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You Can't Teach Us if You Don't Know Us and Care About Us

Becoming an Ubuntu, Responsive and Responsible Urban Teacher


Omiunota Nelly Ukpokodu

This book addresses the needs of diverse urban students for a new kind of teacher, classroom learning context, curriculum, and pedagogy in order to effectively learn, perform, and achieve. Drawing on the African concept of Ubuntu as a fundamental framework for enacting a humanizing pedagogy, the text invites teachers, students, and families to enter into an interdependent and interconnected relationship for education. This book is uniquely transformative as it elevates the centrality of student humanity and models the integration of emergent theories and practices, utilizing real-life stories to enlighten and illuminate. Emphasis is placed on Ubuntu pedagogy as a model to emulate, anchored on five ethical dimensions: humanism and Ubuntu competence, relationship and learning community, humanism in the curriculum, pedagogical and instructional excellence, and collaboration and partnership. Particularly valuable for teachers learning to cultivate the spirit of Ubuntu that undergirds their ability to be humane, responsive, socially- just, efficacious, and resilient, this book is a cutting-edge resource for effectively addressing the persistent academic achievement of diverse urban students.

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Chapter 1. Educating Urban Students for a Multicultural Democracy


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Chapter Overview

Paulo Freire (1970) writes about the vital role education plays in developing the mind and heart of the young. According to him:

Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conforming or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of the world (p. 34).

He suggests the need for transformative education that empowers the young to engage the world, transform it, and make it more just and humane. This chapter addresses critical questions: (a) To what extent are America’s diverse urban students prepared for effective citizenship in a multicultural democracy and globalized world? (b) What kind of education, teaching, and learning do urban students need to adequately prepare them for critical citizenship for a multicultural democracy in a globalized world? (c) How do teachers need to reorganize and rethink educational practices to more relevantly respond to the needs of diverse urban students and positively improve their learning, achievement, and personal success? The chapter aims to help you construct a critical knowledge base on urban schools and its community; who urban students are, ← 3 | 4 → their academic walk, and the educational challenge they face, among others. I propose a new and compassionate view...

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