Two professors recently published a book identifying the cultural dimensions of knowing and teaching young African American girls. The book titled Cultivating Achievement, Respect, and Empowerment for African American Girls in Pre-K-12 Settings (CARE), is written by TLAC professor Dr. Patricia Larke and EAHR Associate Professor Dr. Gwendolyn Webb-Hasan and coincides with their research on the achievement and development of African American youth.
“The purpose of the book was to bring a keen focus on the status of African American girls in the area of education,” said Dr. Webb-Hasan. “We wanted to share what attending to their academic and social skill development could achieve in the school context.”
Drs. Larke and Webb-Hasan conducted several interviews and focus groups during the writing of the book so that service providers could better understand the oral traditions and nonverbal nuances of African American girls. They described the concept as Talking With Attitude (TWA) and highlighted the void often felt by African American students in schools regarding the topic.
“We did not want teachers and administrators to just assume that they were doing well in school. We wanted to share the issues of importance with them so that service providers would consider how to meet them where they are, and take them where they needed to go as learners and females,” said Dr. Webb-Hasan.
One of the main goals of the book was to reinforce the sense of integrity of young African American girls are as learners. Both professors highlighted an unbalanced educational focus on young African American males and how it often led to under representation for females.
“Though our research community is doing a better job with addressing the needs of African American boys, they assume that females do not have that same need,” said Dr. Webb-Hasan. "When we examine African American children as a group, it is clear that context drives a multitude of needs and a gender perspective is needed for both groups from strength rather than deficit perspectives.”
Dr. Webb-Hasan said to do this effectively; exposure to collegiate success plays an important role.
“We realized that if African American girls were going to get to the collegiate level, they must first be prepared to have that option,” she said. “We have to better prepare them for academic choices early in their academic lives.”
More information about the book can be found on the Information Age Publishing website.