The National Writing Project (NWP) released the third installment in its Teacher Voices series, Teaching Young Men of Color. The report is a welcome addition to the national conversation about expanding opportunities for minority males, the focus of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
Resulting from a collaboration of the NWP and the College Board, Teaching Young Men of Color delivers the insights of 12 extraordinary classroom teachers, who reflect on their students’ experiences in the academic world and society at large.
These educators, from diverse geographic and racial backgrounds as well as academic disciplines, offer powerful insights about young men of color that could only be derived from years of successful classroom teaching. The insights fall roughly into two broad themes:
- Gender: Along with factors such as race, language, and socioeconomic status, gender plays a critical role in the teaching and learning process.
- Effective classroom practices: There is an abundance of classroom practices that teachers surveyed for this report identified as effective for minority males. Some are tied to the fundamentals that undergird all good teaching, and others are specific to particular populations.
From the Great American Teach-In to a residential Cultural Camp — two program examples from the report — teachers are supporting their students by setting high expectations, building mutual respect, helping them develop new academic identities, and connecting to the wider world. All of these can contribute to the My Brother’s Keeper milestone of more young men of color graduating from high school ready for college and career.
Margarita Meléndez is an education program specialist in the Teacher Quality Programs division of the Office of Innovation and Improvement.