EDUTAINMENT IMPROVES ACHIEVEMENT
Saturday, October 29, 2005 5:55:00 PM
by Melvia F Miller
|MAJOR SOCIAL DILEMNA....
ON THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF the historic Supreme Court case --
''Brown vs. Board of Education''--which resulted in racial desegregation of public schools---
...studies find that our schools are just as
racially SEGREGATED NOW as they were then---with only a few exceptions.
...studies show that there is a big GAP between
ACHIEVEMENT LEVELS of Black and White students.
"America''s biggest public education challenge today may be the persistent and dramatic achievement gap between Black students and white students. If we could close that gap and truly equalize educational achievement between the races, most of our other socioeconomic debates would just go away."
So says Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and essayist of the 60-minute documentary, "Closing the Achievement Gap."
EXAMPLE: Chicago statistics
In Chicago, for example, racial gaps in graduation rates increased between 1991 and 2001, according to the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. Between 1997 and 2004, the gap in reading and math scores also widened, a consortium analysis found.
The stark contrast between black and white achievement on international reading tests is just one example of the gap. In the Progress in International Literacy Reading Study (PIRLS), white American fourth-graders scored above students overall in Sweden -- the highest performing nation in the world -- but black American fourth-graders scored only near the international average.
Pennsylvania''s black fourth-graders score in the bottom quarter of black fourth-graders nationwide, according to National Assessment of Educational Progress math and reading test results.
And ultimately, just 58 percent of black students, compared to 83 percent of white students, graduate from Pennsylvania high schools, according to The Education Trust.
ARE THERE SOLUTIONS?
THE SCHOOLS MUST ADDRESS 3 MAJOR PROBLEMS:
1) Lack of positive Black (and minority) role models, visual aids, Black Studies, etc.
2) CULTURAL DIVERSITY:
Schools must provide a safe, non-threatening learning environment in which participants increase their awareness of diversity issues, share their experiences and gain skills for dealing with people different from themselves.
3) Poor and ineffective TEACHING METHODS.
Yes, there are some solutions--
MORE MULTI-CULTURAL EDUCATION:
There is a serious need for African American students to see role models of other Black people in books, videos, posters, and aides used in the classroom.
The Educational Scholars who designed curriculum for our schools many years ago, were very shrewd in that they made sure to include numerous White (Caucasian) achievers (scientists, leaders, politicians, writers, etc.)
Typically, books and other classroom aides are filled with pictures and stories of leaders, inventors, heroes, and scholars of the Caucasian persuasion. Everyone who attended Public School in the USA learned about people like--- Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, Betsy Ross, Amelia Earhart, and many other Caucasian heroes.
Why did they include this type of info? Because it directly effects and influences one's self-esteem. Particularly during one's youth, there is considerable "identification with role models" that happens on a mental, emotional and intellectual level. Interesting, most of our school textbooks, visual aides, films, etc. have left out Black people---or they are portrayed in a 'negative light.'
Seldom, if at all, do Black students have such influences upon their schooling as to give them a good sense of high self-esteem and "race esteem."
The schools need to present more stories that inspire, encourage and show Blacks (and other minorities) in a positive and successful light. We need classes in African-American History, more emphasis upon Multi-Cultural Studies, which includes presentations of diverse racial and ethnic groups.
FOR MORE INFO, GET YOUR COPY OF A CD... Author Melvia Miller discussed this problem on radio....
Send a Money Order for $15.00 for a copy of this one hour show on CD--- or get your CD free when you buy the Black History Game & Coloring Book Set.
Author Melvia Miller is listed with other famous authors on a Writer's Project for Miami Dade College...
*To see her listing, go to that site and scroll down to row #26.
HOW EDUTAINMENT CAN IMPROVE the Achievement Gap--- Blacks vs. Whites
Edutainment is a term coinage, similar to 'infotainment,' that expresses the marriage of education and entertainment in a work or presentation such as a television program or a Web site. The most educationally effective children's programs on television (Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Mr. Rogers) could be classed as edutainment.
EDUTAINMENT gets us aware from the old traditional techniques of "sit and listen to lectures"--- and the time-honored boring "rote memorization" of terms, words, and data. It is most effective in building skills, improving retention, group collaberation, and making education more relevant to real life, and learning more enjoyable.
Why not bring the class alive with visual aids, posters, films, role playing, games and demonstrations? Or if we are teaching Spelling, we may have a contest to make it more fun. In other words, why not use music to teach portions of a math lesson? And, if we are teaching Science, we may add in some Black History and discuss famous Black Achievers.
Studies have shown which methods are most effective--and lecturing is at the bottom of the list. Lecturing should be used only in cases where it can be either entertaining or when no other method is workable or appropo.
Rather than lecturing 95% of the time, educators should consider using more "group activities" and collaberative learning methods, in order to help their students. Research has also shown that collaberative learning is much more effective than the old traditional styles of teaching...such as rote memorization.
LEARN MORE AT--
...."The True History Museum"
TRUE HISTORY MUSEUM