Teachers are taught that there are students who cannot be taught because of racial, nationality, language, family background and support systems. Recently reported on a television program, that medical doctors are also being taught that individuals should receive medical treatment and decisions based on biology, and that there was a difference in the type and quality African Americans should receive and other patients. There is something wrong with both of the theories coming out of the knowledge base of two of our outstanding professions. If teachers can not teach minority students and doctors cannot provide quality service to African American patience, then both groups should get out of the business of serving Americans. This is not an American position, and it is no God’s position. It is time for institutions with the responsibility of training and preparing our servers for humanity, review what is taught in classrooms. Are we teaching racism in our institutions of professional learning?

Spiritual Formation of The American Education System. A Change for Success


A New Direction in Teaching.


Teaching for Success Not Failure

I try to stay in areas for which my education, credentials and work experience have prepared me. Columbia University provided my educational background and credentials in Anthropology Urban Studies and Education.  UTS Theological  Seminary provided credentials in Theology and Spiritual Formation. New York State provided the certification and license to teach in the public school system, and Riverside Church in New York City gave me an opportunity to see the role of the Church and Spirituality in addressing issues of teacher burnout.




If the New York City Teachers union offers coaching sessions for teachers and recent college graduates in order to help them pass the New York State Certification examination, then there is something wrong with the academic preparation of the teachers.

If parents have to pay millions of dollars in tutorial cost to professional companies to prepare students to take testing examination, then there must be something wrong with the educational delivery system.

Colleges should graduate people ready and able to pass certification examinations, and teachers should prepare students so that they can demonstrate competencies in any and all testing areas.

There needs to be a change in the educational system in the New York City area.

Teachers should teach for success. Colleges and universities should concentrate in preparing a competent

work force rather than seeking to move political, social, and unstated agendas


Teaching For Success

Back to Basics


Teacher Training Institutions should teach teachers how to teach the basics in quality education.

Effective methods of teaching reading

Reading requires the following:

  • Respect for the language that is already inside of the child, and was place there by the parents and the environment in which the child lives.
  • Methods of helping the child to recognize the connection between the language in his head, and the symbols on paper or a book
  • Method of helping the child to start the sounds in books and wait until the brain recognizes the sound as one the child already knows
  • Methods of helping the child with the combination of two or more symbols and help her with the physical formation of the mouth, tongue and lips, until the brain takes over with recognition
  • Method of helping the child to understand the concept of spelling and provide repetitive exercises for the child until the word can be spelled correctly on sight or sound
  • Method of helping the child to know the meaning of each word, and be able to use the word in a written and spoken sentence


Reading involves a vocabulary. Children must be taught the vocabulary as part of any reading exercise. Do not put the child through guessing games to determine what the child knows. Teach the child the information he or she may need for success.

It is necessary to teach children how stories are organized. They have this structure in their heads, but the purpose of teaching and school is to help the child understand the relationship with the nature of their own being, and the symbols used in the outside world, or outside of their mind and body. It a story is not interesting, the child will tell you that they do not understand the story; this often happens when important pieces of information is left out.

All stories have the following:

  • Something that tells what the story is about
  • Identification of the characters in the story
  • Identification of a problem or a concern of one or more of the characters
  • Stories must take place in some part of the world, therefore, the location of the story is important. This will also include information of climate, weather, seasons and time.
  • Stories must have a resolution or solution to the problem or concern of the character or characters. The child must feel a sense of satisfaction or understanding by the time the story comes to an end.


Stories selected by the teacher must have a purpose. Is the story intended to entertain, inform, motivate or challenge? Teachers often select stories to entertain children during the reading hour, but when it is time for testing, the children are given stories to read for which they are required to obtain information and make decisions. Teachers often teach for entertainment, and test for decision ability. This is unfair to the child.

If the teacher is going to test the following skills:

Understanding cause and effect

Understanding similarities and differences in words

Understanding how to identify new words

Understanding how to reword ideas

Understanding how to choose the best word or best idea for a paragraph, then the teacher must teach these skills.

Each concept must be taught, and the teacher should not mark children on concepts not taught in class.

Effective methods of teaching math

This is also true in the teaching of math. Some teachers are avoiding the teaching of basic math skills. Some teachers remember how much they hated math, and the method used to teach math, that many try to avoid using those methods. Some try for new methods of teaching basics, and, the child does not learn the concept, and since the method is new, the parents cannot help the child.

There is only one way to learn basic math. Practice and repetition until the process become part of the natural skills of the child. Accept the fact that the multiplication tables do not have to be understood, they just have to be remembered. This is true for the major operations of arithmetic; adding, subtraction, multiplication and division. Children must be taught what they need to know, and they must be taught over and over again, because the mind forgets.

Effective methods of teaching science

Science can be fun. It teaches children how the universe works. Children are taught how to observe, question, guess and record. The heavens, earth, seas and all living and non living sources are part of this inquiry.

Effective methods of teaching Social studies

Ernest Andrew Brewer[1] writes “Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics and natural sciences. The primary purpose of the social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. (Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, 1994, p. 3)”[2]

Social studies, the subject often disliked by most teachers, determines if an individual can be considered an intelligent and informed. The neglect of this subject has resulted in most Americans not knowing how the president of the United States is elected. The absence of civics lessons in school has caused most Americans to be unaware of who or what is the Electoral college. Many Americans do not know the difference between a Republic and a Democracy, and are surprised to learn that the country is a Republic. This has nothing to do with the two political parties in the country, the democrats and the republicans; a topic that is difficult for most Americans to discuss. This is the result of a failed social studies program.

           Teachers do however, do manage to divide the American population into racial categories, and plant the idea in students head with respect to how to treat each other, and how to predict the progress of each students, which they can determine by socio-economic and ethnic class. Social studies may not know how to teach geography or civics, but it is successful in teaching racism in America.

Children learn how to identify themselves through their social studies classes. They learn who their parents and grand parents were, and how they came to the country. Students learn who was slave, and who was free, and how individuals in each category was treated, and is expected to be treated. Students learn who is smart, and who is underachieving; they learn to place them selves in different positions in society, and learn what is expected from individuals in those positions. Students learn that the past predicts the future, and the past of many individuals, as related through stories told about them, suggests that the future is not promising.

Racism comes into the society through social studies, and this social studies is started in the third and fourth grade. Students that may have been achieving high grades and good potentials through the early childhood years, often find themselves on a downward spiral after the third and fourth grade. The significant variable in this decline and failure is the introduction of social studies, and racism in these grades. It takes skill and courage to prevent children from falling into this failure of expectation spiral. This is difficult, teachers teach what they have been taught, and they follow their own belief systems to reinforce these beliefs.

Racism is part of the hidden curriculum[3], therefore, it would be difficult to identify racist information. Students, however, will tell you, if asked, what they learned about other people who are different from themselves.


Effective methods of teaching Geography

            It is very sad that 9/11 taught most American more about part of the world than most school systems. School children and their parents are getting lessons in the geographical location of an area of the world called the Middle East. The American education curriculum tended to focus on the historical contribution made to the development of western society, and that usually leads to a study of the Greeks and the Romans. There has been some attempt in recent years to add information from the Caribbean and South America. Information about Africa and Asia, is slowly coming into the curriculum, it is however, often done to present a suggestion of inclusiveness for selective communities, rather than an attempt to introduce the world to the American student.

Effective methods of teaching writing

Effective methods of teaching art and music

Some colleges spend too much time on issues not related to the delivery of basic skills necessary for success.


Radical Changes and Solutions to Some Problems

Colleges should get the curriculum taught in the coaching sessions, and teach that information.

Teachers should get the materials that are used in the preparation of test, and teach that information. It does not make sense to teach one area, and test in another area; this is the method that is used in teaching today. There is a feeling that teaching to the test is some form of teaching, and teaching teachers what they need to know to pass certification examinations is some form of cheating. Where and what is the source of this backwards idea in teaching?

Is it Effective Teaching or Cheating?

       In order to avoid any suggestion that colleges or schools are cheating, they concentrate on teaching materials not related to any significant information. Colleges and teachers expect student to somehow discover information not given. The idea of discovery is sound after basic skills and basic information needed for competency is achieved. In some situations, teachers teach the first half of a test book, and test students on the last half of the book that has not been covered during class time. This is dishonest teaching. School children consider it dishonest, and parents consider it dishonest. Teachers who complete years of preparation in colleges and universities feel cheated when after spending hours in course work, and thousands of dollars in education cost, they must take tutoring workshops to obtain information necessary for their success in the classroom. If the medical, legal, engineering, or any other professional preparation program submitted its students to such procedures, it would be considered dishonest. The teaching profession regularly sends out unprepared individuals, and takes no responsibility for the failure of these teachers in challenging environments. The idea of a medical student graduating from college and going out into the community and working with patients and not having all the skills necessary to be effective and safe is not a comfortable thought. The reality of teachers graduating from college and not being able to pass a certification examination without outside coaching assistance should be equally uncomfortable to thing about. Certification test should be administered periodically throughout the teacher training process. Professors should be able to determine if the content of what they are teaching will prepare the students for the real world of teaching. If not, then adjustment must be made. Master degree thesis should involve students producing a portfolio of step-by-step instructional methodology for teaching a specified body of information to different grade and age levels. The teacher would graduate with his or her own teacher’s manual, and any and all teaching manuals supplied by the school would be in addition to their own manual.

As difficult as it is for teachers to achieve in some school districts, teachers should teach what they know. Teachers providing instruction in content areas for which they have a strong knowledge base and confidence improve the comprehension base of students significantly. Some districts require that teachers use materials that may not have proven records of success, but have been secured through political contracts with individuals, and the decision to use or not use has been taken out of the hands of the teacher. In such circumstances, it is suggested, that the teacher make arrangements with a local community center or church to work with the children after school. Parents would be grateful, and the investments in the extra teaching time would prove a considerable value in developing classroom management skills and academic feedback.

Teachers can also form cohorts with other teachers and develop a more efficient way for the delivery of academic excellence. This method will be met with resistance, and it is suggested that teachers use local churches as a safe place to practice effective teaching. There are churches that will offer space to teacher to bring their children to cover materials useful in the preparation for examinations.

Several years ago, Riverside Church in New York City developed such a program. School teachers were able to use its facilities to work with their students after school. The time is now for churches to assume a supportive role in assisting parents and teachers with a solution to the problems in education.



Delores E. Harris, Harrison


Transformation of any kind is a spiritual process. It is the Holy Spirit, which gets inside of an individual or a system and causes impossible changes to take place. The decision to destroy the educational system was done by set and design, the process of healing the system will be done by the power of God working through different people of different belief systems. God has and will continue to send the right people, filed with the Holy Spirit, known or unknown to them, who will do his work on earth. America is God’s greatest achievement on earth. It is here that we can see the handiwork of an awesome power. When an individual is called to enter into the educational field, and that call is of God, then miracles will happen. Children who could not learn will learn. Insight will come from the blindness of defeat and racism. Lame ideas will move miraculously through immobile communities. A dead system will see its resurrection into a new life of success.


John Dewey explored the hidden curriculum of education in his early 20th century … curriculum is taught by the school, not by any teacher…something is …

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_curriculum – 39k 5-12-08


[2] Ernest Andrew Brewer is Visiting Associate Professor, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton. 5-12-08 googles, hidden curriculum


[3] But most often, hidden curriculum refers to various types of knowledge gained in primary and secondary school settings, usually with a negative connotation referring to inequalities suffered as a result of its presence. This attitude stems from the commitment of the school system of the United States to promote democracy and ensure equal intellectual development, goals that are hindered by these intangible lessons [3]. In this context,hidden curriculum is said to reinforce existing social inequalities by educating students in various matters and behaviors according to their class and social status. In the same way that there is an unequal distribution of cultural capital in this society, there is a corresponding distribution of knowledge amongst its students.[4] The hidden curriculum can also refer to the transmission of norms, values, and beliefs conveyed in both the formal educational content and the social interactions within these schools.[5] Hidden curriculum is difficult to explicitly define because it varies among its students and their experiences and because is it constantly changing as the knowledge and beliefs of a society evolve.

^ Martin, Jane. “What Should We Do with a Hidden Curriculum When We Find One?” The Hidden Curriculum and Moral Education. Ed. Giroux, Henry and David Purpel. Berkeley, California: McCutchan Publishing Corporation, 1983. 122-139.

^ Margolis, Eric, Michael Soldatenko, Sandra Acker, and Marina Gair. “Peekaboo: Hiding and Outing the Curriculum.” The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education. Ed. Margolis, Eric. New York: Routledge, 2001


John Dewey explored the hidden curriculum of education in his early 20th century curriculum is taught by the school, not by any teacher…something is

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_curriculum – 39k 5-12-08


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