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Developing an Understanding of Local Black Communities for White Teachers

Capstone Proposal


Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of Requirements


For the Degree of

Master of Arts in Education



Developing an Understanding of Local Communities for Teachers


The United States is a culturally diverse country. This nature is attributable its foundation from migrant peoples. As a result, the country is populated by people from divergent races and cultures. In recent decades, the world has embraced diversity across different societies. However, the United States has led in debates concerning diversity. These questions are particularly important in the realm of education. It is a field that involves a lot of relation between school staff and students. As a result, it is important for both parties to reflect positively on each other. However, racism may arguably be present in educational institutions. This results in tension between the school staff and the learners. Subsequently, there is the suboptimal delivery of educational concepts in the institutions. This necessitates the elimination of racist tensions within these institutions. Firstly, it is important to admit that these tensions do exist within American institutions. In response, it is necessary to determine how and why they exist. In that respect, a review of relevant literature is helpful. From these sources, the reasons can be deduced, and solutions can be developed. An action plan is a document that details how an objective may be met. These documents will be useful in tackling this problem. Action plans will also assist in fostering good relations between the individuals from different races, in the context of educational institutions. From the problems identified in the literature, various solutions can be deduced. In order to ensure an impact from them, the solutions need to be instilled into the school staff. To achieve this need, training programs are useful. They will enable the staffs to learn about how they can diffuse tensions within their institutions while encouraging positive and respectful interactions with their learners from other minority groups.

School staffs play an imperative role in their respective institutions. They assist in carrying out the core activities that provide development to their learners. Due to racial and cultural differences, it necessitates them to work even harder to meet the developmental needs of the black students. It is important for the white school staff to understand the perception of the black students towards them (Baraldi, 2009). They can, therefore, be able to develop an efficient means for relating positively with the students. This in turn will lead to a positive development of the students as well as completion of their objectives within the educational institution. Improper understanding of the students’ understanding of them will lead to a failure of the white school staffs in the delivery of educational objectives. In the United States, racism exists in arguably all regions and institutions. The difference lies in how pronounced its effects are on the victims and the perpetrators (Baraldi, 2009). An end to such activity is imperative for social development within the nation. In that regard, the educational system is important. School staffs are useful in inculcating values related to racial tolerance in their students. They should, therefore, be provided with skills and tools that assist in dealing with such issues. For example, training on racial diversity and positive living may be given to them. In response, they should be able to foster positive relations with the minority students.

Similarly, schools provide students with their understanding of the world and different societies. It is significant for their instructors to provide them with information concerning racial and cultural diversity. Respect is another critical phenomenon that needs to be learnt by the students. It is important for the minority students to understand that mutual respect is fundamental to efficient cooperation between individuals of divergent societies and cultures.

The white school staffs, therefore, play an important role in facilitating this understanding of the world to the students.

Students often lack the ability to understand issues related to race and diversity. It is the role of the school staff, as well as parents, to guide them in understanding such issues.

Positive assistance needs to be granted to the students as they meet various issues which may challenge them. This sort of education will be useful for their development in the society.

They will be able to interact, positively, with individuals from other backgrounds, which are dissimilar to theirs.

Individuals often adopt the behavior of their guides as part of their cognitive development. In that respect, it is expected that the minority students will look up to the white school staff for guidance. In that respect, it is necessary for the staffs to provide excellent precedent. They should adopt a behavior that is not counterintuitive to the learning process.

For example, they should be tolerant of the worldviews held by the students, and encourage them in self-determination. The staff should encourage contrarian views as part of the learning process in the school. From such, the students will learn to accommodate views held by other individuals. This approach will also benefit positive reflection between the two groups, through a breakdown of the cultural barriers. The training programs will be useful in developing and reinforcing these ideas in the teaching staffs.

The issues facing racial and cultural diversity today are different from those of past decades (Baraldi, 2009). As a result, the fight against racism in the educational context needs to be updated to suit the needs of contemporary learners. In that respect, the white teaching staffs need to be acquainted with knowledge on how to handle modern black students.

Seminars and other training programs are needed in order to achieve this. Through such activities, the teaching staff can be primed on what their duties are, in relation to fostering positive reflection with the minority students. In response, the learning process will be improved in affected schools resulting in the successful delivery of education.


This is a program aimed at training white school staffs towards positive reflection with their mainly black-minority students.

Definition of Problem

In various city schools around the country, some districts are often dominated by a particular race. In some districts, minority groups such as the black community are the most visible in the student population. However, the same may not apply to the teaching population. The school staffs are often white, despite the large population of other racial minorities. This raises the question of whether this is a positive or negative reflection of the minority students. The effectiveness of white teachers may be quantified through answering this question. Through this approach, the weaknesses demonstrated by such teachers may be corrected through training programs. This study seeks to explore this question of reflection, and how the training programs may be conducted within the city schools, for white-dominated school staffs. It will highlight the existence of negative reflection in the teachers, in relation to their black students. This will be necessary for developing the proper solutions to this problem in education.

Target Population

The program is targeted at white school staff within schools populated by mainly black-minority students.

Sources of Required Resources

The required resources, for training, shall be sourced from the School District Management authorities.

Hypothesis: There exists a negative reflection of black students by white school staff, which needs to be corrected through training programs.


The students and school staff are from relatively equal socio-economic backgrounds.

The staff and students are interacting for the first time.

The research sourced from the literature is correct and up to date.


The study shall extend its reach to literature concerning education in the major North American cities. The training program shall also be limited to evidential educational activities within the last 50 years.


The study shall only focus on the school staff training program. As a result, it will depend on research carried out by other parties. The research will not attempt to verify the findings sourced from the literature.


Following conclusion of this activity, the quality of reflection between the minority students and white teachers shall be determined. This shall assist in understanding the level of interaction between them, thus the success of teaching. Finally, the results shall be used in developing a training program aimed at creating a positive reflection of the minority students, by the white school staff. Following the training program, it is expected that both parties shall be able to interact positively, irrespective of their inherent differences.


The problems that shall guide the discussion have been mentioned in the earlier ‘definition of problem’ section. In line with these issues, a review of secondary sources shall be conducted.

These sources shall mainly comprise literature on the same. A viable conclusion shall then be drawn, in line with the discussion at hand.









Baraldi, C. (2009). Dialogue in intercultural communities. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub.


Anderson, S. L., Attwood, P. F. & Howard, L. C. (2004). Facing racism in education.

Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Pub. Group.

Augoustinos, M., Tuffin, K. & Every, D. (2005). New racism, meritocracy and individualism:

constraining affirmative action in education. Discourse \& Society, 16 (3), pp. 315–340.

Brummer, N. (1988). Cross-cultural student assessment: issues facing white teachers and

black students: issue facing white teachers and black students. Social Work

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Chang, D. F. & Demyan, A. L. (2007). Teachers’ stereotypes of Asian, black, and white

students. School Psychology Quarterly, 22 (2), p. 91.

Decuir, J. T. & Dixon, A. D. (2004). “so when it comes out, they aren’t that surprised that it is

there”: using critical race theory as a tool of analysis of race and racism in education.

Educational Researcher, 33 (5), pp. 26–31.

Dodson, D. W. & Others (1969). High school racial confrontation, a study of the White

Plains, New York, student boycott. student unrest and changing student-staff

relationships in the White Plains public schools, September, 1967 to December, 1968.


Down, B. & Smyth, J. (2012). Critical voices in teacher education. Dordrecht: Springer.

Gurin, P., Nagda, B. R. A. & Lopez, G. E. (2004). The benefits of diversity in education for

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Heath, R. W. (1971). The ability of white teachers to relate to black students and to white

students. American Educational Research Journal, 8 (1), pp. 1–10.

Hyl (2005). Being a good teacher of black students? white teachers and unintentional racism.

Curriculum Inquiry, 35 (4), pp. 429–459.

Knaus, C. B. (2006). Race, racism, and multiracialism in American education. Bethesda:

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Parham, T. A. & Helms, J. E. (1985). Attitudes of racial identity and self-esteem of black

students: an exploratory investigation. Journal of College Student Personnel.

Sizemore, R. W. (1981). Do black and white students look for the same characteristics in

teachers? Journal of Negro Education, pp. 48–53.

Smith-Maddox, R. & Sol\’Orzano, D. G. (2002). Using critical race theory, Paulo freire’s

problem-posing method, and case study research to confront race and racism in

education. Qualitative Inquiry, 8 (1), pp. 66–84.

Trainor, J. S. (2008). Rethinking racism. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Winchester, I. (2002). Diversity in education. Interchange, 33 (1), pp. 1–5.


Due to the approach proposed (literature review); there is no need for a listing of any

technical terms.

Reflection: This term refers to the development of a common understanding between the

white school staff and the black students.

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