African American Students in a Middle Income, Urban School District: Five Successful Secondary Teachers? Beliefs and Practices



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This research study was conducted as a qualitative case study of five successful teachers of African American students in a middle income, urban school district. The study was designed to hear the ?muted? voices of successful teachers concerning their beliefs and practices when they effectively provide learning opportunities for African American students in their classrooms.

Ethic of Care and Equity Pedagogy created the theoretical framework for interpretation of the powerful narratives and counter-storytelling that influenced this group of successful teachers. Data were collected by conducting in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Constant comparative method and narrative analysis were used to code and categorize the data. Analysis was conducted after each interview to discover emergent themes. Teachers conducted member checks throughout the process.

The findings from the study yielded the following: (1) teachers developed an educational approach that informed their instructional practices, (2) teachers displayed a high level of efficacy and care when working with their students, particularly African American students, (3) teachers build relationships with students that required students to work at higher levels of rigor and meet more demanding expectations for performance. Themes that emerged included: care, parental involvement, culturally responsive pedagogy and ?life skills?.