If you look 9; at images of African people, relate that to their view, or American ghettos and think of Black people. You get constant images of 9; Black people not succeeding. I think however liberal and anti-racist sometimes that can still creep into the teacher.
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It is important to bear in mind that schools in general are not free from societal attitudes and values and the pupils experience covert racism not only inside the classroom but outside as well. According to Shealey racism is manifested in schools because of stereotypes and false assumptions. She goes on to say schools that have high populations of minority ethnic groups must deal with issues such as racism and discrimination which students and their families experience.
The pupils in the study did not express any overtly racist incidence from teachers and on the whole felt that the schools supported them. However, at the end of the focus group interview with a group of Year 10 boys at Birch Secondary, a couple of them, who initiated the dialogue, spoke at length about racist incidences they encountered with the police outside of the School.
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The head of Birch, for instance, said:. It is important to note that self-confidence is often linked to self-esteem and the self-esteem of Black pupils is often reported in the literature. Whilst self-esteem is a basis of self confidence the two can be seen as distinct but interconnected entities. Milner , for example, argued that Black pupils had low self-esteem and the subsequent multicultural education curriculum was an attempt to raise the self-esteem of Black pupils.
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Other writers, such as Stone question the notion of low-self esteem, and lay the blame of underachievement on progressive multicultural teaching which does not equip these pupils with the dominant forms of knowledge in order to challenge it. Mirza , p. Recent studies, mainly from America suggest that Black pupils have slightly higher self-esteem than Whites and other ethnic groups see Van Larr ; Green et al.
However, Shokraii , p. Writers such as Bennett argue that students engage when they are confident but several aspects of the educational experiences of Black pupils reinforce failure and demand conformity. Several writers locate the academic failure of Black children, especially boys, to their mistrust and negative experiences of the education system Wrench et al.
Therefore, it may be that the issue is not necessarily a self-esteem one but rather their negative experiences with teachers that ultimately leads to low self-confidence in their ability to achieve; this could be a factor in the cause of underachievement. It could be that Black pupils who are able to succeed do so because they "learn to navigate through these negatives and minimise their impact" Rhamie , p. Also students are able to achieve when teachers have high expectations of them. A positive teacher-pupil relationship is seen as key to academic success or failure.
For instance, it has been suggested that the high expectations that teachers have of Chinese children could be a contributory factor for their academic success Archer et al. Conversely, as discussed previously, studies point to the low teacher expectations of Black children Majors In Fig Primary, for example, the head stated:. The negative experience of schooling by Black children is reported in the literature Mac an Ghaill ; Blair b. However, in the study, pupils felt that many teachers, worked hard to ensure they maximized their potential. For instance, during the focus group discussion at Birch Secondary one boy said: "I like the school, the facilities, our teachers work hard with us".
Generally, pupils enjoyed lessons and school life. Another girl from the same school said:. I like science, English drama.
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A couple of children commented on their dislike of teachers who singled them out because they do not understand the work or who respond punitively if pupils challenge their authority. For instance, a girl from Elm Secondary said:. I do like school. I dislike it when teachers pick on you.
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Motivation is seen as one of the key factors to academic success and sources of motivation for these high attaining pupils were explored to see whether or not there were differences between African and Caribbean heritage children. The evidence suggests that African children do better academically than their Caribbean counterparts.
A number of complex reasons could account for this phenomenon. Clearly, there are cultural differences between Black Caribbean and Black African people. However, we argue that there appears to be a common British Black experience among children who are of Caribbean or African heritage, socialised in Britain.
Our views here are based on Youdell p. The significance of community nomination as a methodological tool is that it attempts to explore the perceptions of the Black community. In terms of the present data almost all the pupils - and they were drawn from both African and Caribbean heritages - reported parental influences, particularly mothers, as being the main factor in their motivation to succeed academically.
Both pupils and educators interviewed commented at length on the degree of parental support which acted as a source of motivation for pupil achievement. Comments from both boys and girls included:. IW from Birch Secondary. AS from Birch Secondary. The thing that motivates me for my achievements the most is my parents, 9;especially my mum, she gave me a goal in life to do well and support my family for the future.
IO from Elm Secondary. Studies draw attention to the pivotal role Black parents play in the education of their children Tomlinson ; Channer ; Rhamie The importance of schools developing active parental partnership is discussed by Cork She cites examples of parents who have worked collaboratively with schools to develop curriculum materials and focuses on the ways parents can actively participate in schools by being governors, teaching assistance and mentors.
In the present study, the schools formed good parental partnerships. In Oak Primary, for example, parents are often invited in to school to work along side teachers on various projects. The researchers did not interview many parents due to the limitations of the study. However, the principal researcher, at the request of the head teacher from Oak Primary, held a discussion with a group of parent governors.
The parents were extremely positive about the School and the initiatives and range of activities that have been implemented to raise the levels of achievement among Black pupils and indeed all pupils. The parents also valued the importance of having effective parent teacher partnership. As one parent claimed:.
We have had a number of activities which have been geared towards parents and teachers working together in collaboration and partnership and all have been successful in forging good relationships between the teacher and parent. This article has attempted to analyse the factors and conditions which have contributed to high attaining Black pupils. These are: strong leadership, strategic approaches to raising levels of achievement, high teacher expectations, good teacher-pupil relationships, a high level of parental involvement and good partnerships with parents.
The article explored the self-esteem of Black children and their learning styles since these two facets have been the focus of discussion in relation to their schooling. The role of the maternal parent as a source of motivation was also cited as a factor that impacted significantly on high achieving pupils.
The case study schools have created the conditions which meet the needs of the children across the social, emotional and academic dimensions. The findings of the research draw attention to the notions of race and social justice and the effects of quality and equality in education.
Afridi, A. Archer, L. London: Routledge. Banks, J. Banks eds. Handbook of research on multicultural education, pp. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Battacharyya, G. Bennett, N. London: Sage.
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Bennett, W. Tell it like it is. How our School fail Black Children , pp. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books. Beauboeuf-Lafontant, T. Teachers College Record.