Generating Genius

Black Boys in Search of Love, Ritual and Schooling

August 2009
More details
  • Publisher
    Trentham Books
  • Published
    4th August 2009
  • ISBN 9781858563688
  • Language English
  • Pages 160 pp.
  • Size 5.75" x 8.75"
  • Images tables
  • Request Exam Copy

This empowering book looks beyond the notion that institutional racism is responsible for low attainment at school. Instead it explores the complexities surrounding masculinity and the need to transform them into a positive force. The book shows the ways in which this can be done—by providing boys with a framework of love, ritual and schooling.

Generating Genius is the culmination of Tony Sewell’s ambitious project—which he and participating boys describe here— in which groups of British and Jamaican boys attended summer schools at universities. The project was underpinned by research from schools in Jamaica and—uniquely—Samoa, and its methods and results can be applied anywhere. Dr. Sewell relates how the concerted and consistent interventions made in the sample schools have turned around the lives of their pupils.

One strategy is intellectual rigor—the 12 year-olds in the project worked at a level demanded of 18 year-olds. Another is that such rigorous demands are accompanied by caring and reliable support and exciting physical and cultural pursuits.

Ultimately, the project is about teaching Black boys how to succeed in a system that seems to work against them. Sewell doesn’t quite let teachers off the hook, nor does he deny the reality of racism and its impact on boys’ lives. What makes this book indispensable for all who work or are preparing to work in education is the key strategies he outlines for schools and teachers to cultivate the genius within their students and help Black boys to grow a skin not of resistance but of resilience.

1) Introduction
2) Fatherless Boys
3) Finding the Female Within
4) Learning How to Serve: Samoa
5) Change from Within: Jamaica
6) The Making of Genius

Tony Sewell

Tony Sewell is an educational consultant and a columnist on the Voice. His first book, Black Masculinities and Schooling (Trentham, 1997), was widely acclaimed.