Multiple Case Studies of Literacy Practices Utilized by Intermediate Grade Teachers Which Enable African American Males to Become Literate Individuals---What's Going On?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cynthia Brooks Wooten (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Barbara Levin

Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate ways in which six teachers in the intermediate grades at one urban and one rural school enabled their African American male students to be successful in their literacy efforts. It was my assumption that successful teachers of African American males would also be teachers who integrated culturally relevant teaching practices into their literacy instruction; therefore, I also examined the ways in which these teachers designed instruction that was culturally relevant (Villegas & Lucas, 2002a, 2002b). The six teacher participants in this study were purposefully selected because they were identified as demonstrating the ability to aid their African American males to be successful in reading. Qualitative, case study methodology was selected because it allowed me to collect multiple forms of evidence about the beliefs and practices of these teachers in the context of their actual classrooms. Data collection for this study included one-on-one teacher interviews, six classroom observations during teachers' literacy instruction across two weeks, post observation interviews following each observation, and the teachers' completion of a diversity questionnaire. Data collection spanned nine months and included numerous follow-up interviews to clarify my interpretation of the data collected. Both within- and cross-case analyses were conducted to understand the literacy and culturally relevant practices that the six teachers in this study associated with the success of their African American males. Within case analysis revealed general teacher beliefs and specific literacy practices and classroom environment factors associated with the success of their African American males. Literacy practices that were found to be most successful for African American males included their participation in guided reading groups, read alouds, and writing activities because these practices were targeted to the specific needs and interests of the teachers' African American males. Whole class, teacher directed reading was seen by the teachers to be the least successful literacy practice for the African American males in their classrooms. The cross-case study analysis suggested that successful teachers of African American males demonstrated these four characteristics: compassion, consistency, connectedness, and collaboration. Additionally, teachers' efforts to become culturally relevant were found to hinge on teachers' willingness to explore their own sociocultural consciousness. Having sociocultural consciousness enabled three of the six teachers to view their diverse student population from a positive perspective. Teachers with less developed sense of sociocultural consciousness tended to view students from diverse populations from a deficit perspective. Based on what was learned from the teachers in this study, several recommendations for schools of education, school administrators, and teachers are provided. Suggestions for future research still needed to study culturally relevant literacy teaching practices that promote the success of African American male students are also provided.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
African American males, Culturally relevant teaching, Effective teachers
Literacy $x Study and teaching $z United States $x Case studies.
African American students.
African American boys.
Teachers $x Attitudes.
Effective teaching.

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