High school can be a challenging time for many students but particularly for African American students who face many educational challenges (Thompson, 2007). In examining efforts to address the concerns of children from particular cultural and ethnic backgrounds, research evidence suggests that teacher attitude toward students is an integral part of culturally responsive pedagogical methods and characteristics. Teachers who have bonded with students have made powerful impacts on their lives. When that occurred, the students were confident that their teacher cared for them. They enjoyed being near their teacher and oriented toward their teacher's likes and dislikes (Deiro, 1996). Successful ...view middle of the document...
More often than not teachers are the friends, parents, caregivers, protectors, and providers for the students in their care (Monroe 1997). These relationships are not always by choice, but become the role of many teachers.
Literature consistently shows that the behaviors of White teachers often result in limited, negative, perceptions of, and reactions to, African American student behaviors. European American teachers, who make up between 87% and now more recently 90% of the United States’ teaching workforce (Wilder, 2000), often find themselves working with African American students whose cultures may be unfamiliar to them. Additionally, King (1991) found a “dysconscious racism”existing in the beliefs and behaviors of some pre- and in-service White teachers that supports dominant White norms and privileges and focuses on negative rather than positive characteristics of African American students ( Ladson-Billings1996).
Racism is reinforced by many European American teachers who simply seem to believe that African American students misbehave more often than White students and are more frequently in need of discipline or remediation (King, 1993). It is important to note that, Irvine (1990) suggests, “Black teachers can also fall prey to the trap of negative expectations”. However, researcher has shown thatEuropean American teachers are more likely to be out of cultural sync with their African American students, and according to Arriaza (2003)“African American students are more likely to see that lack of cultural synchronization as a lack of care”.
This study utilized a qualitative, phenomenological inquiry methodology to define the experience of teacher attitude as demonstrated for African American students by African American and European American secondary teachers. In phenomenological inquiry, perception is regarded as a primary source of knowledge. According to Creswell (1998), phenomenology describes lived experiences for several individuals about a concept or phenomenon (1998).
To employ the best use of the phenomenological lensused of Seidman’s (1991)in-depth phenomenological-based interviewing method. This method combines life-history interviewing and focused, in-depth interviewing informed by assumptions drawnfrom phenomenology. Through this type of interviewing, researchers are able to examine how individual experience interacts with the social and organizational forces in participants’ lives and work and discover interconnections between people who live and work in a shared context (Seidman, 1991).
The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomenon of teacher attitude and the impact it has on Black students by exploring the reported attitudes and behaviors of European American teachers. Specifically, this study sought to examine the ways in which reported behaviors differed based on ethnicity and school setting. Specifically the following research questions guided this study:
1. Do European...