Dr. Marie White, Nyack School of Education professor and author, was a presenter at the 2019 Leadership Institute for Faith and Education (LIFE) Convening at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. LIFE is an organization that convenes education and faith-based leaders “to connect with each other, share knowledge and expertise, and discuss the latest developments in the work of bringing schools together with faith-based organizations to improve student outcomes.”
During the three-day gathering at Harvard’s Gutman Conference Center, Dr. White presented her paper, “Engaging Those Who Best Represent the Cultural and Community Practices of Children in Poverty.” Based on her research, Dr. White proffers that “culturally proactive interventions (White & Bembenutty, 2015) require those in leadership to recognize cultural and community practices of children in poverty. As early as 1991, Nelson-LeGall recognized the need to consider social competencies of poor minority students and introduced help-seeking as not only a self-regulatory learning strategy but, more importantly, part of the social-interactional processes in learning environments. Prior to entering formal schooling, through an already established kinship network of multi-generational relatives, friends, neighbors, and faith-based communal relationships, youngsters are socialized towards establishing relationships from which they can seek help to move towards independence. If culturally meaningful tasks are to be accomplished in our school settings, we need to seek out the more experienced members of or communities who already advocate for those they serve to serve as guides for the less experienced members of the community in accomplishing meaningful and culturally proactive tasks. In this way our children are empowered by observing community members actively participating and contributing to their education.”
Congratulations to Dr. White for being selected to present invaluable insight to educators from across our nation!