My Quest To Teach

January 23, 2015

The Power of The Tongue In Education

The Power of The Tongue In Education
by William Jackson
Edward Waters College – Educational Technology

As an educator the intelligence of Black students is evident,
Black students can be successful in any educational
environment (public, private, charter, parochial, etc.). Provided
the parental support and encouragement that students needs
and have high expectations for achievement.

One of the challenges in Black communities: (I reference Blacks
because I’m Black and teach / taught in Black communities). The
challenge(s) is getting not just parental involvement, but
consistency and both mothers and fathers involved. Successful
cooperation between teachers and parents starts on day one
and should begin by the teacher extending the hand of friendship
and collaboration.
Teachers are the activists to motivate and encourage parents on
the benefits of volunteering, mentoring and consistently staying
engaged and active. Fathers are needed to provide emotional
support that builds confidence and self-esteem within their

Unfortunately across this nation the relationship between
parents and schools can be unstable and disconnected either
culture and generation. Parents are the first educators,
and teachers are the first ambassadors that serve to set the
level of engagement. Black parents must be afforded respect,
dignity and perceived to have a high level of intelligence not
because of status of degrees, but because they want their
children to be better than them.

Understanding socio-economic challenges, cultural lines of
communication and interaction teachers can turn parents into
educational advocates. Success in this collaborative effort
teachers need professional development to educate and ward
off perceptions of the “ghetto” mentalities , language
differences, cultural nuances. Administrators both Black and
white should not engage verbally or mentally that their parents
are “ghetto” this degrades the advocacy of educational equality
and equal access to resources and creates a racists atmosphere
that poisons the school and infects staff and personnel.
Administration sets the tone of their self indulged perceptions
of parents and students which are the clients we as
educators are working to educate.

Administrators both Black and white cannot afford to treat or
create the perception their parents are of a lower class and have
lower class children. The results will be administrators and teachers
treating children as lower level students with limited abilities to
be educated and limited intellectualism. This creates lower
expectations for success for students that need higher expectations
from an adult because they may not receive this from home.

I have always set my expectations high whether teaching Physical
Education or Engineering / Technology.. I establish from day one
from my kindergarten to my fifth graders what my expectations
are for their success. This must continuously be reinforced and
guided as well. When you show consistency in your expectations
the students rise to them and even share this with their parents
and guardians. Keeping in mind that no parent wants their child
or children to fail even if they (parents) lack the educational
levels to have graduated high school or college. Generally parents
want their children to do better than them.

Teachers should prepare themselves for the diversity of their class
rooms and have available a list of positive and encouraging
words. If administrators and teachers allow negativity and stereo-
types to enter into their minds this will fester and grow,
ultimately contaminating their behaviors and language to
the children. Teachers need to understand they may be the only
person to share positive words with their students. I reflect as
a parent and a teacher how Malcolm X must have felt when his
teacher told him that he would never be a lawyer,
telling Malcolm X that nig…. aren’t lawyers, what if that teacher
had encouraged and mentored Malcolm X instead of crushing his
hopes and dreams?

Teachers have the power to build and create hopes, dreams
and the excitement for a future with their words and actions.
Teachers can also destroy self-confidence, self-respect and
predestination for children with words. Sometime teachers
forget that we build the world around us from our statements,
phrases, labeling, expectations, assumptions, judgments and
from out own self-doubts and our stereotypes.

Teachers be the change you want to see in the world.
Just make sure it is a world of peace, unity, intellectualism,
hope, equality and respect.
We have the power to change the world and are held

October 22, 2014

Chinua Achebe: Power in Writing and Reading

Chinua Achebe: Power in Writing and Reading

Chinua Achebe a world recognized author, poet, storyteller,
intellectual and role model has shared for years the power
of reading, importance of comprehension and skillfulness of
writing in his works of art.
The art of writing can never be marginized or down played.
Achebe has shared that everyone has a story and must take
the time to tell their stories.
His global influence is in how cultures can relate to the
colonization of their nations by others that seek to destroy
and then re-assimilate others into a world that only recognizes
their perceived domination. Nigeria and other nations of Africa,
which is a continent not a country, has experienced decades
of colonization and forced servitude (slavery) from European

These words expressed in my blog are concerning the importance
of reading, comprehension, writing and sharing knowledge.
As a teacher on the elementary level and in higher education I
see the struggles of youth and young adults that cannot read
proficiently nor comprehend on an intellectual level that allows
for gainful employment and academic success and stability.
Intellectual icons like Achebe and others are great role models to
encourage and engage in the reading process, why comprehension
is vital and how colonization has affected nations globally.

Following the foundation of reading by Nigerian author Chinua
Achebe, “there is value and importance of books.” Libraries are
an important resource for people to help lift them up from social
challenges and emotional/psychological tragedies. Who has not
been inspired by a book, poem or article that engages them
emotionally or psychologically creating a drive and a passion for
learning and changing the world?
In many countries people are not allowed to read and if they are it is
sanctioned by the government. They are told what to read to reinforce
social programming and propaganda. African Americans not too long
ago faced this in the United States as property of slave owners who
benefited from their slaves being unable to read, write and engage
in communication on a large scale.
This still is present in the world even in the 21st century. These
influences have resulted in generations of illiterate people that are
slaves to ignorance. Today people have a choice to learn or remain
in the darkness of ignorance.

Proverb from Nigeria – “Not to know is bad; not to wish to know is worse.”

Listening to Chinua Achebe on many interviews and conferences
on Youtube videos he shares his experiences about the colonization
of Nigeria and Africa. How the educational system programmed and
conditioned the minds of Nigerians and Africans away from their
cultural heritage and cultural unity.
The same happened in the United States with Hispanics, Native
Americans, Africans, and Asians. The cultural relevancy is stripped
away and replaced by ideologies that any other cultures deserve
to serve and is weak and less than the status quo.

Reading and Comprehension
Reading and comprehension are powerful tools to free the mind
and empower it with the free will of thought and exploration. Achebe
exclaims the power of stories and the power of writing. Both allow
the exchange of information that opens doors to broaden the minds
of children and adults.
The story teller or author possess the skills of engagement and
reflective abilities to allow the reader to rationalize and analyze
for themselves. Reading, literacy, comprehension, critical and
higher order thinking are tools the mind needs to make the
appropriate adjustments to information provided.

Writers have a responsibility to share truth and accuracy. There are
always two sides to a story, the truth and the deception. Real writers,
“ambition should be to distinguish between good and bad.” Achebe
What children read shapes their minds, parents should be supportive
and even role models for their children in reading. An important point
especially for African American children is that what they read should
exchange the views that they are “human beings and valuable” as
Achebe states. These view points from Achebe are important because
African Americans and Africans share in the colonization and castration
of their cultures. The connection to each other has purposefully and
strategically been cut, broken, damaged and poisoned. Hearing African
American youth state that Africans live in jungles and huts and eat
monkeys is a testament of brainwashing and propaganda from years
of European influence.

The connections provided and encouraged by reading are real with
building self-esteem and cultural / self respect. There is a global connect
not just with Africa, but with people of color globally. Numerous studies
have shown that children that read and comprehend on grade level or even
slightly below, can increase their levels, they have lower discipline problems
in school, have higher self-esteems, have higher articulation (speaking)
skills, increased vocabulary (access to words and usage) and will analyze
their environment making better decisions.

“A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy educated, participatory
followership, and an educated, morally grounded leadership.” Chinua Achebe
The range of authors from Baldwin, duBois, Douglas, Woodson, Walker,
Hughes, Dunbar, and others are pivotal in shaping the minds of thousands
through their literary works of the past.
Parents need to have a reading library where they can store, highlight,
incorporate, integrate and infuse reading in their homes. Even if they are
not “good” readers they and their children can teach, mentor, model and
help each other. That is what families do; help each other to grow for the
betterment of the whole not just the individual.

Many youth, teens and young adults have a story to tell about their lives
and their environment. Achebe eloquently has stated before that, writers
have an over powering reason to tell a story and you have information
of a unique story, burning to come out and in the process
consider the whole project worth the trouble.

Nations that seek to be influential in the world can only do so by
having an educated society and leadership, the more educated the
better, as stated by Achebe, “A functioning, robust democracy requires
a healthy educated, participatory followership, and an educated,
morally grounded leadership.” Chinua Achebe

October 14, 2014

HBCU’s Must Inspire Next Generation of Blogger

HBCU’s Must Inspire Next Generation of Bloggers
by William Jackson, Edward Waters College
Educational Technology

The growth of blogging has transitioned beyond the basics of text,
there is now VBlogging, MicroBlogging, Podcasting and a host of
other resources and tools to share diverse and dynamic content.
The importance of writing can never be understated because in the areas of education and
business writing is still crucial to the sharing and disseminating of information.
Writing shows the foundation of intelligence and that intellectualism still matters when engaging
in discussions, no matter face to face or the integration of digital technologies that allow the
distribution of information.

As an instructor teaching Educational Technology at Edward Waters College,
I have always felt that blogging allows a platform to grow and mentor writing
in my students. The challenge is to get my students to see beyond their sites and
expand their digital vision to see the benefits of creating and mastering their
digital footprints that lead to exposure, networking opportunities and
collaboration that can also lead to employment and the start of careers. Content
can make or break an HBCU student’s ability for employment as well as spelling
and grammar errors influence a person’s perception of that student.

Businesses are looking for new talent that has a passion for challenges and diversity;
looking at HBCU”S for professionals. HBCU men and women that can integrate technology
with the human element of thought and creativity have valuable skills. HBCU students
are taught by professionals to be aggressive, confident and prepared. The increase
of conferences shows there is a need for professional development, workshops, seminars
and teaching Marketing/Branding in the 21st century by creating or branding with
knowledge in areas of need.

Blogging, Microblogging, Podcasting Vblogging can aid in the Marketing and Branding of
college and university students especially those that attend HBCU’s. Students need to
attend conferences like:

Blogging While Brown (the premiere blogging conference for bloggers of color and culture),
Florida Blogging and Technology Conference (FLBlogCon educates and empowers bloggers by
teaching best practices for blogging), NicheParent 14 Conference (for digital influencers
and bloggers) and Florida Blogging Conference for Educators where I was honored to present
to educators and students on the engagement of Social Media.

There is even a Florida Writers Conference that provides access to literary influencers and thought leaders.
What better way to show the abilities of students that attend Historically Black College and Universities
than to be a speaker, contributor to magazines, newspapers and even participate in areas that I enjoy
HARO – Help A Reporter Out where you can assist reporters developing stories on local and national issues.
HARO asks for input and recognizes contributors if their works are accepted with citing’s in their blogs,
newspapers and other media. This is an additional way to sharpen skills for HBCU students, volunteer and
gain experience that will lead to high salaries.

Colleges and universities across the nation are teaching the intricate dynamics of writing and applying
writing to integrating with technology. The growth and influence of blogging can be seen in its infusion
in Social Media platforms that are now money makers, business ventures based on content creation.
Social Media has a local impact on the events that happen in communities where individual citizens are
reporters and content creators that keep neighbors informed and engaged.
Blogging allows citywide notification of governmental policies, procedures and changes in budgets that
could affect services to communities. The resources online for bloggers are free:
platforms, tools, websites all are available to help HBCU students start (which is the hardest part)
to create content.

Writing influencers such as Chinua Achebe and Buchi Emecheta have been influential in
my blogging because of the passion they have for their native Nigeria and empowerment
of education and reading. One of the best influences for HBCU students is to find a blogging/writing
mentor, either virtual or in person. It is important to find writers with similar interests and abilities
to model and direct passion to create content.
My other mentors are Malcolm X because of his love for learning, Richard Wright for intellectualism,
Earnest Gaines, James Baldwin, Carter G. Woodson to name a few. Reading is important because content
is based on research and background information that will validate and carry your blog.

Buchi Emecheta

“I believe it is important to speak to your readers in person… to enable people to have a whole
picture of me; I have to both write and speak. I view my role as writer and also as oral communicator.”
These are strong words that can be applied to bloggers. Engagement and communication is important.
Involvement in a community and speaking up is important as well. HBCU students, what is your passion
to blog about to help effect positive and transformational change?

HBCU students must understand the ability to blog will assist in creating career options
when meshed with technology. Taken from – a leading SM / Blogging site:
Social media is the thriving pulse behind the blogosphere. Bloggers and media moguls have
expanded their networks, grown their following and reached readers around the world by
effectively using social media.
Blogging, Vblogging, Microblogging, Podcasting, Ebooks are media that allows HBCU students
create change through intellectualism and developing themselves as a thought leader and influencer.
Choose your words wisely and apply your passions, you will make an impact in the world and be heard.

October 4, 2014

National Banned Books Week

National Banned Books Week

National Banned Books Week

The importance of literacy can be traced throughout
historical spans of time. Time holds the keys to the
changes in the importance of literacy and reading.

“The power of literacy lies not only in the ability to read
and write, but rather in an individual’s capacity to put
those skills to work in shaping the course of his or her
own life.” What is Literacy

From the first writings that were displayed in cave drawings
to the technical writings found in today’s blogging and
writings of technical knowledge to the passions of poetic
abilities that express the dynamics of human existence.

Just as there is the diversity of human essentials in living
this influences the diversity of creative expression that
has influenced the writing of books, essays, short stories
and poetry. Each piece of literary works is a piece of the
author’s soul, a slice of spiritual essence that carries within
a story based on the writer’s quintessence.
It is hard to understand the literary creative process if you
have not given birth to some form of written expression and
willing to take the chance of criticism to share with the world.

“National Banned Books Week” was celebrated at the Jacksonville
Public Library with “Before Emails…. Reader Theater Literacy
Program.” Lead by Emanuel Washington, Tangela Floyd and
accompanied by an all star cast of educators, community
activists, business leaders, coaches and leaders in their
respective places in Jacksonville, Florida.
Highlighted were American classic literary works that were once
banned because of perceived negative influences on young
minds and impressionable emotionally sensitive girls and boys
across this nation of school age.

The magic of Before Emails: Reader Theater Literary Program
was that each reader gave a passionate voice to the authors,
characters, and shared critical points of view in celebrating
each author and their works. Books such as Huckleberry Finn,
The Color Purple, Harry Potter (series), I Know Why The Caged
Bird Sings, Hello God, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time
Indian and many more.

The fight for freedom of speech has been forever embraced
by the founding fathers in the Constitution of the United States,
but there is still a struggle in literacy to have free and open
expression by authors sharing their crafts of literary expression.
Even as television, Internet, wireless communications allow for
sometimes questionable materials laden with profanity, racism,
religious doctrine, and other elements that can be found in the
airwaves of the world. Books are still banned, censored,
questioned, criticized, and brought through legal challenges to
stop them from being published and shared.

The history of banned books can be traced back to the Roman
days around 500 B.C. The execution of Socrates in 399 B.C.
maybe the most famous case of censorship, Roman people
wanted to silence Socrates because they were afraid of the
effect his ideas had on the youth of Rome. In the 21st century
this idea still is present traveled through history from China the
year of 213 B.C where parchments were burned to stop
independent thoughts and ideas, burning of the Library of
Alexandria in Egypt between 50 B.C. and A.D. 700, the
beginning of the Renaissance where the Catholic Church
published the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, a list of books
that Catholics were not suppose to read.

Throughout history the banning and burning of books
has taken place, who can forget in the 20th century the Nazi’s
custom of mass book burnings and persecution of people with
ideas that did not agree with Nazi philosophy. Each generation
has some historical evidence of the banning of books, literature
and other works of art.
The Reader Theatre allowed books to be shared with the
audience, even welcomed students from Raines High School whose
love of literacy and reading were evident from the excited looks and
animated expressions of recognition as each book was presented.

This literary live performance
shows that having personal
liberties and freedoms should also
include the liberty and freedom
to read works of literature from any
genre, culture, gender, race and background.

The cast of readers included:
E-mail : A Readers Theaters Literacy Program
1. Ari Turner 2. Darryl Willie 3. W. Earl Kitchings 4. Tangela Floyd
5. Lisa Brown-Buggs. 6. Roxann Hilbert and Ramona L. Roberts. Writer

Reader Theater Photos

Presented by Young Minds Building Success Charities.
To learn more through Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek
Banned Book Week

Introduction of Readers

Emanuel Washington Highlighting Readers

Lisa Buggs Highlighting Reader Theater

The Before Email: Reader Theater – Readers of the Evening

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

« Previous PageNext Page »

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: