Term of Award

Fall 2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Asa Hilliard

Committee Member 2

Saundra Nettles

Committee Member 3

John Weaver

Abstract

Using Critical Race Theory (Crenshaw, Gotanda, Peller, & Thomas, 1995; Ladson-Billing, 1998; Richard Delgado & Jean Stefanic, 2000; Solorzano & Yasso, 2002) as a theoretical framework, and critical narrative inquiry (Clendanin & Connelly, 1999) as research methodology, I explored stories from five eighth grade African American adolescent males in order to identify how home, community, and school experiences contributed to their academic success and social development. My passion for the inquiry was driven for my desire to foster a sense of agency for social justice and positive changes for the African American community. Selection of participants was based upon reading and math scores in the 60th percentile range on the Georgia Criterion Reference Competency Test (CRCT). Social development was based upon the number of discipline reports. Data collection methods included individual and focus interviews. Important qualities of classroom teachers were determined by a ranking of qualities of effective teachers. The literature review included an examination of the educational history of African Americans, adolescents and racial identity, experiences of African American males, and culturally relevant pedagogy. Six findings resulted from this study. (1) A value system, work ethic, and selfdiscipline are noted for students who are academically and socially developed. (2) Parental involvement is directly linked to positive academic outcomes. (3) A positive sense of ethnic/racial identity serves as a cultural motivator. (4) A connection to the community is limited or absent based on participation in community activities. (5) Some African American males are participating in their own educational marginalization by failing to recognize the significance of culturally relevant teaching. (6) An ethic of care and justice demonstrated by school personnel is significant to students. The study will inform policymakers that it is of great importance for them to reconsider policies, such as zero tolerance, which disproportionately affect minority males. There is a demand for administrators to understand that they are the key in encouraging and supporting staff to acknowledge students experiences and to incorporate experiences into culturally relevant teaching. The study informs parents of the importance to prepare their children to live in a society of discrimination, prejudice, and racism.

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