#89: Stack of Books #3: The Role of Culture in Education

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Today’s video is #3 in the series that I’m calling “Stacks of Books”. This is the third and last in this series for a while. But teachers and parents have said that they like these posts, so I’ll think about continuing the series later with some other topics. 

I’ve been featuring books from my library related to the Ninth Supportive Practice in my Touching the Spirit principles: In Depth Study and Performance of African and African American History and Culture

Note: I posted a previous video #72: “A Very Heavy Stack of Books” featuring most of these same books related to the role of culture in education.

Today I’m re-presenting them with some added information because I want them to be part of this trio of groups of books. So they are “Stacks of Books #3: The Role of Culture in Education”.

We can find many definitions of culture. 

I like this one by one of my teachers in history and culture, Dr. Wade Nobles because it is specific, and I like the last sentence as it applies to education.

“Culture is not simply the song and dance of a people. Nor is it merely the compilation of their holidays or the listing of their heroes and heroines. Culture is a vast structure of behaviors, attitudes, values, habits, beliefs, customs, rituals, language, and ceremonies peculiar to a particular group of people that provides them with a general design for living and patterns for interpreting reality…

A peoples’ indigenous culture anchors them to reality and must be the starting point for all learning.”

Wade Nobles, Ph.D

SF State University.

As a classroom teacher, I had always tried many different ways to more effectively teach my young African American students and had been leading professional development for a while. It was during the mid to late 1990’s that my studies reached an apex at San Francisco State University where I was manager of a professional development program.

The Director, Dr. Nobles had given me the task of using this research base of Nine African American cultural themes  (attached) together with his and the work of other scholars to create a set of

principles that were practical for classroom teachers to use.

I studied and read widely nights, weekends, holidays, vacations –such interesting work--- and talked with Dr. Nobles and many other African American history and culture scholars around the country and this is what I developed.---(The Touching the Spirit Teaching and Learning Patterns and the Nine Supportive Practices).

African Americans have given America and the world a culture that is rooted in a lively sense of spirit infused with emotional vitality and aliveness in speech, music, language, and social interactions.

If a people’s culture anchors them to reality and must be the starting point for all learning, then If you want to achieve educational excellence with AA students, you must “touch their spirit”. 

You do this through the use of rhythm, recitation, (Augusta shows the Touching the Spirit small chart as she summarizes.)

With the hundreds of workshops and demonstration lessons I have led over the years, I’ve needed to make only a very few minor changes, and teachers tell me that it has helped them design their lessons and to understand the beliefs and practices of highly successful teachers of African American students.

I’ve recorded more on Touching the Spirit on video #27


“Before I get to the stacks of books, I want to quickly talk with you about some other issues.

I’m recording this in early June of two thousand 20 during two extraordinary events: The tragic world-wide coronavirus pandemic and the demonstrations that are a world-wide show of solidarity with African American people related to continual tragedies resulting from persistent racism and police brutality.”

“Now on to another tragedy—The long-term failure of America’s public schools to educate the vast majority of African American students to any degree of excellence.”

She begins to show visuals that correspond to her commentary:

2019 NAEP National Assessment of Educational Progress the Nation’s Report Card

Only 18% of 4th Grade Black Students were Reading at or above proficiency level! White Students: 45% Asian Students: 57% Hispanic Students 23% 

“ I am only one in a long tradition of teachers who year-after-year have taught African American children to achieve to high levels of academic excellence—at and above grade level.”

“Some of these teachers and their practices have over the years been featured in various books, articles, speeches, videos, and other media along with corresponding and voluminous research on African American and multicultural education. 

I’m featuring some of these books in the 3rd video in this “STACK OF BOOKS” series. 

Now that we have the research and publications, we have the needed foundation upon which to build.”

“New Action!! New action is needed!

The formation of a grand collection—a video and document repository of these teachers’ practical teaching strategies and materials we use. How we teach so that our students perform on and above grade level.

What we do step-by-step- day by day 

And why we do it—the WHY is the culture piece.”

“Teaching that is interesting and engaging using African American cultural Touching the Spirit principles led by the principle of African American emotional vitality so lessons avoid the Big B!!! ---boring!”

“Accelerated phonics, vocabulary, writing, reading comprehension—foundational skills mastery that prepare students to be able to engage in the thinking curriculum.

Videos that are quickly accessible with a click and so they can be watched repetitively by teachers and parents and anyone involved in educational activities. “

“Now back to the Stacks of Books”

Augusta begins to place books related to The Role of Culture in Education so as to make the two stacks on the table.

She says that the books are listed on an attachment.

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