My research has uncovered the nuanced ways that families support their children’s education at home and how families teach their children to balance struggle with hope.
I refer to such home teaching strategies as “family pedagogy.” What might teachers learn from the Black family pedagogy used by families to survive and “succeed” within and outside of school?
If they have not already done so, I encourage teachers to take the spiritual lives of families seriously as a key point of connection.
Family voices can advise teachers on how to balance high stakes accountability testing with skills we also know children need to survive and thrive at school.
I now turn to naming and supporting the teaching skills that breed high educational performance by bridging the gaps that separate school and home.
One of the most important skills we need to develop in Pre-K–16 teachers is their ability to build on the knowledge that students bring into classrooms, particularly that knowledge which is shaped by their family, community, and cultural histories.
My ethnographic research pertaining to this topic spans over 5 years.
By studying multiple generations of Black families in the Northeastern Albemarle region of North Carolina, I search for family knowledge that can transfer into teacher education.
I explore historical and contemporary family struggles and hopes regarding school desegregation.
Families uphold a spiritual faith that learning to read and write is directly relevant to leading a holistic spiritual life.
Families also tell stories of struggle and share hope-filled stories of how even in the face of adversity, members of their family were able to survive and succeed within the educational system that was not initially created to benefit Black families.
Teachers must come to understand the real lived experience of the families and children they teach.
In my classes, I try to encourage teachers to think about how to set up plausible situations to give families a legitimate voice in their curriculum and unit planning.