Culturally Appropriate Teaching

A. Wade Boykin, Ph.D.

February 28 , 2006

Profile

As the Spring 2003 Howard Magazine confirmed, Dr. A. Wade Boykin is a legendary scholar-teacher. According to the editors, Dr. Boykin is one of “eight distinguished faculty members whose work has significance not only for the Howard University community, but for people around the world.”

Dr. Boykin has earned this reputation from his teaching and his research on teaching. At Howard, he directs the graduate program in Developmental Psychology, where he teaches courses such as “Seminar in Developmental Psychology,” “Cognitive Development,” and “Psychology & the Black Experience.” He also directs the Capstone Institute, formerly known as CRESPAR, the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk. Based on a Talent Development Model, Capstone’s philosophy is that “students are not inherently at risk but rather are placed at risk of educational failure by many adverse practices and situations.” Thus, Capstone’s projects are built on the premise that “all students can learn in demanding settings with high academic expectations.”

During his tenure at Capstone/CRESPAR, Dr. Boykin has published countless articles and chapters about African American child development, African American academic achievement, and the relationships among cognition, motivation, and culture. Through his research, he has discovered several “culturally appropriate” ways to improve African American students’ academic performance. Because of his expertise, he was invited to serve on the Research Advisory Panel for the National Minority Student Achievement Network. In 1995, he also served on the American Psychological Association’s task force that published “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns,” a response to Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s controversial book The Bell Curve. In this video, however, he advises us, his fellow teachers, about some of the “culturally appropriate” ways that we can help our students learn.

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