Toward the Centered School in Urban Areas
by Dr. Molefi Kete Asante
The Afrocentric Creed
I have faith in myself I have faith in my teachers I will accept my duties and responsibilities I respect others and seek their respect I have self respect I have self-control I can learn if I study hard I will learn because I will study hard I love myself, and loving myself, I will be myself and know myself I am the one who is talking
El Credo Afrocentrico
Creo en my capacidad Tengo confianza en mis maestros Acepto mis responsibilades y tareas Tengo auto-respeto Si, puedo controlar mis emociones Si, puedo aprender se estudio mucho Aprendare porque me dedico a mis estudios Me quiero y en mi amor para mi mismo, me realizo y me conosco Hablo yo en esta oracion
The Basic Tenets of the Centered School
1. At the centered school the student’s culture must be taken into account in every subject and at every grade level. Where there is multiplicity of cultures then the teacher must seek to demonstrate during the school term that she or he has an interest in centering the students of many cultures in the subject.
2. A centered school seeks to create lessons, scopes, and sequences, that reflect an authentic voice concept. Centering shall be the centerpiece of the classroom process and it shall be pursued by seeking all ways to attach the student to history concepts, mythology, science, mathematics, nature, motifs, and personalities that pervade the lessons.
3. A centered school operates on the principle of scientific generation where the school principal is a generator for the building and the teacher is a generator for the classroom. A generator is one who energized those who are directly connected to him or her. Thus, the principal in a centered school must energize the faculty and the teacher must energize the students.
4. A centered school is a positive school where the environment itself reflects the centeredness of the students. The school is clean, it is brightly painted, it is environmentally centered to reflect the student population, and it is filled with color images, posters, and slogans of achievement. Each classroom is an invitation to learning.
5. A centered classroom is a laboratory for creative discussion, discourse, debate and critical thinking. The idea is to make every significant concept live by discussion. In such a classroom the teacher corrects false information and irrational views with a sensitivity that embraces discussion.
6. A centered school’s discipline is based on respect for knowledge in both the bringer of knowledge and the seeker of knowledge. This means that the students are taught to respect themselves, the search for knowledge, the teacher and the other students. But discipline is based on knowledge and the willingness of the teacher to listen to and to accept questions from every student. The good teacher is always able to say, “I do not know the answer at this time.”
7. A centered school celebrates the culture of the students. Teachers feel comfortable wearing the fashions of the student’s cultures, presenting speakers and performers from the culture, and infusing their lessons with illustrations from the culture. A student in such a school understands the historical role his or her people have played in world events.
8. A centered school involves the parents in the process of centering the students. However, it may be necessary to center the parents before they understand how the center their children. At public meetings, possibly held at the school, the principal or designee should review the ideas behind the centered school. A brief history of the Afrocentric school concept, with its applicability to centered schools, might be necessary.
9. A centered school is high achieving school where principal, teachers, and students meet regularly (at least once a month) to re-pledge themselves to academic and professional excellence. A high achieving school always has an academic and a cultural goal. The academic goal is to succeed in being the best school possible on the basis of the credentials of the students. In addition, the high achieving school seeks to undergird all subjects with the cultural component.
10. A centered school asks the question, Who are my students: In answering this question the centered school seeks to apply principles of learning styles, relational attributes, personality, and aesthetic sense to the issues of achievement, discipline, and environment.