Supporting African Youth | Teachers College Columbia University

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Continuing Professional Studies

Continuing Professional Studies

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Supporting African Youth in NYC Schools

February 6, 2016

February 6, 2016 - February 6, 2016

February 6, 2016 9am- 4pm and Online (self-guided)

Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY

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New York City schools pride themselves on their diversity and on building strong connections with their various communities. Immigrant groups are a significant component of this diversity. Over 13% of students in the NYC Department of Education are English Language Learners (NYC DOE, 2015). Immigration from the African continent is on the rise; the number of new African immigrants has doubled every decade since 1980 (Gambino, Trevelyan, & Fitzwater, 2014). With over 164,000 African immigrants, NYC has the largest number of African immigrants in the country, over half of whom relocate from West Africa (Gambino, Trevelyan, & Fitzwater, 2014). Much of the research about immigrants and education focuses on Latina/o and/or Spanish-speaking youth (see Bartlett & Garcia, 2011; Suarez-Orozco, Suarez-Orozco & Todorova, 2008). Few studies focus on youth from Africa, including the experiences and languages they bring, the resources found in their communities that schools can connect with, and the particular needs or challenges they face integrating into school communities. African immigrants share some commonalities with other immigrant youth, but also bring unique circumstances to their schools. The lack of attention to African youth is part of a larger limited knowledge base surrounding the continent more generally in US education. The limited research combined with the peripheral content location of Africa mean that few teachers have received a robust education about the continent and its people, let alone an introduction to how those issues translate into an American context. We are too often dependent upon the negative media portrayals of the continent.


This workshop, hosted by the George Clement Bond Center for African Education at Teachers College, is a first step in broadening the knowledge teachers have about the youth in their classrooms and their home countries and continent. The primary goal of the workshop is to share techniques and resources teachers can use to educate themselves on the diversity of Africa and the African diaspora, and to share ways teachers can better educate and include their students, particularly those from African countries. The workshop will focus most explicitly on African youth, but the focus on creating spaces of belonging will be relevant to youth from an array of backgrounds. Thus, teachers will also gain knowledge, skills, and resources from this workshop that can be applied to their classrooms and practice more broadly.

$20/participant; Participants will gain 1 continuing education unit (CEU) upon completion of the workshop.

Classroom teachers in New York City and the greater NYC area will benefit most from this workshop. While teachers from all age levels and content areas are welcome, middle and high school teachers from English, History, Literature, or any of the humanities and social sciences may benefit most.

Michelle Knight-Manuel, Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

S. Garnett Russell, Assistant Professor of International and Comparative Education and Interim Director of the George Clement Bond Center for African Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Sandra Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

*Two of our workshop leaders are currently researching African youth in NYC (see Allen, Jackson, & Knight, 2012; Knight, 2011; Schmidt, in press; Schmidt & Haynes, under review)

Session 1: Student Identity and Belonging (Feb 6, 9:00am-12:00pm)


Session 2: Addressing Africa in the Curriculum (Feb 6, 1:00pm-4:00pm)

Session 3: Developing Classroom Activities to Support Student Identity & Belonging (self-guided, online)

Session 4: Developing Classroom Activities that Offer Diverse and Inclusive Portrayals of Africa (self-guided, online)