Students of Color and Anecdotal Pedagogy: A Success Story

Students of Color and Anecdotal Pedagogy: A Success Story

Alexis Nicole Mootoo (University of South Florida, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2177-9.ch007
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Research demonstrates that students of color have greater access to the academy than ever before. Measuring the academic success of these students has become a national priority since social justice and equality scholars have brought attention to disparities experienced by students of color in the academy. Depending on the institution, success is measured by student retention and graduation rates along with climate surveys. Findings clearly illuminate the reality that students of color are not retained and do not graduate at the same rates as white students. Climate surveys highlight how students of color consistently experience various forms of discrimination from administrative staff and faculty alike. Yet, the perception persists that students of color are successfully navigating institutions of higher education at the same levels as their white counterparts. The question begs to be asked: How are students of color successful in the realm of higher education in the twenty first century?
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The Case of Anecdotal Pedagogy

Over the years, faculty has employed various pedagogical methods to impart academic knowledge in the classroom. Barnes and Blevins (2004), discuss how learning is precipitated by teaching methods that should convey contextualized messages with a myriad of variables including: (1) the type of material to be learned, (2) the magnitude of material to be learned, (3) the degree of mastery desired/required, (4) the level of student interest, (5) level of student ability, (6) the amount of time the student can devote to independent study, (7) the types of benefit received upon mastery of the material, (8) the magnitude of reward received upon mastery of the material, (9) the utility of the gain, from the student’s perspective, (10) the type of sacrifices associated with the failure to master the material, (11) the magnitude of penalties associated with failure to master the material, (12) the utility of the sanctions, from the student’s perspective, (13) the types of instructional materials available, (14) the magnitude of instructional materials available, (15) access to an instructor, (16) the level of instructor knowledge of the material, (17) the degree of teacher willingness to teach the material, (18) the level of instructor knowledge of teaching techniques, (19) the ability of the instructor to apply teaching techniques, and (20) the time the instructor can devote to formal instruction (p. 42). Barnes and Blevins advance these twenty variables to argue that discussion based lectures are more effective in the college classroom than the formal lecture teaching style. While Barnes and Blevins (2004) acknowledge that a lecture method allows for orderly instruction and manages succinct knowledge transfer, over four years the grades of microeconomics students enrolled in a course that utilized anecdotal pedagogy based approach yielded higher grades than those of students enrolled in a lecture-style course.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Teaching Method: A manner of teaching supported by well-known or common theoretical frameworks.

Students of Color: All student populations that are not of white or European background, including students of color from countries outside of the United States.

Storytelling: Oral histories describing events of the past and personal accounts.

Higher Education: Public and private, four-year, and two-year institutions responsible for spearheading the learning of students post high school.

Pedagogy: A method of teaching that facilitates critically understanding and processing a theoretical concept or an academic subject.

Racism: Prejudice and discrimination against people on the basis of race and ethnicity.

Student Success: Students successful navigation of college and university systems including earning higher than average grades, experiencing a positive college experience, graduating in four to six years with minimal to no student loan debt, and career readiness post-graduation.

Anecdotal: The correlation of personal accounts with academic concepts being taught in college and university classrooms.

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