White Teacher in a Diverse Classroom, A Phenomenological Study November 20, 2007 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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White Teacher in a Diverse Classroom, A Phenomenological Study November 20, 2007

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    1. White Teacher in a Diverse Classroom, A Phenomenological Study November 20, 2007 Margaret A. M. Saunders Aurora University Aurora, IL College of Education Presented at NBPTS Conference; July, 2009

    2. Problem Statement Visible presence of cultural variability in my diverse classrooms Concept of culture seemed to dominate my questioning of practice

    3. Problem Statement Questioned which culture needed definition White teachers dominate the teaching profession - their impact on minority students needs further analysis

    4. Literature Review Historic studies in cultural differences: Hart & Risley, Kathryn Au, Shirley Brice Heath, Susan Urmston Philips Contemporary voices on diverse classrooms: Luis Moll, Jonathan Kozol, Gary Howard Contemporary voices of color: Sonia Nieto, Lisa Delpit, Gloria Ladson-Billings

    5. The Research Question What is the cultural essence of the white teacher in a diverse classroom? Cultural essence: a set of common attributes consisting of ideas, customs and traditions that teachers, consciously or unconsciously, possess and which define their teaching practices

    6. Research Methods Qualitative research: Deep understanding Constructivism: Shared meaning Phenomenology: Bringing experiences to consciousness Heuristic Perspective: Internal search

    7. Settings Five school settings in four districts Variety in size of districts High poverty ratios with one exception Variety in diversity of students; ethnicity of staff; classroom culture; building leadership qualities; level of district, school, and colleague support; availability of financial resources; and school and district culture

    8. Participants Four white teachers Four teachers of color Two multi-racial teachers Participants from kindergarten, first, third, fourth, fifth grade, speech Bilingual and Monolingual teachers

    9. The Participants

    10. Data Collection 21 interview sessions, 50 to 65 minutes in length Sets of 2-3 interviews per participant Transcribed and shared with participants Interview 3 to construct shared meaning Personal reflection journal Coding, analysis, synthesis of all data

    11. Assumptions Self-questioning and self-examination was expected to occur for all participants.

    12. Limitations Participants all from one geographic area Number of participants limited to nine Only culture and ethnicity considered as elements of diversity Educational settings almost exclusively high poverty All schools considered academically successful according to NCLB definition

    13. Significance of the Study May contribute new insights to the current body of research May encourage further research on the topic May encourage collegial conversations and mentoring relationships May encourage improved classroom practices May encourage improved educational policy

    14. Findings Five common attributes of the white teacher culture identified. Attributes identified as practices, beliefs, or customs that can be found in the behavior of even the most aware and sensitive of white teachers because they are imbedded in our daily lives, learned during our childhood, and reinforced in our educational experiences.

    15. Findings: 5 Common Attributes Common attributes of the white teacher culture: Making assumptions about children and parents based on lack of knowledge about cultural differences

    16. Links to Literature Shirley Brice Heath, Susan Urmston Philips, Kathryn Au: cultural patterns in educational settings White teachers make assumptions about discourse patterns and participation structures that result in disadvantages in the classroom to students of color.

    17. Example from Data Bonita: That's another thing culturally that bothers me in the United States is that people equate poverty with dirt or poverty with ignorance or lack of education with ignorance. I think my mother was a great example of that. So even though she wasn't school educated, she was quite bright in her own way. You know we were always clean.

    18. Example from Data Alma: So the teacher says oh, theyre very quiet and I think like what did they smoke? Spanish people are loud and lively. But I think thats like a big thing in the classroom. Theres an understanding among the white students and the teacher about how things transpire and the culture of the classroom. And I think that a lot of time is spent figuring that out. And then the content, the actual curriculum, and I think that takes all the energy.

    19. Findings: 5 Common Attributes Making assumptions about children and parents in an effort to align the childs experiences with ones own

    20. Link to Literature Ladson-Billings: dysconscious racism, the claim to be color-blind White teachers try to treat all children the same. This only works when all children actually are the same.

    21. Example from Data Reflection Journal: Patrick doesnt know his phone number. I start telling him that hes in 3rd grade, he needs to know it. What would you do if you had an emergency? He says sometimes mom calls. Then it clicks, he probably changes phone numbers a lot, so he doesnt have a chance to learn them. Hes probably at home after school watching his 1st grade sister while his mom works in the city. She calls now and then to check on him.

    22. Findings: 5 Common Attributes Attributing differences to culture that are misinterpreted or due to personal variability or other factors rather than culture

    23. Example from Data Beverly: An older teacher told her it's a cultural difference. And it's acceptable in their culture I remember sitting there going, do I correct this, or do I leave this alone? You know, it's like, what an insult. I said, whose culture are you talking about? Cause if you're talking about black children and black people, I said, having children by different men is not a cultural difference. It is not acceptable in black families. What you do not understand is we do not ostracize our children.

    24. Findings: 5 Common Attributes Using indirect communication with children and parents to avoid conflict and the appearance of being mean

    25. Example from Data Reflection Journal: I found myself be encouraging to Jamal, saying lets fix this now so you can start fresh at the new school. I didnt want the conference to end on a negative note, where mom left it. She didnt do any sugar coating. She just said she couldnt keep punishing him forever, so he better straighten up so she could lay off.

    26. Findings: 5 Common Attributes Making errors in judgment because of an underlying desire to appear understanding, knowledgeable, and nice

    27. Example from Data Beverly: I think sometimes parents are caught off guard when you bring their child to Service Team, because she told them he was a little behind, but nobody ever told them how much behind. I've had parents say, if you would have told me that, I would probably have tried to get them a tutor. They're just not making a lot of money. I had this one mom say that she could get her mother to pay for tutoring if she would have known. But the teacher always told her that he was just kind of in a little trouble. She said, I didn't realize he was having this many problems or that he was this far behind.

    28. Justification of Findings The identification of these attributes is justified precisely because even the most highly aware of the white teachers in my study have shown these behaviors at times.

    29. A Caution Moll (2000) reminded us that culture is not a homogeneous entity that is the same for all members of the cultural group. In this study too, members of the cultural group varied in the intensity and variety of the characteristics in their own behavior.

    30. Examples from Data Emily: You can tell by like their backpacks, just the dirtiness of their clothes, that's probably the best way for me to tell. Reflection Journal: Patrick doesnt know his phone number. I start telling him that hes in 3rd grade, he needs to know it. Beverlys comment hits me shes probably had more than one student over the years

    31. Recommendations Recommendation #1: Educate teachers in the context of their workplaces

    32. Example from Data Beverly on sustaining teacher learning: When you're talking about the book and when you're talking about the concept, you go, oh, so that's why this is . . ., you know, cause it's fresh. But then, the next year, it kind of, some of it you keep, and then some of it kind of flitters away.

    33. Recommendations Recommendation #2: Educate pre-service teachers in the context of their universities

    34. Example from Data Emily on university preparation: I pretty much graduated with two degrees. I had to take Education courses, and then I had to gear my studies towards a content area. So I chose social sciences. I had to take anthropology, psychology, sociology, all of those classes too. One of my social science classes was Ethnicity and Diversity.

    35. Recommendations Recommendation #3: Utilize the resource of parents to educate teachers and educate parents to maximize the support for their children

    36. Link to Literature Moll Transfer and Transformation White teachers have preconceived notions of culture, and teachers of diverse students need to move beyond these assumptions by exploring the culture of their students and by forming relationships with families and in communities.

    37. Example from Data Elisabeth on mentoring parents: I think my biggest thing in teaching is educating my parents to be advocates for their own children because in the Hispanic culture, they don't. La Maestra knows everything, and you do what she says, and you don't mess with (her). Educating them that you have a right to put your child in an English-speaking classroom. You have the right to request a staffing for evaluation. And a lot of my parents, they're not going to push things like that. And trying to teach them and give them that confidence.

    38. Recommendations Recommendation #4: Develop school and district leaders that will grow positive school and district cultures that are supportive of diverse students

    39. Link to Literature Lyman and Villani: strong leader and committed staff high expectations Lyman and Villani: including families

    40. Links to Literature Sonia Nieto: deficit theory and release of responsibility Sonia Nieto: institutional discrimination - exclusion of students from opportunities to succeed Jonathan Kozol: dual system of education - protecting the class distinctions Jonathan Kozol: view of self -deficient and devalued Ruby Payne: hidden rules of class Ruby Payne: poverty - more about other resources than it is about money

    41. Recommendations Recommendation #5: Encourage all educators to explore their own roots and own their own culture

    42. Links to Literature Sonia Nieto: our immigrant past and the myth of a painless and smooth assimilation Gary Howard: search for personal roots and cultural heritage

    43. Example from Data Bonita on exploring her roots: As a person that has African descent from my father's side, I was always interested in what did it mean to be black... And so I went to Ghana... They had all these like cultural things they did and things that they valued, and it was very literally important. And so I started thinking about my only experience of knowing black people or people that have African descent were people from the United States, and in my case people from Haiti. To me the experience was very different from the people that I met in Ghana.

    44. Findings A continuum of white teachers:

    45. Implications for Further Study Confirm the identified characteristics of white teacher culture in a larger variety of settings With a larger variety of diversity of students At schools with varying levels of SES At schools varying in measures of academic success

    46. Reflection Activity How aware are you of your immigrant roots? How does your culture guide your educational practices?

    47. Conclusion Some of us need to start the work, but all of us need to continue it so that all students will be educated according to our democratic ideals in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    48. Thank you for listening Email me at msaunders01@sbcglobal.net