A New Look at Afrocentric Curriculum
A New Look at Afrocentric Curriculum
The term Afrocentric Curriculum is used synonymously or interchangeably with such terms as Afrocentricity or Afrocentrism referring to an African centered educational system as opposed to the traditional European centered one. According to Nobles, Afrocentric Curriculum represents the concept of quality of thought and practice rooted in the cultural image and interest of African and African-American people. That is, it represents and reflects the life experiences, history, and traditions of African and African-American people as the center of analyses (Nobles, 11).
One of the outstanding advocates of Afrocentricity, University Professor Molefi K. Asante asserts, among other ideas, that Afrocentricity means treating African people as subjects instead of objects, putting them in the middle of their own historical context as active human agents. To him, Afrocentricity means that the African American is viewed as an agent, an actor in the story of history, rather than a passive observer on the sidelines. It means helping students discover how active the African person or idea is in a given situation, narrative, illustration, or example.
There are several critics of Afrocentricity among educators or intellectuals who frown upon most of the reasons the advocates provide for supporting the idea. At this juncture, the pressing question that requires an intellectual, unbiased, and forthright answer is on the reasons why African and African American children need an Afrocentric Curriculum. Afrocentric Curriculum into school system cannot and should not be compromised. With Afrocentrism, sound discipline in schools is maintained, academic achievement is superb, and additionally, kids are headed for contributions to better themselves, their communities and their nation at large.
How can the Curriculum Ideas be applied to the Elementary School Classroom and enhance Second Language Learning The Afrocentric Curriculum can be integrated in the classroom to improve second language learning of elementary students. This could be done through changing the way teachers’ teach most subjects in school from the traditional Eurocentric point of view to an African centered one. Teachers should give effort to increase the amount of information they teach in school about African and African-Americans.
Students should be given assignments that will broaden their understanding and knowledge of Afro-American history or culture. Teachers can use important documentary films to supplement history classes. Elementary textbooks should include books that speak of the culture and history of African- American people and their contributions to the world such as African-American classics, autobiographies of famous Black people and books that reflect the life experiences, history and traditions of African and African-American people. Integrating the African centered curriculum will enhance students’ second language learning.
Since the curriculum is culturally sensitive, students have a better understanding of their own self-worth, their own unique language and an appreciation of the diversity of the world. Thus, the young students will have a more develop cognitive skills and higher academic language proficiency thereby making it easier to acquire and master a second language. Afrocentrism will help address the linguistic needs of Black students, enhance their language skills and increase their ability to communicate fluently in their first and second language.
They practice speaking appropriately in real life and in spontaneous situations leading to communicative competence. Afrocentic system gives Afro-American elementary students confidence and a fun way of learning a second language. Getting on the Fast Track – Problem-Solving and Critical -Thinking are Necessary Parts of Curriculum for Afro-American Students by Zaretta L. Hammond The education your child receives today may be obsolete tomorrow, according to some experts. As we approach the twenty-first century, children will need different kinds of thinking skills to deal with a more complex world.
In addition to having strong math, computer and language skills, they will also need to be able to evaluate, analyze and synthesize information. Problem-solving strategies, along with creative-thinking skills, will be essential, too. Unfortunately, many Black children are not getting these skills. Too many of our children are steered on a slow or average track and are given less challenging work, most of which is remedial or focused on basic skills. Critical thinking is reserved for children in gifted programs, who are most often from white, middle-class families.
A child is being challenged in school if you see these signs: First is the active learning environment. Children are stimulated to think when they create and develop topics, initiate projects and interact with other students. Active students have active minds. Second sign is a teacher who is not a preacher. Fewer lectures mean more time for students to read, write and ask questions – all aids to intellectual stimulation. The third sign is a variety of different learning resources.
Computers and high-tech equipment are important additions to the classroom, but storytellers, local artists and businesspeople can open a child’s mind to worlds she hasn’t known before. If your child’s school doesn’t provide a stimulating, active learning environment, demand it! Ask that a critical-thinking curriculum be made available to all children. How can the Curriculum Ideas be applied to the Elementary School Classroom and enhance Second Language Learning African-American elementary students need an education that will make them equip for the fast changing world.
Elementary curriculum should incorporate not only the basic skills but also strong advance skills like problem-solving and creative-thinking abilities. Children can improve their computer literacy by providing computer classes starting from the first grade. Using communicative teaching in the classroom will hone students’ language skills whereas giving homework and activities that challenge students’ minds, discussing relevant issues or topics and encouraging students to analyze and express their thoughts will develop their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
The school should also provide students various learning resources and be updated with the latest technology. In addition, students should be exposed to the outside world to gain more knowledge and educational experiences through outside school activities like excursions or immersions. Advocating the kind of curriculum described above will enhance second language learning. Having a strong basic and academic skills give young students confidence to study and speak in a second language. Acquiring a second tongue will be less straining since the students have already build their cognitive skills necessary for language proficiency.
Critical thinking will develop awareness of language varieties, thus students can evaluate and learn to recognize differences in meaning and intentions when an idea is translated from one language to another. The use of technology makes second language learning accessible and interesting. For example, Internet technology can enrich authentic language experiences and enhance classroom experience by connecting students to the world and even giving them an opportunity to interact with people from different culture. Making the Connection: Language and Academic Achievement among African-American Students
by Carolyn Temple Adger, Donna Christian, & Orlando Taylor The Coalition on Language Diversity in Education committed to leading a coherent, informed response to the Ebonics controversy that would support excellence and equity in the education of Ebonics speakers and other African American students sponsored a national conference, Language Diversity and Academic Achievement in the Education of African American Students. The conference outlined essential dimensions of programs and policies to meet the academic needs of African American students, as well as those of other students with respect to language variation.
The proceedings of the conference suggest ways to address language issues in the education of African-American students such as improving teachers’ and students’ attitudes toward and knowledge about African American Vernacular English or Ebonics; improving the teaching of Standard English and improving the teaching of speaking, reading, and writing. Classroom talk assumes greater importance in the current understanding of how cognitive development occurs.
There is a need to know more about language use in classrooms, about students’ opportunities to participate academically and more about the ways in which teachers’ behavior influences students’ talk. Issues in Ebonics and the educational achievement of African-American students cut across the school curriculum. Typical approach to dialect knowledge in the school curriculum can be expanded by introducing students to the facts of language variation through scientific methods. The program would not only update the curriculum but also combat the dialect stereotypes evident in most discussions about Ebonics.
Teachers need to learn about African-American literary traditions in order to support students’ language development, academic achievement and help build literacy from oracy. However, persistent linguistically naive testing discounts the abilities of vernacular dialect speakers. Fairness in assessment and mental measurement should be pushed. The Coalition on Language Diversity in Education are engaged in a walk to the linguistic freedom, a state in which everyone’s language is honored in fact and every student’s academic achievement is supported.
How can the Curriculum Ideas be applied to the Elementary School Classroom and enhance Second Language Learning Addressing language issues that hinder academic excellence of African-American students can be done through educating teachers and students about the African-American Vernacular English and teaching the Standard English in a better way as well as improving the teaching of speaking, reading and writing in the elementary classroom. Scientific methods can be incorporated in the curriculum to introduce students to the facts of language variations that could help eradicate dialect stereotypes.
Teachers should also be trained to make them capable in supporting language literacy development in vernacular speakers. Developing more effective programs on language teaching and learning in the classrooms should be continuous. Improving the way speaking, reading and writing is taught in the elementary classroom will increase language literacy and Standard English competency of Afro-American students thereby eliminating Ebonics controversy; giving students equal chance to stand out in academic education including second language learning.
Instructing students a second language through a familiar language, that is their vernacular language can be helpful to obtain mastery of the target second language. Ebonics proficiency can lead to efficient second language learning. Teachers who have ample knowledge of African-American literary traditions can provide more assistance and encouragement to motivate students to learn a second language and attain fluency. References Adger, C. T. , Christian, D. & Taylor, O. (1999, July). Making the connection: Language and academic
achievement among African-American students. Center for Applied Linguistics. Retrieved from http://www. cal. org/topics/dialects. html Hammond, Z. L. (1991, January). Getting on the fast track – problem-solving and critical-thinking are necessary parts of curriculum for Afro-American students. Essence. Retrieved from http://www. findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m1264 Iyewarun, S. A. (n. d). A new look at Afrocentric curriculum. Retrieved from http:// www. nbufront. org/html/FRONTALView/ArtclesPapers/AfrocentricCurriculm. html