Culturally responsive teaching: a narrative exploration of being a white male art teacher in a southern black high school

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Culturally responsive teaching: a narrative exploration of being a white male art teacher in a southern black high school
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Outlaw, Jason Kent
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College of Fine Arts; University of Florida
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The following capstone project explores the practice of culturally responsive teaching by using the qualitative mode of inquiry described as narrative analysis. Written in the first-person, and within the framework of critical race theory, the research details my experiences as a student and now as an art teacher in a low-income, predominately black community in the Deep South and the public high school that is located within. Outlined as well are some of my understandings about how multiculturalism, visual literacy, and popular culture, as they are talked about within art educational discourse, inform my teaching. Throughout this supporting paper the reader will find information that describes the culture of my community and school. However, the primary aim was to find common cultural ground with my students and recognize my limitations as an art educator.
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CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEACHING: A NARRATIVE EXPLORATION OF BEING A WHITE MALE ART TEACHER IN A SOUTHERN BLACK HIGH SCHOOL By JASON KENT OUTLAW A CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013

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2 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING 2013 Jason Ken Outlaw

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3 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Acknowledgements First I would like to thank my parents. I would like to thank them for raising me to be accepting of all people regardless of their background, ethnicity, or sex. I would like to thank them for allowing me to make my own decisions about where I would receive my education and giving me the freedom to become my own man. I would also like to thank Alice Lewis, my third and fourth grade teacher, for opening my eyes to cultural differences between people and helping me understand that those differences are not meant to be barriers between us but rather opportunities to learn about others I would like to thank her for facilitating a learning environment that was focused on love, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. I would also like to thank Dr. Jodi Kushins, as well as all of my peers and other professors that have been there encouraging me through the process of graduate s chool. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my wife, who was pregnant during most of this journey, for sticking by my side and being patient with me through the entire process.

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4 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING ABSTRACT OF CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEACHING: A NARRATIVE EXPLORATION OF BEING A WHITE MALE ART TEACHER IN A SOUTHERN BLACK HIGH SCHOOL By Jason Kent Outlaw December 2013 Chair: Jodi Kushins Committee Member: Craig Roland Major: Art Education Abstract The following capstone project explores the practice of culturally responsive teaching by using the qualitative mode of inquiry described as narrative analysis. Written in the first person, and within the framework of critical race theory, the research details my experiences as a student and now as an art teacher in a low income, predominately b lack community in the Deep South and the public high school that is located within. Outlined as well are some of my understandings about how multiculturalism, visual literacy, and popular culture, as they are talked about within art education al discourse, inform my teaching. Throughout th i s supporting paper the reader will find information that describes the cult ure of my community and school. However, the primary aim was to find common cultural ground with my students and recognize my limitations as an art educator

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5 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Table of Contents Title Page .................................................................................................................. ...................... .. .......... 1 Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................................... .. ........ .. 3 Abstract............................................................................................................... ............................ ........... .. 4 Table of Contents Page....................................................................................................... ............. ......... .. 5 Introduction................................................ ..................................................................................... ........... 7 Statement of the Problem................................................................................................... .......... .. 8 Prichard, AL: Past and Present 8 Research 1 3 Purpose of th ... 13 Assumptions of the Study............................................................................................ ........ ... ... ...1 4 Definition of Terms........................................................................................................ ........ .. ... ..1 4 Study Limitations............................................................................................................ ........ .. ...1 5 Literature Review............................................................................................... ......................... ......... .. ..1 5 Culturally Responsive Teaching Within the Framework of Critica l Race Theory............ ....15 From the Inside Looking Out......................................................................................................18 Multicultural Art Education.................................................................................................. ......19 Hip Hop Cult ure.......................................................................................................................... .20 Methodology.................................................................................................................. .. .......... ........... .. ...20 Subject and Site Sele 21 Description of the Study.............. .......................................... .......... ................................. .... ........2 1 Data Collection Procedures................................................................... ....... ........................... .. ..22 Data Analysis....................................................................................................... ......... ........... ... ...2 4 Limitations.................................................................................................................. ... .......... .. ....2 5 .................................................................................... ........................... .......... ..... ..2 5 ..3 1

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6 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING ..3 1 3 1 Significance, Implications, and Rec 3 2 .............. 3 3 References................................................................................................................... ............. ........... .......34 3 7 Appendix A: Instit utional Review Board Application 3 8 Author Biography................................................................................. .................................... .. ........ . .... 4 3

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7 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Hey White B oy! made its way to my ears quite frequently while w alking the halls as a student in high school Each time I heard these words I assumed they were meant for me, because usu ally, I was the only w hite boy in the vicinity As a high school student I was introduced to an environment where I was a part of the minority. As a w hite male, I had to be thoughtful and reflective as to how I presen t ed myself in a school that was, at that time, about 85% b lack Often I was referred to by other nam es besides just the ambiguous w hite boy Sometimes I would also be called Opie Shadow, or Space Ghost I never took offense to being called these names, even though they were only used because of the color of my skin. Sometimes I would get called Bird because of my ability to shoot a three point shot. My freshman year I was even given jersey number 33 in reference to my perceived likeness to the NBA bask etb all great, Larry Bird (See Figure 1). Figure 1 : Yearbook picture of me playing basketball for my alma mater

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8 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Statement of the Problem 13 years later, I am b ack in this same school as an art educator and I find myself in a setting where I am even more of a minority than I was when I was a student. The makeup of the student body has increased from an 85% to 99% black majority. There are many reasons for this which will be further discussed throughout this paper The focus here is that I am a white teacher in an all black school and I feel the need to be more attentive to that fact. As I strive to be a caring educator, it is important for me to be able to teach to my target audience as proficiently as I po ssibly can According to a study by Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching conducted in 1998 (as cited in Americans for the Arts, 2009) Young people w four times more likely to be recog nized for academic achievement, three times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools, four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair, three times more likely to win an award for school attendance, participate in yout h groups nearly four times as frequently, read for pleasure nearly twice as often, and perform community service ( para 1 ) For these reasons, I believe I can make a real difference in my lives as their art educator. In order to understand my limitations in this environment and work to improve myself as an art educator I have decided to critically analyze my teaching strategies in a self actualizing manner so that I can better serve my s tudents. Prichard, AL : Past and Present Because I had a car as a student in high school and many of my teammates did not I frequently found myself taking friends home to some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in

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9 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING the area come back to this neighborhood without me remember on one occasion, as I was dropping a teammate off at his house he to me turned and said are preaching T he Word I would get scared on occasion I had conditioned myself to show as little fear as possible I figured that the less fe ar I showed the less chance the r e would be that I would be seen as an easy target for violence It was as close to a survival of the fittest type of environment that I have ever been exposed to. Though I was never assaulted or robbed during my four years as a student, there were times when I was forced to rely on my natural survival skills in order to safely remove myself from potentially dangerous situations. Unfortunately for my students, after being away for more than a decade, I can see that the decreased Students are constantly put in dangerous situations. Some of them knowing ly place themselves in the middle of this violent culture while others are drawn in by other factors. I feel that some of the students at the school more specifically some of the students that reside in the community immediately surrounding the school a re impeded in their ability or motivation to learn due to the distraction s and popularity of violent street life Many of them also face extreme problems w ithin the ir homes that make it hard for them to focus on school. People in the areas surrounding the town where I teach harbor negative assumptions about its residents with regards to race, violence, education, employment, and social status. These stem from the stories presented about the town by local media outlets as well as from firsthand account s that many people experienced when they were once residents Because the city is a predominately b lack, low income area, full of vacant ho mes, and known for crime, many w hite residents with means have chosen to move out of the county This white flight has

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10 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING led to a lack of cultural diversity that seems to further perpetuate the negative associations made about the area Due to the appeal of street life, s tudents who live in this type of environment may not be able to visualize the effects of a good education, and therefore may not relate to the value of traditional schooling Wilson (2011) noted in Being Poor, Black, and American: The Impact of Political, Economic, and Cultural Forces of shady dealings is a response to circumstances in inner city ghetto neighborhoods, where joblessness is high and Too often these students give up on th emselves at a very young age and that can make it very difficult to perform the job of educating them. My school is one of the few schools in the county (in the largest school system in the state) at which veteran teachers refuse to be employed. For instance, before I could assume position as t he art teacher at my school, I first had to wait for another teacher in the school system to either accept or decline his/ her mandatory transfer into the position that I was trying to fill. After declining the transfer for m ost of the summer, that teacher chose to take an early retire ment instead of coming to work at my alma mater It is assumed by many priv ileged white representatives in the outer circles of this area that the majority of the students at my school lack the intelligence that their peers, attending other schools in the county, may have. This assumption stems from mass ive amounts of socially and lawfully unacceptable behavior taking place in the neighborhoods surrounding the school and being presente d through local and national media ( McGehee, 2010) Most of the stories about the area that make the nightly news tend to be about shootings, theft of property, drug busts, and high speed car chases. The stories about these cultural codes ultimately hinder my students and other members of this community from integrating into bordering towns

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11 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING As an out of town observer driving down these streets, it would be hard not to see that the city is in need of positive change. One of the first things I notic e as I drive into the city is the number of vacant businesses and houses in the area (See Figure 2) Left in place of these once lively establishments is an overgrowth of greenery and haven s for illegal activity. Vandals have ransacked most of the buildings, stripping them of anything valuable, including the copper. While the rate of vacancy in housing within the area (13%) is only four percent higher than the national average (9%), there ar e some neighborhoods within the city where the rate is as high as 25%. 1 One such neighborhood, which my students call the 3 rd Ward, is only a few blocks from my school and is littered with these vacant trap houses While a few of them may still be standi ng strong, most of these abandoned houses have either fallen, or been burned to the ground. Figure 2 : Vacant building on the highway as one enters the city 1 Vacancy Rates according to the 2000 census: Worst Neighborhood 25%, The City 13%, The State 12%, United States 9%

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12 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING The town of my alma mater has a unique story It is one that begins with the landing of the Clotilda ; the last known African slave ship to land in the United States ( Glennon, 1999) African slaves aboard that ship arrived in the area just prior to the Civil War and due to the victory became free people shor tly there after Once free, most remained in the area and settled in a small corner of the city where some of their descendants still remain today. From the time the Clotilda arrived in 1859 and through out the early part of the 20 th century, the area settled by the se former slaves has been referred to as Africatown Just before World War I the city grew at a rapid pace because shipbuilding companies began building company housing in the town. In 1925 the residents voted to incorp orate as a city so that they could have basic city services, such as a police force. The city witnessed its greatest growth between this time and the 1960s, when the population swelled to 47,000. Since this peak the population has been on a constant dec line. Because of the departure of Scott and International Paper Mills as well as other large business es in the area, the decline in population is one that has been very sharp As of 2010, according to the population census, the number had dipped to 22,659. White flight can be blamed for a large percentage of this decline, but the flight has not been limited to just the whites. With a governmental body that had to file bankruptcy in 1999 and then again in 2009, many black families have moved out to ot her parts of the county as well (Kaetz, 2011) The most economically stable years of this city seem to conclude at the same time as the beginning of the race wars of the mid 1960s and the integration of my alma mater Years of talking with older alumni of my school have introduced me to ma ny stories of violence between whites and b lacks that took place on the grounds at that time L ocal residents have told me that

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13 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING b ecause of this violence, many of the w hite families left the city and moved to other nei ghboring cities within the same county. After leaving the area many of these families and their offspring cut ties with the city and, in some cases, have never returned, not even for a visit Research Questions I built this research project around the following questions: 1. responsive art educator in my unique setting? 2. In what ways does the fact that I am a privileged white male affect my efforts to be a culturally res ponsive educator in my particular setting? Purpose of the Study Using a narrative research approach my goal in conducting this Capstone Project was to examine contemporary cultural life in and around my school and analyze my observations and As the art teacher I feel that I have freedom to explore and implement cutting edge curriculum that challenges traditional methods. The freedom I have also allows me to discuss cul tural phenomena with my students both locally and inter nationally and create lessons based on those trends In examining myself in this place and recording my responses to daily occurrences I was looking for the best ways to approach and re present cultural trends and make them meaningful to my students, myself, and, as in turn, our community. Assumptions of the Study I am a white male aiming to teach in a culturally responsive style in a southern black environment where racism and racist policy are alive and well In attempting to examine the culture of this environment I knew I would face challenges and limitations due to the color of my

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14 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING skin. Though I knew there would be challenges, I was confident that my status as an alumnus would allow me cert ain access that other white males in this environment may not have been able to obtain. I also assumed that because I was accepted by my peers in high school, that I would also be accepted in my new role by the current student body. Common ground that mo st individuals in this community stand on is the fact that they attended this same school when they were high school students. I share this history and I used it in this study to initiate meaningful conversations about some of the issues that the city and my students face. Definition of Terms Narrative Analysis A narrative a nalysis is a study that relies on stories which e merge as data are collected and then framed and rendered through an analytical process that is artistic as well as rigorous (Coulter & Smith, 2009) Culturally Responsive Teaching Culturally responsive t eaching can be described as an e ducational discourse developed by the instructor in response to the cultural common grounds of the students being taught (Ladson Billings, 1994) Multiculturalism Under the school reform movement known as Multicultural Education, m ulticulturalism is the understanding of the complex issues of cultural diversity a nd the application of those understandings into educational art lessons ( Ballengee Morris & Stuhr, 2001) V isual L iteracy Visual l iteracy can be described as the i nterpretations which are formed through the deconstruction and critical interpretation of popular visual imagery (Chung, 2007) Popular culture Often referred to as pop culture it simply denotes a widely accepted group of practices or customs

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15 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Study Limitations The biggest limitation that I knew I would face throughout this research is that I am not black and I will never know what it is like to be black. I am a white male, raised in a white community, where I attended a white church and socialized with white pe ople. It was not until I became a high school student that I began to spend the majority of my time in a non white setting. This limits my ability to study and analyze black culture, because it is a culture that I can never fully experience Though I st rive to gain as much black cultural knowledge and experience as I can, I will always be an outsider looking in. Literature Review In deciding upon literature that I would read to help examine my studies, I began to search for anything in the realm of art education that had been previously written about race relations, culture, and hip hop. I chose to read literature pertaining to these topics because I felt that they were the most relative places to start. What I found were some very interesting ideas f ormed out of research that I could take and apply to my study. This was important so that I was not just doing research based on my own perceptions and feelings By analyzing prior research in the fields of critical race theory, multiculturalism, and hip hop culture, I was able to better frame my ideas and responses to my own research. Culturally Responsive Teaching within the Framework of Critical Race Theory D was derived during the mid 1970s as a response t o the failure of Critical Legal Studies (CLS) to adequately address the effects of race and racism in U.S. jurisprudence For this education al study critical race theory provided a framework that needed to be use d within my classroom because of the history of racism in this community Within the framework of critical race theory it is understood that

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16 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING racism is a permanent ideal ingrained in U .S. culture (Milner, 2007; DeCuir and Dixson, 2004). Within the framework, the narrative, or story told by the researcher, and counter narrative, story told by the research participants, are also essential due to the fact that race and racism are central components within critical race theory (Milner, 2007; DeCuir and Dixson, 2004) A third tenet of critical race theory in education is interest convergence, or what Donnor (2005) describes as o eradicate racial discrimination 58). The following excerpt by Milner (2007) sums it up: education and in the research and practice of education. People in society make up the education system, and thus education research and practice are also expose racism and injustice in all its forms and facet s; they attempt to explain the implicit and explicit consequences of systemic, policy related racism; and they work to disrupt and transform policies, laws, theories, and practices through the exposure of racism (p. 391 ) Culturally responsive t eaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson Billings, 1994). Within the framework of culturally responsive teaching, the topics of multiculturalism, visual literacy, and popular cu lture are key components to constructing a meaningful, relevant art curriculum. I find this important because it allow s the art educator to engage students with the cultural images, traditions, and perceptions that influence them the most. Keifer Boyd, A mburgy, and Knight (2007) assert :

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17 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING ( p. 21). It is up to the educator to determine the demograp hics and culture of the target audience and decipher what is important to them. Once the art educator has determined which topics are important, he should then locate the most suitable examples of contemporary popular visual imagery for their own cultural climate and use them as teaching tools. From The Inside Looking Out For an art educator to understand what cultural content is relevant to their students, on e must try and see things from their perspectives (1994) Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom offered me the view of a white teacher from position as a black female student growing up in the south During the years of desegregation, hooks describes, upon moving to a school with white teac hers for the first time, 4). I understand that t his is not 1 960 and we are not on the brink of civil war, but the break down in communication between affluent white communities and poor black communities continues to be a social and cultural problem H ooks (1994) seems to believe that the key to breaking down barr iers of race within the education system is to make sure that relevant education is the focus, no matter the racial make up of participants Holistic art education aims to do just that promote community something on which we can all find common ground. H ooks (1994) goes on to describe the majority of her college professors to be lacking in actualized, and they often used the classroom to enact rituals of control that were ab any educational setting this would represent the model not to follow, assuming communication is

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18 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING a must and being self actualized promotes excellence. Also, I am reminded by this quote that it is not my job to maintain order though that is sometimes necessary in order for me to teach My job is to promote higher learning through t he arts in the most responsive and relevant ways and as hooks (1994) suggested: e of self actualization will be better able to create pedagogical practices that engage students, providing them with ways of Multicultural Art Education One of these pedagogical methods is described as multicultural art education. According to Ballengee Morris and Stuhr (2001) diversity because culture provides beliefs, values, and the patterns that giv e struc ture and p. 6). actions; this includes making and interpreting the meaning of art and visual culture (Ballengee Morris & Stuhr, 2001). Tavin and Hausman (2004) A nd, a ccording to Andrus experience, taking place over time and promoting goals of social equality and cross cultural and important to this study: stic approach realize that a great deal of what it means to be culturally competent is the willingness 2001, p. 16). In the last two decades art educators have been discussing ways to reconstruct art theory and practice. This reconstruction holds roots in cultural studies, anthropology, and critical theory

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19 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING (Parks, 2004). The social goal of multiculturalism, as described by Ballengee Morris and Stuhr (2001) is hese opportunities, Smith ( cited in Ulb right, 2003 ) stated and have a more secure place in the school curricul p. 7). Due to the difference in cultural history, heritage, and traditions be tween me and my students, it is imperative that I consider these understandings of multiculturalism to meet my goal of becoming a culturally responsive teacher. Hip Hop Culture Sexism violence and materialism are major components of the culture among young people of the community where I teach These are major components in culture within other communities throughout the world as well, but in my teaching environment sexism violence and materialism are glamourized and perpetuated daily through the po pular ity of hip hop According to Chung (2007) backgrounds, immerse themselves in hip hop culture and copy the ways in which hip hop characters on televisi p. 34). Murray (2004) describ es those same videos as explicit displays of wealth to shake their half naked As Murray also suggested, this makes hip

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20 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Occasionally, I will catch my students watching these, and other violent videos on their cell phones during class. O ften when they should be engaged in the class assignment, some students will create drawings of guns which get left behind for me or other student s to find respond to, and dispose of In reference to such violent imagery, Diket and Mucha (2002) argue to the images created by young people, and encourage frank di scussion of v (p. 17). In essence I must take into account the popularity of these types of images and the affects that they are having on my students and try to offer guidance in this arena Summary of Literature Review By analyzing prior research in the fields of critical race theory, multiculturalism, and hip hop culture, I have learned more about the general perceptions of the type of culture that my students gravitate to wards as well as better ways to communicate and represent th ose ideas within the framework of critical race theory I have also become educated on the importance of a multicultural teaching environment as well as multicultural lesson plans. Methodology I have conducted this project through narrative research Narrative research is generally understood to refer to qualitative research that uses and tells stories. The following excerpt is taken from Narrative Approaches to Education Research by Sikes and Gale (2006) : Many people who use explicitly narrative approaches do so, at least partly, out of a political conviction that social research should be accessible and interesting. They believe that it should seek to capture something of the sense of life as it is lived, and they want to avoid the negative ethical and power consequences of assuming the sort of authoritative voice that denies the possibility of multiple realities. Having said this it is important to

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21 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING reiterate that it is only possible to re present, not re c reate experiences, perceptions and emotions. (p. 47 ) In reality, t he research for this narrative began nearly 15 years ago when I wa s a student at the high school where I currently teach B ut work for this study in particular occurred during a 30 day period at the beginning of the 2013 2014 school year and research material has been collected and is being presented at my website, www.jasonoutlawartwork.com/capstone project.html I intend to continue to my journey of self actualization within this culture by engag ing in conversations about pop culture and the culture of their community with students and community members. In essence, t his is a research process that will continue as long as I am an art educator Subject and Site Selection I am the primary subject of this study and I have been r eflecting on my teachings to a southern b lack teenage audience at a high school that is located in one of the more economically depressed cities in my state. Teaching within the classroom that I was an art student in for four years myself, my intent is to gain better perspective my by recognizing noticeable trends in their behavior, interests, and concerns and then using that information to become a more self actualized art educator. By analyzing myself as an art educator in this lead them down the path of higher learning. Description of the Study This study focuses on my ex periences and aspirations as a white male art educator in a southern b lack high school. It includes stories about the cultural lives of students where I teach and, more importantly, my response to th ose stories I am interested in exploring the aspects and

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22 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING influences of contemporary culture on my students with the goal of becoming a more culturally responsive art educator. O bservations and self reflections have been used to collect information tha t is presented in a journal style sketchbook in the form of narrative No students were documented through photograph s or video; only stories about them based on my interpretations (with no names attached), responses to classroom assignment s and interpersonal discussions. This study is about me resp o nding as an art educator to my students and our cultural environment Data Collection Procedures Data has been collected using qualitative research methods in the form of narrative research This data was collected spontaneously in a sketchbook as interesting interactions, project responses, and interpersonal conversations that t ook place in and around my classroom. The data collected is not specific to any particular class or set of stude nts. For 30 days I As I observed I wrote freely about the discussions and interactions taking place. Engaging in visual note taking as well I would periodically stop and create a page of artwork reflective of the notes being written engaging that content in new ways (see Figures 3 & 4 ) This gave me an opportunity to internalize and reflect artistically upon the recurring themes of violence, sexism, and materialism that were becoming apparent.

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23 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Figure 3 : All That Glitters Is Made of Gold Figure 4 : Schools Are Still Segregated By Skin Color

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24 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Data Analysis The theore tical foundation of narrative inquiry i telling a st ory about oneself involves telling a story about choice and action, which have integrall y mo ral and ethical (Rice & Ezzy 1999 p. 126) T his form of research represents a change in focus lives (B yrne Armstrong 2001) The aim of narrative i nquiry is therefore not to find one generalizable truth ( p. 112). Because this narr ative was completed within a unique social, cultural, and historical context, it must be assumed that the findings are not objective but reconstructions of memory from my own subjective perspective. This must be taken into consideration when analyzing thi s type of data because validity is dependent on the context of the narrator and the listener and are no t intended to represent truth (Hunter, 2010) Due to the limitations in validating such research, it was important for me to look for recurring themes within my research journal. By looking for themes within my journal and checking them against documented social, cultural, and historical accounts found in books, newspaper articles, websites and conversations I was able to validate my findings to a degr ee that were satisfying to me as the researcher. Along with noticing recurring themes, among which were violence, sexism, and materialism, this research has been validated through discussions with my colleagues and students as well as community member s in the style of a member check This is when data, analytic categories, interpretations and conclusions are tested with members of those groups from whom the data were originally obtained and is viewed as a technique for establishing the validity of an ac count A ccording to Lincoln and Guba (1985) member checking is the most crucial technique for establishing credibility in this form of research This analysis recognizes

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25 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING the counter narrative, which is understood to offer validity within the framework of critical race theory (Milner, 2007; DeCuir and Dixson, 2004) Because I was the focus of this research, I could not conduct member checking as it is thought of in the tr aditional sense. I instead had to engage in informal conversations with students, coworkers and local community members about my research and some of the themes that were found Rather than looking for further evidence to inform my research, the purpose of these conversations, or member checks, was to see whether these individuals agreed or disagreed with my interpretations. Though not objective my findings have been validated by checking with the members of the school and community and concluding that many of them recognize the same recurring themes that I do. Limitations Because of the barriers still prevalent between blacks and whites in this region my findings are limited by the color of my skin. Findings are also limited to this community and my experiences within this particular environment The time frame for this research was also a limitation as culture and a culturally responsive teaching practice are ever evolving entities and must be re evaluated constantly. What I find today may chan ge tomorrow. By using narrative research I have learned to observe and reflect upon events that take place in my environment further allowing me to address issues through art curriculum, as they arise. Findings A primary goal of this research was to determine a method for connecting with my students and determine my limitations as an art educator I was looking to establish a practice of listening and interacting with my students so that I could best meet their needs. The following section describe s a few of the more important things that I have learned during this process. First I will discuss the necessity of both discipline as well as compassion within this type of setting,

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26 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING then explain my theory of teaching to each child as an individual and conclude by describing the process of becoming a self actualized educator Discipline, Compassion, or Both? While introducing a lesson on altered books, I pulled one out for myself and worked through the process until I had a few pages to use as examples for my students. On the first page of The Shoes of the Fisherman by Morris L. West, I came across a quote th at resonated with me and reaffirmed a teaching principle that has always been teachi In any case, this is a dilemma that I am faced with daily. If I show weakness I will be treated as if I am weak, but if I throw the hammer down every time someone walks in my room with sagging pants, then I will be just another up tight adult trying to change the culture. my students for minor behavior al infractions. The sad thing is that I am probably disciplining the students that need more compassion and showing compassion to the students that I should be disciplining. For instance, I noticed that if I was already under the assumpti on that the child was a trouble maker then I was be ing more lenient toward them. er the case, I have got to do

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27 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING a better job of holding all students accountable while not removing compassion from our relationships. I have found that instead of waiting for a violation to occur, it is best if I am diligent in taking steps to correct misbe havior before it occurs. Taking a pro active approach to thwarti ng misbehavior before it occurs, compassionate ly and reasonably allows me to be much more successful at limiting the amount of bad behavior within my class room. One thing that is important for me in this environment is to maintain a certain level of respect between myself and all of my students. This is significant because the idea of r espect is such an important aspect of I have found, however that it is important t o help them recognize that respect is understood differently within a classroom or professional setting than it is on the streets. Some of my students think of respect as something that can be demanded of someone through the use of violence or other coerc ive actions. So, while giving respect in order to get respect may seem obvious to most folks it is somewhat for eign to many of my students. M any of them are used to taking what they want, as opposed to earning it. By allowing them to see that I do in f act respect them for the individual s that they are, they in turn seem to show me more respect. Rather than approaching a student who is misbehaving, or not on task, with anger and resentment, I try to present myself as a compassionate individual who has an understanding of their circumstance. For many of them, the adults in their lives use aggressi ve methods of yelling and screaming in order to gain respect Making them understand that most people have, at one time or another, been a victim of circumstance seems to relieve them of the pressures of feeling like they have to act out. As an individua l who has experienced many of the same distractions that this institution and its surrounding s area have to offer, I can recommend to them alternative

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28 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING ways of earning respect. While it may not be the same respect that is referenced on the street, it one t hat carries weight in society and may even help them learn to leave the street life behind. Teaching to the Individual Teaching to the individual, is a concept that I really need to work on. I am ashamed to say it, but I think I have been thinking of my students to o broadly I caught myself a few times during my research making assumptions about students that were way, perceives things in the same way, or has the same agenda as any other student. Too students. I have to dissociate any prior knowledge that may create negative associations when thinking of and speaking about my st udents and learn to think of them more as individuals rather than members of a certain socio economic community. Essentially, every student is different, no matter the similarities in environments that each child comes from, and every child should be taug (p. 8). In order to achieve this, we must take time to get to know our students and help them get to know one another T he conditions in which they live, their learning abilities, past successes and failures, their strengths and weaknesses, and also their future desires all play a role in their l earning, and should play a role in how we teach them What I have found is that in some cases, no one has ever asked these students what they hope to get out of life. It has never been a concern for anyone. While I do not feel that it is my responsi bili ty as an educator to raise

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29 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING students as if I were their parent, I do feel that it is important for me to fill some of those rol e s and ask some of those questions that may not be being asked elsewhere When the students begin to open up to questions and giv e responses in a loving compassionate manner they begin to form a community of learners who are not afraid to show vulnerability in front of one another and can approach each other in a more understanding way. Being a Self Actualized Art Educator My third finding was that I needed to become a more self actualized educator. Self actualization can be described as a desire for self fulfillment. S omeone who seeks to become self actualized is thought of as someone trying to reach their full potential. Rather than thinking I have all the answers because I was once a student in this environment, I need to think more in the present tense. I need to figure out what will interest my students today and not what interested me as a student years ago. I also h ave to realize that being a graduate only gives me minor credibilit y in the eyes of my students. At the end of the day I am still a white man in a southern black environment and that presents certain limitations. During my research, I have found that the more I can internalize the events and cultural trends that take place among my students and try to facilitate a learning environment focused on those events and trends, the easier it is to create lessons that are engaging and beneficial to my students. For instance, after having several conversations with my students about the Air Jordan tennis shoes that many of them wear, I became intrigued by how oblivious many of them were to the cultu ral impact that the shoe has made not only in this country, but across the world. As I began researching Air Jordan and the impact it has had on our culture, I came across several documentaries and news articles pertaining to the topic. I began watching and reading anything

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30 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING that pertained to Air Jordan. Before I knew it I had amassed enough information to teach a thorough lesson about the impact that Air Jordan has had on contemporary society. Throughout the lesson, they were introduced to Jordan Heads a documentary about Air Jordan collectors, Behind the Swoosh a documentary about the sweat shops in Asia where many sale of Air Jordan. As the students be gan to construct their own shoe s I realized that many of them were more engaged than I had ever seen them be (see Figure 5) While the lesson was a success with my students what really made an impact on me was that if I wanted to reach the students that typically hesitate to participate, I had to find educational and artistic value in the things that they find culturally valuable. Figure 5 : The Man, The Shoe, The Obsession

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31 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Summary In each of my three research findings, there is one common theme that stands out. Teaching in a culturally responsive manner takes time and dedication to research and reflect and build interpersonal relationships with students and community members For me personally, it mean s that I have to acknowledge my limitations as a white male teaching to an all black student body as well as the importance of introducing culturally relevant topics that my students may not have previously found to be of importance. Probably the most important thing that I found is that we must all as educators in one capacity or another, learn to communicate and break down ledge construction within th e classroom setting. Discussion and Conclusion My goals in conducting this research were to find common ground with my students and recognize my limitations as an art educator From the scholarly literature I was able to determine the cultural trends of sexism, violence, and materialism found within my setting can be studied and analyzed through educational presentations using popular culture imagery as a teaching tool. I also f ound that by thinking about art curriculum from a multicultural standpoint within the framework of critical race theory, I can strive to promote social equality and cross cultural understanding. By using the qualitative mode of narrative research I was a ble to gain a better understanding of of and apply those understanding to my pedagogical approach In the following sections I will describe what I now think about my findings and how I have interpreted the data that has been collected in my observation journal

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32 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Discussion and Interpretation of Findings By analyzing critically my place in this environment, and reflecting upon the state of the communit y and institution where I teach, I have learned that there are opportunities, even if in a limited capacity, for me to make a positive impact in my place. I realize now that no matter how though, and that I am making an impact as an art educator and a male role model in this community. I also believe that several things ar e key when trying to follow the model that I have presented. The main thing is communication. I have found that if I just ma ke the attempt to communicate with parents, community members, and students in a way that is un derstanding of the environment yet suggestive that the students deserve of better, then I can begin to gain respect as an art educator based on the fact that I w ant more for my students and in turn the community Others in a similar position to mine should take this approach to communication as well. It is important not to communicate in a way that is demeaning, instead is uplifting, honest, and compassionate. It may be difficult for the art educator to convey sincerity in this matter especially if the culture of the area is one, like mine, which has a sto ried history of violence due to racism All that one can do is make an effort to improve the line s of co mmunication. Without communication bridges cannot be built from the art room to the community and in turn the art room will remain isolated and perceived as irrelevant. Significance, Implications and Recommendations This study has encompassed years of o bserving a community of people that hail from a different background than I. Throughout my observations I have found that, while all people are created equal, the environments in which we grow up may not be None of us choose the

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33 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING environments that we are born into and not all of us have the individual fortitude to break free from oppressive circumstances. C hildren being educated in these conditions want better for themselves and their families but may not have the tools to create better circumstances on their own. I feel that this is where art educators in similar environments to mine can offer guidance and support and possibly a way out. We have the imaginative capacity to dream big dreams and th e opportunity to represent life in a positive light. Conclusion At the beginning of this research, I had to ask myself if what I was doing would be perceived as intelligent and objective or biased and racist. Being that I have been involved in this enviro nment for so long and ha ve so many life long friends in the community, I felt that I could present this research in a way that would be accepted by anyone I hope that I have done just by the people of this area as well as my students. In saying those th ings, I must conclude that this was necessary research, not only for me but for anyone in a similar position to mine. To anyone who is struggling in this type of environment I will leave you with these suggestions: be attentive to each individual, learn to communicate in a loving manner, do not assume your students are incapable of anything, and do whateve r you can to find common ground.

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34 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING References Andrus, L. (2001). The culturally competent art educator. Art Education, 54 (4), 14 19. Ballengee Morris, C., & Stuhr, P. L. (2001). Multicultural art and visual cultural education in a changing world. Art Education, 54 (4), 6 13. Byrne Armstrong, H. ( 2001 ). Whose show is it? The contradictions of collaboration I n H Byrne Armstrong, J Higgs & D Hor sfall (E ds ) Critical Moments in Qualitative Research (pp. 106 114). Oxford: Butter worth Heinemann Chung, S. K. (2007 ). Media/visual literacy art education: Sexism in hip hop music videos. Art Education, 60 (3), 33 38. Coulter, C. A. & Smith, M. L. (200 9). The construction Zone: Literary elements in narrative research. Educational Researcher, 38 (8), 577 590. DeCuir, J. T., & Dixson, A. D. (2004). analysis of race and racism in education. Educational Researcher, 33(5), 26 31. Diket, R. M., & Mucha L. G. (2002). Talking about violent images. Art Education, 55 (2), 11 17. Donner, J. K. (2005). Towards an interest convergence in the eduation of African American football student athletes in major college sports. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 8 (1), 45 67. Glennon, R. M. (1999). Kudjo: The last slave voyage to America Fairhope, AL: Over The Transom Publishing Company, Inc. Hooks, b. (1994 ). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom New York, NY: Routledge.

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35 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Hunter, S. V. (2010 ) Analysing and representing narrative data: The long and winding road. Current Narratives, 1 (2), 44 54. Retrieved from http://ro.uow.edu.au/currentnarratives/vol1/iss2/5 Kaetz, J. P. (2011). Prichard The Encyclopedia of Alabama TM & @ 2013. (Online Encyclopedia) Retrieved from http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h 3094 Keifer Boyd, K., Amburgy, P. M., & Knight, W. B. (2007 ). Unpacking privilege: memory, culture, gender, race, and power in visual culture. Art Education, 60 (3), 19 24. Ladson Billings, G. (1994 ). The dreamkeepers. San Francisco: Jossey Bass Publishing Co. Lincoln, Y S. & Guba, E G. (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. McGehee, M. (Special The Los Angeles Times. Retreived from http://projects.latimes.com/homeboys/ Milner IV, H. R. (2007 ). Race, culture, and researcher positionality : Working through dangers seen, unseen, and unforeseen. Educational Researcher, 36 (7), 388 400. Murray, D. C. (2004). Hip hop vs. high art: Notes on race as spectacle. Art Journal, 63 (2), 4 19. Rice, P. L. & Ezzy, D. (1999). Qualitative research methods O xford University Press, South Melbourne Sikes P. & Gale, K. (2006). Narrative approaches to education r esearch University of Plymouth [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.edu.plymouth.ac.uk/resined/narrative/narrativehome.htm Tavin, K. & Hausman, J. (2004 ). Art education and visual culture in the age of globalization. Art Education, 57 (5), 47 52.

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36 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Ulbricht, J. (2003 ). Learning about political art in the classroom and community. Art Education, 56 (3), 6 12. Wilson, W. J. (2011). Being poor, black and American: The impact of political, economic, and cultural forces. American Educator 35 (1), 10 23.

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37 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING List of Figures Figure 1 Yearbook picture of me playing basketball for my alma mater ................................ ...... 7 Figure 2 Vacant building on the highway as one enters the city ................................ ................. 11 Figure 3 All That Glitters Is Ma de of Gold ................................ ................................ ................. 23 Figure 4 Schools Are Still Segregated By Skin Color ................................ ................................ .. 23 Figure 5 The Man, The Shoe, The Obsession ................................ ................................ .............. 30

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38 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Appendix A Institutional Review Board Application

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43 CULTURALL RESPONSIVE ART TEACHING Author Biography Jason Kent Outlaw is a public high school art teacher at C.F. Vigor High School where he is also the head baseball coach. This is his second year teaching at the school where he was once a student. After graduating from Vigor in 2000, Jason attended Spri ng Hill College, a local private, Jesuit institution, on a baseball scholarship. While at Spring Hill he received his BA in Art/Business. Since returning to Vigor, Jason has worked hard to reinvigorate a baseball program that has seen eight coaches pass through in the last twelve years. He has also spent time in the art room trying to reinvigorate the spirit and pride that Vigor High School is known for. Jason is also current l y working with the City of Prichard on an art project that will result in the development and design of a new historical park located within the city.