Now I see the racists

Now I see the racists

When I talked about my destiny, they wanted to destroy my legacy.

Now, I see the racists.

When I sang a sweet melody, they labeled it a felony.

Now, I see the racists.

When I gave them the best of me, then they arrested me.

Now, I see the racists.


When I asked for position, my destruction was their mission.

Now, I see the racists.

When I pointed out these conditions, they played their own rendition.

Now, I see the racists.

When my morale suffered from attrition, they said it was a given.

Now, I see the racists.


When we wouldn’t be complacent, they returned our love with hatred. And no matter how much time and patience, our efforts are in vain and wasted. I know of no other way to say it. Now, I see the racists.

Superintendent Leadership Portfolio

The following are elements of my leadership portfolio which reflect my work in Drexel University’s Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Administration as well as my ongoing efforts as an educational leader in Shanghai, China.

  1. My Resume
  2. My Teaching Philosophy
  3. Leadership Internship Logs
  4. Artifacts
  5. Reflection on Growth This Term
  6. Mentor Evaluation (Spring 2018)
  7. Intern Hours (Spring 2018)

E-Flipbook Presentation


Action Research Initiative: Promoting Parent and School Communication

In this presentation, we discuss the results of an action research initiative where high school teachers communicated with parents about their children on a weekly basis. We share the results of this initiative as well as make suggestions for those interested in improving communication between parents and schools.

Peiwo – A Chinese app that can promote language learning

Peiwo is the Chinese equivalent of Snapchat where users are allowed to broadcast themselves talking as well as share images. The word peiwo translates into English as “accompany (join) me.” This app has extraordinary potential for helping people learn English and can be used for cross cultural interaction in the future.

I recently signed in the other night to test and see what I could learn about the app. As soon as I signed in, I set up a channel and then began talking. Within minutes, 500 people or so had signed on and joined my broadcast to hear what I had to say. By the time, I had finished, nearly 3000 people had joined in. The app makes it possible for the presenter to share his or her microphone with those in attendance thus making the broadcast interactive.

Currently, I believe that I am the only expat on Peiwo at the moment.  The app is currently in Chinese and I am sure more expats will join if there is an English version of the app.  Certainly, users would benefit from having an English corner on this platform and this is something that can be easily created by any given user.

Schools could essentially have teachers set up an interactive discussion broadcast based on different topics which attendees can be informed about in advance. I assume that language learners will be more confident and more likely to participate given the fact that they would be contributing online from their phones. This makes it easier for attendees to have a dictionary, pencil and paper nearby to reference and make notes before sharing key thoughts and ideas.

Update: There are currently 10,000,000 registered users on Peiwo.


Developing resilience in minority children to overcome the Golem effect

In order for minority children to thrive and succeed, they must be taught how to overcome the effects of the self-fulfilling prophecy. The self fulfilling prophecy, in this sense, is a blueprint for failure that manifests itself actions and habits that are culturally external and internal and become reality in our daily interactions. Self fulfilling prophecies can be good when we have positive expectations for children and children, in turn, respond to these expectations by performing well. However, at least historically speaking, such prophecies for certain minority and inner city children have been negative. From microaggressions on the streets when people lock their car doors when these children pass to being called on less in class, these assaults on our youth’s morale are incessant. This results in a condition known as the Golem effect in which lowered expectations result in lower performance in every area of life.

One way we can overcome this, to my mind, is to develop a sort of gritty, hearty and vigorous disposition in our youth who are so focused and determined that nothing can stop them from achieving their goals. Developing this disposition requires educators to specifically focus on the nurturing of values (honesty, integrity,  discipline, kindness and steadfastness). It is only when these values are developed that we can then focus on improving test scores and other areas in this life.

A reflection on bullying

When I was a child growing up in the deep south in primary school, I remembered how we were oftentimes discouraged from enjoying the experience of learning new and interesting subjects in school. I recall a third grade teacher, who told us (a class of African American students) that we would be unable to complete an experiment in static electricity because our hair was “too oily.” The experiment was designed so that the students would have to rub balloons against their heads to attract bits of paper on the desk. When the teacher saw that some, though certainly not all of the students of African American descent, were unable to complete the experiment satisfactorily, she made the aforementioned comment. To this day, I am still baffled as to why she said this. Did she want to discourage us from developing an interest in science? Was this a form of passive aggressive bullying or not?

Bullying was rampant at school when I was student in primary school. I went to school in South Carolina in the Low country region, not too far from Charleston. Racism was the focal point of many a bullying incident at school. If you wanted to play volleyball at the playground and weren’t white, you had to be made into an honorary “white boy” to play, but then you’d be ostracized by other students for engaging in activities that were not considered “appropriate” for your ethnicity. It sounds bizarre, but I almost exclusively was on the receiving end of bullying just because I liked to study, primarily by male members of my own ethnicity.

The bullying was mostly passive in nature but resulted in exclusion from activities (e.g. sports teams, social events etc.) just because I liked studying. It is difficult to qualify what it means to “like studying” because it was hard work and not all fun and games, but all I can say is that there was certainly a negative correlation between how well I got on with people and how well I did in school in terms of grades I received. It may be the case that people experience this around the country regardless of ethnic or social background; however, at least in my context, this seems to have been a beast spawned by racialist thinking. It’s been my experience that passive aggression is the worst type of bullying. Being excluded, given a label, and ignored are the most demoralizing things and serve to diminish students’ self-esteem. How does one deal with passive aggression, particularly when the factors that led to its creation exist and/or are inherent at a local or societal level.

Even if there is ostracism inherent in schools and this can lead to the bullying and isolation of individuals who do not conform to the status, then why would ethnic minorities, choose to eschew education (as is often suggested by the media) given the obvious economic and social incentives currently associated with academic success? Recent research answers this question by more accurately suggesting that environmental factors and personal relationships demarcate the role of education in the lives of minorities. An immediate conclusion from the aforementioned is that minorities’ resistance or acceptance of educational opportunities cannot be readily and solely predicted by historical inequalities or injustice.

Lee (1994) provides evidence for how relationships between parents, authorities, and peers encourage or discourage minority students. In particular, the researcher notes that Korean students feel indebted to their parents’ sacrifices for their education (p. 418). Korean students’ parents in turn support their accommodation of white culture; furthermore the dominant culture (e.g. teachers and others in power) promote, encourage, and expect these Asian students to excel in academia (pp.416-417). It is apparent that the expectations from the local community and parents are congenial, which is associated with academic success according researchers (Hones and Cha, 1999, p. 154). Thus, we see that when both the community and parents expect and encourage minority students to succeed, children are more likely to make progress. Contrastingly, it has been found that other Asian groups are worse off academically when they perceive themselves as victims of discrimination (pp. 424-425).

Hones and Cha (1999) present us with a gamut of environmental factors affecting minorities’ educational performance. On one hand, if both parents and the local community reject the aspirations of minority students to succeed academically, those who happen to succeed might become alienated from both groups. The result would be that fewer minorities in such situations would succeed (p. 45). On the other hand, groups like the Hmong, when placed in schools where minorities are encouraged to succeed, will more than likely do well given their culture’s insistence on academic and professional development (p. 112). Again, encouragement from the local community appears vital in producing desirable results for the Hmong. In conclusion, the researchers suggest that schools implement cultural therapy programs to mitigate the influence of negative environmental factors. Through cultural therapy students will have the opportunity to learn “social skills suitable for participation in the larger society” (pp. 139-140).

The question quite naturally arises however as to what social skills are suitable for society, especially if our society is potentially the culprit that engenders inequalities and disparities in education that lead to bullying, ostracism, and isolation? After reflecting on the readings this week, I believe the way forward is to connect parents and educators by promoting cross-cultural awareness, but without a systematic analysis of the factors that discourage minority students, such intervention may not have the desired results.

Ultimately, I believe that in order for students to succeed, educators must strive to create learning environments where students feel confident to express themselves, where diversity is seen as a valued asset, and where students are given tools to become agents of change both inside and outside of the classroom. My reasoning for the aforementioned is that I believe that in order for schools to become viable in an increasingly diverse society, every student must be treated as an integral member within an inclusive, educational environment.

I believe that schools should serve as safe havens where our diverse student body can utilize their cultural capital without fear or prejudice. In such a school environment, networks would be formed at school where students would be able present information about their home cultures and language. Knowledge of students’ home cultures can serve as resources for teachers to connect students with the content of their lessons. Such content will be culturally appropriate and meet the needs of the students (Luke, 2009, pp. 301-303). Opportunities for students to share their home cultures through different mediums such as blogs, wikis, and presentations will ultimately serve to reconcile home and school cultures. Knowledge gained from these activities can serve as a platform to connect teachers with parents and correct misconceptions teachers may have about students and their parents and vice versa.

Finally, I believe schools should empower students to overcome “deficit” and “racializing” discourses that have long plagued American society. These discourses have often branded minorities as being culturally and linguistically inferior in addition to being marginalized as the “other.” Schools can empower these students in two profound ways:  The first way is to give students opportunities to provide feedback on their teacher’s performance. Students should be able to openly discuss aspects of their classroom experience that they find difficult or confusing. The second way is to make explicit the kinds of discrimination students are likely to encounter in the real world (Freeman, 1998). The aforementioned involves increasing students’ awareness of the factors that have created their circumstances, which can position them to take on the role of change agents (Freire, 1970). In the aforementioned view, the school becomes a bunker where students can actively and collectively resist the status quo rather than becoming molded and shaped by it (Freeman, 2000, pp. 203, 206-207). In this way, educators will be able to serve as catalysts for change.



Freire, Paulo. (1970). The adult literacy process as cultural action for freedom. Harvard Educational Review, 40(2), 205-225.
Freeman, Rebecca D. (1998). Bilingual Education and Social Change. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Freeman, R. (2000). Contextual challenges to dual-language education: A case study of  developing middle school program. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 31(2), 202-229.
Luke, A. (2009). Race and language as capital in school: A sociological template for language-education reform. In R. Kubota & A. Lin (Eds.). Race, culture and identities in second language education. New York: Routledge.
Hones, Donald F., & Cher Shou Cha (1999). Educating New Americans: Immigrant          Lives and Learning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Lee, Stacey J. (1994). Behind the model-minority stereotype: Voices of high and low-achieving Asian American students. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 25(4), 413-429.

Every child is unique: New waves of inclusive support

Connecting with children is the key to promoting their positive development. Barry White, a teacher from North Carolina, understands the significance of connecting with children early on. He has become an educational celebrity recently for giving his students personalised, elaborate handshakes when they enter the classroom in the morning. This allows him to engage with his students on a deeper, almost spiritual level of connectivity that transcends the boundaries of the classroom and recognizes the children for who they are; unique individuals with their own, unique styles that need to be recognised, respected and celebrated. White echoes this sentiment when he says that he wants each “child to feel special.”

If we truly want to embrace the needs of every child, we have to understand that children are unique and that our approaches to supporting those children differ. Improvement for a teacher may mean that the students are using self-correction strategies in the classroom more whereas for parents it may mean being able to dress oneself independently. For students who have autism, the challenges of language learning and literacy development require differing solutions. These are problems that can be overcome if we understand that children are intelligent in their own special way. We also need to understand what strategies can best support different types of learners.

Howard Gardner, professor at Harvard University, reminds us that children have multiple intelligences, which define how they interact with and understand the world. This understanding of intelligences differs significantly from the traditional view where intelligence was viewed as a singular, all encompassing entity to be assessed on tests of reading, writing and mathematics.

The newer view of intelligence has expanded graciously to include:

  1. Visual-Spatial Intelligence
  2. Linguistic-Verbal Intelligence
  3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
  4. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
  5. Musical Intelligence
  6. Interpersonal Intelligence
  7. Intrapersonal Intelligence
  8. Naturalistic Intelligence

You can read more about each of these intelligences in more detail as well as take a quiz to determine your dominant intelligence orientation here:

Understanding intelligence in this way can help us to break from traditional patterns of thinking where the worth of a child was solely based on his or her test scores. Some children are naturally gifted at art, others are movers and shakers, and yet others are sociable and can make friends easily. Knowing our children’s learning orientations can empower all stakeholders to begin the process of ensuring that children needs are being supported in a way that does not diminish the self-confidence and well being of the child.

Improving the Quality of Student Support

Knowing our children’s dominant learning orientation requires active communication between administrators, teachers, parents and family members in order to “set the tone” for providing effective support. Munk and Dempsey (2010) suggest that educational organisations answer the following questions in order to begin the process of creating a culture that is responsive to children’s needs:

  1. “How does our school vision acknowledge a commitment to inclusiveness to the success of all learners?
  2. “How do school personnel demonstrate equality and respect in the way they talk to and about learners with diverse abilities and needs?”
  3. “How and when do we solicit input from parents about the quality of the program” (p. 112).

Questions such as these, which could form the basis for stakeholder advisory committee meetings, could help to orient leadership, teaching teams as well as parents in the direction of creating inclusive environments. For example, in order to support our children’s multiple intelligences, it may be necessary to organise groups of parents and teachers who can support children in developing their musical, art, mathematical, or kinesthetic abilities. The purpose being that all children regardless of economic, social, ethnic, religious or ability will be able to have equal access to the curriculum through support from key stakeholders.

Needs analyses, in the form of assessments, can also be beneficial for the students themselves and could be the starting point for discussions around support for children. For example, the following can serve as a type of Response to Intervention (RTI) strategy in which parents and teachers come together to develop proper support mechanisms for children who need special support. This example serves to highlight the move transition from setting the tone for the promotion of inclusive education toward implementation of collaborative and reflective strategies that can potentially create a more inclusive learning environment with pre-entry or in course based tests in order to determine which children need support (Munk & Dempsey, 2010, pp. 16-17).

Learners in Mind: Inclusive Support

 Here is an example:

William Green is a student at a certain setting. Over the years, he has made substantial improvement in his ability to communicate in English. However, often teachers have given feedback that William’s behavior needs to improve. He fidgets a lot and is often off task, playing with toys that he secretly brings to class, looking aimlessly around the classroom, on the floor rummaging through his book bag during class time among other disturbances such as occasional conflicts with Susan, one of his classmates. He has difficulties reading, answering questions, and following commands.

The following observations were made in regard to his performance on a recent observation conducted at the school on using video games in the classroom.

  • Despite indicating an interest in video games, he was the only student who indicated that he did not like the activity where students collaborated in an online activity to solve problems. Particularly, he didn’t like working with others in his group.
  • He regressed in his performance on the pre and post-test of the study which was unexpected and not observed among most of the other students in his group.
  • Four teachers have all suggested that William’s behaviour is inappropriate and unacceptable in the classroom. In addition, William’s parents also recognise that there is a problem and something needs to be done.

Given our understanding of multiple intelligences, it is clear that William has a kinesthetic learning orientation.

It is said that kinesthetic learners:

  • have short attention span
  • like activities to keep them moving and doing
  • prefer to show rather than describe things
  • learn best with hands-on; prefer to try things out themselves.” (

Kinesthetic learners prefer being active and especially enjoy being given the opportunity to move around the classroom and interact kinesthetically with the learning material. Intervention will be best if it focuses on the use of tactile learning activities to promote differentiation as well as self-reflection and observation to determine if any progress is being made.

Rather than punishing or berating learners like William, we need to think of ways in which we can help them make the best use of their talents. Perhaps at home, we could have a building area for William to make structures using Legos. At school, we can have him engage in sensory tasks using ice in addition to listening to a story about winter in order to deepen his understanding of the subject. The rationale for providing this type of support is that inclusiveness should be celebrated and cherished; furthermore, it should be the highest priority of all stakeholders to ensure that all have opportunities to succeed through continual reflection upon what it means to be truly inclusive.

Encouraging children to develop narratives by connecting ideas and events in stories


Literacy acts in Early Years involve more than merely reciting a text, viewing pictures on the page or learning new vocabulary. Literacy is a dynamic process, which not only involves an individual and a text, but rather a “transpersonal” phenomenon simultaneously involving “social, cultural, and linguistic acts” (Cummins, 2005, p. 98). With this understanding in mind, the purpose of this Week Ahead will be to demonstrate how parents can develop children’s language abilities through exploring text and print resources (e.g. picture books) to develop and scaffold children’s language abilities.

Given the fact that “language and literacy development begins within the home and through family experiences,” many researchers have suggested that parents be trained in using stories to serve as a foundation for “decontextuali[s]ed discussions” which has been correlated positively with gains in language and literacy development in Early Years (Jimenez, 2006, pp. 431, 433; Sehlaoul, 2008, p. 288). The following studies provide insights into how parents can utilise literacy acts to develop their children’s language abilities at home.

The Hu and Commeyras Study

The Hu and Commeyras (2008) study sought to investigate how utilizing wordless picture books in conjunction with literacy events, such as storytelling, would enable a young Chinese elementary school student to further develop her spoken, written, and reading abilities in both English (L2) and Chinese (L1). The researchers cite the fact that very few studies have focused on bi-literacy among individuals who use both Chinese and English in their daily lives (pp. 1-2, 5). The child in this study had only been in the United States for a month and had recently started attending English classes at an Early Years setting (p.5). Chaochao was required to meet with the researcher, three times a week for ten weeks to discuss ten different wordless children’s picture books about animals, school, and the seasons (pp. 5-6).

When the researcher and Chaochao met on Mondays, they engaged in pre-reading activities where the researcher assessed Chaochao’s knowledge concerning the pictures in the book by asking her to name the pictures. In addition, the researcher familiarised the little girl with the content of the story and presented word labels based on the textbook pictures. After this, she was allowed to tell a story about the pictures in the book in both English and Chinese. In addition to recording these sessions, the researcher transcribed her stories and “corrected the grammar of Chaochao’s sentences and wrote the correct sentences on cards” which were to be utilized during the second meeting. On Wednesdays, Chaochao engaged in what the researcher referred to as “reading activities” and was thus allowed to tell her story again, read flashcards containing English and Chinese vocabulary that she used in her stories on Mondays, in addition to reading “the biliterate text that [the researcher] had made.” On Fridays, she participated in post-reading activities. She was allowed to retell her story again while the researcher expanded on sentences and words that Chaochao used during the previous sessions. These expanded activities consisted of the following:

  1. Picture searches (the researcher read a word from the vocabulary cards from Chaochao’s earlier utterances while Chaochao searched.)
  2. Recitation and Word-Picture matching.
  3. Creating sentences using words from the vocabulary cards.
  4. Creating sentences based on pictures within the book.
  5. Pairing words in Chaochao’s sentences with words from the vocabulary cards
  6. “Invented spelling of Chaochao’s words and her own sentences in English” (pp. 6-9).

The researchers in this study concluded that, as a result of the storytelling sessions, Chaochao “began to use more vocabulary and make longer sentences in both English and Chinese storytelling” (p. 13) Interestingly, she made the greatest improvement in terms of sentence length and word use in her native Mandarin. Furthermore, the researchers found that Chaochao’s sentences became more and more complex throughout her meetings with the researcher, and she also made fewer errors in English, especially in regard to tense. Finally, she was able to steadily make gains in her ability to read words that she produced when she met with the researcher. As a result, Chaochao improved her Chinese as well as English language abilities (pp.13-19).

The Jimenez Study

Jimenez (2006) set out to determine the effectiveness of training Spanish parents in developing reading techniques and strategies to promote the development of their children’s competencies in the home language. The researchers sought to examine if the aforementioned training would enable children to increase the “quantity and variety of [their] language during storybook reading interactions in the home language” (pp. 435-436). The participants consisted of 16 primary school children, who were selected from southern California (p. 436).

The researchers began the intervention and training of the parents by assigning one of two research teams to visit each family every other week. When researchers met with the participants’ parents, they informed them about the study and assessed the parents’ literary practices in the home. In addition, the researchers had the parents read a book, which they had previously read, to their children. During subsequent visits, the researchers taught the parents “six shared reading strategies over three separate sessions” which were presented in the following order:

  1. Connecting with the text. (e.g. Are you similar to the main character or different?)
  2. “[P]raising and encouraging child’s responses.”
  3. Asking more elaborated and well-developed questions. (e.g. What do you think of the main character?)
  4. Scaffolding the child’s responses by adding new ideas and more details. (I wonder if Jack grows beans on the farm.)
  5. Speculating about future events in the story (What will happen next?).
  6. “[I]ntroducing new vocabulary” (e.g. He is very happy and excited) (p. 437).

The researchers found that, in line with previous research, children’s production of the target language increased as parents implemented the various learning strategies. In addition, the researchers found that parents were more likely to give their children time to speak during reading sessions as their competencies in the techniques and strategies increased. The most frequently used strategies by the parents were number (1) and number (3) listed above. The researchers conjecture that these two strategies were the most frequently used because they “were also the most rewarding” in terms of assisting children by further scaffolding the development of their linguistic skills (pp. 437-444).

In conclusion, parents can benefit from having children talk about the stories that are read at home while extending their children’s ideas and understanding about key concepts that appear in stories. The secret to success in developing children’s language as they talk about their favourite stories lies in the following types of intervention:

  1. Allow children to be autonomous and decide which books would be read and what would be discussed in those books.
  2. Make “declarative statements” and allow children the chance to respond to those statements.
  3. Ask various types of questions (‘open ended’ and ‘closed’) and give children time to respond to those questions.
  4. Scaffold a child’s response to the text or question by using more “advanced language” or demonstrating more “complex” versions of the child’s utterances (Lim & Cole, 2002).


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Educator, startup and social entrepreneur who aims to use technology to connect teachers and students. My ultimate goal is to prepare our students for the challenges of the 21st century.