Tag Archives: social-emotional learning

Bernard Coard on How the System Works

How the System Works: The Black child’s true identity is denied daily in the classroom. In so far as he is given an identity, it is a false one. He is made to feel inferior in every way. In addition to being told he is dirty and ugly and ‘sexually unreliable’, he is told by a variety of means that he is intellectually inferior. When he prepares to leave school, and even before, he is made to realise that he and ‘his kind’ are only fit for manual, menial jobs.

The West Indian child is told on first entering the school that his language is second rate, to say the least. Namely, the only way he knows how to speak, the way he has always communicated with his parents and family and friends; the language in which he has expressed all his emotions, from joy to sorrow; the language of his innermost thoughts and ideas, is ‘the wrong way to speak’.

A man’s language is part of him. It is his only vehicle for expressing his thoughts and feelings. To say that his language and that of his entire family and culture is second rate, is to accuse him of being second rate. But this is what the West Indian child is told in one manner or another on his first day in an English school.

As the weeks and months progress, the Black child discovers that all the great men of history were white—at least, those are the only ones he has been told about. His reading books show him white children and white adults exclusively. He discovers that white horses, white rocks and white unicorns are beautiful and good; but the word ‘Black’ is reserved for describing the pirates, the thieves, the ugly, the witches, etcetera. This is the conditioning effect of what psychologists call word association on people’s minds. If every reference on TV, radio, newspapers, reading books and story books in school shows ‘Black’ as being horrible and ugly, and everything ‘white’ as being pure, clean and beautiful, then people begin to think this way on racial matters.”

Excerpted from: Coard, Bernard. How the West Indian Child Is Made Educationally Sub-Normal in the British School System: 50th Anniversary Expanded Fifth Edition. Kingston, Jamaica: McDermott Publishing, 2021.

Bernard Coard on Prejudice Toward and Patronisation of the West Indian Child in British Schools

“Prejudice and Patronisation: There are three main ways in which a teacher can seriously affect the performance of a Black child: by being openly prejudiced; by being patronizing; and by having low expectations of the child’s abilities. All three attitudes can be found among teachers in this country. Indeed, these attitudes are widespread. Their effect on the Black child is enormous and devastating.

That there are many openly prejudiced teachers in Britain is not in doubt in my mind. I have experienced them personally. I have also consulted many black teachers whose experience with some white teachers are horrifying. Two West Indian teachers in South London have reported to me cases of white teachers who sit smoking in the staff-room, and refuse to teach a class of nearly-all-Black children, When on occasion they state to their refusal to teach ‘those [plural form of the n-word]’. These incidents were reported to the head teachers of the schools, who took no action against the teachers concerned. In fact, the heads of these schools had been trying to persuade the children to leave the school when they reached school-leaving age, even though their parents wished them to continue in their education, in some cases in order to obtain CSEs and ‘O’ Levels, and in other cases because they thought the children could benefit from another year’s general education. Therefore, the teachers in this case conspired to prevent these Black children from furthering their education by simply refusing to teach them.

There are many more teachers who are patronising or condescending towards Black children. These are the sort who treat a Black child as a favourite pet animal. I have often overheard teachers saying: ‘I really like that coloured child. He is quite bright for a coloured child.’ One teacher actually said to me one day, in a sincere and well-meaning type of voice: ‘Gary is really quite a nice boy considering he is Black’. There are other teachers who will not press the Black too hard academically, as ‘he isn’t really up to it, poor chap’. Children can see through these hypocritical and degrading statements and attitudes more often than adults realise, and they feel deeply aggrieved when anyone treats them as being inferior, which is what patronisation is all about. They build up resentment, and develop emotional blocks to learning.”

Excerpted from: Coard, Bernard. How the West Indian Child Is Made Educationally Sub-Normal in the British School System: 50th Anniversary Expanded Fifth Edition. Kingston, Jamaica: McDermott Publishing, 2021.

Bernard Coard on the Implications of Placement of West Indian Children in British “Educationally Sub-Normal” Schools

“The implications for the large number of West Indian children who get placed in ESN [Educationally Sub-Normal] school and who can never ‘escape’ back to normal schools are far reaching and permanent. As demonstrated above, the West Indian child’s educational level on leaving school will be very low. He will be eligible, on reason of his lack of qualifications and his assessment as being ESN, only for the jobs which really-ESN pupils are able to perform; namely, repetitive jobs of a menial kind, which involve little use of intelligence. This is what he or she can look forward to as a career! In turn, though his getting poor wages, poor housing, and having no motivation to better himself, his children can look forward to s similar educational experience and similar career prospect! No wonder E.J.B. Rose, who was Director of the Survey of Race Relations in Britain, and co-author of the report Colour and Citizenship, states that by the year 2000 Britain will probably have a Black helot class unless the educational system is radically altered.”

Excerpted from: Coard, Bernard. How the West Indian Child Is Made Educationally Sub-Normal in the British School System: 50th Anniversary Expanded Fifth Edition. Kingston, Jamaica: McDermott Publishing, 2021.

Bernard Coard on the Experience of the Wrongly Classified Child

“The experience of being removed from a normal school and placed in the neighborhood ‘nut’ school, as everybody calls it, is a bitter one. The child feels deeply that racial discrimination and rejection have been practiced towards him by the authorities who have assessed him wrongly as being ESN [Educationally Sub-Normal]. Other Black children, who are young and unsure of themselves, may simply accept the judgement of themselves as being of low intelligence and give up any attempt to succeed academically. The immense influence of other people’s expectations in creating the child’s own self-image of his abilities and likely performance will be examined, with evidence, in Chapter 3.

On the other side of the coin, the teacher who is told by the educational ‘experts’ that a child is ESN, will obviously expect the child to be ESN. Therefore, the sort of work she will give the child, and the standard she will expect of him, will obviously be much lower than in a normal school. This means the child will learn much less than he is really capable of, and will be very frustrated day by day in the class room. That such children quite often ‘act up’ and become behaviour problems under these circumstances is to be expected”

Excerpted from: Coard, Bernard. How the West Indian Child Is Made Educationally Sub-Normal in the British School System: 50th Anniversary Expanded Fifth Edition. Kingston, Jamaica: McDermott Publishing, 2021.

Cultural Literacy: Defense Mechanism

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the defense mechanism as a psychological concept. This is a half-page worksheet with a three-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. The symmetry between reading and questions, if I say so myself, makes this a concise and therefore, I hope, effective document for building understanding of this simple but potent Freudian (the reading even mentions its origins in Freud’s work) concept.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Sex Change Surgery

Here is a reading on sex change surgery along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Lest you misunderstand, this is not about the medical science or procedure of gender affirmation surgery.

Rather, it is about the infamous John/Joan case. The reading nicely job summarizes the tragic story of David Reimer, whose parents made the mistake of deferring to the New Zealand psychologist John Money. Money, who apparently coined the terms “gender identity” and “gender role,” appears to me to be at least culpable in, if not the direct cause of, the suicides of David Reimer and his twin brother. I wrote this material (using, once again, a reading from the Intellectual Devotional series) during the pandemic; as of this writing, I have not used this material with students. Nonetheless, I have tagged this post’s documents as high-interest material. Unless I miss my guess, students will indeed find these documents of considerable interest.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Alfred Adler on Neurosis

“Every neurotic is partly in the right.”

Alfred Adler

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the proverb “every cloud has a silver lining.” This is a half-page worksheet with the barest of reading, one simple sentence, and three questions.

Two of the questions (namely two and three) ask students to apply their understanding of this expression by identifying an instance in their own life in which a cloud had a silver lining–or, as the reading as it, “Every misfortune has its positive aspect.” Then students are asked to compose a simple declarative sentence that includes this proverb.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Ego

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of ego. This is a half-page worksheet; the reading is three sentences, though two of them are longish compounds, and there are three comprehension questions.

This is a concept students should understand. The virtue of the reading in this document is that it situates the ego in Freud’s structural theory of mind, (without, interestingly, ever mentioning Sigmund Freud himself) so students will also learn about the id and the superego. This is a good general introduction to this subject. That said, there is clearly room to expand this document (easy for you to accomplish, since like everything on Mark’s Text Terminal, this is a Microsoft Word document) for further exploration or exposition of psychoanalytic theory. If I were to expand this in any way, I would make sure students walked away with a basic understanding of Freud’s biography and his ideas about the psyche.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Common Errors in English Usage: Envious and Jealous

Here is a worksheet on distinguishing the adjectives envious and jealous. The distinction is thin, but as usual, Paul Brians does a nice job in making the distinction clear: you are envious of what others have, but you become jealous when you are trying to hold on to what you have.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.