Teaching Students About Talented Tenth
The concept of the Talented Tenth, originally proposed by civil rights activist and scholar W.E.B Du Bois in 1903, refers to an elite group of African Americans who, through education and personal development, would lead their community towards progress and social equality. As educators, it is crucial to teach students about this historical context while also encouraging them to become part of the next generation of exceptional leaders. This article explores the importance of teaching students about the Talented Tenth concept and how educators can implement it into their curriculum.
Understanding the Talented Tenth
To effectively teach students about the Talented Tenth, it is essential to first understand its origins. The idea originated in response to the racial divide and discrimination that African Americans faced during Du Bois’ time. He believed that developing an educated class within the African American community could help break these barriers.
Du Bois argued that the top ten percent of African Americans represented the best and brightest minds who had the potential to lead their community toward progression. By educating these individuals, they could become agents of change who would uplift those around them.
Importance in Today’s Society
Despite coming from a different era, the concept of the Talented Tenth remains relevant today. Educating all students about this principle allows them to understand how they can contribute positively to society. By recognizing the potential within themselves and striving for personal development, they can become empathetic leaders who value diversity and drive change.
Incorporating the Concept into Curriculum
Educators can incorporate this concept into their curriculum in several ways:
1. Historical Context: Teach students about W.E.B Du Bois and his work within civil rights history. Discussing his life experiences will provide context for his view on what it takes to create meaningful change.
2. Classroom Discussion: Encourage dialogue among students about what it means to be a part of the Talented Tenth today. This can include discussions on the importance of education, leadership, and personal development.
3. Guest Speakers: Invite community leaders who embody the spirit of the Talented Tenth to share their experiences and insights with students.
4. Extracurricular Activities: Establish clubs that aim to promote personal growth and leadership skills within students. These groups can facilitate connections between like-minded individuals and create lasting impact within their community.
5. Community Service: Encourage students to participate in community service projects or internships that amplify the voices of marginalized communities and promote social equality.
Teaching students about the Talented Tenth aims not only to highlight an important aspect of African American history but also to inspire future generations of change-makers. By incorporating this concept into educational curricula, educators can foster an environment conducive to personal growth and empower students to become empathetic, responsible leaders in their communities.