African Centered Educators’ Perspectives on Theory in Practice
Blanton, Shanika L.
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African Centered Education (ACE) is conceptualized as a strategy to foster success for African American youth overall and particularly students at risk for low academic achievement and psycho-behavioral issues. A central premise of ACE is that all children, regardless of their background, are cultural beings (Hilliard, 1995). Although there is a considerable literature on the assumptions and conceptualizations of an ACE theory, there is a paucity of empirical studies related to how it is put into practice (Shockley & Frederick, 2010). In addition, most of what is published is dated by at least ten years. This study utilized grounded theory (Charmaz, 2003) and a critical case sampling approach (Patton, 2001) to understand and describe what Africentric principles, concepts and ideas ACE teachers apply to their teacher practice. Observations were conducted to develop an understanding about contexts, instructional strategies and social interactions as they exist within an Africentric paradigm. Interviews were conducted to eventually arrive at four core themes that capture the pedagogical style of Africentric teachers in this study. Teachers emphasized culture, a sense of community, teacher characteristics and student centered teaching approaches as key to their ACE pedagogy. Findings revealed that teachers use an inherent framework to guide their understanding of how to apply ACE to teaching K-12 curriculum content as well as how to address the psychosocial and behavioral needs of their students. Ultimately, this study represents how education and culture can be used to support the development of ethnically diverse students academically and psychosocially.
African Centered Education