Volume 22, Issue 3 (1993)
One Giant Step Backward: Myths of Black Cultural Learning Styles
Craig L. Frisby
In almost every objective indicator of academic achievement, African- American children have not achieved parity with whites. The evolution of the “cultural difference” hypothesis (for explaining academic achievement disparities) is discussed, particularly as it relates to the popular notion of Black Cultural Learning Styles (BCLS). Essentially, proponents of BCLS theory hypothesize that the widespread failure of many black children can be attributed to culturally determined African-based learning styles that clash with the “Eurocentric” configuration of contemporary American schools. It is argued that the five major assumptions inherent in BCLS models are seriously flawed. The article concludes with the argument that BCLS models, rather than being enlightening, are conceptually no different from crude early 19th century philosophies about black learners.
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