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Addressing education debt: student and teacher perceptions of successful teaching of low-income African American students

Pinsky, Stephanie, L (2013) Addressing education debt: student and teacher perceptions of successful teaching of low-income African American students. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    Low-income African American students face a number of barriers to achieving academic success. When compared to other low-income students, the challenges facing low-income African American students are unique as they must overcome both economic and racialized barriers. Viewed through the lens of education debt (Ladson-Billings, 2006), which considers the effects of long-term social disparities, this thesis addresses two questions: 1) How do students and teachers describe the barriers to students’ academic success? and 2) What factors do students and teachers identify in the classroom, school, and community environment that facilitate student engagement and classroom learning? Data for this thesis come from a community-based participatory research project conducted at a racially-segregated, high-poverty public school, and consist of 24 in-depth interviews: 6 teacher interviews, 14 student interviews, and 4 student focus group interviews. Participants include 6 teachers and 9 students. Participants were asked open-ended questions regarding their perceptions about their experiences in the school. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed through a collaborative process of coding, memoing, and discussion with advising faculty. Student-identified barriers to academic success include behavior problems, educators’ inability to manage students, a focus on discipline rather than academics, and a lack of culturally competent educators. Student-identified factors that lead to positive school experiences include authoritative yet caring and supportive educators, structured small group collaboration, and extracurricular and recreational activities. Teacher-identified barriers to academic success include poor administrative support, inconsistencies in school, and negative out-of-school experiences and influences. Teacher-identified factors that lead to positive school experiences include professional relationship-building skills and cultural competence. Findings provide insight about education debt in schools serving predominantly low-income African American youth and suggest a behavioral, cultural, professional, and institutional manifestation of education debt. Findings also suggest methods for repaying education debt include increasing behavioral and emotional support resources, strengthening professional training and recruitment, and transforming schools into institutions of social justice.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmail
    Committee CoChairPetraccii, Helen, Ehpssw@pitt.edu
    Committee CoChairGoodkind, Sarasag51@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberHutcheson, Philopahutcheson@bamaed.ua.edu
    Committee MemberWallace, John, Mjohnw@pitt.edu
    Title: Addressing education debt: student and teacher perceptions of successful teaching of low-income African American students
    Status: Published
    Abstract: Low-income African American students face a number of barriers to achieving academic success. When compared to other low-income students, the challenges facing low-income African American students are unique as they must overcome both economic and racialized barriers. Viewed through the lens of education debt (Ladson-Billings, 2006), which considers the effects of long-term social disparities, this thesis addresses two questions: 1) How do students and teachers describe the barriers to students’ academic success? and 2) What factors do students and teachers identify in the classroom, school, and community environment that facilitate student engagement and classroom learning? Data for this thesis come from a community-based participatory research project conducted at a racially-segregated, high-poverty public school, and consist of 24 in-depth interviews: 6 teacher interviews, 14 student interviews, and 4 student focus group interviews. Participants include 6 teachers and 9 students. Participants were asked open-ended questions regarding their perceptions about their experiences in the school. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed through a collaborative process of coding, memoing, and discussion with advising faculty. Student-identified barriers to academic success include behavior problems, educators’ inability to manage students, a focus on discipline rather than academics, and a lack of culturally competent educators. Student-identified factors that lead to positive school experiences include authoritative yet caring and supportive educators, structured small group collaboration, and extracurricular and recreational activities. Teacher-identified barriers to academic success include poor administrative support, inconsistencies in school, and negative out-of-school experiences and influences. Teacher-identified factors that lead to positive school experiences include professional relationship-building skills and cultural competence. Findings provide insight about education debt in schools serving predominantly low-income African American youth and suggest a behavioral, cultural, professional, and institutional manifestation of education debt. Findings also suggest methods for repaying education debt include increasing behavioral and emotional support resources, strengthening professional training and recruitment, and transforming schools into institutions of social justice.
    Date: 18 July 2013
    Date Type: Publication
    Defense Date: 31 May 2013
    Approval Date: 18 July 2013
    Submission Date: 18 July 2013
    Release Date: 18 July 2013
    Access Restriction: No restriction; The work is available for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Number of Pages: 157
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
    Uncontrolled Keywords: African American, education, low-income, poverty, community-based participatory research, education debt, social justice, school.
    Schools and Programs: University Honors College
    School of Social Work > Social Work
    Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2013 11:16
    Last Modified: 18 Sep 2013 01:15

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