Components needed in an effective training for white teachers of black children

Isabelle L. Mussard, School for International Training


The educational field continues to be both fertile ground for advancement and a minefield of embedded barriers to social justice and equity. This is particularly true for economically disenfranchised and institutionally oppressed communities. Despite heroic efforts and brilliant scholarship from within the community, a disproportionately high percentage of African-Americans continue to fall into an achievement gap as early as the elementary grades. This paper aims to address the ways in which Whiteness, implicitly accepted as the norm, shapes the formation of invisible but deadly barriers to effective cross-cultural teaching, and thereby contributes to this achievement gap. The focus, dictated by the author's experience, is on the formative preschool years. The question is "what elements need to be included in an effective training model for White teachers of Black children in the U.S.?" The author uses a literature review, as well as interviews with four professionals in the field of social justice education, multicultural education, and racial identity development to identify these elements. The interviews were, with the exception of Dr. Zuniga who was interviewed one on one in person, conducted by phone. A history of Whiteness, as understood by the author, is presented and research on White teachers is analyzed. A list of sixteen components concludes the paper along with citations of the researchers, practitioners, and academicians whose works should be referenced in developing each of these components further.