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The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787903381
ISBN-10: 0787903388
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Although statistics paint a harsh picture of the education of African American children, Ladson-Billings (curriculum and instruction, Univ. of Wisconsin) integrates scholarly research with stories of eight successful teachers in a predominantly African American school district to illustrate that the "dream" of all teachers and parents-academic success for all children-is alive and can be emulated. The presentation of examples from "intellectually rigorous and challenging classrooms" emphasizes the cultural and social aspects of the issues in education as a whole. The author's own experiences as a student and teacher of teachers support the need to make the problems of African American children a central issue in any debate on the American educational system. The in-depth bibliographical notes and the excellent appendixes discussing the methodology and the context of the study should be useful for education students and the libraries serving them.
A.R. Huggins, Memphis State Univ. Libs.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Ladson-Billings writes with three voices: as an African American scholar, a teacher, and a parent and community activist. Among the issues the author addresses in a readable blend of storytelling and scholarship are separatist education and culturally relevant teaching in content, presentation, and presenter. Current successes and future prospects for improving the school experiences of African American students are also addressed. Here is a book filled with pride and questions that should stimulate anyone interested in improving education. Denise Perry Donavin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (January 29, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787903388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787903381
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ladson-Billings, wrote an extraordinary book on African American students and the struggles they face trying to receive an education equal to that of other races. She took a look into the classrooms of eight teachers who perhaps had different teaching styles, but all had one common goal to provide an education for all students. She wrote this book from an author, a student, a teacher,and a parent's prospective. She included such issues as being a cultural relevant teacher. Being a teacher who doesn't mind accomodating and adapting to the needs of her students. She also addressed the issue of teachers who were assimilators. If you have any plans or desires to teach, this is a must read book. This book was enjoyable, easy to read, and cultural relevant.
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Format: Paperback
All too often, African American students are blamed as the ultimate cause of their own academic failure. Proposed reasons can span from ethnic or racial inferiority, to home neglect, to simple lack of motivation, or the notion that some students are just better than others.
I refuse to accept that the reasons offered above have everything to do with the disproportionate numbers of students of African heritage who consistently perform below the national averages on standardized tests and measures. I refuse these notions because I look to my brothers and sisters and I see intelligence, I see beauty, and I see wisdom.
In The Dreemkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children by Gloria Ladson-Billings, the author explores the issue of successful teaching of African American students. The text is based upon extensive research of eight excellent teachers of African American students. Ladson-Billings provides a colorful "snapshot" of each teacher. Through extensive qualitative research, she draws forth the common ideologies subscribed to by these teachers. These ideals are encompassed under the umbrella notion of "Culturally Relevant Teaching." This important piece is thoroughly explored in the text. Helpful comparative tables are interwoven throughout the book, which contrast Culturally Relevant Ideologies with the traditional Assimilationist Methods. This book is a valuable resource to all teachers, and can serve as a helpful model for qualitative researchers. Despite the unnecessary summaries which conclude each chapter, the text is very readable. I was impressed with the sincerity in the author's voice. Ladson-Billings acknowledges her own subjectivity in the Preface.
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Format: Paperback
The author of Dreamkeepers makes the argument that African American children can be successful in school if changes are made by the education community. Gloria Ladson-Billings advocates for "culturally relevant teaching" which she believes will allow children to achieve academic success while maintaining a positive African American identity. By examining historical inequalities and the poor state of current education and achievement of African American children, the future may appear bleak or even destined for failure. Ladson-Billings offers examples of teachers, teaching methods, and ideas to keep the dream of education and success alive for African American children today. The focus of the book is the roles teachers have in helping children find success and examples of how teachers of African American children have been successful in this role. The way children should be taught is also discussed because she claims that the way children are taught is often more important than what they are taught. Ladson-Billings believes that these ideas could be used to get teachers, parents, and community members to redesign schools to better meet the needs of African American children, and after considering her reasons and evidence provided I am inclined to agree with these ideas.

The study was done in a predominantly low income African American community. To find successful teachers of African American children, Ladson-Billings asked parents and community members and then principals. When she had gathered a list of possible names, she chose only the names that had appeared from both groups. Ladson-Billings notes a distinction between excellent teaching and teachers because she does not want the examples to be dismissed as a cult of personality.
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Format: Paperback
Today's urban public schools in the United States are filled with hopeful, eager students who are considered in the racial minority while many of the teachers they will encounter are white and female. In most cases, they do not share the same experiences nor view the world through the same lenses. In some cases, they are worlds apart. Ladson-Billings has constructed a book that provides insights, concepts and ideas that address the bridging of the cultural gap between African American students and teachers assimilated into the majority culture. This book is smart and useful as it addresses what all teachers can do to teach African American children with cultural competence. I strongly recommend this book to parents, prospective teachers, new teachers, veteran teachers and teacher-educators.
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