The authors draw on the findings of gestalt psychology to demonstrate how teachers' views of African American learning styles and behavior can determine whether these will be pathologized or supported by the educational system. The disproportionately large numbers of African American youth incorrectly assigned to special education courses indicate a lack of clarity in disability criteria and indicate also the use of a "deficit model" or perceptual lens through which teachers assign negative meanings to the behavior of African American students. Case examples of language used by teachers in describing randomly selected students illustrate teachers' deficit-based focus on student behavior "problems." Maholmes and Brown argue that an alternate, developmental model offers a new perceptual lens through which teachers focus on six critical "pathways" of human development when assessing any student. These pathways of development are physical, language, social, psychological, ethical and cognitive development.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.