Linda Stine, Guest Blogger
In the Teaching Matters blog this week, I hope we can continue some of the discussion raised in Dr. Dade’s recent letter to the faculty “Forwarding the Legacy of Horace Mann Bond.” Lennell points out that master teachers help their students to understand themselves while simultaneously understanding the subject matter of the course, and she questions whether we are doing this adequately at Lincoln, asking “"to what degree has African culture and history been placed as the center or at least given a strong presence in what we teach our students?" Her suggestions are that all of us educate ourselves on Lincoln’s and Black cultural history, consider what changes we should make within our curriculum and courses, and reinstitute a Black Studies major.
I thought it would be both interesting and educational to hear if you feel that you teach different content or that you teach content differently because you are teaching at an HBCU. As a white teacher educated in majority institutions from K through Ph.D, I must admit that this issue is one about which I can pretend no expertise, and I look forward to learning from the rest of you.
Here’s one small example I can offer. In my basic writing classes, I approach grammar teaching from the context of “Standard Written English” as presented in their grammar handbooks being simply one dialect among many, no more “right” than the others but currently the “power dialect” (definition: the one spoken by those in control of the country’s major institutions) and the one used in most academic and professional settings. We discuss how grammar changes over time, along with the importance of learning the current grammatical conventions of that dialect so that they have the choice to use it as they want.