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Touré, Judith L. (2009) "THERE'S SOME GOOD KARMA UP IN HERE":A CASE STUDY OF WHITE SCHOOL LEADERSHIP IN AN URBAN CONTEXT. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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As educators work to improve achievement within the current policy environment of accountability and "subgroups," their attention has been drawn to considerations of race, culture, and learning in schools. Yet few school leaders have the preparation or knowledge to assist teacher learning about these issues. Theories of culturally relevant pedagogy focus on how teachers can teach subject matter in a culturally appropriate manner, and previous scholarship has considered culturally relevant pedagogy in relation to teaching and learning. This inquiry examines it in relation to leadership content knowledge. Critical race theory offers a lens through which to examine the relationship of beliefs and knowledge when considering race and racism in the American educational system and for further situating an examination of school leadership and cultural competency. The research questions I address are: 1. What kind of perspective toward students is held by educators in the school? How do these perspectives connect with teaching, learning, and leadership? 2. How is culturally relevant pedagogy represented in the schools? How do school leaders foster or hinder CRP in their schools? 3. In which contexts and events in the practice of school leadership do issues of race, culture, and learning surface? How are the issues mediated by the principal and other school leaders? This case study of three White principals reveals that they faced many issues of race, culture, and learning, yet tended to be colorblind and colormute. Even when they identified issues, they were reluctant to address them or without resources, thus ignoring situations that could have served as sites of teacher learning. Several White teachers held dynamic and nuanced asset perspectives toward children of color. New teachers in particular learn a "repertoire of racialized and 'cultural' comparisons" (Pollock, 2001) as a key component of belonging to their community, a repertoire that knowledgeable school leaders could begin to disrupt through efforts to assist teacher learning and development toward an asset perspective. In addition, several teachers were trying to implement features of culturally relevant pedagogy, and one or two were seeking knowledge about issues of race and racism. An assistant principal who was African American assisted teacher learning about students' funds of knowledge. Nevertheless, these efforts were not supported by the broader professional community or White school leadership. This study may be useful to policy makers and professors of education in encouraging a reexamination of requirements for leadership preparation which currently lack an emphasis on culturally relevant leadership content knowledge or social justice. Leadership content knowledge that includes knowledge of culturally relevant pedagogy, particularly critical consciousness that problematized colorblind ideologies, could play a significant role in deepening teacher understanding of the relationship of race and culture to teaching and learning, and thus, in instructional improvement.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Touré, Judith
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairStein, Mary Kaymkstein@pitt.eduMKSTEIN
Committee MemberGodley, Amandaagodley@pitt.eduAGODLEY
Committee MemberLewis, Consuellalewisc@pitt.eduLEWISC
Committee MemberGoodwin, Suesgoodwin@pitt.eduSGOODWIN
Date: 8 January 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 11 December 2008
Approval Date: 8 January 2009
Submission Date: 22 December 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: case study; culturally relevant pedagogy; qualitative research; race; school leadership; teacher learning
Other ID:, etd-12222008-115522
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:11
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:55


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