“I’m black so my teacher needs to be black.”

Nobody said this, yet.  

But, a study has found a correlation between the performance achievement of black children and whether or not they had a black teacher.  The results seem to suggest that black children would fare better if taught by a teacher that looks more like them.  

“There’s mounting evidence that when black students have black teachers, those students are more likely to graduate high school. That new study takes this idea even further, providing insight into the way students actually think and feel about the teachers who look like them and those who don’t.”  Read more at NPR.org

While still not conclusive, the studies do suggest something more than chance is happening.  

But hold on.

Is it just the race and color of the teacher that is truly affecting results here?   Because if so, it sounds like we should all be living in segregated communities!   

Looking deeper, I’m wondering about several factors.  

First, the curriculum that was used by the teachers – was it any different for different populations?  Could it be that the curriculum was better suited because the teachers understood their students deeper?

What about rapport between the teachers and students?  

Not every teacher knows how to take time to build rapport.

It’s like a salesperson who doesn’t take the time to know what you are looking for and repeatedly shoves their product in your face.  If the teacher were to be successful with selling their information (the coursework), they would need to take some time to understand their customers (the students.)

Start With Rapport

In the Musicolor Method®, we begin with seven core principles.  It’s a framework for teaching.  Number one is the importance of Rapport.  Without rapport, you have no trust and no flow of information.  We discuss this in detail in the training.  

Think about the best teachers you have had in your life.  No doubt, there was a rapport between them and you.  Rapport is more than looking like your teacher.  It’s about caring, honesty, and trust.  

Mr. Andy Blackett

The teacher who made the most difference in my life was not Asian, not Caucasian, but African-American.  I’m Asian.  Maybe I was attracted to him because we were one of the few non-whites in the building.  But why he so thoroughly affected me and changed my life was all down to one thing.

He cared.

He cared about me more than just doing well in his class.  He cared about me as a person.  And thus, he knew how to help me with issues far beyond knowing the correct voicing of chords or how to read figured bass.  

He gave me confidence and helped me to build a mindset of competence and perseverance.  And through this trust, I flourished as a student in his class and all of my classes.

Here’s what I think.  

If you’re looking to make a difference in the lives of your students, it doesn’t matter whether you look like them.  It matters whether you care about them.  We’re all human with the same needs, desires, fears, and dreams.  Show your love and it will transform their lives and yours.

What are your thoughts?  

Please share in the comments below.


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