Book By: Howell, Annie & Tuitt, Frank (Eds.)
Review By: Tresmaine Grimes
Department of Psychology
This edited volume addresses one of the most challenging issues in modern American society: How should the educational system adjust to meet the needs of racially diverse learners? Ten powerful chapters, separated into three parts of the book, explore issues such as the impact of racial diversity on overall learning; a priori assumptions about race that shape educational curricula; and the structure and promulgation of more inclusive pedagogies in American education.
Most chapters in the book were published in the Harvard Educational Review between 1991 and 2002. Consequently, some articles are more germane to the practical consequences of racial diversity in the twenty-first century classroom than others. Some chapters, like the dialogue between Paulo Friere and Donaldo Macedo are much more theoretical in focus, and may not appeal to readers that are looking for applicability to their own classroom or advisement situations. However, each chapter brings a unique perspective to understanding the impact of race in classroom dynamics. Advisors who are interested in understanding the history of legal cases and research regarding the impact of affirmative action on both white students and students of color will be interested in part one of the book. Advisors who are interested in the experiences of educators who confront racism and racial assumptions in college classrooms will be intrigued by several chapters in part two of the book. Several of the authors use examples of interactions with students that have challenged their own belief systems, and made them painfully aware of their own assumptions about race, power, and privilege. The discussions about how these assumptions shape even the materials and assignments teachers prepare, and how students respond to challenging their a priori assumptions about race are noteworthy. Finally, advisors who are interested in practical steps they can take to change their classrooms to become more inclusive of racial diversity and less tolerant of racial assumptions should read the Afterward in part three of this volume.
Why should advisors read this book? Primarily because the changing demographics of the United States make understanding the overarching influence of racial diversity a necessity. The U. S. Census Bureau predicts that Americans who are people of color will outnumber white Americans by the year 2050 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000). This shift is already being seen in educational settings as college students become more racially and ethnically diverse (U. S. Department of Education, 2000). Using the “Advising as Teaching” model means that advisors must be prepared to use pedagogies that adequately address the needs of all types of students. Reading this book can help sensitize advisors to these important issues and offer practical steps toward enhancing the advisement process.
United States Bureau of the Census. (2000). Statistical abstract of the United States.
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics (2000). Enrollment in
higher education. Washington, D.C.
Race and Higher Education: Rethinking pedagogy in diverse college. (2003).
Book by Howell, Annie & Tuitt, Frank (Eds.)
Review by Tresmaine Grimes. Harvard Education Press. 250 pp., $28.95 (paperback). ISBN 0-916690-3805