Reflections from effective teachers of African American students: investigating the intersection of preparation, practice, and policy

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2007

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Abstract

This research was a qualitative study of 10 elementary school teachers working with predominantly African American students in a large urban school district. The primary focus of this study was to analyze the perceptions of effective teachers of African American students. The hope is that the data presented in this study will initiate trends that assist in effectively preparing teachers to attain successful outcomes with African American students. Through document analysis and interviews with selected university faculty, this interpretive qualitative study also examined the multicultural education training component that targets African American students in the undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program at a highly selective public university in Texas. The data were collected through interviews and document analysis. The themes that emerged from data collected with the 10 elementary school teachers included (a) perceptions of culture, (b) beliefs about teaching, (c) academic accountability, (d) teacher preparation, and (e) contributions to success. This study utilized Ladson-Billings' (1995a, 2001) theoretical framework of culturally relevant pedagogy to examine teachers' perspectives. Supplemented with interviews of selected university faculty, this study also utilized document analysis of relevant teacher preparation programs and educational policies. Along with uncovering areas of further research, an examination of the various components of this study identifies recommendations for reform of educational practice, teacher preparation programs, and educational policy.

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