational research class and found some interesting information that I would like to share with you all. If you are interested in how students learn and the strategies that research has proven to help all students learn, you will more than likely be informed by reading through the annotated bibliography I painstakingly created below.

And, if you are not interested in the process of educating the minds, you will also learn something about yourself through reading these articles as well. All in all, happy reading and I hope you discover something new from the research.

Shaaban K. Fundi
Annotated Biblography

1.Young, Y.Y., Wright, J.V., and Laster, J. (2005). Instructing African American Students. Journal of Education and Urban Society 125(3): 516-524.

This peer reviewed paper identifies and examine research based findings on effective instructional practices in the context of their applicability for classroom teaching-learning situations. The research paper has identified two types of learners, the global learner and the analytical learner. A global learner (right brain) is visual, tactile and kinesthetic. She/He visualizes what has to be learned, touches what has to be learned and also moves a lot during the learning process.
Most, if not all African American students are global learners and tend to be uncomfortable in an academic setting because their learning styles are not met.

Analytical learners (left brain) recall facts and dates with relative easy as well as process information linearly. They can process information that is written or orally. Most analytical learners are American students with European descent. Based on the aforementioned information, this style of learner tends to be comfortable in an academic setting (Angro-American Centered Classroom) because their learning style is most often addressed.

In order to teach African American students successfully, instructional variability is a key. Instructional strategies need to incorporate movement, visual and touching to address the learning style needs of African American students.

2.Castle, S., Deniz, C.B., and Tortola, M. (2005). Flexible Grouping and Students Leanring in a High-Needs School. Journal of Education and Urban Society 37(2): 139-150.

This peer reviewed paper studied the impact of flexible grouping on students learning during a period of 5 years in a high-needs school. The researchers tracked non-transient, below goal elementary students on multiple literacy assessments using flexible grouping strategies. Results from the study showed that the percentage of students attaining mastery increased in 16 of 19 over-time comparisons.

Flexible grouping is a classroom organizational strategy that is designed to address a broad range of students needs within a single classroom. To meet the need of contemporary classrooms that are characterized by widely diverse student population with varying academic, language, social, and cultural needs, need based instruction strategies are paramount. Additionally, grouping students according to their needs is more effective instructional strategy than ability grouping.

3.Westhuizen, V.P., Mosoge, M.J., Swanepoel, L.H., and Coetsee, L.D. (2005). Organizational Culture and Academic Achievement in Secondary Schools. Journal of Education and Urban Society, 38(1): 89-109.

This peer reviewed paper looks at factors affecting performance negatively in lower achieving schools and positively in high achieving schools. The researchers have identified several factors that affect academic achievement of learners. These factors include organizational culture and school culture. Organizational culture seems to be a key factor for under-achievement in schools.

The findings in this research indicate that a healthy and positive organizational culture exists in high achieving schools whereas the same cannot be said for low achieving schools. A positive organizational culture seems to exercise an exceptionally positive influence on the members of a school and is instrumental in directing their behavior in achieving the stated goal of the school.

4.Shulman, V., and Armitage, D. (2005). Project Discovery: An Urban Middle School Reform Effort. Journal of Education and Urban Society, 37(4): 371-397.

This peer reviewed study reports on a 5- year project to improve urban, middle level student achievement through the implementation of two initiatives. (1) Teachers at participating New York middle school were engaged in weekly curriculum planning workshops to reformulate classroom curricula into interdisciplinary, discovery learning oriented activities. (2) Undergraduate college students from urban public colleges were recruited to work as teaching scholars in the middle school.

The results showed a gain in student achievement which was demonstrated by a significant increase in the number of students meeting state standards on standardized test score in mathematics and English.

5.Heystek, H., (2003). Parents as Governors and Partners in Schools. Journal of Education and Urban Society, 37(4): 371-397.

This peer reviewed study looks at parental involvement as a factor for academic achievement of students. Parents and schools are partners in the education of children because schools are a formalized extension of the family. Schools can not function properly void of parental involvement.

In spite of this demand on parental involvement in schools, this research in black schools indicates that parental involvement in school activities is limited. This in turn, leads to low achievement in most of these schools.

44 thoughts on “Educating Black Kids: What Does the Research Say?

  1. Lilia Cruz

    I do think every person has different ways of learning and taking notes or remeber the information needed. Some teacher just want do leach by just working from the book nut students also need to watch films, do hands on things, and powerpoints to take notes the way they can read the information. not just take notes and there thats it, but to retain it too. Also some teachers think its all on the students to learn the information, which yes i do agree but they are there to guide them to learn.


  2. Brenda 7aendejas

    This article was interesting. We’re all different so we all have different ways of learning. Some kids decide to write every single detail that a teacher writes down or is saying when taking notes, and others learn better just by listening to the teacher and watching the slideshow (if any). I think teacher should realize not every student is the same and shouldn’t jump to conclusions about a kid not paying attention just because he/she doesn’t like writting notes. Maybe he/she is paying more attention then a person writting notes…?


  3. Sandra Pahuamba

    In my opinion, I believe this is true, everyone learns differently than others some work better with hand on activities and others work best with writing down notes and reading from a book. Teachers should know how students work best that way the student can understand the concept better. It would help them with their grades and test and want to go to college. This article was interesting and I enjoyed reading this.


  4. Gloria Chan

    This is a good article. Different kids grow up in different kind of ways. I personally think different type of learning will affect child’s grow and understand.


  5. Savon Harris

    This article is very interesting. It shows how different people learn in different ways. Everybody has their own way learnig and i think teachers should be trained in all ways of learning so that the student can understand more. Overall this was a great article.


  6. Nia Fox

    This article was quite interesting to me. It shows different people study techniques and ways of learning. Wether your kinesthetic visual or tactile. I so happen to be a visual and tactile learner


  7. Robert johnson

    This is an interesting article. There are many factors in the sucess of students I never thought of. Many people learn differently, and all of their needs should be met.


  8. Emily Fraser

    I totoally loves this article! I love how they talked about every little detail about how each person have their own unique way of learning. And it is special to me that people have all kinds of learning style just so they can learn in the right path. I am an auditory learner, I personally think that I learn and understand more if I actually get to listen and hearing people as they teach.


  9. Darsy R

    I like this article because it is so true. so many different people have different styles of learning. Teachers just have to be flexible and include the different learning styles.


  10. Rikki Raiford

    This article had me wondering…. yes when you think about it, there is a big malting pot of different students in public schools all around, and they have very different selective learning styles. I feel that if the student ratio to one teacer was smaller, teachers could have more time and do a excellent job in tackling different students learning styles so that everyone receives the material in someway somehow


  11. Keenan Blakeney

    Interesting article and also makes me curious about peoples differnet learning styles and how schools aim to help children with differnt learning styles


  12. Micala Edwards

    If this study is so accurate why don’t (urban) schools use these tactics with their students for them to suceed. Every person thinks and learns differenty so why not use both tactics while teaching? Thats something to think about.


  13. Julian Mokgoatsana

    I think it’s important that educators try to learn what learning styles students respond well too, as well as the student actively knowing what works for them. Personally I know that I am a visual learner, it has to be done for me to understand it. I don’t agree with the idea that because parents don’t involve themselves in their children’s education that that child will in turn not do well in school, though this may be true for some I know that it also takes the commitment of the student to do well without their parents. There cannot be a sole reason why students do so poorly in school, it connects on all sides and the teacher should know to take the responsibility of figuring out what it is that needs to be done to make the student feel encourages and the student should take responsibility for figuring out what works well for them.


    1. It is more often than not the case—that if parents are not involved, the students performs poorly in their education. There is a strong correlation between parental involvement and students’ achievement. It is just a FACT. This is not to suggest that all students who do not have a strong parental involvement FAILs. They would DO much better if their parents were involved.

      I agree with you that educators need to know their students learning styles to teach them effectively. However, it is also important for educators to create an environment in the class that let students explore and acquire knowledge on their own. It is called inquiry learning.


  14. Sandy DeCruize

    I think this article is wonderful. Students as a whole have many different ways of learning. Every child has a unique way of learning and it should be taken very seriously. Personally, I am a visual person and everything has to be seen in order for me to actually know what is going on. Writing also helps me a lot it would stick in my mind more. Reading doesnt do that much for me but I still do it any way just to get a description of the subject at hand.


  15. I never thought that educating black children was any different that educating children of any other race. Don’t you think it’s a bit discriminatory?

    To me, nothing really depends on race. Whether it be educational intellect, or family values. There sure are Asian parents who aren’t involved in their childrens’ school work and there sure are black parent who are involved. It just really depends on their belief system on how much education means to them personally.


    1. Discriminatory? I don’t think so. What you’re missing here is that, interms of proportions, the reserachers are validly right. Look on the data—you will sure agree with me. Parental involvement for black kids is lacking big time especially in inner city schools. And, that reason alone–contribute hugely to the educational achievement gaps between the different races in America—resources aside.


      1. Okay I can’t disagree the fact that parent involvement in a black kid’s education is lacking. It’s rather true, actually. I’m not sure if it’s just them being completely busy, or the students not asking them to involve.
        On second thought! some students don’t really need to be involved in a student’s education life. Take my parents for example, my parents are never involved, they’ve never been inside of Dunwoody High School…and I turn out fine.
        Sometimes it really is just about how much a student is willing to put towards the effort.


  16. alexis jackson

    this article is interesting , its wrong and correct at the same time. i like a visual for my end result when i’m making something but when it comes to retaining information i learn better by reading , lectures and going through notes.


  17. alexis jackson

    this is true in some ways but not others , some black kids do have parents that are very involved and their learning style isn’t always hands on. i like a visual to know my end product but i’m better off with lectures or skiming through notes to retain information. hmmm i wonder how mixed children learn at this point.


    1. Yes, you are right about some of the points you’re raising. Like yourself, I learn better by reading and lectures. We are in the minority. Most of the research results are based on the majority and it does not mean that “some kids” don’t learn better the other way either. The question about biracial children is very important. I am sure in the near future will be able to know that.


  18. Chase Brower

    This was a very interesting article. I would love to be able to see how different people think. Each person needs someone to help them no matter how fast or slowly they learn or how smart or not smart they could be.


  19. Hannah Wells

    This article was very interesting! Everyone has a different learning styles. I think that it is very important for us to know what style of learning suites us best.


  20. Stephen Montelongo

    I really like this article. It shows there’s different types of learning that it can help young kids for there future. Some schools have it differently. So maybe we can use this as an example to maybe help are school system.


  21. Ashley Smith

    I think this is a good article. I think every kid on this earth has a different type of learning and there should be some kind of technique to help us all. Everyone learns at different speeds. Some are slow and fast learners and others are visual and people that need to be able to write it out to be able to understand it. I think this is important to know that we all learn at different rhythms that fits us.


  22. Lorena Cruz

    I also do agree that children learn in many different ways, and also that we all have skills that are stronger in our interests and talents. This is Great! You did a great job capturing some critical points here that are very true, which includes me as well.


  23. Ulises Pedroza

    This article is great. I like how it explains that different students have different learning styles. I think that if schools would do something to have students with the same type of learning styles put in the same classes with the corresponding teachings, more students would achieve their goals at school.


  24. Gaby Adala

    Like many have said its true we all learn diffrently just like we react dffrently & school systems should realize & try to make schools more fitting to the students basic needs.


  25. Allisha Byfield

    Uhm this is a really interesting article, it actually has me thinking! This is so true about the different types of learning and I personally think that every student should have their type of learning style met to succeed in school!


  26. Kimberly Mandeville

    This article was very interesting and fasinating. All peole such as kid have a different style of learning such as a visual, tactile and/or kinesthetic.


  27. Nick the creator

    . This was a very interesting and touching article. Almost inspiring. I think that all kids have a different styles of learning… I am a visual learner and more hand-on. otherwise very good article


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