First Presenter's Institution

Georgia State University

Second Presenter's Institution

Georgia State University

Third Presenter's Institution

Georgia State University

Fourth Presenter's Institution

Georgia State University

Fifth Presenter's Institution

Georgia State University

Location

Plimsoll

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

We took 8 young Black boys from the United States to Ethiopia to work with local youth developing a service-learning project. The students in this program reported feeling inspired to develop long-term goals and make better decisions in life. They also reported feeling motivated to do well in school to reach those goals and resilient by adjusting the lens through which they view the opportunities they have in the US. Students were further empowered through their accomplishments and gained leadership skills in order to communicate in a multicultural environment through cooperative learning. By redefining the narrative about who they are and what they can achieve as Black people, they had the opportunity redefine themselves in a positive and healthy light.

Brief Program Description

This presentation is for those of us who believe that we must change the way we talk to, think about, interact with and believe in our youth of color, particularly our boys. We will discuss a recent intervention where researchers took eight African American boys aged 11-17 to Ethiopia with the objective of unlocking their potential.

Summary

Black students in the United States are constantly interfacing with media at unprecedented levels. As a result, they find themselves in a global system centered on Eurocentric images that devalue Blackness. Further, they experience a barrage of negative media images. To counter stereotypes and a preponderance of social media interaction, researchers in this study designed an intervention that exposes young African American boys to real world experiences connected to Africa. Through this study abroad program that utilized chess, service learning and cultural immersion to facilitate experiential learning, students redefined their identities as a part of the global African diaspora. The intervention was grounded in Gloria Ladson Billings’ theory of culturally relevant pedagogy that provided a framework challenging the pervasive narrative about our youth of color in the United States. In this intervention eight African American boys aged 11 to 17 traveled to Ethiopia for a two-week curriculum that included exposure to Ancient African religion, Ethiopian and Black history, geography and cross-cultural communication. The curriculum was written with the intent of exposing the group to the significant historical contributions of Black people to science, history, anthropology, math and religion. The students were paired with Ethiopian peers where they engaged in a chess tournament, completed a needs assessment for the community and learned directly from their peers about Ethiopian culture. These interactions and the total experience served as a way for the boys to reconstitute the images with which they have been bombarded and learn more about themselves. Through daily, guided reflection sessions by licensed counselors, each student was given the opportunity to extract deeper meaning from his experiences. The intervention utilized a qualitative data analysis plan with a methodology grounded in phenomenological framework. The research team conducted interviews, focus groups, and generated field notes of the travel abroad program. The transcripts were coded and three themes emerged. The themes were 1) A sense of self grounded in appreciation and thankfulness for who they as young Black men in the world 2) establishing and staying focused on long-term academic and career goals 3) relationship building that breaks stereotypes. In this presentation we will share insight on how to create and implement travel abroad experiences for adolescents and allow session participants to gain a true sense of what the program entailed.

Evidence

Extant literature explains that a positive connection to Africa is important for healthy racial identity development in African Americans. Previous studies utilizing experiential learning in Africa for Black American youth report that “an atmosphere where the student’s culture is an integral part of the subject content” (Asante 1992) yields positive results academically, socially and emotionally. Specifically, the areas of positive identity development, motivation and dispelling myths about Africa are affected in participating youth.

Barker, J., Day-Vines, N., & Exum, H. (1997). Impact of diasporic travel on the racial

identity development of African American college students. The College Student

Journal.

Asante, M. (1989). Afrocentricity. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.

Irving, M., (In review). African Diasporic Travel and Racial/Ethnic Identity Development in Adolescents of African Descent in America.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Liya Endale is a PhD candidate for Educational Psychology, Special Education and Communication Disorders at Georgia State University. She plans to continue research pertaining to international service learning and experiential learning in Ethiopia and identity development, motivation and achievement in underrepresented youth.

Dr. Miles Irving is an associate professor at Georgia State University in the Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Communication Disorders. His research investigates the impact of cultural and social variables on human agency and cognition. Understanding the link between cultural identity, motivation and school success is at the heart of his research and scholarship.

Keyword Descriptors

Experiential Learning, Black Identity Development, African American, motivation, achievement, Africa, Ethiopia

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

3-5-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2018 4:15 PM

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Mar 5th, 3:00 PM Mar 5th, 4:15 PM

Contextualizing Ethiopia as a Means of Healing the Black Identity Development of African American Boys.

Plimsoll

This presentation is for those of us who believe that we must change the way we talk to, think about, interact with and believe in our youth of color, particularly our boys. We will discuss a recent intervention where researchers took eight African American boys aged 11-17 to Ethiopia with the objective of unlocking their potential.