Secret & Imani

Tell us about your experience with your education? 

SF: My name is Secret Ford. I think I would have liked to have a better understanding on how education was going to affect my future in the long run. I’m sure I’ve heard it a thousand times, the message came, but for some reason I still feel like I made some mistakes or didn’t value education as much. Just looking back in hindsight I wish I would have had a better connection with what I was being taught and why I was being taught. If I just had that capacity to grasp the information in a much more meaningful way…

Imani: My education experience, so far, is good because I’m learning how to do fractions and I’m getting better at it.

SF: Do you know, in the long run, do you have an idea how fractions will affect your education? Do you know the importance of why they are teaching you fractions? 

Youth: Yeah, it’s because when you try to cut people, like a piece a pie, and you have to make it even, you just do the fractions and cut it into 8 equal pieces.

SF: Right, so along with that, is the social part of it. Say for instance you got a neighborhood, and you want to divide that neighborhood so that each family gets a piece of the neighborhood. Because if you don’t divide it equally, then this family might get this much, and this family gets a little bit. So learning fractions and how to divide, it plays a much bigger role as you do other things such as land, food, like they were doing with the bananas and the monkeys… 

Have you had any negative experiences with the school system? 

SF: Well I’m a product of dealing with the negative situations, as far as my son being expelled, or being kicked out of class, or just having these clashes, or negative situations dealing with the school system and my son. Not to blame either one, it could have been a fault on both parties in terms of what was expected and how things turned out, but it was still a negative situation. I could appreciate the doctor earlier talking about that sense of belonging and how they try to keep children inside the classroom and the families together, so that would be one of those negative things. What about you? Anything negative about school?

Imani: Nope.

SF: Well Imani, you want to talk about bullying, because you talked about bullying in your notebook?

Imani: Bullying is bad. I’ve never experienced bullying.

SF: Do you think you know how it feels for a person that’s been bullied?

Imani: Yeah, I feel like it’s not a good experience, like it’s annoying. Kind of like pain, when they kick you, or something, or pinch you, or sometimes like they make it harder.

SF: So it doesn’t make you feel very good. Do you think the school does a pretty good job of trying to teach people how to be respectful and not bully?

Imani: Yeah, they do ‘Second Step’, and they do these videos and activities on how to not bully.

How do you want to help cultivate the genius of black children?

SF: Well first, l really want to focus on my daughter. So if I can just be her number one cheerleader… You know, focus on her learning style, focus on what motivates her to learn. She’s my number one focus. Outside of my child, I am also concerned about the community.
I would just figure out how to work on the strength-based approach and once you recognize, or identify, the strength that the child has to offer, just really creating opportunities for that child to shine and go forward. What about you? When you hear the word ‘genius’ what do you think about? What comes to mind?

Imani: Well it comes to my mind that… I feel like ‘genius’ is like when you are smart in different ways.

What is your personal learning style?

Imani: Well my personal learning style is…

SF: Some people learn better when they look at pictures. Some people learn better when they hear, some people learn by doing it…

Imani: Yeah, I like when I look at pictures. It makes it easier.

SF: So you’re more of a visual learner. You like to see it. For example, with the fractions with the monkeys and the bananas, when you’re looking at the screen and they’re asking you those questions and being able to see that. Because sometimes you can teach it without the pictures. If the teacher was just at the board saying Do this, do that… there wouldn’t be a picture with it, so that’s good that you know that you learn by pictures.
I think I learn better by doing. I think I need a little bit more hands-on and so forth. But I think overall, I gravitate to each of the different types.