Why this teacher says more classrooms should be modeled after gangs, and he's written a how-to guide for getting low-income students engaged in school.
Christopher Emdin says he knows how to get poor, black kids interested in school, and it involves treating his classrooms more like gangs.
Gangs give their members true responsibility, says Emdin, a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College. They make their members feel like they’re part of a family — a unit that will protect them. They give members a sense of “cosmopolitanism,” or make them feel they’re valued citizens of a larger community.
“I want that same type of energy in the classroom,” said Emdin, who spent years as a K-12 science and math teacher in underprivileged areas. “I want kids to feel like they are responsible for each other’s learning, that they have their own special handshake. I want them to feel like they have their own special name. I want them to feel like the classroom wouldn’t run or operate without them.”
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