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The Power of One

The Power of One
How You Can Help or Harm African American Students

Edited by:

December 2009 | 200 pages | Corwin

"This is the book I have been waiting for—a workbook filled with stories, data, and the latest research. In clear, beautifully written prose, Gail Thompson asks us to examine our own preconceptions and perceptions. By completing the exercises and keeping a journal, we can discover our strengths and our challenges. We are encouraged to make real changes in the way we teach and in our relationships with our African American students. This book is for all of us: new teachers, experienced teachers, administrators, mentors, community workers, and anyone who wants to help rather than harm these brilliant, hopeful, marvelous young people in our care."
—Julie Landsman, Writer, Teacher, Consultant
Minneapolis Public Schools and Art Teachers FACET Program

"A comprehensive, definitive resource for educators and all those responsible for enhancing equity, excellence, and educational achievement for African American students. Thompson has produced an engaging, solutions-oriented workbook that artfully integrates well-documented research and the right, rich blend of theoretical insights. The absence of jargon, the clarity of the writing, the substantive content, and the personal accounts of educational experiences of an array of diverse education stakeholders contribute to making this work understandable, engaging, appealing, and imaginative. Thompson's own compelling experiences as a student and successful experience as a researcher and an educator inform the work. If I could choose only one resource, The Power of One would be number one."
—Audrey P. Watkins, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Western Illinois University

YOU have the power to make a difference with your African American students!

This interactive staff development resource helps educators deal with the main barriers—often personal assumptions or mind-sets—that can impede their progress with African American K–12 students. Calling upon readers to embark upon a personal journey to address these issues, the author skillfully combines moving first-person narratives, personal growth exercises, and informational text, and shows educators how to:

  • Deal with obstacles to successful classroom management
  • Foster positive interactions within the classroom
  • Prepare African American students to succeed on standardized tests
  • Build positive relationships with African American parents


Gail Thompson discusses her books. Video courtesy of Claremont Graduate University.

About the Author
Introduction: Why Alarm Bells Should Be Ringing in Our Heads
Part 1. Beliefs, Mind Sets, and Baggage
1. Identifying the Personal Benefits of Increasing Your Efficacy With African American Students
2. That Baggage Is Too Heavy: Uncovering Negative Mind Sets That Can Undermine Your Work With African American Students
3. "You Can't Help but Talk About Race": Examining Your Beliefs About Racism and Racial Problems
4. "To Be Honest, I Can't Stand His Mama": Facing Your Personal Issues About the Parents of African American Students
Part II. The Curriculum, Classroom Management, and Testing
5. A Hard Knock Life: How Teachers Can Use the Curriculum to Empower African American Students
6. Only the Strong Survive: Dealing With Roadblocks to Effective Classroom Management
7. Using Wisdom in Assessing Students in Spite of the High-Stakes-Testing Mania
8. Learning From Classroom Scenarios and Other Problems That Concern Educators
Conclusion: A Work in Progress: Committing to Ongoing Personal and Professional Development

This book is being considered for fall 2014

Professor Lorraine Wilkins
Ethnic Studies Dept, California St Univ-Sacramento
December 15, 2013
Key features
  • Calls upon readers to embark upon a personal journey designed to help them uncover and address mindsets that can impede their efficacy with African American students
  • Combines moving, real-life vignettes and classroom scenarios, personal growth activities, and informational text in a manner that touches hearts and minds
  • Includes unique chapters on working with families and preparing African American students to suceed on standardized tests
  • Suitable for staff development with both individuals and groups

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452273778

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