School Psychology Review

African-American Children And The Educational Process: Alleviating Cultural Discontinuity Through Prescriptive Pedagogy

Brenda A. Allen and A. Wade Boykin

pp. 586-596

Mini-Series: Understanding and Meeting the Psychological and Educational Needs of African-American and Spanish-Speaking Students

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This article seeks to establish that contextual factors informed by certain postulated cultural experiences can influence the cognitive performance of African-American children. Toward this end, a model designed to explain the fundamental link between culture and cognition using African-Americans as the case in point is presented. It is argued that much of the school failure exhibited by African-American children can be explained in terms of the cultural discontinuity resulting from a mismatch between salient features cultivated in the African-American home and proximal environments and those typically afforded within the United States educational system. The empirical investigations emanating from this stance reveal that the task performance of black children can be greatly enhanced by the incorporation of certain cultural factors into the learning contexts. Increased performance is interpreted as the result of familiarity with the learning context which activates the use of cognitive skills and enhances motivation to perform the given task Suggestions for practice and research are offered.