Let the Circle Be Unbroken: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Novice, African American, Elementary School Teachers Open Access

Faison, Morgan Zacheya-Jewel (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/s1784m28s?locale=en


Over the past thirty years, education policy groups, teacher education programs, and state education departments have galvanized their efforts to recruit more African American teachers. Despite these efforts, however, recent data shows high rates of attrition among novice, African Americans entering the field (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2016). Foster (1997), Irvine (1991), and Ladson-Billings (1995) have noted relationships between the beliefs and practices of exemplary veteran, African American teachers and culturally responsive pedagogy. Yet, an analysis of the beliefs and practices of younger, novice African American teachers and culturally responsive pedagogy had not been fully undertaken before this study was conducted. This dissertation study examined the beliefs, practices, and socialization experiences of four, novice, African American teachers who worked in different elementary school settings in an urban school district in the U.S. South. Specifically, the following research questions guided this study:

1: What are the beliefs and practices of exemplary, novice African American teachers?

2: What are the family and community, early schooling, teacher education, and mentoring experiences that inform the beliefs and practices of exemplary, novice African American teachers?

3: What is the relationship between exemplary, novice African American teachers' family and community, early schooling, teacher education, and mentoring experiences and their beliefs and practices?

4: What other variables do exemplary, novice African American teachers describe as influential to their beliefs and practices?

The participants were sampled through a process of community nomination (Foster, 1997) and by varying their professional entry pathway. Through a blending of case study and narrative inquiry methodologies, the findings confirmed that participants had strikingly similar beliefs and practices when compared to their veteran, African American teacher predecessors. Furthermore, the participants drew from their shared beliefs, values, norms, and experiences to enact culturally responsive pedagogies. Likewise, the study revealed a continuity of intergenerational cultural transmission through various socialization experiences. The study concludes with several implications for teacher education research, policy, and practice.

Table of Contents


Statement and Significance of the Problem. 3

Research Questions. 7

Definition of Terms. 7

THEORETICAL Considerations. 8

Culture and Cultural Transmission. 9

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. 11

African American Teachers and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. 14


Literature Search Strategy. 15

Personal Backgrounds. 16

Teacher Education. 19

Mentoring. 24

Beliefs. 27

Practices. 31

Limitations of the Literature on Novice, African American Teachers. 35

Methodology. 37

Pilot Study. 39

Participant Selection. 41

Data Collection. 42

Coding and Analysis. 44

Authenticity and Trustworthiness. 45


The District. 48

Case 1: Nia's Story. 49

Case 2: Cassidy's Story. 73

Case 3: Patrice's Story. 98

Case 4: Monica's Story. 129

Cross-Case Analysis. 148

Research Question One. 148

Research Question Two. 163

Research Question Three. 174

Research Question Four. 180


Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. 183

Intergenerational Cultural Transmission. 185

Limitations. 188

Implications for Research. 189

Implications for Policy. 190

Implications for Practice. 193




Appendix A: Literature Review Chart. 214

Appendix B: Participant Table. 218

Appendix C: Conversation Guide. 219

Appendix D: Document Summary Form. 221

Appendix E: Diagram of Qualitative Data Analysis. 222

Appendix F: Cross-Case Analysis Matrix. 223

Appendix G: Autobiographical Narrative. 224

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