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TC's Chris Emdin in NYT Op-Ed: Better teacher prep is critical to helping black students succeed 

Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education
Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education

‌In an August 27, 2016, New York Times op-ed titled “Why Black Men Quit Teaching,” Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education at TC, calls for a “more thoughtful approach to teacher recruitment and retention, and a renewed focus on teacher preparation” in order to develop culturally responsive teachers who can also support academic rigor for black male students.

While recognizing the potential of black male teachers to “serve as powerful role models” and the need for more teachers of color in classrooms, Emdin writes that “they cannot fix the problems minority students face simply by being black and male.”  He rejects the expectation that black male teachers act as disciplinarians and the stereotype that they are best suited to practice “tough love” on difficult students.

Emdin writes, “Instead of fixating on black male teachers, we need to examine how teachers are trained, their beliefs about young minority men, and how they engage their students. They should be prepared to teach to each student’s unique needs, and to recognize that no student learns best under conditions that make him feel uncared for.

“A better solution is to train all teachers, black and white, to acknowledge the biases they hold about their students based on their race, class, gender, sexual orientation and physical ability. Then they can learn strategies for being effective with these students despite their differences.”

Read Emdin’s NYT op-ed here.

Emdin, who received the 2016 AERA Early Career Award, expands on these issues in his new book For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...And the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy in Urban Education (Beacon 2016). A former physics and chemistry teacher at Marie Curie High School in the Bronx, Emdin created the Science GENIUS program and has earned global attention for his use of Hip Hop concepts and rap to teach science to middle- and high-school students. His commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality and education have appeared in the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Washington Post, and he provides regular commentary on Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post

Emdin is also the author of Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation (2010). He serves as Director of Science Education at TC’s Center for Health Equity and Urban Science Education and Associate Director of the College’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education, and also is an Alumni Fellow at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University.

Related articles on Professor Emdin’s research:

Chris Emdin Talks to WNYC's Brian Lehrer About the Culturally Responsive Teacher

Smile Before November: In his new book, TC’s Christopher Emdin encourages urban teachers to be more like their students – loud, conspicuous and challenging authority

TC's Chris Emdin on “The Myth of the Hero Teacher”

TC's Chris Emdin: Does Representation Beget Brilliance?

Science Educator and Professor Christopher Emdin to be Honored by White House

Professor Chris Emdin Teams up With Rap Artist GZA to Sponsor Science Rap Battle

TC Today: “The Hip-Hop Hypothesis”


Published Monday, Aug 29, 2016