Term of Award

Fall 2010

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

Delores D. Liston

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Yasar Bodur

Committee Member 3

Frank Erik Brooks

Abstract

This study investigated the responses of six white female high school teachers in a small, rural community in southern Georgia to discussions about and challenges to their belief systems concerning racial issues and the racial climate of their school. These women were part of a multi-session consciousness raising focus group experience. The theoretical framework for this study was black feminist theory. Black feminist theorists' emphasis of the importance of lived experience and dialogue in questioning the structures of dominant powers was an important component of the study. Qualitative research was employed in an effort to capture the fullness of the experience of the participants. The analysis and presentation of the data and findings involved biographical sketches and thematic patterns drawn from the participants. White identity development models were used during the analysis of the data. The importance of critical self-reflection and culturally relevant pedagogy was also discussed. Connections between the participants' lived experiences and the stage of development of their white identity and their responses to these challenges to their belief systems was evident. This connection illustrates the need for a more systematic approach to racial awareness for pre- and in-service teachers.

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