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Do Black Students Learn Better from Black Teachers?

Do black students perform better academically with black teachers? (Madame Noire)

As HBCU students, alumni, supporters and enthusiasts, most are obviously aware that the majority of the campuses are predominately African-American. There is diversity typically within the institution’s faculty and staff.

Seeing as though college is a place of higher learning and education, it is important to recognize academic achievement among students.

According to a recent St. Petersburg Times article, many states are recruiting more Black teachers. This comes in response to several studies which show that Black students learn better from Black teachers. From elementary school students to college students, research such as the one conducted by Northwestern University professor, David Figlio in 2006, shows there is an achievement gap among these students who are taught by teachers of a different race.

Many questions, comments and criticisms can be raised about this issue. Not all students are alike, some need extra attention, some need a little and some don’t need any at all.  No matter what the race of the teacher is.

However, it can also be said that due to familiarity, students are able to learn better from teachers/professors who look like them.

The ability to relate to one another on some level probably makes it easier to connect to, inevitably making it easier to learn and excel. Similar to one of the many reasons students choose to attend a HBCU: in order to have African-American professionals teach a fellow African-American how to make it in the “real-world”, increasing the amount of Black teachers for Black students in order to improve their academic achievement may not be a bad idea.

For the research conducted by David Figlio, follow this link to the PDF containing his research. This link will guide you to “A Community College instructor like me: Race and ethnicity interactions in the classroom” by Robert Fairlie and Florian Hoffman.