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Every six months or so, a study reports about our inability to educate black males. Yet, after reading Ribbin', Jivin, and Playin' the Dozens: The Persistent Dilemma in Our Schools, teachers learned how to teach black males. Through 99 Realities and other examples, Ribbin', describes, discusses, and explains black male street corner language and behavior and how it is played out in the classroom. Too often, teachers misunderstand and misinterpret their black male student's language and behavior resulting in their black male students being referred to special education or considered a discipline problem disproportionate to their numbers in the school. Ribbin' will provide you with the educational insight to successfully educate black males-the information woefully lacking in contemporary education courses. Authentic examples are provided that demonstrates how some teachers handled challenging situations with their black male students to help you develop your own teaching style relative to your persona and student population. When you open Ribbin', Reality 1 is a must read, it recounts my first day of substitute teaching in the N. Y. C. Public Schools and what happened to me that Friday morning. I was so discouraged, I considered suicide that weekend because I always wanted to be a teacher and, after one day, I was a failure. However, read how I rebounded on Monday, and turned things around. To enhance your ability to teach black males, Chapter 8 about dress and grooming for teachers is a must. In brief, respect and feelings about yourself and your students is demonstrated by dressing professionally, at minimum, neat and clean. Your students expect you to dress well. Your students will keep a record of what you wear on what day and whether that stain has been cleaned away! Indeed, your students will compare tes on what car you drive, the watch you wear and your dress style. Chapter 5 Jive Lexicon and Verbal Communication is about words students may use to dupe or test you. Students must learn Standard English; the sine qua n to for ecomic success. Your students need a Standard English teaching model to emulate. However, teachers should learn the language their students use. It is viewed as barrier busting when students observe you trying to be hip and use their language-of course, this means acceptable vocabulary. Moreover, it may be appropriate for your students to use the vernacular depending upon the subject you teach. Chapter 6 about classroom contests provides information about the games some students use to con, provoke, or test your street kwledge. Playing the Dozens from an historical perspective to how it playes out negatively in classrooms is described and explained. If you are unfamiliar with Playing the Dozens -also kwn by other names; best you learn. Hence, examples of teachers positively handling the dozens are presented. Reading Chapter 7 will help you through my Four Step Plan for Classroom Management and School Discipline. You need to get order for you to teach successfully. Your primary responsibility as a teacher is to figure out how to achieve an orderly and safe classroom so that your students can relax and allow you to teach them. If you wish to become a successful teacher, buy Ribbin'. If you want to be told how to become a teacher, do t buy Ribbin'. If you see yourself as a professional teacher, and willing to change your teaching behavior first, in order to get your students to change their behavior, purchase Ribbin'. In sum, a well-designed lesson plan will t ensure classroom success. Teachers must make educational and behavioral demands on students, black males in particular. Ribbin' demystifies this persistent dilemma. Without a question, black males can and must be taught Standard English, mathematics, and the so-called middle class skills needed to make it ecomically in the U. S.
Herbert L. Foster is a Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Education, State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to his 28-1/2 years at SUNY/Buffalo, he was for 17 years a teacher and administrator in the NYC Public Schools. Sixteen years were in the 600 schools and Junior Guidance Classes Program for emotionally disturbed and socially maladjusted children. Born in the Bronx, he grew up in Brooklyn, NY. After serving a Regular U.S. Army WW II hitch in the occupation of Japan, he took his BS and MA from New York University, School of Education; and his Ed. D. from Columbia University, Teachers College. He is the author of the best selling Ribbin', Jivin', and Playin' the Dozens: The persistent Dilemma in Our Schools (See Phi Delta Kappan, November 1974 for an interview about Ribbin'). He has been published in innumerable journals. A 1995 issue of the Journal of African American Men carried his research article, Educators' and Non-Educators' Perceptions of Black Males: A Survey. In this study, he had 3,130 respondents who were asked about people's stereotypical beliefs, feelings, expectations, and fantasies about black males. He tied the study into the disproportionate referral and assignment of black schoolchildren-males in particular--to special education programs for the mildly handicapped and the emotionally disturbed. He has consulted & run workshops for districts under court desegregation orders. A much in demand speaker and workshop leader for topics such as educating black children, teacher racism, classroom management and school discipline, and experiential education. For 3 1/2 years, he hosted Inside Education a half hour weekly radio educational interview program on WBFO FM, the NPR affiliated station in Buffalo, NY. Additionally, Herb has been interviewed on radio and television shows throughout the U.S. and Canada. Presently, he is completing the manuscript for Ghetto to Ghetto: Yiddish and Jive in Everyday Life. During the riots at South Boston High School in Boston, Herb and his buddy George presented a workshop on Thompson's Island for some of the staff from South Boston High School. With 24 undergraduates, Herb did a Winter Outward Bound as an experiment in Teacher Education. He also completed a sailing Hurricane Island Outward Bound.