Personal Characteristics and Professional Acts of Teaching of Six Effective Mathematics Teachers of African American Students in Urban Middle School Classrooms



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This research study was conducted as a qualitative study of six effective middle school mathematics teachers who educate urban, African American students. The purpose of this study was to examine and interpret the life experiences and teaching practices of middle school mathematics teachers by hearing their voices. The intent of this study was to expand the finite qualitative research base on effective middle school mathematics teachers of African American students and inform superintendents, administrators, teachers, and researcher in urban school districts.

A purposeful sample of six middle school teachers provided a rich description of their characteristics through semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis took place after each interview using axial coding and categorizing. The findings were categorized based on three major themes: Relevant Teacher Practices; Support^(3); and You Care, I Care. In total, ten sub-themes emerged from the voices of the participants. Sub-themes that emerged under Relevant Teacher Practices were: Keeping Students on Task, Hands-on Mathematics, and Relevant Mathematics. The sub-themes that emerged under Support3 were: Administrative Support, Collegial Support, and Parental Support. Finally, Relationships and Relevancy emerged as sub-themes under You Care, I Care. The participants? experiences affirm the literature of culturally responsive teaching and the ethic of care, while serving as a vehicle for mathematics teachers of African American students in urban middle schools.