Strategies for Educators


New teachers often have little or no preparation for engaging in the teaching-learning process with African American students. Moreover, they have probably had even less training in issues specific to African American males. This article focuses on ways to enhance learning experiences of African American males through self-esteem. We begin by defining and describing elements of self-esteem and analyzing selected literature as it relates to the education of African American males. We then suggest specific educational strategies for African American males, although they are also appropriate for others. These suggestions can help prepare pre-service teachers for a type of diversity seldom addressed in traditional teacher education programs.

In the quest for excellence in education, educators have explored many factors that contribute to the quality of educational achievement among African American male students. Some assert that achievement can be improved with more financial resources. Others identify staff development and new methodologies that will meet the needs. Still others believe that poverty, racism and sexism diminish achievement, along with personal abilities and what is traditionally seen as intelligence. While all of the above seem to influence  educational  achievement  in  a  myriad  of  complex  and interrelated ways, we believe that to improve educational achievement for all students, especially African American male children, approaches must incorporate specific strategies to foster positive self-esteem. In this article, we seek to add to the discourse that currently surrounds the educational attainment of African American males by exploring self-esteem as an integral factor in success. We begin with a brief discussion of the concept of self­ esteem. We then focus on the impact of self-esteem on student performance while stressing the critical need for addressing issues of self-esteem in working with children in inner city schools, especially African American male students. We end the article by presenting practical classroom strategies for the teacher. The strategies are designed to increase self-esteem, mold positive attitudes and build confidence through classroom experiences for African American males.


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