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The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children
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The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  648 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Education, like electricity, needs a conduit, a teacher, through which to transmit its power-- i.e., the discovery and continuity of information, knowledge, wisdom, experience, and culture. Through the stories and experiences of eight successful teacher-transmitters, The Dreamkeepers keeps hope alive for educating young African Americans.

--ReverAnd Jesse L. Jackson, presi
Paperback, 187 pages
Published January 29th 1997 by Jossey-Bass (first published January 29th 1994)
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Craig Werner
Jun 02, 2014 Craig Werner rated it really liked it
I'll begin by saying that Gloria Ladson-Billings is a colleague whose work has had a major and constructive impact on the field of urban and multicultural education. Her notion of culturally relevant pedagogy works better than any other approach I've encountered in approaching the real life needs of diverse classrooms. Although the title emphasizes the relevance to African American children, culturally relevant pedagogy can be extended to all different sorts of classroom situations. Without mini ...more
Apr 04, 2016 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Mostly just shocked that it's taken me seven years in education-as-social-justice to read this cover to cover (id read many chapters and excerpts before). We're reading it as part of onboarding our 2016 teachers and it's SO good. Not sure how "possible" it would've felt as a brand new teacher, so that's why I'm reading Crossing Over Into Canaan next - also about culturally relevant teaching, but with a focus on new teachers. Definitely glad I read and recommend for all education peeps!
Nov 24, 2015 Audrey rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, teaching
Gloria Ladson-Billings spent two years observing highly effective teachers in an underprivileged, predominantly african-american district. She asked parents and administrators to list teachers they considered highly effective, then chose the names that appeared on both lists. She uses anecdotes from those observations, interwoven with her own memories, to distill several hallmarks of culturally relevant teaching. In brief, they come down to this: 1) Treat your students with respect. 2) Remember ...more
Jul 25, 2008 Katherine rated it really liked it
an easy yet powerful read. good for teachers, non -teachers, anyone remotely interested in social justice. from the beginning she works from the understanding that race is important. maybe we should all be "equal", but we're not, and pretending everything is balanced is a disservice to children, especially african american children. very good. there's hope.
Sep 16, 2012 Marva rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book for anyone who wants to understand what it means to be a teacher. There is so much more to education that teachers commit to; they must become allies and saviors, disciplinarians and nurturers, and do so while understanding that each child—no matter their race, gender, or family background—is different and deserves a chance to excel.
Sep 27, 2016 jessica rated it it was amazing
One of the most important texts on culturally relevant teaching, imho.
Jan 30, 2013 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Book intertwined personal stories of the author, instructional methods of about ten successful teachers of black children, and data about children of color. Personally I found it dry, and very fragmented. I think it would have been a better read if she had profiled each teacher in a chapter at a time, illustrating why they were successful. Because it was dispersed throughout the whole book, the author kept having to re-introduce each teacher.

The book had many examples for teachers of color or t
Jul 18, 2013 Tonya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think out of all the books I have read so far during my college experience that really teaches me how to become a culturally responsive teacher this one is the best by far. I love the way the author draws from her own experiences as a child and relates them to the current teachers that her study is about. I like how she uses the art of specificity as her writing craft. She does this so well when describing the teachers and it really helps me to imagine each and every person she is talking abou ...more
Jun 08, 2010 Kb rated it really liked it
Though based on research conducted over twenty years ago, Dreamkeepers remains relevant. Despite the hopeful tone throughout, we are left with a sense of dramatic irony both during and after reading because we know all along that little has improved in twenty years. The best gift I got from this book is hyper-awareness of my own educational background and, by extension, my reasons for getting into teaching. I've already known that, as someone who enjoyed formal schooling and achieved a fair amou ...more
Jan 13, 2015 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Overall a very interesting read with a lot of challenging concepts and alternatives for the education system. A lot of great ideals for how to teach students that could easily be applied to all walks of life, but especially low-income schools and areas. 3 (and a half) stars given, however, since the book is now a bit dated (as admitted in the forward for the new edition which is already an additional handful of years old) and needs to be assimilated with current conditions and practices to get a ...more
What do you do when you run out of books on vacation? You grab your little brothers stack of educational reading.

Beyond presenting the story of eight exceptional teachers, Ladson-Billings offers a critical examination of how we present 'knowledge' and for whom schools are designed.

For educators looking to make a difference but not able to do so, there is much here to be gained. For those thinking they are doing a great job but not sure of how they might not be, 'Dreamkeepers' can be an eye open
Aug 07, 2012 Hayley rated it liked it
Research is dated, but nevertheless offers important investigations and observations into the varying degrees that educators consider/utilize cultural diversity in their teaching approaches. Also highlights the impact of making such cultural and personal connections between students & curriculum as well as the positive impact on students as they shape their own identity and personal expectations...ever so important in the one sized fits all approach of the over tested environments that stude ...more
Dena Lake
Jul 15, 2012 Dena Lake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Recommended to me by a college professor, this book was incredibly insightful and helped me put a name to my goals in the classroom and community. As she outlines 'culturally relevant teaching,' Ladson-Billings profiles a few teachers who embody the principles of this pedagogy, showing ways in which they benefit African-American children in public schools. I really appreciated her cautioning against dysconscious racism , an "uncritical habit of mind that justifies inequity and exploitation by ac ...more
Dec 18, 2012 Scotty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is repeatedly used and referenced in my teacher coursework at the University of Minnesota. Now, that my student teaching placement is an area with about 60 percent African American population I read this book seriously for the first time. Ladson-Billings makes some great points that African American children can learn, They need to Culturally relevant Teaching, that every child is responsible for adults in the future and Teachers should not be color-blind.

There are great stories and ob
Regina Clarkinia
Jan 06, 2014 Regina Clarkinia rated it it was amazing
it's been some time since i read this but i remember it brings up real issues that teachers face every day when teaching black students - stories ladson-billings witnessed or experienced - and told in a direct easy to read way.

she brings up heavy topics in a clear and free way. i loved this book at the time and it's unique in that it touches on such complicated issues in such an accessible way. i have a hunch there are many smart books that deal with teaching black students but they're probably
Apr 18, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it
This book was given to the entire staff of my school to read and the author actually visited our school to discuss her views. I found the book inspiring and hopeful. The book is easy to read and relevant to my school and classroom. Her views on race and schools is enlightening. Teachers who feel that they are not even the slightest bit biased toward certain students may discover, after reading this book, that their actions may not be as fair as they first thought--a very good read for any teache ...more
Jun 10, 2007 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any teacher/ anyone who wants to make a difference
Shelves: educationallit
Gloria Ladson-Billings offers the reader a perspective into culturally relevant teaching that is new and needed in all classrooms throughout the country. In an age where students are being tested out of Kindergarten, some aspects of education are lost. Ladson-Billings addresses the need to embrace culture, especially with African American children, since their failure in schools is the most evident. I would recommend politicians on Capital Hill to read this book. Perhaps NO Child Left Behind cou ...more
Dec 22, 2010 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
This book gave excellent insights into teaching African-American children and the culture that shapes these children. In addition to this, it highlighted the way I should be teaching ALL of my students, giving examples of classroom environments that are challenging and loving all at the same time. This was inspiring as a teacher, brining to mind new ideas of how to better structure my classroom, especially when dealing with African-American children. The teachers highlighted in this book are ins ...more
A great professional read that really can span teachers of any kind of kid event though the focus is on "teachers of African American children". The basics about culturally relevant teaching using examples of eight teachers (and Ladson-Billings' own experiences) to share practices of good culturally-relevant teachers that isn't about a specific curriculum, rather about approaches, views, and theory.
Liz Murray
Twenty years on from the first edition it is shocking how little has been done for African American children in US schools. This is a classic ethnographic study that is inspirational most of the time, and depressing when you see how the teachers pictured have to fight for what they know is the most humane way to teach. Essential reading for anyone going into teaching, no matter who you'll be working with.
Dec 24, 2015 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-readings
There was a lot of valuable information in here, although some of it suffered a bit from being dated and I wish there had been more practical advice or application instead of so many anecdotes. That said, if you're interested in cultural competency or any kind of critical pedagogy (especially for elementary-aged students) this is a good read, although maybe more as a supportive text than a core material.
Oct 28, 2014 Nathan rated it it was ok
Not a bad book, but not a book that made a lot of sense to read in a curriculum development course. Unless the point was to show us that curriculum development alone is not enough to ensure successful students. Even so, I imagine there are other texts that would have been more appropriate or relevant.
Brett Minor
May 10, 2012 Brett Minor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: textbooks, education
Fantastic book on the failure of the American education system to teach children of color. It illustrates the lack of opportunity existing in segregated areas and the huge disparities from one school to another based upon our taxing system, which does not provide equal opportunity for all public school children. The author offers several solutions to these issues.
May 15, 2007 Rivka rated it it was amazing
This is partly a shout out to my educational studies minor, but really anyone who gives a hoot about public education, and particulaly racial disparities within our education system, should read this book. It is one of the most inspiring/optimistic books that I've read about the potential of our public education system. Teachers like the ones in this book give me hope for our country.
Feb 20, 2013 Katie rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life and made me the person (and teacher) I am today. I don't think I'd be doing anything I'm doing now if I hadn't read this book in one of my first education classes as an undergraduate. I still love Ladson-Billings' work.
Caroline Lampinen
May 03, 2016 Caroline Lampinen rated it it was amazing
What Hannah said. How did it take me
So long to read this? Lots of gems. For someone this late in a social justice oriented career some of it is just validation but her tone is so lovely I don't mind. It's a celebration of art as well as being "hope on a tightrope".
Dec 17, 2013 Abby rated it liked it
I would love to know how teacher training has been improved with regard to cultural relevancy since this book was published. I appreciated how approachable Ladson-Billings made this subject, one that can elicit strong feelings from people regardless of how they identify racially.
Brittani Jordan
Jun 20, 2012 Brittani Jordan rated it really liked it
This books helps to understand how to build a better relationship with your students. Just knowing their name is not enough. With several students it is possible to slowly build a relationship with them.
Oct 17, 2008 Dioscita rated it liked it
This one turned out to be more readable and accessible than I expected. It also, unfortunately, shows its age (published in 1994, researched & written before that, it feels dated).
Brenda Mcclendon
Jan 16, 2010 Brenda Mcclendon added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who interacts Afr-Amer. children, especially in education, social workers, sports, etc...
Enjoy Ladson-Billings' works. She always gives the real world strategies/interventions/scenarios in her books that are very helpful eye-openers for educators, etc...
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