An Examination of Elementary School Teachers' Belief about Their African American Students with an Analysis of Selected Characteristics of Schools in One Urban School District
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between five factors: teacher efficacy, teacher beliefs, cultural responsive classroom management, cultural awareness, and cultural sensitivity among African American, European American and Hispanic American elementary school teachers. The five factors were part of eight factors originating from the Cultural Awareness and Belief Inventory (CABI) given to Pre-kindergarten through Grade 12 teachers in an urban public school district in Houston, Texas during the 2005-2006 school year. A MANOVA using SPSS was conducted for the sample of 208 teachers from grades kindergarten through fourth to assess whether differences exist between the ethnic groups. The five factors served as the dependent variables and the ethnicities of the teachers were the independent variables. A further analysis was conducted of the elementary schools which participated in the CABI for two purposes. The first purpose was to ascertain the number of teachers with strong efficacy beliefs, and the second purpose was to identify common and distinctive characteristics among those schools. Results were analyzed using standardized test scores from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) as well as Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS). The results of the MANOVA revealed a significant difference among the teacher ethnic groups only with Cultural Sensitivity. Further tests revealed the difference in Cultural Sensitivity, which could be explained by ethnicity, was relatively small. While African American teachers obtained slightly higher mean scores on some of the items related to the factors, the three teacher ethic groups had similar mean scores in the majority of the items. Each of the teacher groups demonstrated an overall optimism for the five factors, reflecting positive beliefs about African American students and their capabilities to achieve in school. Each of the five urban schools had similar but also distinctive characteristics. The analysis of the schools with high teacher efficacy revealed them to have a high number of economically disadvantaged students. The only other commonality was very high retention rates among the schools. The high retention rates were inconsistent with practices of effective schools.