Dr. Denise Callwood-Brathwaite
Education is a continuous life long process that eludes no one individual. Education should be the foundation of everyone’s existence. Although everyone can and will learn to some degree, the process of imparting knowledge to others is a task that few have the natural capacity to perform. The issue about the quality of education in this country has and continues to be debated. Until we understand the significance of pedagogy and the profession from which it is rooted, this debate will continue to rage on. The status and quality of teaching have been scrutinized from many perspectives. Understanding the epistemology of teaching and learning, including how to teach, what to teach, and when to teach, while accepting professional responsibility for working with students who represent the full range of diversity is essential to teaching and learning. Teaching professionals need to recognize the changing nature of today’s society, they need to provide learners with the knowledge and skills associated with a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural perspective of the educational process.
By embracing a paradigm shift of diversity among students, including African-Americans and other minorities, instructors of institutions of higher education need to strike a healthy balance between traditional and nontraditional approaches to determine mastery of learning. Mastery of any information should not be limited to the traditional podium lecturing and paper-and-pencil assessments. Innovative methods of teaching and learning rooted in research that take into account the diversity of student intellectual abilities, are paramount to the success of these individuals. Students from the dominant culture have been trained to be successful at the traditional ways of teaching and evaluating, but many others have not. To continue to force minority students to fit into a mole that does not value their unique styles of learning is detrimental to any society. My theory of education embraces and understanding of diversity, not just in ethnicity but also in learning. By embodying such a philosophy, one can only help but to maximize the amount of knowledge and skills that anyone can consume.
Dr. Denise Callwood-Brathwaite, Associate Provost