Through its professional development activities, the Umoja Community is a deep resource for community college students, faculty and staff.
Several assumptions that inform the work of Umoja Community practitioners include:
• Student centered
• Continuous, timely and formative assessment of students’ work
• Integrated reading and writing
• No formal isolated instruction of grammar
• Strive at all times to include full-length texts
• African American focused curriculum blended with local college course outlines
• Instructors will bring their own style and repertoire
• Emphasis on “presentation” in groups and as individuals
• Early Success
• Relevant and culturally responsive to students’ real world experiences
• Writing is a process
• Reading and textual analysis are central to the courses
• MLA, APA or Chicago style documentation
The Umoja Community also strives to integrate principles of Critical Pedagogy in the Umoja Community Classroom:*
• Student and teacher are both co-participants in the learning process.
• Students demonstrate competency in multiple ways.
• Students should be encouraged to reflect upon the world in order to change the world.
• Students should be encouraged to construct their own meaning from information/data/knowledge.
• Students should be held responsible for assessing their performance in the course, rather than relying only on the professor to assign a grade.
• Students should be encouraged to engage in metacognition—thinking about their own thinking over the course.
• Students should be asked to build explicit connections among ideas and between disciplines.
• Learning and instruction is dynamic and can be renegotiated throughout the semester.
*Bransford, J.D., Brown, A., & Cocking, R.R. (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
The Umoja Community provides several professional development opportunities throughout the year. Each event is an opportunity to continue to build community, and to learn and reinforce effective classroom and institutional practices.