School of Education News

UW-Madison's Ladson-Billings quoted by NPR on how to help students of color succeed

October 03, 2017

UW-Madison's Gloria Ladson-Billings was quoted in a recent NPR article discussing evidence that students who have teachers that look like them are more likely to do better in school. 

Ladson-Billings holds the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education. She is a professor with the departments of Curriculum and InstructionEducational Policy Studies, and Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

The article reports that students whose teachers were the same race as them felt "more cared for, more interested in their schoolwork and more confident in their teachers' abilities to communicate with them." The trends were especially prominent among black students, particularly black girls. 

Hiring a more diverse population of teachers, while important, is not the only necessary factor in helping students of color succeed, and that "we need teachers who view students of color as whole people," Ladson-Billings ​tells NPR in the report. 

Although diversifying the teaching force may take a while, one thing we can do is pay attention to what students of color are saying they appreciate about teachers who share their race. Then, policymakers can use that information to train teachers in communicating with diverse student populations.

Read the full article: "If Your Teacher Looks Like You, You May Do Better In School."

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