Javonne is a 15 years old male, is African American and is at 10th grade. He is a little tall, with light skin. He is very respectful with the teachers in the classroom. He is always late for class, we can say that he comes late because his friends also come late (they come to class together).

His situation is a bit worrying since the majority of times he does not feel motivated to do his classwork or homework. He has said many times that he doesn’t care if he get a 55 as his grade, but when his mother intervenes, he feels sad. He shows at that moment the desire to improve since he don’t want to disappoint his mother.

At every class, I had to sit with him and work with him to push him a little more, and motivate him to complete the assignments in class. He demonstrates that he don’t like reading or writing, when he seems that the activities are based on reading and writing even reading questions, and writing response he gets bored, stands aside and does nothing. When I sit with him, I read the materials to him, and explain to him, he then respond with beautiful answers, with awesome answers, even much better than his peers that a lot of them have a better academic standing.

However, in our science class, when we have fun physical activities or games, he is very active and participates so joyful. I notice that Javonne get inspired by his friends, but most of them they do their work in class, except Javonne and Carlos who is the closest to Javonne. Usually, we need to intervene both of them together because they show same attitudes at the same time in class.

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Rafael E Pena
August 7, 2022 8:37 pm

Dear Alexis,
 
I enjoyed reading your post Description of a Child because it brings up issues black male
students confront in public schools in the u.s. and the difficulties of child
rearing for parents operating under a racist country. One sentence you wrote
that stood out for me suggests Javonne becoming bored and disengaged in
activities based on reading and writing: “he
demonstrates that he don’t like reading or writing”. The black experience in the u.s.
has traumatized the psyche of historically oppressed minorities in several
ways. In the case of Javonne, as a 15-year-old black male in
the u.s., his initiative is stifled, his black life made to be powerless in
shaping his own destiny. I think this is a remarkable point to address because
often teachers are not discussing what the black experience has done to black
people in general, including black parents and the ways it transfers to their
children. Working with parents, teachers with warm demanding praxis can allow students
enough room to flex their physical and psychological muscles but at the same
time restricts reckless, uncontrolled, destructive, behavior best supports the
development of healthy initiative and assertive behavior. Though not a solution,
parents are a strong ally teachers must look towards working with, provided we
are a resource for parents to combat the existing black experience permeating
in the u.s. education system.
 
Another sentence that I stood out for me was ”Javonne gets inspired by his friends, but
most of them they do their work in class, except Javonne and Carlos who is the
closest to Javonne”. I think this serious because Javonnes relationship with
Carlos and their attitudes and behavior in the classroom, expose the role of
the peer group in relation to parents. For instance, thinking through the
peoples and institutions the child/student interacts with in his ever-expanding
environment greatly influence his cognitive, psychological, and social growth.
Characteristics and aspects from a child/student’s behavior offer points of
departure to begin establishing an understanding of parental and peer group
influence on values and behaviors. The immiseration of capitalism and the legacy of
white supremacy in the u.s., is a fatal mutigenerational traumatic phenomenon.
Racism immobilizes blacks with feelings of indignity, shame, doubt, fear,
disorientation, hopelessness, rejection, self-hatred, and inferiority. These
and other widespread inadequacies, characterize the psychological vestiges of
settler-colonialism that impact the psyche of historically oppressed minorities
today.

Have you seen this, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vAWg90i2C8&t=98s?
I thought you might be interest in this because Dr. Kunjufu speaks on questions
concerning the relationship between educating black children and the problems
of the larger society.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next regarding Javonnes
profile and other students. Because of it I was able to reflect and evaluate
existing ideas and how they relate to your description with other problems
similar to the black experience in the u.s. 

Karyn
July 29, 2022 6:02 pm

Dear Alexis :
I am concerned about Javonne in your post, “description of a child,” because he says he doesn’t care if he gets a 55. I think maybe he lacks confidence in himself because if he truly didn’t care he wouldn’t get sad when his mom is involved.
One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “he then responds with beautiful answers, with an awesome answer” I think this is great because you can see his potential when you have that one-on-one time. Maybe incorporating extra one-on-one time can be beneficial for Javonne’s confidence and academic potential.
 Another sentence that I liked was: “when we have fun physical activities or games, he is very active and participates so joyful.” This stood out for me because many students do very well when working with manipulatives.
 Have you seen this article? Manipulatives: The Missing Link in High School Math (mathgoodies.com). I thought you might be interested in this because of students like Javonne who have a different perspective and attitude towards learning when being able to be hands-on.
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because you have shared your perspective on a student who doesn’t strive for excellence but has the capacity to do so as you have seen during those one-on-one sessions. It’s important to get to know the potential of your students.

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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