A study published by Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng of NYU (New York University) and his colleague, Peter Halpin, suggests that student learn better in a classroom (Harrison, 2016, October 5) where the teacher is what Americans call a minority teacher i.e. Black, Hispanic, Asian.
They analyzed data from the Measure of Effective Teaching study to arrive at their conclusion. They also gave some 30 questions surveys to some 1,700 students from the 6th to the 9th graders in 300 US cities. Many of these questions were quite direct such as:
- How much does this teacher challenge his students?
- How supportive is she?
Based on their research the Grade 6 to Grade 9 who are on average 11 and 14 years old connect more with Black, Hispanic, Asian that they did white teachers. Albeit not an exhaustive study that canvassed the opinions of every single minority in all the 300 schools, the results are telling.
The study pointed out that 11 and 14 years old saw Minority teachers as being more naturally empathetic to the struggles of minority student that a white teacher, who often may not be able to relate due to the prevalence of white privilege and cultural insensitivities white teachers. It also calls for schools to have more diverse teaching staffs, possibly more Jamaican, as Jamaicans are a minority group. Already, many schools in US and England are already hiring Jamaican teachers (Deer, 2016, March 13).
Albeit this is unlikely, changes can be made. Auditing the schools that do have minority teachers on their teaching staff and how they connect with student can help white teacher to improve how they connect with minority students. And yes, more Jamaican Teachers please!
- Deer, L. (2016, March 13). How JA$5 million salaries in Britain means English Teacher Exodus from Ministry of Education. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2016/03/Britain-English-Teacher-Exodus.html
- Harrison, R. (2016, October 5). Students of All Races Prefer Teachers of Color, Finds NYU Steinhardt Study. Retrieved from https://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2016/october/students-of-all-races-prefer-teachers-of-color–finds-nyu-steinh.html