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For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and…
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For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too:… (edition 2017)

by Christopher Emdin (Author)

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12514144,356 (4.24)5
Member:NWHarvest
Title:For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education (Race, Education, and Democracy)
Authors:Christopher Emdin (Author)
Info:Beacon Press (2017), Edition: Reprint, 232 pages
Collections:recommended books
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For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: reality pedagogy and urban education by Christopher Emdin

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Edmin has written an essential book for any teacher, no matter your race or where you teach. His approach of valuing and learning from the cultural assets of one's students can be applied in any classroom. ( )
  zhejw | Aug 17, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Sorry for the delay.

As a "white folk" who formerly taught in the "hood," I can attest to the presence of many of the issues that Emdin addresses. There is much of merit in this book, not the least of which is the idea that differences between teachers and students cannot remain unspoken. Additionally, the "culture" of a teacher cannot and should not subsume the "culture" of a student. The way that I would sum up this book is with an axiom that I used to live by: when a teacher and a student are coming from backgrounds that are mutually exclusive, the teacher has the responsibility to step into (understand) the student's world first before s/he can expect the student to step into his or hers. ( )
  hamlet61 | Jul 9, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
While I never received my Early Reviewers copy, I ended up purchasing this text after hearing Dr. Emdin speak. I was not disappointed and it is a book worth owning. For all educators, his strategies for student engagement, investment, and ownership should be immediately practiced and built into your practice if they are not there already. Great read and phenomenal educator from whom I imagine will follow many other powerful and useful texts.
  adamps | Jul 5, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Emdin frames teaching black and brown kids in urban/poor environments as a matter of neoindigeneity; the book is about the encounter between the kids and well-meaning teachers (whether white or otherwise, as he discusses how he—a black man who’d come from the same environment—was socialized into thinking of the kids as deficient and opposed to the “right” way to learn). Many kids are looking for the “socioemotional stability” of a family, and can find it in school—or they can find it in a gang, which they will often think of as their family if it’s the group that values them.

I was struck by his discussion of how the kids often thought of themselves as ready to learn and on time when they were near the classroom and prepared to borrow materials from classmates if they needed to write something down or read. (I did wonder how the classmates ended up with the materials if that counted as ready to learn.)

But the broader point was about, basically, presuming good faith and lack of deficiency—understanding that there’s a culture clash and not assuming that the traditional white school culture is in the right. He responds to scholars who conclude that black kids view doing well in school as acting right by noting that they fail to consider “that teachers may perceive being black as not wanting to do well in school”—that resistance to methods may be misread as resistance to education, to everyone’s detriment but most of all to the kids’. “In a school system that positions black and brown boys as loud, abrasive, and unteachable, and that rewards black and brown girls for being submissive, teachers often give students good grades for being ‘nice and quiet’ at the expense of ensuring that they are learning.”

Emdin argues that students “who receive preferential treatment because of their performance of teacher-defined smartness become targets of ridicule by the students who refuse to perform, not because of any false notion of ‘acting white,’ but for being fake.” Those who can’t or won’t do that perform disruptiveness by exaggerating elements of themselves and their experience that teachers have chosen not to recognize. Students who perform smartness are busy performing rather than learning, while noncompliant students lose the opportunity for academic challenges by focusing on disruption.

Emdin advocates “cogens”—collaborative teaching with students, selected at first by the teacher and then by the students. Students who prepare lessons learn the material better and are empowered to interact with—even interrupt—a teacher who isn’t doing it right. Students should get credit for teaching—tests and classroom behavior shouldn’t be the only things that schools value. Indeed, not compensating students for doing classroom work like this can be more demotivating than ordinary bad grades—when students get bad grades for “not engaging in school in the ways they are expected to, there is some satisfaction that comes with knowing where one stands within the institution,” but if students engage and still fail to get recognition, the alienation may be terminal. Students should also work in pairs with complementary strengths/weaknesses, and the stronger student should get points for how much the weaker student’s scores increase. Emdin also suggests routine use of competitions like Jeopardy-style quizzes (and rap battles), which are fun and motivating and shouldn’t just be used at the end of the year for relaxation.

One really interesting point was about style: “the art of teaching the neoindigenous requires a consideration of the power of art, dress, and other dimensions of their aesthetic. Teachers often fail to understand that the bleak realities of urban youth and the drab physical spaces they are often confined to contribute to an insatiable desire to engage in, and with, artistically stimulating objects and environments.” This has implications for how the teacher should dress and decorate a classroom as well as what projects might be appropriate. “Reality pedagogy functions with the general principle that the work of raising rigor or guiding students to think more deeply is achieved through identifying phenomena that emotionally connects or motivates the student, and that the most significant emotional connections we have are to the art we consume and the most powerful and healthy emotional releases we have is through the art we create.” And yet students are expected to learn in environments hardly distinguishable from prisons (which themselves shouldn’t be soul-destroying, by the way).

In order to equip students for the expectations of the dominant culture, Emdin argues for explicitly teaching them to code-switch; uniforms and standard vocabulary/grammar are not required as long as the students can recognize which modes are important in which contexts. “To validate the codes of young people in the classroom and then fail to arm them with the tools they need to be successful across social fields is irresponsible; students must use what emerges from the enactment of their culture in schools to help navigate worlds beyond the classroom that have traditionally excluded them.” Likewise, he advocates integrating social media into the school experience, and tells a really sad story about laptops that were brought in with great fanfare, then crippled so that all they could do was play a dumb math game, then vandalized by the now demoralized and bored students, then removed because the students “couldn’t be trusted” with the equipment.

In the end, Emdin says, teachers must decide whether “to do damage to the system or to the student.” ( )
  rivkat | Jun 30, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book from the publisher through a Library Thing early reviewers’ giveaway in exchange for a review. I am a white woman, and I am not a teacher in the hood or elsewhere. But I am a parent who has an interest in education, so this is the review by a layman.

The author posits that a white person coming into an urban area to teach needs to approach the urban youth as a neoindigenous population. Neoindigenous is defined as a marginalized population whose presence in the area doesn’t predate its oppressors. As such, engagement in the classroom requires addressing cultural differences between teacher and student. The book contains eleven chapters each with a separate technique to help teachers connect with their urban students. Unlike many instructional-type non-fiction books, this book never became repetitive. In fact, I thought it got stronger as it progressed.

I am not a teacher, so some of the classroom information was lost on me. However, I found two particular topics to be of interest. First was the idea that urban youth have to surrender their authentic selves, or at least they feel that they have to, to survive in the classroom. White teachers either don’t appreciate or misinterpret the culture of urban youth, and this leads to underperformance in school. The pressure to conform can ruin a child’s true self. This reminded me of Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher where the author contends that girls lose their authentic selves with adolescence due to the pressure to conform to the expectations of society.

The other topic I found interesting was the technique of code switching. Code switching is the ability to effectively move between social settings by speaking the language of the setting. What I thought the book did well was not to present code switching as just something a person does to get along. Code switching allows the speaker to be his or her authentic self because the beliefs remain the same; it is just the recognition that difference audiences require different languages. ( )
  colleentw | Apr 1, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807006408, Hardcover)

Merging real stories with theory, research, and practice, a prominent scholar offers a new approach to teaching and learning for every stakeholder in urban education.

Drawing on his own experience of feeling undervalued and invisible in classrooms as a young man of color and merging his experiences with more than a decade of teaching and researching in urban America, award-winning educator Christopher Emdin offers a new lens on and approach to teaching and learning in urban schools. He begins by taking to task the perception of urban youth of color as unteachable, and he challenges educators to embrace and respect each student’s culture and to reimagine the classroom as a site where roles are reversed and students become the experts in their own learning.

Putting forth his theory of Reality Pedagogy, Emdin provides practical tools to unleash the brilliance and eagerness of youth and educators alike—both of whom have been typecast and stymied by outdated modes of thinking about urban education. With this fresh and engaging new pedagogical vision, Emdin demonstrates the importance of creating a family structure and building communities within the classroom, using culturally relevant strategies like hip-hop music and call-and-response, and connecting the experiences of urban youth to indigenous populations globally. Merging real stories with theory, research, and practice, Emdin demonstrates how by implementing the “Seven C’s” of reality pedagogy in their own classrooms, urban youth of color benefit from truly transformative education.

Lively, accessible, and revelatory, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...and the Rest of Y’all Too is the much-needed antidote to traditional top-down pedagogy and promises to radically reframe the landscape of urban education for the better.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 31 Jan 2016 20:59:20 -0500)

"Merging real stories with theory, research, and practice, a prominent scholar offers a new approach to teaching and learning for every stakeholder in urban education. Drawing on his own experience of feeling undervalued and invisible in science classrooms as a young man of color, Christopher Emdin offers a new lens on and approach to teaching in urban schools. Putting forth his theory of Reality Pedagogy, Emdin provides practical tools to unleash the brilliance and eagerness of youth and educators alike--both of whom have been typecast and stymied by outdated modes of thinking about urban education. With this fresh and engaging new pedagogical vision, Emdin demonstrates the importance of creating a family structure and building communities within the classroom, using culturally relevant strategies like hip-hop music and call-and-response, and connecting the experiences of urban youth to indigenous populations globally"--… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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