Category Archives: Language & Learning

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Toni Cade Bambara’s Pedagogical Practices for Learner-Centered Communities

This post was written by Contributing Author Sonia Adams, a PhD candidate at St. John’s University who organized an event in TLH’s Spring 2021 series on active learning.

Toni Cade Bambara has greatly impacted my work as an educator and curriculum developer. I admire her commitment to literacy education, creativity, multiculturalism, and social justice. During my undergraduate studies in English, I was fortunate to take literature classes and seminars that exposed me to writers of color from the United States and abroad. However, I noticed a trajectory within many of the required, standardized, and special topic English courses, which privileged White male authors and texts. The western literary canon perpetuates an aesthetic that Bambara referred to as the “Anglo-Saxon tradition” that limited entryway for women and ethnic writers to enter the English curriculum (Bambara, “Summer 1968 SEEK Report). Although there were some gains made in late 1960s and early 1970s in making the curriculum more inclusive, there were some women and ethnic authors who served as ‘minority representatives. In other words, their writings were deemed the standard for the racial, gender, and/or cultural group which they derived from. Bambara foresaw the implications of white patriarchal privileging and minority representation and sought to challenge them as an English Professor, writer, editor, and activist.  Continue reading

From Being a Status Quo Educator to a Transforming Advocate: The Self-Reflection of an African-Born English Educator

This post was written by Contributing Author Professor Immaculée Harushimana (Lehman College), who recently organized a TLH-sponsored event, “Humanizing Teacher Education: Cultivating Cultural Diversity Empathy through Reciprocal Teaching.”

As a result of European occupation, formerly colonized nations have been introduced a colonial curriculum which, naturally, executes the Eurocentric education agenda. Throughout my educational system, I was never aware that I was being indoctrinated. I loved learning and I loved getting good grades because my parents believed that it was only through education that I was going to escape poverty and also pull them out of it. To some extent, they were right. Education opened to me the door to academic and economic success. Along with that advantage, however, it also transformed me into an instrument of the colonial agenda. In this brief article, I am offering a reflection on my transformational journey from being a blind status-quo English educator to a transforming, critical literacy advocate. Continue reading

Voices of the Unheard: Afro Latinx Experiences, March 24, 2021 (Event Recap)

This post was written by Contributing Author S. Lenise Wallace, a motivational speaker, communication professional and college professor teaching communication courses at CUNY.

Where is “home”? Literally and figuratively? This was a theme that arose from the screening of the documentary Latinegras: The Journey of Self-Love through an Afro Latina Lens directed by Omilani Alarcon. The film screening and panel discussion that followed was moderated by Dr. Sonia Rodriguez and panelists were filmmaker Omilani Alarcon and CUNY professors Drs. Ryan Mann-Hamilton and S. Lenise Wallace.  Continue reading