Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-7-2017

Department

Psychology

Abstract

This project intended to create conditions that are conducive to helping minority students achieve success in learning, in school, and in life. The project is a response to the rising rate of health and career disparities among minority U.S. adolescents. Based on the theoretical framework of the cultural historical activity theory, this attempt aimed to use the dance activities for teaching, training, and learning. This study draws from the empirical framework of the Girls health Enrichment Multisite Studies, conducted in other states, which implemented a culturally relevant physical regimen to reduce health disparities among minority girls. This study sought to use the activity in a different way; to facilitate student learning of research processes and also optimize associated academic and psychosocial processes, by engaging in the culturally relevant activity of African dance. The specific target population included undergraduate students, from a Historically Black University in Georgia. An African dance instructor conducted the class once a week for 75 minutes for 3 months. Ten student researchers recruited participants and evaluated the impact of African dance on learning the neuroscience of dance, learning of an Ethiopian dialect, Oromo, explored the meaning of participating in this the dance, impact on self-efficacy, racial identity, and attitudes towards and sponsorship of black businesses. Results indicated a significant effect of participating in the dance on learning the neuroscience of dance and of the dialect as well, positive meanings associated with the activity of African dance, positive self-efficacy, racial identity, and positive attitudes towards minority serving academic institutions. Through dissemination from the local to the global level, the broader impact sought by this project is to establish financially secure families by involving the workforce of tomorrow in activities that will promote positive psychosocial outcomes and STEM learning concurrently.

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