“For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood” Emdin’s Book.

“For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood” is a book about student’s needs in the classroom not being met due to various social and cultural issues. A lot of what Emdin says is about how students are not being taught and treated the way they should be in the classroom. Oftentimes, the students feel invisible.

5 Key Insights

  • Self-Expression: Emdin believes in fostering student agency. Allowing the students to be able to express themselves. One way mentioned in the book is giving students the opportunity to teach the class. I think this is a great way for students to connect and express themselves. This will also teach you more about the students. By allowing students to express themselves you will be able to effectively engage the students in learning. I will infuse self expression in my classroom by allowing the students to have more choice in what they do and learn. I will encourage my students to be their true selves as much as possible.   
  • Cultural Understanding: Understanding the cultures that your students come from so you are able to teach the students. Being able to make valuable connections to the students and their cultures. An idea would be try to take part in activities or take time out of your day to deep dive into some of the cultures in the classroom. This is one way you can make authentic connections with your students. I will infuse this into my classroom by taking time out of my day to learn about the different cultures in my classroom in a respectful way. I can read different sources to try to learn as much as I can.
  • Self Reflection: How is your teaching going in the classroom and are you accurately connecting with the students. I will do self reflection in my classroom as much as possible in order to help infuse this in my classroom. I think having a journal where I can write the reflections would be helpful, so I have something I can flip through and look at.
  • Building rapport: Building rapport with the students so you can fully understand your students. It is helpful to make your classroom a comfortable learning environment for your students. You can do this by building rapport. Being respectful and genuine with your students will make them want to learn from you more. I will infuse building rapport in my classroom by having conversations with my students to understand them and get to know them. I will ask genuine questions.
  • Authentic Pedagogy: Teach things that happen and relate back to the student’s lives. When authentically teaching the students in your classroom use references they will understand and context they can relate back to their cultures. Using social themes in your classroom will help the students make connections back to their lives and therefore learn more. I will infuse this insight into my teaching because I will try to make authentic and personal connections with the students to be able to help connect the lesson’s back to the students in an appropriate manner.

Something I want to do in my future classroom to help infuse these ideas into my classroom is to allow students to teach the class for the day or if they are not comfortable with that idea I want their ideas to heavily influence how I teach the class that day. If a student is not comfortable teaching the class, I will have a box in my classroom for ideas they want to incorporate into the lesson.

This has changed my thinking because….

I have realized how important it is to build rapport with the students. This will help you know what to include in the lesson so it is more enjoyable for the students. Another thing I have learned that has changed my thinking is how vital it is to encourage self-agency. This will help promote academic achievement and motivation. Finally, authentic pedagogy. I want to infuse the students lived experienced into my classroom.


  1. Allie, I really enjoyed the video resource you included. I found it to be really informative and insightful especially for only being 2 minutes long. I did want to ask, when you talk about cultural understanding, how do you work to understand student culture without becoming invasive or overbearing to students? Is there a way to toe this line?

  2. Hi Allie,
    I like the idea of journal reflections for students and having them connect curriculum to their own lives. Do you think you would use these journals to read yourself or just have the students be able to read them?

    • Thanks for reading my blog post! I think it would be a great idea to use both. A journal for myself, and a journal for my students would be very useful. I believe everyone can get a lot out of using journals!

  3. How will you go beyond conversation to build rapport? I often fear that expecting rapport to naturally happen will not be enough and was wondering how you might go about intentionally working to build this?

    • Hi Melinda, thank you for taking the time to read my blog post! Some great ideas would be through active listening, empathy and validation, and finding common interests with my students. I can also study my student’s body language and tone. There are many ways to go about rapport (not just through conversation).

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