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Cynthia A. Wooding
While teaching in an inner city school that is at-risk according to the State of Connecticut, it is my concern that I understand the pros and cons of all the social and political debates on the issues of African Americans and Intelligence. The research on psychological testing in the school system has gone through a series of historical events and opinions. Researchers such has Albert Binet, William Stern, Carl Bingham, and the famous controversial research by Hernstein's and Murray's, The Bell Curve, have influenced political and social opinions about intelligence testing and what is intelligence.
There is much concern applying intelligence testing in school systems to determine a students' academic achievement. In regards to teaching a Social Studies curriculum, one of my goals is to teach the students self-esteem and explore the issue of self-fulfilling prophecy. Michael Hardman summarizes in his book of Human Exceptionality, Society, School and Family about the effects of labeling and the definition of self-fulfilling prophecy. He states on page nine that a self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when a person has expectations of another person and these expectations affect the behavior, which in turn creates the prophesied expectations. When having the student evaluate his or her own self and setting positive goals, they are setting their own positive expectations. A student's behavior is affected by his or her core beliefs about him or herself. This core belief could be a positive or negative. The students behavior usually reflects his or her personally beliefs. A school environment has to provide a positive reinforcement in the view of self-fulfilling prophecy. This unit helps provide the teacher with a positive reinforcement intervention program.
In this curriculum, I have developed a unit focusing on the achievement of minorities African Americans. The curriculum discusses African Americans that have successfully contributed to their own culture and made positive changes in American and world societies. This curriculum will help build positive self-image and hope regarding intelligence in different races, genders, and socio-economic groups.
The curriculum unit focuses on the accomplishments of African American achievers during February's black history month. The unit is to explore and familiarize fifth grade students with the history and knowledge of African American achievers. Exposing the students to achievers who share with them race, ethnic or gender profiles will allow them to explore themselves and be challenged, thus starting to create their own ideas of achievements they want to fulfill. The unit will use Robert Sternberg's Triachic Theory when exploring famous African Americans and their accomplishments. The unit will explore African Americans who are gifted in the three aspects of Sternberg's Triachic Theory. These three aspects are practical thinking, creative thinking, and analytical thinking. The unit will explore African Americans who have succeeded in using all or one of the thinking processes. The African American chosen to exemplify someone who succeeded in creative process will be Clementine Hunter. Clementine Hunter contributed to society with her beautiful Black American folk art. The African American chosen to exemplify someone who succeeded in analytical process will be Benjamin Banneker. Benjamin Banneker was an inventor, scientist, and writer who contributed the design of the development of Washington D.C. and the Farmers Scientific Almanac. Finally, the African American who exemplifies someone who succeeded in practical processes will be Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson was a famous Black baseball player, businessman, and great orator who contributed morals, ethics, patience and tolerance when encountering success. These three African American display great significance to both African Americans and all culture and races. These Africans Americans will be used for exemplifying positive role models for achievement in the unit.
The Sternberg Triachic Theory of learning processes will help accomplish two major performance-based objectives. The performance- based objectives are as follows: 1.The student will be able to identify the thinking processes of the African American achiever and then relate the three thinking process to themselves. 2. The student will be able to maintain or set goals according to strengths in their thinking process. In the first performance-based objective, students will identify the thinking process of the African American Achiever by having the students read a brief biography of the achiever. The students will identify the actions or behaviors of the achiever while the achiever was accomplishing his or her goal. For example, if the achiever is an artist, the achiever is identified with using the creative processes and uses determination and hope to accomplish his or her goal. The second performance based objective, students will identify their talents and compare them to the achievers. For example, if the student were artistic, the student would compare his or her talents to the achievers and the behaviors and actions that he or she currently possesses while comparing it to the achiever's behaviors or actions. The performance-based objective is demonstrated by having the student set goals of action and behavior towards successfully accomplishing his or her set goal. For example, if the student wishes to become an artist, the students needs to set goals of behaviors and actions similar to the achiever. If I want to become an artist, I need to have respect for other cultures. This respect will allow me to further understand the importance of that culture's art. The actions or behavior for respect is to be polite, listen to the people or person of that culture, and not make fun of the differences of that culture. This unit will be a springboard for the student to think and explore their inner thoughts, feelings and how they view themselves in society. The goals and objectives of this curriculum unit would allow students to explore their own accomplishments, and help them to develop their own personal goals. The outcome of this unit would allow the students to create their own positive self-fulfilling prophecy to contribute to society and to be aware of social sensitivity.
In the fifth grade it is important to have hands-on activities and projects for social development. The student, while exploring famous African Americans, will have to participate in activities that involve social and emotional interaction with their peers. A culminating project completed by the student will be a collage that expresses who they are, what they want to be, and why. Then, the student in a formal presentation setting will present this collage in class. The student's collage will be displayed in the Media Center for staff, students and visitors to enjoy.
Overall, the unit will be focusing on the student's positive perception of his/her self-image. This unit will have students look at themselves and the outside world of accomplished African Americans who have been or are successful in fulfilling or changing their own prophecy. This unit will help and encourage the African American students towards positive self-fulfilling prophecy regarding their own social, emotional, practical, analytical, creative, and practical abilities.
I must note that the Horatio Alger survey stated that the overall consensus of the study was not to single out racial outcomes but student's perceptions of furthering their education. The Horatio Alger survey objectives were not used to define the perceptions of only African American students on furthering their education but of all students between the ages of fourteen and eighteen in various demographic areas within the United States.
Other findings in the Horatio Alger Association of 1999 survey were interesting in regards to student's academics. It stated that a variety of students from lower income households were less likely to:
This information reveals a gap between working hard in school and knowing how to accomplish successful goals to further education. Maybe students need to know how to establish their goals and to complete them. From research, it necessary to create a curriculum for African American students that will encourage them to overcome obstacles they face. This curriculum helps improve student's self-image through the exploration of successful African Americans. The curriculum would help the students become aware of positive achievers from their own cultural and race. African Americans have the intelligence and motivation to succeed; they often lack the skills and knowledge to succeed against the odds of biased school testing and challenges in poor socio-economical environments. As educators, we need to develop, implement and assess teaching strategies with the goal of creating child-centered learning environments that help students overcome these biases. These strategies will initiate and support the process of a developing positive image for the individual student.
- • Take the most difficult and challenging classes they can.
- • Believe the amount of work they do now is important to success later in life.
- • Believe that it is important that they do the best in all their classes
- • Agree that doing homework is important
Sternberg describes his theory with three intelligences. The three intelligences are creative, analytical, and practical. Analytical intelligence is the internal world of the individual, or the mental mechanisms that underlie intelligent behavior. The second is creative intelligence, which is intelligence and experience, or mediating role of one's passages through life between the internal and external worlds of the individual. And the third, practical intelligence is intelligence and the external world of the individual, or the use of these mental mechanisms in everyday life in order to attain an intelligent fit to the environment.
Sternberg's (1985) theory of intelligence contains three sub theories, one about context, one about experience, and one about the cognitive components of information processing. Sternberg believes that the environment of the individual has to be considered and what the society thinks is intelligent according to their culture. It is then determined whether that person wants to adapt to their present environment, selecting a different environment, or reshape one's current environment. The intelligence is determined when a person is exposed to tasks that are given to them that are unfamiliar or relatively new. His theory also looks at the relationship and cognitive process of how the person controls and monitors the new tasks which are referred to as metacomponents. How the person executes the new tasks that are given are referred to as performance components, and how the person encodes and assembles new knowledge of the current new tasks that the person was given are referred to as knowledge acquisition components. As a whole, the Triachic theory claims different aspects or kinds of intelligence (e.g., academic, practical, and creative). In an article called Current Research on Intelligence, Frank Yekovich gives an excellent example of Kearin's 1981 study of different intelligences in different cultural settings. Kearin found that aboriginal children develop more of their visuospatial memories than Anglo-Australian children, who are more likely to apply verbal strategies to spatial memory tasks than the aborigines, who employ spatial strategies. It is these various kinds of adaptations that Sternberg test in his Triachic Theory of Human Intelligence.
After self-evaluation, the second lesson of instruction takes place. The second instructional lesson is called "Exploring the Gifts of African American Achievers." At this point, the students are given new information. The teacher presents the profiles of African American achievers. The class will explore and define what intelligences each of these African American achievers possess, and how these African Americans achieved their goals through behaviors and tasks. The instructional lesson will go into detail about what tasks and goals each of these achievers did in order to become successful. The students will have graphic organizers to outline the tasks and goals that the achiever set for him/herself to understand the achiever's goals and what behaviors and tasks they used in order to obtain their goal. This is when Sternberg's metacomponents activate performance and knowledge acquisitions performance. These latter components in turn provide feedback to the metacomponents. This allows the student to prepare for the third instructional lesson.
The students are given new information about African American achievers and need to identify the task and goals for each African American profile. By having all components working highly interactive, the third instructional lesson takes place. The third lesson is about comparison. The comparison is the talent the student already possesses and the talent of the African American achiever. The student also evaluates the tasks of the achiever. The cognitive action in this lesson has three parts: having the student analyzes his/her talents, analyzing the achiever, and comparing the first two parts to come up with behaviors and tasks in order to succeed the students' goal. The student then has to come up with a plan of behaviors and tasks in which the student will be able to succeed in his or her positive goal to become an achiever.
The third instructional lesson is where the external world meets the individual. There needs to be a lot of nurturing and cultural awareness on part of the teacher, for this process to be a success. These tasks have to generate meaning and be purposeful in order for the student to successfully change his behavior and perspective in order to achieve their positive goals. The third lesson is called, "Reach for the Stars". The student selects one type of career. Whether the career will be more focused on creative, analytical, or practical goals, usually one type of occupation has more than one type of intelligence. The student will than set a goal and create tasks and positive behaviors in order to obtain their career goal, and succeed in going towards that career path.
The third lesson will have a graphic organizer for the student to fill out his or her goal, behavior and tasks. The next part of the lesson will be reflection from the first lesson. The student will take his/her talent describe in the first lesson and compare it to the goals and tasks that the students set for themselves in the third lesson. They students will explore how their talent is going to help them succeed with their goals. This is where Sternberg's intelligence behavioral goals are expressed. According to contextual sub theory, intelligence thought is directed toward one or more of the three behavioral goals: adaptation to an environment, shaping of an environment, and selection of an environment. This is not a random or aimless mental activity that happens to involve certain components of information processing at certain levels of experience. Rather, it is actively purposefully directed toward the pursuit of the global goals that serve a purpose and meaning for people's lives. It is again stressed that the school environment be a positive setting for the student. The student will start to identify which behavioral tasks and goals he/ she needs to act upon in order to obtain the goal. These behavior tasks and goals will be written down in the graphic organizer.
The last part of lesson three will conclude the four objectives. Those four objectives are as follows: who am I and what talents do I have, what to a want to be, how will I do it, and how can I change to help achieve my goal. At the end of the lesson the student will summarize the objectives and sign a contract for the year. The contract will have a goal, behaviors, and the tasks of how the student accomplishes the goal. The tasks will have behavior tasks such as respecting others, and having patience for others. These are just a few examples of how the student will perform in demonstrating the tasks.
The fourth lesson called 'I Have a Dream to Make" the students will create a collage. This collage will allow them to express their talents and to motivate them in pursuing their goals. This is the activity of practical intelligence. The students have been given information, now how will the students use the information? The will use this information by executing positive behavior while completing the collage to move closer to the their goal. There are four major components to the collage: showing themselves at the present time, who they want to be, how are they going to do it, and the attached goal contract. There will be guidelines the teacher will present in designing the collage, and a sample will be shown for better understanding. The student collages will be displayed in the Media Center for everyone to enjoy.
First Week, Part 1: Exploring the Gifts of African American Achievers
- 1. Appreciate and know the struggles and ways in which these achievers became successful.
- 2. Sequence the events of how these achievers became successful
- 3. Identify the achievements of each achiever.
- 4. Identify the achievers determination (behaviors) and how they got to their goal successfully.
First African American Profile: Clementine Hunter: Creative
Reading Material for First Week, Part 1: Talking With Tebe: Clementine Hunter, Memory Artist. By Clementine Hunter, Mary E. Lyons
- Graphic Organizer for each Achiever: Clementine Hunter
- Students Pencil
- Books for Display
- ____• Talking With Tebe: Clementine Hunter, Memory Artist by Clementine Hunter, Mary E. Lyons
- ____• Clementine Hunter: American Folk Artist by James Wilson
- Class Reading Material: Brief Biography of Clementine Hunter
Clementine Hunter has been called a primitive artist, a folk artist, a naive painter, and a memory painter. Her bold, exuberant style defies all conventions of traditional art forms. As one critic stated, primitive art reveals a "flash of the spirit." And that spirit for Clementine was the art of living cultivated by blacks in the old South. They learned to make the most of, and celebrate, life in their own way. This books describes Clementine Hunters Life through struggles and success as a painter.
Second Week, Part 2: Exploring African American Achievers
Second African American Profile: Benjamin Banneker: Analytical
Reading Materials for Week 2, Part 2: Benjamin Banneker : Astronomer and Mathematician (African-American Biographies). By Laura Baskes Litwin, Benjamin Banneker
- Graphic Organizer for each Achiever: Benjamin Banneker
- Students Pencil
- Books for Display
- ____• Benjamin Banneker : Astronomer and Mathematician (African-American Biographies) by Laura Baskes Litwin, Benjamin Banneker
- ____• Dear Benjamin Banneker by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Brian Pinkney (Illustrator)
- ____• Bedini, Silvio A.: Life of Benjamin Banneker: The Definitive Biography of Benjamin Banneker
- Class Reading Material: Brief Biography of Benjamin Banneker
Benjamin Banneker was a great mathematician and astronomer. One of his first contributions was that he made an almanac that held essential information for farmers and travelers. His first one was published in 1802.Another contribution was the watch he made entirely out of wood. He had borrowed a watch and used it as a model to make a wooden one. Finally, he was one of the first African Americans to speak out for racism and slavery. He is known around the world for his achievements.
Third Week, Part 3: Exploring African American Achievers
Third African American Profile: Jackie Robinson: Practical
Reading Materials for Week 3, Part 3: Jackie's Nine: Jackie Robinson's Values to Live by Sharon Robinson
- Graphic Organizer for Each Achiever: Jackie Robinson
- Students Pencils
- Books for Display
- ____• Jackie Robinson: Young Sports Trailblazer (Childhood of Famous Americans Series). By Herb Dunn, Meryl Henderson (Illustrator), Dan Gutman
- ____• Jackie's Nine : Jackie Robinson's Values to Live By. By Sharon Robinson
- ____• The Story of Jackie Robinson: Bravest Man in Baseball. By Margaret Davidson
- Class Reading Material: Brief Biography of Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson was the first black in the big leagues in 1947, he starred for the Brooklyn Dodgers for a decade, showing class and poise even as he was vilified by racists in the stands and on the field. His behavior was subversive: He forced America to watch integration work. He broke the color line in what was then the national pastime.
Model for Graphic Organizer:
- 1. Set a career goal.
- 2. Compare their talents to one of the talents of the achiever.
- 3. Create positive behavior tasks to complete the their goals similar to the achiever.
- 4. Write on a graphic organizer these behavioral tasks and the goal that will be completed.
- 5. Complete a Goal Contract pertaining to four major objectives:
- ____• Who I am
- ____• What talents do I have
- ____• What do I want to be
- ____• How can I accomplish my goal
Graphic Organizer on Behavioral task Pertaining to Goal
Goal Contract Worksheet
Graphic Organizers from all three achievers (completed)
Students Previous Work from Lesson 1 (completed)
- • Who I am,
- • What talents do I have
- • What do I want to be
- • How can I accomplish my goal
- Media Center
- Newspapers Clippings; Pictures from Journals, Magazines, and Posters; Graphics from Computer, and Internet: and students own personal creative art (drawings).
- Teacher will have display model for students to have a guideline
- Student guideline worksheet for collage.
- Poster board
- Scissors, Markers, Crayons,
- Index Cards (writing action words for behavioral tasks)
- Goal Contract
- Photograph of Student
- • Needs to be a Poster Board 3'x 3'
- • Has to have 5 Behavioral Action Words related to students tasks and goal
- • Left side of Poster Board Needs to Have a Title of My Talent
- • Right side of poster board needs to have a Title of Who I Want to Be
- • Main Title Needs to be I Have A Dream to Make (Capitals Letters)
- • Neatness, Clarity, Correct Spelling and Grammar
- • 6 Colorful & Accurate pictures representing My Talent & Who I Want To Be
- • Goal Contract Needs to be attached to Collage
- • Balance
- • Proportional
Model for the Collage:
The assessment is a quantitative study. It is an experimental design determining cause and effect. The students will face the challenge of not knowing how to achieve. The cause is the treatment, the treatment is the African American curriculum; it is the independent variable in the assessment. The effect is going to be based on behavior. The effect will have two dependant variables. The two dependent variables of behavior will be assessed. The first dependant behavior is how many times the students raise their hands during instructional lesson. The second dependent behavior will be how many times do the students shout out the answers to cause disruption during the instructional lesson. This assessment is tested out on two groups. One group will be manipulated with the independent variable (with intervention program), while the other group will be the controlled group (without intervention program). Each group will have a total of six assessment tests. Each test will be focus on the two dependent variables. There will be two pretest, two intervention tests, and two post-tests. There will be a total of 12 sets of data to compare and contrast. This data will be collected, analyzed, and compared from the pre-beginnings of the curriculum to the post-end of the curriculum to determine if behavioral patterns have changed in the 2 groups of classes.
Drew, Clifford, Hardman, Michael L., Winston-Egan, M. Human Exceptionality, Society, School, and Family. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 1996.
Entries in Sternberg, RJ (editor). (1994) Encyclopedia of Human Intelligence. New York: McMillan Publishing Co.
• "Practical Intelligence." Wagner. R.
• "Street Intelligence." Nunes, T
• "Problem Finding." Csikzentmihalyi, M.
• "Triachic Theory of Human Intelligence." Sternberg. RJ
• "African Americans." Wilson, MN
• "Socioeconomic Status and Intelligence." Turkheimer
Grigorenko, Elena L., Sternberg, Robert. Teaching for Successful Intelligence: To Increase Student Learning and Achievement. Arlington Heights, IL: Skylight Professional Development. 2000.
Lynn, R. "Direct evidence for genetic basis for black-white difference in IQ." American Psychologist. 1997. 52(1), 73-74.
Madhere, S. "Beyond the Bell curve: Toward a model of talent and character development." Journal of Negro Education, 1995. 64(3), 326-339.
Sternberg, R.J. Beyond IQ: A triachic theory of human intelligence. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 1985.
Sternberg, Robert J. Thinking Styles. New York, NY. Cambridge University Press. 1999.
The State of Our Nation's Youth 1999-2000. Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. Alexandria, VA. 2000.
"U.S. Census Bureau reveals new facts about African American." United Methodist News Service. Nashville, TN: February 1999 (059).
Bedini, Silvio A.: Life of Benjamin Banneker: The Definitive Biography of Benjamin Banneker
Crane, Jonathan. (1994). Exploding the myth of scientific support for the theory of Black intelligence inferiority. Journal of Black Psychology, 20(2), 189-209.
Davidson, Margaret, The Story of Jackie Robinson: Bravest Man in Baseball
Herb, Dunn, Henderson, Meryl. Jackie Robinson: Young Sports Trailblazer (Childhood of Famous Americans Series)
Haskins, James. African American Entrepreneurs (Black Star Series). School and Library Binding, 1998
Henderson, Susan K. African-American Inventors III: Patricia Bath, Phillip Emeagwall, Henry Sampson, Valerie Thomas, Peter Tolliver (Apstone Short Biographies). School Binding, 1998
Hunter, Clementine, Lyons, Mary. Talking With Tebe: Clementine Hunter, Memory Artist
Litwin Baskes, Laura. Benjamin Banneker: Astronomer and Mathematician (African-American Biographies)
Metcalf, D. Portraits of African American Achievers. Good Apple. 1996.
Pinkney, Davis, Andrea, Pinkney. Dear Benjamin Banneker
Robinson, Sharon. Jackie's Nine: Jackie Robinson's Values to Live by
Wilson, Amos N. Awakening the Natural Genius of Black Children.
Wilson, James. Clementine Hunter: American Folk Artist
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