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1 COGNITIVE STRATEGIES OF UNDERPERFORMING AFRICAN AMERICAN BOYS IN RESPONSE TO CHILDRENS LITERATURE By EVIE ADAMS WELCH A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008
2 2008 Evie Adams Welch
3 In memory of my Mother Mildred Rebecca Shaw-Adams June 5, 1919May 4, 2004
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many prof essors ideas influenced the contents of Cognitive Strategies for Underperforming African American Boys in Res ponse to Childrens Literature. First, to members of my dissertation committee, I wish to thank the Chair, Dr. Linda Lamme for teaching me the technical background about how childre ns books were constructed. I learned how childrens books were carefully researched, wh ile quality childrens books were skillfully crafted. Second, I wish to thank Dr. Ruth Lower y, my Co-chair for reading every page of the first proposal presented at the qualifying examination. Your comment s led me to explore answers in the field of neuroscience where I found one answer to the guidi ng question for the study. Patrick Shannon was translated to me and provide d unique experiences of looking at many social issues through the eyes of an immigrant. Third, I wish to thank Dr. Danling Fu for the suggestions given at the qualifying examination to organize the work into three major strands to explore one literacy problem, when I originally wanted to use child rens literature to present the findings from the 2003 Pilot Study about inform ation processing and leave the rigorous researching of the literature a bout literacy to someone else However, because of the suggestions, the manuscript became much ri cher. Finally, thank you Dr. Kenneth Kidd for teaching me that the Doolittle Se ries by Hugh Lofton were racist. Therefore, the section White Racism: Its Deconstruction was of ten painful to write, especially after analyzing racism as a social construct from a different level of c onsciousness. In addition, you taught me "boyology and forced me to look at sex and gender, throug h new lenses. Therefore, the dissertation included a portion of all of your influences. However, the professors outside of the di ssertation committee were often equally as powerful. In that vein, I wish to thank the following persons: Drs. Elizabeth Bondy who taught me Critical Theory, the classroom handout "I ntelligence: Known and Unknowns" was most
5 valuable and was used as part of the methodol ogy and to Dr. Dorene Ross for introducing me to Ruby Paynes A Framework for Understanding P overty. Paynes cognitive processes' views and the non-verbal clues were also utilized for the study. And most of all, to Dr. Rose Pringle who gave me the best advice: Stop looking for a book on the shelf. You must write it. In addition, you gave me the background to understa nd neuroscience, while the resident doctors taught me the "science of learning in the Univers ity of Floridas Shands at Jacksonville with Cynthia Ferguson's help of supplying additional references to understand neuroscience while studying in the Borland Librar y Health Science Center. To Cranston Burney, the self-taught Ph. D. of political and Afri can American socioeconomic culture and political affairs at the Jackso nville Public Library and to Arthur Findley a political ally; both of you helped me to unde rstand the contemporary, cultural history of Jacksonville. I also wish to thank Sarah Traylor in the Office of Graduate Minority Programs that provided moral support and financial assistance during my attendance at the University of Florida. But most of all, I wish to thank Dr Michael Bowie and Shirley St. Juste of the CROP Program. Dr. Bowie caught the vision of the research and purchase d the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory-HS (LASSI) com puter version from the 2003 CROP funds, 422950105Q011, for the Pilot Study, through the Colle ge of Education, Recruitment, and Multicultural Affairs. I thank your Office for supporting this research morally and financially.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ........10 LIST OF FIGURES.......................................................................................................................11 ABSTRACT...................................................................................................................................12 CHAP TER 1 BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY.................................................................................... 14 Introduction................................................................................................................... ..........14 Statement of the Problem....................................................................................................... .16 Purpose of the Study........................................................................................................... ....21 Significance of the Study........................................................................................................21 Definition of Terms................................................................................................................22 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE.................................................................................................27 Introduction................................................................................................................... ..........27 Social Effects on Learning......................................................................................................28 A Socio-historical Perspective: Afri can Am ericans Quest for Literacy........................ 30 General Attitude toward African American Males .........................................................36 Refusal to Learn: I Wont Learn from You................................................................. 37 White Racism: The Struggle for Its Deconstruction....................................................... 41 An American dilemma............................................................................................. 42 Its all in the mind: Th e pathological problem ......................................................... 44 Before Brown v. Board of E ducation: The trailblazers ............................................ 45 A few brave men: The psychologists....................................................................... 48 Physicians Heal Thyself : The m edical community.............................................. 51 DNA and zebrafish stories: The scientists...............................................................58 The gate keepers: Some of the social and political scientists................................. 59 The change agents: The educators............................................................................ 60 Gender.............................................................................................................................64 Poverty and Class............................................................................................................ 66 Class, Culture, and African Americans........................................................................... 68 Monocultural Curriculum................................................................................................72 Low Literacy Environment..............................................................................................73 Summary: Social Effects on Learning....................................................................................75 Cognitive Processes for Learning........................................................................................... 80 Two Psychiatrists Suggestions and Views about Learning ............................................ 81 Multicultural Literature Usage........................................................................................ 83
7 Cognitive-developmental dimension of reader response......................................... 84 Information processing using s hort-and long-term m emories................................. 86 Critical Thinking.............................................................................................................89 African American Boys, Whats Your Major Academ ic Problem?............................ 91 Summary: Cognitive Pro cesses for L earning......................................................................... 93 Reading for Cognitive Development...................................................................................... 95 Reading Selections for African American Boys............................................................. 95 Reading Skills for Cognitive Development..................................................................... 96 K-5, word recognition skills and comprehension..................................................... 97 K-6 reading comprehension skill............................................................................. 98 Grades 4-10, reading skills for efficient study......................................................... 98 Information-processing Skills for Disadvantaged Readers and Learners....................... 99 The dominant-specific knowledge approach.......................................................... 101 The mediated learning experience (MLE) approaches........................................... 102 Information-Processing Competen cies and Reader Response ......................................103 Critical literacy....................................................................................................... 105 Creative thinking, divergen t thinking, and culture .................................................106 Information processing and jazz............................................................................ 108 The American Psychological Associations (APA) Task Force Report on Intellig ence................................................................................................................. 110 Summary: Reading for Cognitive Development..................................................................113 Reflections: Summary of the Three Major Strands ............................................................. 115 3 THE STUDY........................................................................................................................123 Introduction................................................................................................................... ........123 Ethnographic Case Study......................................................................................................125 Researchers Perspective......................................................................................................131 Researchers Design.............................................................................................................135 The Venn Diagram within the Design........................................................................... 139 The Left Rectangle: The Reader....................................................................................141 The Right Rectangle: Th e Readers Responses ............................................................. 142 The Small Center Rectangle beneath the Venn Diagram.............................................. 142 The Horizontal Line: Information processing............................................................... 145 Components of the Design Model: Figure 3-2.....................................................................145 Methods of the Study............................................................................................................149 Selecting the General Population.................................................................................. 152 Selecting a Specific Population..................................................................................... 154 Selecting the Particip ants and Setting ...........................................................................159 Choosing the Reading Selections.................................................................................. 162 Procedures for the Study.......................................................................................................167 Data Collection: Oral Reader Responses......................................................................169 Data Collection: Written Reader Responses................................................................. 172 Data Collection: Eye Movement Drawings................................................................... 173 Data Analysis: Writte n Reader Resp onses.................................................................... 178 Data Analysis: Oral Reader Response...........................................................................185
8 Use of active rehearsal strategies...........................................................................189 Use of organizational strategies............................................................................. 191 Use of elaboration strategies.................................................................................. 198 Data Analysis: Eye Movement Assumptions................................................................ 205 Summary: The Study............................................................................................................211 4 THE FINDINGS................................................................................................................... 218 Introduction: The Challenge.................................................................................................218 Findings Grouped by Reading Levels..................................................................................221 FCAT Reading Level 1................................................................................................. 223 FCAT Reading Level 2................................................................................................. 224 FCAT Reading Level 3................................................................................................. 225 FCAT Reading Level 4................................................................................................. 227 Findings Grouped by Cognitive Activities........................................................................... 229 Findings of Active Rehearsal Activities........................................................................ 232 Findings of Organiza tional Activities ...........................................................................236 Findings of Elaboration Activities................................................................................. 238 Findings from Written Responses................................................................................. 240 Findings from the Eye Movement.................................................................................243 Summary...............................................................................................................................244 5 CONCLUSIONS AND EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.............................................. 250 Introduction................................................................................................................... ........250 Conclusions...........................................................................................................................250 The Social Effects on Learning..................................................................................... 250 Cognitive Processes for Learning.................................................................................. 251 Reading for Cognitive Development............................................................................. 253 Educational Im plications ...................................................................................................... 254 Policy Makers................................................................................................................254 Teachers and Teacher Educators................................................................................... 254 Parents...........................................................................................................................255 Conclusion of the Study................................................................................................ 256 APPENDIX A A PILOT STUDY TO IDENTIFY SOME AFRICAN AMERICANS BOYS ACADEMIC STRENGTHS AND WE AKNESSES: A DESCRIPTION ............................259 B AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIAT ION TAS K FORCES REPORT ON INTELLIGENCE KNOWN FACTS AND UNKNOWN ISSUES FROM THE SEVEN CONCLUSION STATEMENTS............................................................................ 262 C INTERVIEW GUIDE FOR THREE COGN ITIVE LENSES IN FIGURE 3-1 ................... 265
9 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................266 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................307
10 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Black identity development............................................................................................. 118 2-2 White identity development............................................................................................. 119 2-3 Some characteristic s of white culture .............................................................................. 120 2-4 Cognitive strategies commonly used for information processing.................................... 121 2-5 A classification of bl ack-Am erican self-esteem.............................................................. 122 4-1 Tally of Surface and Deep Structures in W ritten Reader Responses for Grade 3........... 249 4-2 Tally of Surface and Deep Structures in W ritten Reader Responses in Written Reader Responses for Grade 4......................................................................................... 249 4-3 Tally of Surface and Deep Structures in W ritten Reader Responses in Written Reader Responses for Grade 5......................................................................................... 249
11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3-1 A Module of the Research Design: Discove ry of Strategies for Processing Texts ........216 3-2 Levels of Cognitive Thinking for Academic Learning.................................................... 217
12 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy COGNITIVE STRATEGIES OF UNDERPERFORMING AFRICAN AMERICAN BOYS IN RESPONSE TO CHILDRENS LITERATURE BY Evie Adams Welch May 2008 Chair: Linda Lamme Cochair: Ruth Lowery Major: Curriculum and Instruction The study was designed to identify and descri be how some African American boys in grades 3, 4, and 5 scoring a level 1 or 2 on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment (FCAT) processed information in response to childrens literature. Sevent een boys were identified for the study by their language arts teachers, a guidance counselor, and the Di rector of Title 1 Parent and Counseling Resource Center. From January thro ugh May of 2005, once a week for four hours in an after-school reading program, the boys read 19 selections seven of which were childrens literature. Their discussions in large and sm all group settings, and interviews, and reader responses were audio taped for transcription while the written responses were catalogued and analyzed for surface and deep structures The studys guiding question was What kind of cognitive strategies did some underperforming Af rican American boys use for reader response to childrens literature that were equally applic able for studying, learning, and recalling data for academic success? The interpretations and assumptions of th e data were grounded in Lev Vygotskys developmental theory of intellectual ability and Robert Steinbergs triachic theory of multiple forms of intelligence that were congruent with the epistemology of neuroscience confirmed in
13 Judy Willis research conducted as a middle-school classroom teacher after being a certified neurologist for 15 years. The researcher used background knowledge from Dr. Rose Pringles assessment class, the science of learning from re sident doctors at the University of Floridas Shands at Jacksonville, the Jacksonvilles Co mmunitys Council Inc.s (JCCI) research, and neurological information about the functional ma gnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain-scanner. Since the fMRI was incapable of reading thought s, the researcher asked questions, used thinkalouds, interpreted oral and written reader responses, a nd made assumptions about eyemovements using a modified version of Ruby Pa ynes observation techniques. Consequently, teaching and learning were arts, not science, a limitation of the study. However, the findings revealed that the part icipants were underperformers academically, since they had acquired only the active rehearsal cognitive strategy yet their FCAT reading levels ranged from 1 to 4.
14 CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY Excess stress and threat in the school environm ent m ay be the single greatest contributor to impair academic learning (Jensen, 2005, p. 52). Introduction Boys in the United States experienced problem s (Kindlon & Thompson, 2000). Some of the problems included a high suicid e rate, binge drinking, steroid use, undiagnosed depression, academic underachievement, and car crash[es] (p. viii). These concerned issues were noticed by educators long before the sy mptoms were documented by the mass media. More boys, for example, than girls were also quitting high school However, the girls were graduating and completing their post sec ondary education (Ki ndlon & Thompson, 2000). According to a study of 42 countries in the world, girls were better re aders --a vital skill for academic success-than boys (OECD Education Report, 2003). Although there was a global gender gap in reading scores, the media and some educators said that it was the fourth grade slump that caused the problem. Therefore, a solution to the problem was expected from elementary school educators (Welch, St. Juste, Bowie, 2004). According to the literature, the global causes of the problems were complex. However, the media and politicians in the United States gave simple solutions to correct the fourth grade slump in reading scores for both boys and girls (T orrance, 1977). Consequently in Florida, the political pressure to raise r eading levels in the elementary school became a governmental mandate (Welch, St. Juste, Bowie, 2004). In order to encourage African American pupils to love reading at an early age, the educ ators began to explain to parents the value of childrens literature (Tatum, 2006). As a cultural group, African Americans valued oral communication (Heath, 1983; Sternberg, 1977b; Welch, 2003, 2003c), therefore, educators also encouraged parents to read multicultural literature to their children every night (Banks, 2004). Some educators
15 believed that allowing the child to give oral re sponse to stories about the subcultures in the literature when the parents finished reading was the initial step for the reader response process (Kastin, Kristo, & McClure, 2005; Tatum, 2005, 2006, We instein, et al., 1983). In this vein, for African Americans to perform well on state mandated tests, the two suggested solutions, however, were insufficient to close the achieve ment gap (Welch, 2003c). By increasing the usage of childrens literature and trade literature at home and in the elementary classroom, perhaps, the reading problem was solved for some upper and middle class Western, European American children. But with other social classe s and African American boys who more often underperformed academically (Gadsen & Wagner, 1995) than all other cultural groups (Tatum, 2005), a more direct approach was suggested for one school distri ct (JCCI 1992, 2003, 2004). Researchers like Newkirk (2002) and Hacker (2003) also documented the problems of boys academic underachievement and their social pr oblems in the United States and gave some suggestions for correcting their problems in the dominant cultu re. As a subculture, however African Americans had lower read ing and writing scores (Ogbu, 2003); therefore, the majority of the empirical studies addressed the achiev ement gap between black and white students (Singham, 1998). Even though African Americans boys had lower reading and writing scores than African American girls, there were few em pirical studies about Afri can American cognitive study habits and learning skills, both of which were vital for de veloping literacy for academic settings (Ogbu, 1995; Sternberg, 1984; Weinstein et al., 1983). According to the literature, the reading problem for African Americans was systemic because for centuries it was unlawful for African Americans to le arn to read. After being emancipate d, African Americans were left to survive and overcome a legacy of chattel slavery in an isolated subculture. Therefore, a more direct approach was needed to so lve the literacy problem, not just for elementary school teachers
16 to correct the fourth grade slump. Therefore, the solution remained elusive for the entire culture of the United States to solve (Thern storm & Thernstorm 1997, 2003) because of the stressful elements in society a nd the complexity of the problem. Statement of the Problem Being descendants of chattel slavery, segr egated ghettos bred in squalor, poverty, and crim e, as well as being victims of a marginaliz ed social class for centuries, some African Americans found it very difficult to overcome a le gacy of institutional racism, class, economic deprivation, and other forms of hegemony to achieve academically in school (Kozol 1996, 1991) even though schools were no longer racially segregat ed by law in the United States. In contrast, individual academic achievement among African Americans existed, in spite of being declared 3/5 of a person by the United States Constitution when it was initially ratified, forbidden by Jim Crow laws to learn how to r ead and write, and mandated to attend racially segregated schools using out-dated textbooks after newly adopted ones were issued to urban European American schools in the South (Lewis, 1993). The individu als who succeeded against the odds were known as the Talented Tenth, according to W. E. B. Du Bois (Lewis, 2000; 1993). On the other hand, what provisions were created to addre ss the education of the remaining 90%? Du Bois, Harvard Universitys first African Amer ican to earn a Ph.D. in social science in 1886 with his dissertation being The Suppression of the African Slave Trade in America, did not address the issue of educati ng the African American masses (Lewis, 1993). When he coined the term the Talented Tenth, the debate during the early 1900s was whether African Americans should engage in liberal arts educ ation or industrial educ ation that Booker T. Washington preferred (Lewis, 1993). Regardless of the curriculum, the education of the ninety percent was never seriously addre ssed; therefore, the neglect, in time, gave rise to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples (NAACP) Brown v. Board of Education
17 lawsuit in 1954 (Lewis, 2000). However, little was written about the Florida NAACP case Hawkins v. Board Control also in 1954 when a Supreme Cour t ruling ordered the integration of the University of Florida (Bergman & Bergman, 1969). However, the lessons learned in the Florida case were used in briefs for desegrega ting the public schools in Florida (Welch, 2003c). Although the United States Supreme Court mandat ed to equalize educa tional facilities and opportunities, little atten tion was given to the curriculums content and pedagogy to address educational outcomes for African Americans in general (Landgrat, 2004) Consequently, the general neglect emerged in Gunnar Myrdals (1994, 1996) research and much later Alfred Tatums (2000, 2005, 2006) wwritings. However, the more direct approaches of why some African American boys underperformed academical ly were not addressed (JCCI, 2004). Some African Americans boys bred in the culture and underclass were not being responsible for their own education (Tatum, 2006; Thernstrom & Ther nstorm, 2003), while Dubois Talented Tenth were successful (Franklin, 2005; Lewis, 2003; Tatu m, 2006). In the same vein, there were few empirical studies to identify c ognitive strategies that the Ta lented Tenth used to achieve academic success were equally rare, in spite of the hostile, political and socioeconomic environment, since the prevailing attitude in th e United States was that African Americans were inferior intellectually (Jo hn-Steiner, 1997; Lewis, 1993). As the Talented Tenth continued to succeed in the mainstreams political and socioeconomic arenas, they were denied Civi l Rights (Thernstrom & Thernstrom, 1997). Many fled to Europe and Africa while ot hers sought to use arts -and-letters to change society in order to be partly accepted into it (Lewis, 2000, p. 172) through the conduit of the Harlem Renaissance. Once again, the education of the 90 % of the descendants of slaves in the United States was ignored while the Harlem Renaissance gave rise to the liter ary Negritude Movement
18 in Paris, France at the University of Paris in the 1930s (Ba, 1971) without achieving civil rights in the United States. Constitutionally, each state wa s responsible for the education of its citizens, including the descendants of slaves, a segr egated and subjugated caste (Thernstorm & Thernstrom, 1997, p. 544). The United States Supreme Courts ruling of Brown v. Board of Education forced the states educators to address how to educate the neglected populous, while the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ratified the goals of the Talented Tenth (Clay, 1993). Of course the implementation of the law was a different matter (Lewis, 2000). Some states even avoided recommended remedies for equa l educational access a nd opportunities (Allen, 1989). Instead of conducting research to determin e how to assure positiv e educational outcomes, educators engaged in busing (Thernstorm & Thernsto rm, 1997), used low test scores to proclaim African Americans racial inferi ority (Ziegler, 1995), experimented with Afrocentric curricula to counteract the Eurocentric ideas of racial superiority (Asante, 2001), and tracked students into special education classes to create segregated classes within racially in tegrated schools (Kozol, 2005; Skrtic, 1995). First of all, some educators, politicians, and legal strategists sought ways to implement the 13, 14, 15 Amendments of the Constitution Brown v. Board of Education and the 1964 Civil Rights Act to address the inequities in society, while changes were taking place in the academy of psychology (Weinstein, Underwood, Wicker, & Cubberly, 1979) that impacted the empirical research about academic underperformance (Weinstein, Wittrock, Underwood, & Schulte, 1983) and the pedagogy of literature (Rosenblatt, 1968, 1989, 1995). Later, a new branch of psychology emerged as cognitive psychology influenced by cognitive scientists development of the computer as an information-processing instrume nt utilizing artificial intelligence, in spite of B. F. Skinners behaviorism th at dominated educational practi ce for more than four decades
19 (Holland, 2002). Since behaviorism was the ideo logy used for assigning students to special education classes, the constructivists instructio nal approach in the clas sroom further challenged the behavioral approach for teaching and learning (Noll, 2001). Second, the cognitive psychologist s began to conduct empirica l research to address how students studied and learned new information in order to enhance their performance on standardized tests (Weinstein & Mayer, 1988). Us ing this educational approach, some cognitive psychologists tended to rely less on Alfred Binets theory about IQ tests to predict successful academic performance (Sternberg & Pretz, 2005 ; Weinstein & Hume, 1998) Third, Rosenblatts (1968, 1985, 1989, 1995) transactional theory for t eaching literature emphasized focusing on the readers reactions and responses, rather than the authors meanings and views. Like the cognitive psychologists, Rosenblatts approach shifted to focusi ng on the inner thoughts of the reader (Rosenblatt, 2003). Collectively, these thr ee paradigm shifts emphasized the inner forces of learners to overcome academic deficiencies through cognitive development (Bruer, 1993; Cai, 2002; Comer, 2004; Feuerstein, 1980). Unlike John Bruer (1993) and Reuven Feuerste in (1980), Mingshui Cai (2002) advocated using multicultural literature to empower student s while embracing the major changes in science and pedagogy. Utilizing Rosenblatts (1968, 1985) transactional theory, Cai (2002) also encompassed cognitive scientists and cogniti ve psychologists res earch approaches to investigate reader response. By so doing, Cai al so departed from the behavioral scientists research approach of avoiding studies of observed mental processes through introspection (Skinner, 1990, p. 1206). In contrast, Cai ( 2002) encouraged research in the cognitivedevelopmental dimension of reader response [in order to look] into the readers cognitive ability to comprehend and in terpret a literary text, the strategies they use [ d] to process the text,
20 [italics added], pattern s of responding behavior, and the development of cognitive ability through responding to literature (pp.155-156) This research approach wa s in keeping with cognitive psychologists (Bruer, 1993; Sternberg & Pr etz, 2005) and neurocognitive educational psychologists (Jensen, 2005; Sprenger, 2005; Weinst ein, 2003); all of whom were interested in empowering students to perfor m successfully in society. Mingshui Cai (2002) also encompassed Afri can Americans struggles of overcoming hegemonic barriers that thwarted their social an d civil justice by reframing the origins of the oppressive political, economic, a nd social conditions to apply to all racial minorities and other marginalized groups seeking equality in a democratic society (Takaki, 1996). To this end, Cai sought to infuse multicultural literature into the curriculum [as a] part of a democratic educational reform that addressed issues of e quality and equity in schools (p. 133). By so doing, he hoped that multicultural literature woul d challenge and change the dominant position of all white literature in the classroom (p. 133). Cais approach of using multicultural literature as a conduit for eradicat ing some of the imbedded social and attitudinal issues that were hostile to a positive learning environment for educational outcomes for African American boys (Tatum, 2005; 2000) were generally acknowledged but [they were] not totally accepted (Cai, 2002. p. 133). In the same vein, Cais encouragement of and pedagogical benefit from cognitive development research were equally supported by cognitive psychological research (Weinstein, 2003; Sternberg & Pretz, 2005), but the approach was not widely accepted for empowering some students learning cap abilities (Skinner, 1990). Although Edward Thorndike (1984, 2005) acknowledged that psyc hology must evolve, B. F. Skinner (1990) avoided the introspective. After Skinners death, howev er, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and neurophysiology flourished. Th ese disciples were considered in the
21 ethnographic case study and some of their theori es were incorporated in identifying and suggesting a possible solution to the problem, as presented in the Purpose of the Study in the next section. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this ethnographic case study was to discover how 17 underperform ing African American boys processed information from childrens li terature through responses to generate cognitive strategies applicable for study ing, learning, and recalling data for academic success. The research approach incorporated transactional theor y, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and multicultural literature es poused by Mingshui Cais (2002) multidimensional model for investigating cognitive developmen t through reader responses to multicultural literature. The ultimate goal of the res earch, however, was to identify how some underperforming African American boys used cognitiv e strategies to process texts so that pupils with similar academic behavior might be remedied with the appropriate social constructivists postmodern pedagogy. An understanding of underperforming African American boys cognitive behavior in processing informati on from reading childrens litera ture would assist educators, parents, and policy makers and parents to crea te positive educational outcome, so that pupils would be a more engaged in their own cognitive development. Because studies of this nature in education were rare, a cross-cult ural and interdisciplinary appro ach of several disciplines was adopted for the study. Significance of the Study Research focusing on the cogni tive developm ental dimensi on of pupils responses to childrens literature was rare, in general, with research abou t African American boys reader responses also rare. Since boys in general were performing less well academically in the United States, with some African American boys acad emic performance on the very bottom rung of
22 success, the findings from this study would a dd to the body of knowledge about how to provide instructional interventions to counteract and/or correct certain academic behavior while teaching childrens literature in language arts programs. Although the study used childrens literature to document how some African American boys pro cessed texts mentally to generate reader response, effective cognitive strategies for pr ocessing information for recall was vital for successful academic performance and problem so lving; consequently, the findings had broad pedagogical implications for parents, educators, and policy makers, and most of all African American boys themselves as pupils in the elementary school classroom for acquiring positive educational outcomes. Definition of Terms There were several terms vita l to this study. They were reader response cognitive cognitive strategies cog nitive developmental strategy information processing childrens literature, underperforming and underperformance. Reader response was the output which may be spoke n, written, drawn, sung, danced, or played on an instrument after mentally and em otionally processing a text. In this study, however, reader response referred to the pupils spoken or writt en interpretation of a text as the output of remembering characters and events, determining the meanings of the vocabulary, summarizing the information, and drawing infere nces about a story. Co llectively, the mental processes to generate the output was called the transactional theory, generally associated with and espoused by Louise Rosenblatt (1968, 1989, 2003) for teaching literature. Cognitive, a derivative form of c ognition, was a mental process concerned with the acquisition and interpreta tion of ideas, including perception and thinking (Sutherland, 1996). The term was broadly used in the study defined by Reber and Reber ( 1985) to refer to such activities as thinking, conceivi ng and reasoning (p.128). Reber and Reber (1985) also said,
23 Most psychologists used the term to refer to any class of mental behaviors with underlying characteristics of an abstract nature involving symbolizing, insight, expectancy, complex rule use, imagery, belief, internationality, and problem solving (p. 128). In brief, cognition was the understanding, acquisition and processing of know ledge, or more loosely [stated], thought processes (Stuart-Hamilton, 1995). Cognitive strategies were sometimes used as one concept to describe a series of information processing activities The collective concept contai ned significant connotations in educational psychology in general and cognitive psychology in particul ar. In this study, however, a cognitive strategy was a deliberate, planned sequen ce of mental activities, not a single event (Kail & Bisa nz, 1982). Therefore, cognitive strategies were not the same as skills, since strategies would not be a procedural act for application in the same manner (Dole, Duffy, Roehler, & Pearson, 1991; Duffy, 2003; Pressl ey, 1993, 1995). Depending on the nature of the activity, the mental process might be conscious or an unconscious act (Reber & Reber, 1985). Collectively, the phrase cognitive strategy in this study meant selected mental processes derived from the brains information-processing neur al energy (Solo, 1994) and was chosen by the learner from alternative activitie s with the intention of attaini ng the goal of completing a task. Cognitive developmental strategy referred to strengthening systematic patterns for selecting a certain set of thought processes created by an individual to generate a response to oral language or written texts and to solve specific problems to complete a particular task (Cai, 2002; Duffy, 2003; Levine, 2007; Pressley, 1993, 1995). Information processing referred to the neurobiol ogical functions that gave rise to thoughts for creating a response. In a general sense, information processing was one of the four main theoretical approaches of cognitive psychology, relating to the process of human thoughts
24 involved in learning and perception (Sternber g, 1977, 1988; Taylor, 2002; Willis, 2006, 2007c). However, information processing as a cognitive strategy for learning referred to thoughts created for effective images and explanations of concepts and the general use of reasoning skills to gain knowledge (Levine, 2002, 2007; Weinstein, Wo odruff, & Await, 2001). Specially, information processing in this study meant one of the sixteen (16) activities humans evoked to study, learn, and recall data (Weinstein & Mayer, 1986; We instein, Woodruff, Await, 2001, 2004) in order to generate a reader response that was also applicable for successful academic performance. Childrens literature ...was good-quality trade books for children from birth to adolescence, covering topics of relevance and interest to childr en of those ages, through prose and poetry, fiction, and nonfiction (Tomlinson & Lynch-Brown, 2002, p. 2). Since elementary schools traditionally enro lled students from ages 7-13 years old, trade books for that age group were commonly called childrens literature while works written for readers from ages 14-18 years old were called adolescent or young adult literatur e (Anderson, 1991). Although some authors considered childre ns literature to span the age group [from] birth through 18 (Ande rson, 1991, p. 3), in this study childrens literature meant high quality trade books covering a wide variety of literary genres, magazines, and newspapers illustrated by outstanding artists or photographers depicting accurate images of ideas presented in texts written and designed for youth fr om birth through age 13 (Anderson, 1991). Underperforming and underperformance referred to below average results on tests, learning inventories and in-cla ss participation. To describe these behaviors, the term underperforming and underperformance were used instead of racial-coded words for identifying American Americans academic behaviors such as at-risk, under achievement, learning disabled, disadvantaged, or special educatio n. The meanings of the commonly used racial-
25 coded words, in comparison to the preferred terms, underperforming and underperformance, were indeed subtle but well in tended, for the racial-coded word s tended to suggest negative, inherited deficits bred in the spir it of blaming the victim and raci al inferiority often described as the deficit model (Tucker, 1999). In contrast African Americans enjoyed performing (Heath, 1983, John-Steiner, 1997; Tucker, 1999). They understood how to perform even though sometimes their performance was somewhat uneven and counterproductive in academic settings (Ogbu, 1978; Sternberg, 1988); th erefore, in this study underperforming and under performance were more appropriate for discussing cogniti ve strategies and information processing for generating reader responses th at were equally applicable for studying, learning, and recalling data successfully for academic settings (Welch, Bowie, St. Juste, 2004). In the same vein, culturally sensitive ideas were also avoided in the review of the literature in Chapter 2 pertaining to the social effect s on learning, cognitive process for learning, and reader response for cognitive development for 17 African American boys that represented the antithesis of W. E. Du Bois Talented Tenth because their academic behavior tended to suggest that they had not yet discovered how to pe rform successfully (Comer, 2004; Levine, 2007), The term African American in this study refe rred to people of African descent born in the United States that formed an ethnic sub-cultural group. Therefore, a refere nce to people by color such as black or white meant a variation of cultu re, not race (Graves, 2004), since one of the five essential elements of racist thought indicated, biological races exist[ed] in the human species (p. xiv). Heeding the a dvice of Joseph Graves (2004), the researcher used the term African American. In the review of literature, however, the terms white and black used by other authors were resp ected and maintained.
26 Consequently, this study concentrated on th e culture of the neglected 90% or the underclass (Tatum, 2005; Williams, 2006), which mo st of the Talented Tenth researchers avoided, in order to answer the guiding question for the study: Wha t kind of cognitive strategies did some underperforming African American boys us e for reader response to childrens literature that were equally applicable for studying, learning, and recalling data for academic success? Before these question was answered, the resear cher explored the complexity of the three major strands Social Effects on Learning, Reading for Cognitive Development, and Cognitive Processes for Learning that gave rise to the dilemma of the underperformance of some learners as discussed in Chapter 2.
27 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE As of this writing, what is m issing in th e mass media and the ma instream intellectual literature is a single in-depth ar ticle (sic) or book on the role of white racism in creating the foundation for current racial conf lict (Feagin & Sikes, 1994, p. 361). Introduction The review of literature was organiz ed accord ing to three strands: (1) Social Effects on Learning, (2) Reading for Cognitive Devel opment, and (3) Cognitive Processes for Learning. According to Eric Jensen (2005) an d Judy Willis (2006), stress, fear, and/or anxiety thwarted learning more so than any other factor Therefore, the social world (Dyson, 1993) of African American boys culture wa s divided and discussed for the first strand, Social Effects on Learning. The subculture was analyzed and discu ssed through eight cultural lenses to identify the hostile, external elements that created a negative environment for academic learning. However, the reviewed literature suggested for the second strand reve aled that culturally conscious multicultural l iterature encouraged reader respon se from African American boys to use creative and divergent thinking when they read about their ow n culture and lived experiences (Tatum, 2000, 2005, 2005), The third strand, Reading for Cognitive Develo pment, discussed five areas: (1) reading selections for African American boys, (2) r eading skills for cognitive development, (3) informationprocessing skills of disadvantaged readers and learners, (4) information-processing competencies and reader response, and (5) the American Psychological Association (APA) Task Force Report on Intelligence. The literature that explained the science of learning documented how the amydala responded to stress while be ing exposed to new lear ning experiences. Although the brain served in a plethora of ways to facilitate human bodily functions, one of its functions during the learning process, however, was to channel an uninterrupted flow of
28 information through the amygdala from the short-term memory to the long-term memory (Willis, 2006). Therefore, when pupils were free from stress, fear, and/or anxiety in a relaxed, playful state while engaged in social c onstructionists activities, they te nded to remember more details that enhanced academic performance even when information was processed in creative and divergent ways (Bruner, 1976;Willis, 2007c). For example, Gerald Duffy (2003, 2003b) and Michael Pressley (1993; Pressley & Woloshyn, 1995) accomplished tangible, research results in the area of reading for cognitive development. However in 1999, the American Psychological Associations (APA) Task Force Report explained the limitations of documenting similar researchs results and the specific context of th e human brains mental capacity for learning. As of 2007, the functional magnetic resonance imag ing (fMRI) machine that scanned the brain while processing information stil l did not removed all of the bo undaries that constrained the perimeters of neuroscientist and cognitive neurosci entist research. Therefore, all of the APAs concerns regarding intelligence were not addressed for empirical re search. Therefore, researchers relied on oral responses, think -alouds, observation of eye-m ovements, and body language in general to make assumptions about the subjects thought or to interpre t written data that represented thought (Restak, 2006). The African American boys culture embedded w ithin their social world that related to literacy and learning which often occurred in hostile, stressful c onditions was discussed in the first section, Social Effects on Learning. Al fred Tatum (2005) described the stressful conditions, as living in turmoil. Social Effects on Learning Researchers often did not analyze culture wh en th ey discussed the academic performance and achievement of African American boys (Spe ncer, Noll, & Harpalani, 2001). Because they were members of a racial minority that were fo rced by law to live apart from the rest of the
29 society, a discussion about their cultural world wo uld require an examination of the American culture within the context of r ace, a sensitive, so-called taboo topic, according to Beverly Tatum (1992) that the dominant society often ignored (Feagin & Sikes, 1994; Rooks, 2006). But the social dialogue about race changed in th e United States, including within the academic institutions of higher educatio ns teacher-education programs; hence, the African American boys social world in academic settings also e xperienced change (Williams, 2006). Therefore, to understand how some underperform ing African American boys sy stematically responded to childrens literature in academic settings, it was necessary to explore several domains of their cultural world that possibly th warted learning, in general. Nevertheless, African Americans routinely performed less well in academic settings in general and on standardized test s in particular (Thernstorm & Thernstorm, 2003). Since this behavior determined their academic outcomes for learning, the researcher examined the negative social effects within the culture that possibly ca used stress, fear, and/or anxiety and documented social constructionists interventions to overcome the inhibitors, according to advice that Judy Willis (2006), a board certified neurologist that became a middle school teacher (Hipsky, 2007) advocated for teaching and l earning. In that vein, the cultu re was examined through nine lenses for Social Effects on Learning: (1) A So cio-historical Perspectiv e: African Americans Quest for Literacy, (2) General Attitude Toward Af rican American Males, (3) Refusal to Learn: I Wont Learn From You, (4) White Racism: The Struggle for Its Deconstruction, (5) Gender, (6) Poverty and Class, (7) Class, Culture, and African Americans, (8) Monoc ultural Curriculum, and (9) A Low Literacy Environment. The first subt opic, A Socio-historical Perspective: African Americans Quest for Literacy, explained how three African American men were involved in creating the public school system for all people in the State of Flor ida. Ironically, after
30 establishing the public school syst em, most African Americans were later banned from having an equal access to education, in genera l and literacy in particular, as discussed briefly in the next section. A Socio-historical Perspective: African Americans Quest for Literacy W. E. B. Du Boiss (1975) Black R econstruction in America: An Essay toward a History of the Part Which Black Folks Played in an Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1850 chronicled how people were depressed and anxiety-ridden in the South after the Civil War. In the stressful era, according to Du Bois, Josiah Thomas Walls, H. S. Harmon, and Jonathan C. Gibbs were the chief architect to construct the public system in Florida. In brief, Josiah Thomas Walls was a successful farmer in Gainesville, Florida and taught school in Alachua County before being elec ted to Congress in 1870 and 1874 (Bergman & Bergman, 1969), in spite of the Democrats obj ections (Clay, 1993). However, Walls was elected to serve in the House of Representatives and then later as a state senato r in Tallahassee, Florida (Du Bois, 1975). As a state legislator, he used his political clout to he lp develop the public school system along with Harmon and Gibbs (Du Bois, 1975). In like manner, H. C. Harmon was a member of Floridas Reconstruction government and was one of the leading, vocal advoc ates for literacy (F ranklin & Moss, 2000). His educational, political achievements or political activities did not equal Walls. But he worked closely with Walls and Jonathan C. Gibbs who also servi ced in the Reconstruction government. Their collaboration was effective. First, Gibbs was th e Secretary of State in 1868 and later became the first Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1871 (Du Bois, 1975). When Gibbs began his duties, schools in Florida were mostly decentralized and private (Du Bois, 1975). Unfortunately in 1864, all Floridas schools were closed until the African American Episc opal (AME) Church, the African Colonization Society of New York, missionary societies, and the Freedmans Bureau of
31 1865 established about 30 private schools (Du Bois, 1975). Most, however, were inadequate (Lewis, 1993). In fact, the centr alized system for public educati on in Florida that began in 1869 was under funded (Du Bois, 1975). Nevertheless, in spite of the stressful conditions, Gibbs reported to the National Educational Association (NEA) that Florida had increased its enrollment 25% with a 33% increase in total expenditures (Du Bois, 1975). After Gibbs died of an apoplexy in 1874, the centralized public school system in the state be gan to shun African Americans in 1876 when the Democrats gained additional pol itical control (Du Bois 1975). Equally, the 676 public schools began to lose the democratic fervor of e quality and opportunities for all (Du Bois, 1975). Gradually, the social conditions toward African Americans quest for literacy were met with much disdain, hostility, and violence. Eventually, access to education for them descended rapidly under the Black Codes that mandated racially segr egated oneroom-shacks throughout the State of Florida and the South in general. The wo rk of Walls, Harmon, and Gibbs were temporarily dishonored by racism (Dubois, 1975). However, the T alented Tenth, a description that Du Bois used to describe Americans that succeed agai nst all odds, continued th e quest for literacy. In spite of the fearful and stressful milieu, a theme emerged in the thinking of W. E. B. Du Bois, Carter G. Woodson, and Booker T. Washington. Of course, Du Boiss ideology toward higher education was different from Booker T. Washingtons because he preferred for the masses to place an emphasis on gaining capital through vocational education. However because Washington sent his children to college, he too believed in high er education. After Washingtons death, in 1916, African American leaders convened the Armenia Conference at Joel Spingarns home (Lewis, 1993) and agreed to advocate for equal education for all students, the end of lawlessness, franshisement and the protection of civil liberties (Lewis 2000). Since Joel
32 Spingarn was the president of the National Asso ciation for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the organization wa s a sponsor of the Armenia Conference, their consensus signified a unified, informal national agenda (Lew is, 2000). These efforts continued the work of Walls, Harmon, and Gibbs in Florida. Therefor e, the ardent quest for literacy continued. Second, on a national level, Carter G. Woodson (1990) maintained in The Mis-education of the Negro that neither the Talented Tenth or the vocationally trained African Americans was capable of addressing the plight of emancipated slaves because they were unconsciously perpetuating the regime of the oppressor ( p. xi). Few African Americans had Woodsons extraordinary zeal for education a nd his relentless drive to be i nner directed and self-actualized (Bergman & Bergman, 1969). For example, he ear ned a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1912 in history from Harvard University (Bergman & Bergman, 1969). Therefore, Woodson knew the prevailing historical curriculas li terature was racially biased. In many instances, most educated African Americans had a distorte d racial view of the world a nd themselves. Through formal education, they also learned that they were inferior. Woodson fu rther described that learning of this kind was psychological genocide, and he stat ed: The Negro [lacked a] mental power, which [could] not be expected from ill-fed brains (p. 126). Woodson had the social license to address Afri can Americans in the above manner if they chose to remain psychologically enslaved (B ergman & Bergman, 1969). For example, he was born economically poor in Virginia, but his quest for education was relentless when he enrolled in high school at age 20 (Bergman & Bergman, 1 969). Later, he worked his way through Berea College and graduated with honors. Then, he we nt to the University of Chicago, received a B. A. degree in 1907, and a M. A. in 1908. Later, he went to the Sorbonne in France for graduate work before receiving the Ph. D. degree (Bergman & Bergman, 1969). Believing in self-
33 development, Woodson (1990) challenged African Americans to have patience, confidence, discipline, become competent in an area of interest, and acquire knowledge in order to create a product or provide a service useful for society, in spite of the prevailing social conditions of the oppression (Woodson, 1990). When W oodson wrote these beliefs in The Mis-education of the Negro, he underestimated the details of the dire straits that some Afri can American endured trying to survive in the hostile social environment. Literacy for African Americans w ithin the larger sociological context was not a part of the public debate before Karl Gunnar Myrdal (1996 ) of Sweden conducted a comprehensive study of African Americans social, econom ic, and political life in the United States in 1944. He also described how the hostile race rela tions affected every facet of their daily lives. The study was first published in 1944 in two volumes as An America Dilemma: The Negro and Modern Democracy. In Chapter 42 of Volume II, (1996) in a later edition, Myrdal discussed schooling and education. Myrdal discovered that e ducation [in America meant] an assimilation of white culture (p. 879) (emphasis added). Therefore even in segregated educational institutions, the American Creed was taught when in reality th e opportunities were not forthcoming for African Americans because of their racial caste (Myrdal, 1996). He further explai ned that the false hopes caused more African Americans to drop out of sc hool more so than other pupils (Myrdal, 1996). Myrdal (1996) gave some helpful advice fo r African Americans schooling. He believed Negro children needed an education to make them adaptable and mobile in the larger society (Myrdal, 1996). Understanding the severity of institutional racism, Myrdal (1996) further said that the African American needed to achieve proficiency in lite racy in spite of his social conditions. Myrdal also believe d that the Negro needed an e qual opportunity for schooling.
34 However, he knew that the Negroes quest for l iteracy would be challe nged (Myrdal, 1996). Two decades later, Arnold Rose (1964) published The Negro Problem in America as a condensed version of An American Dilemma As Myrdal (1964) explained in the Foreword that the Negro problem still existed, especia lly in trying to have equal funding for schools because poor districts generated less money from the tax-funding formula used in most states. Yet years later, the United States Supreme Courts mandate in Rodriquez v. San Antonio did not give any relief to help educate children born in poverty and attended improvised public schools (Kozol, 1992, 2005). Similarly, James Doig Andersons (1988) book, The Education of Blacks in the South, 18601935, explained how African Americans struggled to liberate themselves from peasantry because they believed that education was the equa lizer as Horace Mann articulated. But, public education for all at public expense, in the South, was a Negro idea (p. 6). White planters did not want the rural African Americans to beco me educated because they feared that it would destroy the plantations labo r-pool supply (Anderson, 1988). In contrast, the white urban industrialists believed in a public school system for all, as lo ng as African Americans remained disfranchised and stayed permanently in a lower-class status (Anderson, 1988, p. 280). Hence, the American public school system a nd schooling for citizenship were deliberately designed as a two-tiered system for two different ethnic groups (Anderson, 1988). Unfortunately, most African Americans did not ha ve the acumen to overcome the obstacles as Carter G. Woodson suggested in The Mis-education of the Negro (Woodson, 1990). William H. Watkins (2001) described the educ ation system in the South analogous to the colonial education philosophy in West Africa. In The White Architects of Black Education: Ideology and Power in America Watkins chronicled the background of Thomas Jesse Jones,
35 William Baldwin, Robert Ogden, Franklin H Giddings J. L. M. Curry, James G. Phelps Stokes, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and General Samuel Chapman Armstrong and gave their individual reasons for investing in black education; all of them were from the advantage points of northern capital and White southern expediency (p. 22). They all dreaded the ominous warnings of Alexis de Tocqueville that the treatment a nd social conditions of African Americans would eventually cause a revolution like it did in Fran ce. In some respect, Watkins (2001) agreed with Andersons (1988) research. Like the planters, these powerful we althy men were interested in building a capitalist economy through a corporate-industrial stat e with exploited labor (Watkins, 2001). Avoiding the economic theme of exploitation, in more recent times, Stephan Thernstorm and Abigail Thernstorm (1997) used governmental documents and other secondary sources for writing America in Black and White They also used Gunnar Myrdals An America Dilemma as a barometer for analyses of their data. Therns torm and Thernstorm (1997) noted that Myrdal discovered, Americans saw schools as the solution to almost every problem that ailed the society (p.38). Nevertheless, literacy for African Am ericans was forbidden and not encouraged even after slavery while building a ca pitalistic system (Myrda l, 1996). In the same vein when Myrdal (1996) conducted a survey in the North and South, only a third felt that black and white children should attend the same school s (Thernstorm & Thernstorm, 1997, p. 499). To overcome this kind of attitude would take more than Brown v. Board of Education to deconstruct racial discrimination cited in America in Black and White as well as in An American Dilemma Historically, the Talented Tenth that were leaders belie ved in the American Creed. They also believed in a participatory democracy and literacy achievement for all Americans. Hence in more modern times, they chose to deco nstruct the residue of sl avery that created two
36 societies, one for whites and one for blacks by challenging Plessy v. Ferguson with Brown v. Board of Education (Franklin, 2005; Lewis, 2003) in their quest for equal access to literacy. With the success of Brown, the first tier of equality was to address the general milieu that affected the uneven educational outcomes of African Americans in general and African American males in particular as discussed in the next section. General Attitude toward African American Males The African m ale had a historical memory of being a cherished, privileged member of the society in Africa (Welch, 1974). In America, howe ver, he experienced th e opposite social status, which caused stress (Franklin, 2005). Before and af ter the Civil War, the African male socially sought to escape from the historical color caste in order to engage in the participatory democracy and provide for his family, but he was denied (Thernstorm & Thernstorm, 1997). For example, immigrants from Europe received help to assi milate into the American society while the law excluded African Americans (Thernstorm & Thernstorm, 1997). To counteract the hostile social exclusion, a few African American males encourag ed the idea of re-settl ing in Africa (Franklin & Moss, 2000), while members of the Nation of Islam, also known as Black Muslims, in the 1960s sought a segregated territory within the United St ates (Rose, 1964, p. xxi). The African American males also sought separation because they were not allowed to compete freely in the market economy to earn ample capital to ra ise their families as free people without fear (Franklin & Moss, 2000). Others sought ways to circumvent the raci al hostility in their continued quest for literacy (Hrabowski, III, Maton, & Greif, 1998), even though the dominant society viewed African American men as a s ource of cheap manual labor (Franklin, 2005). For this social role, there was no need to be educat ed the same as others in the society (Anderson, 1988; Watkins, 2001).
37 Nevertheless, in Beating the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Males Hrabowski, III, Maton, & Greifs (1998) rese arch covered the backgrounds of parents to gain a three-gene ration perspective (p. 189). Their research found that the parents of the academic achieving African Americans ma les used religion to counteract notions of racism, focused on hard work and strict discip line to overcome adversity, and valued education and academic success for personal goals and achievement (Hrabowski, III, Maton, & Greif, 1998). These parents also maintained a high level of involvement in their childrens lives as they exhibited clearly defined familial roles (Hrabowsk i, III, Maston, & Greif, 1998). Historically, these kinds of families created the Talented Tenth even during slavery ( Du Bois, 1969; Woodson, 1990). Refusal to Learn: I Wont Learn from You Arthur Meier Schlesi nger, Jr. (2001) in The Disuniting of America: R eflections on a Multicultural Society wrote: Most white Americans through most of American history simply considered colored Americans inferior and inas similable (p. 271). When teachers attitudes expressed white supremacy in the classroom, howe ver, some African American boys refused to learn anything they taught as protest (Kohl, 1991). Kohl furthe r explained that some white teachers felt threatened and treated very young African American boys as if they were 17 [years old] over 6 ft. tall, addi cted to drugs and menacing (K ohl, 1991, p. 17). Therefore, for self-protection from a hostile le arning environment these pupils declared, I wont learn from you (Kohl, 1991). This kind of mind-set pr otest affected both teachers and pupils psychologically in segregated or racially integrated academic settings. When pupils deliberately did not try to learn as a way of protesting white supremacy, t eachers self-fulfilling prophecy about African Americans inability to learn was re-enforced (Kohl, 1991).
38 To complicate the academic setting for African American boys when they refused to learn in the classroom, the punishment for their behavior was the placement into special education based on behavioral psychology espoused by B. F. Skinners behaviorism (2001) and re-enforced by the cognitive deficit ideology (Brynes, 2001) Operant conditioning theory was based on experiments for training animals to perform certa in learned behavior. However, Skinner (2001) applied the theory to humans and educational ps ychologists adopted it. Th erefore, when African American boys did not comply with the prescrib ed classroom behavior, they were placed into special education classes (Skrtic, 1995). Skinner (2001) explained his th eory of psychological behavioris m in slave/master terms. He argued that the slave driver fo rced a slave to work with bea tings, and when he began working the beatings stopped. Therefore, the correct behavior was re-e nforced. Skinner (2001) further explained that aversive cont rol was a pattern in ethics, religion, government, economics, education [emphasis added], psychotherapy, and family life (p. 38). In fact, Skinner explained that there were only two ways (escape or attack ) for becoming free from governments aversive control. Importantly, the most damaging illustration of behaviorism in a democratic society was his suggestion that literature of freedom had to be controlled so that it would not cause the oppressed to act in ways to dilu te or destroy the power of the government. Specifically, Skinner warned that government would avoid the masses from escaping by banning travel or putting them in jail, by denying weapons, and by destroying the literature of freedom (emphasis added). The most insidious part of Skinners (2001) proposal for maintaining the power elite was to imprison or kill those who [carried the ideas of freedom] ora lly (p.38). In spite of the hegemonic philosophy of the Skinnerian form of psychological beha viorism practiced in society, some African Americans adults concen trated on deconstructi ng the political power
39 (Culler, 2003) that oppressed racial minorities. Some, however, paid the ultimate price for freedom in the manner that Skinner suggested (Franklin & Moss, 2000; Lewis, 2000). Unlike some adult political leaders, young pupils in school were not capable of deconstructing systematic learning environments (Culler, 2003) when th eir teachers used aversive control in the classroom (Skrtic, 1995). Some of these boys ju st refused to learn (K ohl, 1991) or dropped out of school, which was self-destructive (Tatum, 2003). Then some of the others that remained in school commonly disrupted the classroom as Ann Arnett Ferguson (2003) explained in Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity as they fought against white supremacists at titudes. To mainta in aversive control (Skinner, 2001), the teachers refe rred the unruly pupils to the pr incipals office (Ferguson, 2003). While being removed from class to be disciplined for poor behavior, the pupils were outside of the classroom and escaped valu able learning experiences, in addition to collecting a long behavioral referral record for being targeted as a candidate for the prison system (Ferguson, 2003; Skinner, 2001). Other African American boys mentally escaped the hostile learning environment by exhibiting passive aggression, such as falling asl eep or not listening (Walker, 1992). Thomas Skrtic (1995) discussed in Disability Democracy: Reconstructing (Special) Education for Postmodernity how he discovered that the Skinne rian form of behaviorism was entrenched in public education. Skrtic further argued that to address educational reform in special education, the flawed edu cational institution must be d econstructed (Culler, 2003), and then reconstructed for a postmodern society. Skrtic had other issues with the inappropriate usage of special education for punishing racial minoritie s behavior, such as tr acking pupils in order to maintain segregated classes within integrated schools, and creating compensatory pull-out
40 programs to ensure lack of access to certain academic classes. Pedagogically entrenchment of this kind caused African Americans boys to be tracked in special education classes because of their social behavior, when they had little or no motivation to learn from negative teachers (Ferguson, 2003; Kohl, 1991; Tatum, 2005). Some educators counterattacked hostile lear ning environment and Skinnerian form of psychological behaviorism with an Afrocentric curri culum to engage pupils in learning (Asante, 2001, 1998, 1990; Ziegler, 1995). For example, Sk inners behaviorism did not acknowledge certain words like expect, hope, observe, felt, and associate (Rogers, 2001, p. 42) all of which were embedded in the African worldview as religion and philosophy (Welch, 1974). The African cosmology also encompassed the energy of the dead ancestors by invoking their names and asking for help during human crises, with the fa ith of receiving a respons e. This traditional religious practice survived the transatlantic voyage to the new world during the slave trade and manifested in a variety of cultural practices incl uding spiritual music, rituals, religion, and the family structure (Welch, 1974). In Skinnerian behaviorism, the supernatural, paranormal, faith, and spiritualism were merely contingencies. Most African Americans, however, called them the manifestations or workings of God (Wel ch, 1974). In view of this, Asante (2001) suggested an Afrocentric curriculum so that Af rican American pupils would learn more about the African worldview and introspection with the choice of strengthening themselves psychologically and spiritually by learning about the historical achievements of Africans and their cosmology (Asante, 2001; Ziegler, 1995). Others wanted all boys African Americ an schools (Boykin, 1986; Porter, 1977; White 2002) that taught an Afrocentric cu rriculum that emphasized ...self awareness, self-esteem, selfpride a positive self-image and self-mo tivation (Porter, 1977, p. 71), in order to teach
41 African American boys how to a void internalizing white racism. However, other researchers and scholars selected other ways to deconstruct wh ite racism as discusse d in the next section. White Racism: The Struggle for Its Deconstruction White racism existed as an obstacle for Afri cans quest for literacy and their efforts to assim ilate into American society before the formation of the United States Constitution (Myrdal, 1996). These social conditions bred mist rust, fear, anxiety, and st ress in the lives of all in the United States (Lewis, 1993). Since education was the mechanism that European immigrants used to assimilate into the Amer ican society and its white culture, African Americans wanted the same opportunities. Wh en they were thwarted, African Americans experienced covert racism (Lewis, 1993). But, when the white supremacists denied equal educational access to African Americans in th e public schools the oppression was explicit and overt (Lewis, 1993). Karl Gunnar Myrdal (1996) saw education as being the instrument for learning white culture. Therefore, in order for educators to ad dress the issues regarding the social effects of white racism, the concomitants of the adverse beha vior needed to be identified and discussed. To this end, Myrdals seminal work, An American Dilemma, was reviewed to understand white racism and its social effects on learning because his work was the earliest, most comprehensive study of African Americans social conditions in the United States. As an economist, Myrdals (1996) research explained how white racism undergirded the foundations of capitalism. Yet, he ended his research with asserting that the American dilemma was a pathological problem. In advertently, teacher ed ucators in the past overlooked Myrdals research in studying the academic achievemen t and underperformance of African American children. However, in identifying the negative social effects on learning, the two volumes of An American Dilemma were reviewed in the next section to understand the description of the
42 pathological problem as Myrdal assumed. Th en, a review of literat ure in several other academic professional journals (i.e., psychology, medicine, cognitive psychology, psychiatry genetics, genetics, and neuroscience) for synthesis and analysis occurred in order to identify the core ingredients of the pathology. With educatio n, teacher-educators and t eachers could specify how to deconstruct racism among Afrocentric an d Eurocentric American cultures, so that educational outcomes would be positive for all students. The historical context in which Myrdals research began, his approach to conduc t field research, and his descriptive conclusions and ultimate assumptions were discussed first in the next section. An American dilemma The Carnegie Corporation of New York comm is sioned the study of Af rican American life in the United States (Appel qvist & Andersson, 2005). Acco rding to Lewiss (1993, 2000), Frederick P. Keppel at the Carn egie Corporation initiated the project to keep from responding favorably to grant proposals submitted by W. E. B. Du Bois and other Africans to write a Negro Encyclopedia Consequently, Keppel chose Karl G unnar Myrdal for the study (Lewis, 2000; Appelqvist & Andersson, 2005). Rath er than reading about African American life first, he spent two months traveling and inte rviewing and observing people in the South (Myrdal, 1996). During his field research he observed European Americans mi streating African Americans (Jackson, 1990). Second, Myrdals credentials were impressive; he was a professor of economics at the University of Stockholm, economic advisor to the Swedish government, and member of the upper house of the Swedish parliament (Jacks on, 1990, p.xiii). Third, philosophically he believed in the Enlightenment and the democratic ideals of the American Creed. Fourth, although Myrdal was an outsider, he included influential African Americans that knew the subculture well to help plan th e research. (Lewis, 2000). His out side of the office researchers
43 included three of the most outstanding academ icians about African American culture and education: Sterling Brown, E. Franklin Frazier and Charles S. Johnson (Myrdal, 1996). In addition, one of his staff assist ants and outside collaborators was Kenneth Clark, the renowned psychologist of Brown v. Board of Education (Lewis, 2000). The physical conditions, along with the majority of the eminent African Ameri can scholars as collaborat ors, created a positive work environment for the re search (Myrdal, 1996). Myrdals (1996) observations during his field re search shaped the cont ents of his published study. For example, when he was in Birmingham, AL he saw the inhumane treatment of African Americans, but when he interviewed some of th e public officials and businessmen they denied that discrimination existed (Appelqvist & Ande rsson, 2005). From interviewing many of the other oppressors, Myrdal realized that the informants actually believed in the American Creed, had a moral conscious, and were pragmatic and optimistic about life in general; yet, their behavior toward African Americans did not reflect any of these be liefs. This dichotomy caused Myrdal to understand that the Negro problem was created in the minds of white people and was actually the white mans problem (Jackson, 1990). Myrdal re alized that mentally, white people thought black peoples sole purpose in life was to help create a profit for the master race and that the country belonged only to the white man. Fearing that they would not create wealth without black labor, the white man created a color caste for the pur pose of exploitation. Outside of the exploitative role, the Af rican American did not exist in the minds of some of their oppressors (Jackson, 1990). To lock the chattel sy stem of slavery in th e minds of the African Americans, their oppressors used fear of deat h and physical abuse (Myrdal, 1996). Out of fear, the oppressed submitted, and their submission was called the Negros place (Jackson, 1990, p. 190). Since the slave/master relationship was based on fear, Myrd al concluded the race relation
44 between white and black people was pathological The situation created a dilemma because the countrys economic system of capitalism wa s built on white racists behavior toward all people of color (Bridwell-Bowles, 1998; Lewi s, 2000; Thernstorm & Thernstorm, 1997). Consequently, Myrdal named his work An American Dilemma without a suggestion of how to solve the problem. A closer look at the pa thological problem, howeve r, began in the next section. Its all in the mind: The pathological problem Karl Gunner Myrdal concluded in An American Dilemma that the race-relation problem in the United States was pathological. Although the whites and the blacks behaviors were entwined, Myrdals (1996) study was an analysis of what he observed involving the social conditions of African America life, without an explanation of the pathology that undergirded the social problem that originated in the minds of the people. In a ddition, because the report was a descriptive, comprehensive analysis about th e cultural effects that caused stress, fear, and anxiety in African Americans lives, supported with statistical data, with out an explanation of why the race-relation and behaviors caused the p athology, the American dilemma forced the researcher to look elsewhere to determine how to best address the mental, pathological problem rooted in the culture and subcu lture of Americans to determine the social effects on learning, in general. To accomplish this goal, the liter ature search became a cross cultural and interdisciplinary study of several professions: psychology, medical science, genetics, social science, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience. The research in these various professions, outside of education as a field of study, took place in order to address a possible solution for the negative social effect on the learning for some underperforming African American boys. Consequently the liter ature of the other professions were read on three le vels: (1) to identify the negative factors that generated the social
45 effects on learning within the power structure involving education, economics, and politics to create a pathological st ate; (2) to observe the socio-pathologi cal factors that existed between the races that affected learning, a nd (3) to create a suggested bl ueprint for deconstructing the pathological state internalized by some African American pupils, in general, that were affected by the negative social effects for academic lear ning that plagued a few African Americans boys in particular. In order to accomplish these outco mes, literature was reviewed in seven other professional organizations dealing with the issues raised in An American Dilemma. Before Brown v. Board of Education: The trailblazers Although the professional journals before the early 1950s revealed no immediate response to Myrdals perceived dilemm a, two African American women, Mamie Phipps Clark and Marian Thompson Wright were already st udying the pathology of racism before Myrdal began his comprehensive study in 1939 (Smith, 2002; Crocc o, Munro, & Weiler, 1999). Both of their works were chosen for the prototype of the la ndmark Supreme Court ca se that outlawed more than five decades of racial segregation (Bergman & Berg man, 1969; Franklin, 2005). For example, in 1936, for a class project in a bnormal psychology (Smith, 2002), Mamie Katherine Phipps administered psychological tests to 150 African American school children in the Works Projects Administrations (WPA) in Washington, DC to determine their perception of their racial identity by simply asking them to identify themselves from three sets of pictures (Clark & Clark, 1939). The results of the experiment revealed th at as the childrens ages increased, the racial identification also increased. However, duri ng the experiment some unexpected behavior occurred when a great deal of the African Ameri can children said they di d not identify with any of the pictures (Clark & Clark, 1939). The five-year old childrens une xpected behavior indicated a racial conflict of ideas that hindered them fr om accepting themselves as intrinsic individuals (Clark & Clark, 1939, p. 597). Thus, Clark and Clar k (1939) concluded that racial identity and
46 the pathology of personality occurred at the age of five. Mamie used the research for a Masters thesis at Howard University; upon gradua tion she married Kenneth Clark (Smith, 2002). Kenneth Clark demonstrated Mamie Phippss (1 939) Master thesis findings before the Supreme Court duri ng the testimony of Brown v. Board of Education when he used brown and white dolls for African American children from the North and South to identify them racially (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005). He also asked them which dolls looked like them, after which he asked which was pretty, nice, and [the one] th ey would like to play [with]; two thirds of the Black children chose the white doll over the brown doll (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005, p. 649), even though 90% correctly identified the race of the dolls and themse lves correctly. The Supreme Court understood the psychological and negative so cial effects with implications of the 1896s Plessey v. Ferguson separate but equal law, and overtur ned it (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005). Kenneth Clark later became known as the man who dismantled the American apartheid system (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005). Before Brown v. Board of Education in the 1950s, portions of Mamies thesis were published. In 1939, it appeared as Segregation as a Factor in the Racial Identification of Negro Pre-school Children in the Journal of Social Psychology with Kenneth as the lead author. The Clarks also submitted another article to the Journal of Social Psychology, with joint authorship for Skin Color as a Factor in Racial Iden tification of Negro Preschool Children in 1940 (Smith, 2002). The two articles explained what happened to children when they internalized white racism. For a doctoral dissertation, Mamie Clark mere ly increased the testing population in New York City to earn a doctorate at Columbia Un iversity (Smith, 2002). In 1944, the results from studying New York Citys inner city children were used in her doc toral dissertation and appeared
47 in the Archives of Psychology as Changes in Primary Mental Abilities with Age (Smith, 2002). From her research, Mamie clearly understood the pa thology of racism and its effect on childrens schooling and learning in the Nort h and South before and after Brown. In hindsight, Mamie Phippss (1939; Clark & Clark, 1939) research must be recognized as significant for understanding how cultural surroundings helped to shape the personality and the cognitive development of young children. Her husband, Kenneth Clark understood it also and worked the rest of his life trying to eradicate white racism through racial integrati on in the United States (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005). Like the Clarks, Marian Thompson Wrights also understood that separate schools were insidious (Crocco, Munro, & Weiler, 1999). While Wright was a student at Howard University, she became concerned about how the public sch ools more and more systematically were becoming re-segregated in Newark, NJ. Afte r graduating from Howard, she enrolled in Columbia Universitys Teachers College and cont inued her research inte rest (Crocco, Munro, & Weiler, 1999). In 1940, Marion pub lished her dissertation entitled The Education of Negroes in New Jersey in which she documented that education in the state was inheritally unequal. Her study was chosen by the legal team consisting of Thurgood Marshall, Ro bert Carter, Jack Greenberg, and Constance Baker Motley. They used Wrights research as their architectural guide for Brown v. Board of Education (Crocco, Munro, & Weiler, 199 9; Jones & Pettigrew, 2005). In addition, the American Jewish Congress of New York sponsored the research of Max Deutscher and Isidor Chein (1948). They studied white racism by sending a questionnaire to the members of the American Sociological Society b ecause race relations were listed as its major field of study, in the Division of Personali ty and Social Psychology of the American
48 Psychological Association, and the American Ethnological Society (a group of cultural anthropologists) professional gr oups. They asked two questions: What is the psychological effect of enforced segregation on the segregated racial and religious groups? What is the psychological effect of enforced segregati on on the group, which enforces the segregation? (Deutscher & Chein, 1948, p. 287). The results of the study were published in the Journal of Psychology regarding its effects on forced segrega tion. They reported that the population represented 25% sociologists, th e psychologist 49%, and the anth ropologists 26%. The returns from 849 ballots were 517 or 61%. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the re spondents made written responses to explain their answers (Deutscher & Chein, 1948). Significantly, 90% of the professionals believed forced segregation was detr imental, while only 2% said it had no effect, with 4% had no opinion (Deutscher & Chein, 1948). Four percent did not answer (Deutscher & Chein, 1948). The respondents (83%) believed that the group that enforced segregation was also affected detrimentally, with 9% had no opini on, 5% did not answer wh ile 4% indicated the enforcers were not affected. The psychological studies of Deutscheur/Che in, Chein, Phipps-Clark, Preston and Kahn, Clark/Clark, Myrdal, and the sociological work of E. Frank lin Fraziers (1969), The Negro in the United States helped the Supreme Court to rule favorably in Brown v. Board of Education (West Supreme Court Reporter, 1988). Regrettably, neither of the sociolog ical or psychological organizations accepted the challenge of decons tructing the pathology of racism as Myrdal concluded in An American Dilemma for teacher educators. Instead the psychologists began to deconstruct white racism as disc ussed in the next section. A few brave men: The psychologists Although race relations were not a high priority in three psyc hological organizations that Deutscher and Chein studied, ther e were a few brave individuals like M elville Herskovits, Otto
49 Klineberg, and Ashley Montagu that worked with individual psychologist s to deconstruct white racism in the United States. Since anti-Semiticism also existed in the American culture, their interest merged with the African Americans, a nd collectively various grou ps began to write and study about racial minorities and race relations (Lewis, 2000; Franklin, 2005). In addition, Myrdals An American Dilemma was published in 1944 and many of the social scientists that were very active with their professional organi zations were also on Myrdals staff (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005). In later years both Clark a nd Frazier became president of their integrated professional societies and continually advocated for better race relations (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005; Lewis, 2000). After Brown v. Board of Education only a core of individu als tried to educate the American Psychological Association (APA) and th e public about the societ al dangers of unequal schooling. None was more vocal than Kenneth Clark, Isidor Chein, and Stuart Cook. They published in 1952 The Effects of Segregation in the American Psychologist. They explained that white children were damaged by the social policies and practices. But, Henry Garret who later became president of the APA and a few other psychologists opposed change, and they testified during the litigation of Brown to maintain segregation (Pettigrew, 2004). Thomas Pettigrew (2004) further explained how deeply i ngrained racism was in the psyche of some professionals. For example, Supreme Court Jus tice Robert Jacksons law clerk, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist thought, Plessy v. Ferguson [separate but equal] was right and should be reaffirmed (p. 522). Unfortunate ly, the discourse about how discrimination, prejudices, and unequal schooling affected wh ite children dropped fr om the national and psychological associations foci even though research showed that 83% of respondents said white children were damaged by racist practi ces (Fine, 2004). In 1952, Clark, Chein, and Cook
50 tried to encourage discourse about the effects, but 50 years later to commemorate the victory of Brown, the 1952 article was published again as a reminder of unfinished business for the APA. Clark, Chein, and Cook (2004) wrote: [White] children who lear n the prejudice of our society are also being taught to gain personal status in an unrealistic and non-adap tive way. When comparing themselves to members of the minority group, they are not requi red to evaluate themselves in terms of the more basic standards of actual pers onal ability and achievement (p. 496). In addition, the children also learned how to project their feelings of hostility and aggression when scapegoating ag ainst an entire group of peopl e (Clark, Chein, & Cook, 2004). They also developed patterns of guilt feelings and rationalizati ons when their personal desires and goals were unmet since they perceived themse lves superior to other groups (Clark, Chein, & Cook, 2004). The most obscure, harmful residue of white racism and slavery equally encouraged the use of projection, scapegoating, a nd rationalizations to shield themselves from acknowledging the essential injustice of their unrealistic fear s and hatred of minority groups, which most often manifested in employment and housing situations (Clark, Chein, & Cook, 2004). Clark, Chein, and Cook (2004) also maintained that white children learned the American Creed, which included the idealism of equal opport unity since all persons were created equally, and that America was the land of the free with liber ty and justice for all. However, when children experienced that some people were denied these ideals, it caused conflict, confusion, moral cynicism, and disrespect for authority (Clark, Chein, & Cook, 2004, p. 496). Black children were also taught the American Creed, along with being taught the moral, religious and democratic principles of brothe rhood of man and the importance of just and fair play... (Clark, Chein, & Cook, 2004, p. 496). Since the children did not experience these rights and privileges, the contradictions made them psychologically confus ed. Therefore, they n eeded to resolve their inner conflict by projecting intensified hostility and hatred toward those teaching and benefiting
51 from the principles. Clark, Chein, and Cook a dvocated unsuccessfully for the psychological duality to cease in the psyche s of black and white children. Even though the sociological or psychological organizations ignored th e social effects of white racism, some of the physicians were equally engaged as discussed in the next section. Physicians Heal Thyself: The medical community The National Medical Associa tion (NMA), the professiona l organization of African American medical doctors, was formed in 1895 in A tlanta, GA because of the racial membership policies of the American Medical Associa tion (AMA) (Satcher, 1973). The NMA worked on various medical problems and conditions that aros e from the racial path ological conditions that African Americans endured (Satcher, 1973). The committees work and studies were published in their journal called the Journal of the Nationa l Medical Association (JNMA) (Satcher, 1973). Consequently, the JNMA was the only publication in the review of literature for this study that gave a continuous, chronological ac count of African Americans me ntal and physical health, as well as their self-destructive lifestyles in res ponse to the hostile en vironmental and socioeconomic issues of oppression. In contrast, th e mainstream American Medical Association (AMA) was indifference to Myrdals (1996) c onclusion of his study in 1944 and published as An American Dilemma In two volumes, he described how the negative race relations were pathological for all the citizens in the United States. Most of the prestigious pr ofessional medical journals for the psychiatrists ( American Journal of Psychiatrists) and for the medical doctors ( Journal of the Medical Association ), ignored the problem until 1966, when the American Journal of Psychiatrists (AJP) published its seminal article, Psychological Aspects of the Civil Rights Movement and the Negro Professional Man to address the professional au diences pathology of racism. At the end of Drs. Arnold R. Beisser and Hiawat ha Harriss (1966) presentation, they asked for the audiences
52 written responses to their paper. The responses were later analyzed and published in the AJPs along with their article in the seminal issue. The findings of their an alysis indicated the effects of white racism on the racially integrated group of ps ychiatrists. Thereafter, members like Alvin F. Poussaint (1966b), Louis J. West (1996), James P. Comer (1969) explored the subject freely in their research and writings.. For example, in 1969, James P. Comer presente d a paper at the American Psychiatrists Association (APA) entitled White Racism: Its R oot, Form, and Function in response to the Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders that studied the riots in several urban cities. Comer (1969) responded to the conclusi on of the report that implicated white racism as the major cause of black and white conf lict and violent civil disorder (p. 802). However, Comer (1969) noted, One of the wea knesses of the report was that it failed to demonstrate the psychological root s, forms, and functions of raci sm and their direct relationship to interracial conflict and violence (p.802). Ther efore, Comer chose to address the omission. Before addressing the psychologi cal issues that caused path ological racism, Comer defined racism in the following manner: Racism is a low-level defense and adjustment mechanism utilized by groups to deal with psychological and social insecurities similar to the manner in which individuals utilize psychic defenses and adjustment mechanisms to deal with anxiety. In fact, the potential for a racist adjustment is rooted in personal anxiety and insecurity (p. 802). Comer (1969) then explained that white racism was created out of a social context of religion, politics, geography, and economics that began in Europe during the 16th century and crossed the Atlantic Ocean with the colonial settlers. Because white racism was rooted in the religious fervor of the Protestant Reformation to afford psychological security and to achieve economic profits with social stat us in the New World, the forms of white racism were crafted into chattel slavery and was transmitted fr om generation to generation as a positive social
53 value similar to patriotism, religion, and good manners (Comer 1969, p. 802). Consequently, some individuals accepted white racism as the norm for developing soci al policy in the United States (Yamey & Shaw, 2002). The slaves adjustment to the social policy made it easier for slave masters and their sympathizers to rationalize the ex istence of slavery (Comer, 1969). The slaves survival tactics bred unhealthy psychological, mental states because their adjust ments included identifying with the oppressors, as well as emulating and accepting the slave masters va lues and styles of aggression and oppression (Comer, 1969). Out of the psychological adjustments ultimately grew the foundations of a slave culture of inferiority, low self-esteem and self-concept that were then transmitted from generations to generations (Comer, 1969). Since the black man was docile because of his adjustments, he was a convenien t object for the slave masters to project their evil, repressed forbidden sexua l desires; hence, the sexua l aggression became another pathological layer of white racism (Comer, 1969). Also in 1969, the International Journal of Psychiatry published four psychiatrists articles, two from Harvard University and two from Columbia University, about the pa thology of racism. Three articles were critical evaluations of Hugh F. Butts views, entitled White Racism: It s Origins, Institutions, and the Implications for Professional Practice in Mental H ealth. As the Assistant Clinic al Professor in Psychiatry at Columbia University, Butts used history and ps ychology to explain that the origin of racism grew from a psychosocial character that white child ren learned in order to adapt to laws created in England in 1670 for colonial Virginia to regula te slavery of Africans as an outside group. For 51 years the inside-outside group me ntality did not exist. For ex ample, when the first Africans came to Virginia in 1619 before the Mayflower, they were indentured servants (Butts, 1969; Franklin, 2005).
54 Butts (1969) further explained that in time, based on skin color alone, the colonial character became a white psychosocial characte r that turned into a white pathogenic character when the inside groups white sk in was equated with superiority, purity, and excellence, while the outside gr oups (Native Americans and African s) were inferior, evil, and ignorant. The intent of the English law was to re gulate the treatment of Afri cans as slaves in the colonies, not the Native Americans. Therefore, the black skin of the Africans made them members of a permanent color caste intended for slavery (Butts, 1969). Sl aves adjustments to their color caste were psychologically maladapta tions that were detrimental to their mental health. Based on these assumptions, Butts said, I wish to redefine racism as the predication of decisions, policies, and behavior on consideratio ns of race for the purpose of subordinating a racial group and maintaining control over that gro up (p. 914). Then, he described some of the racist attributes as being overt and covert, active or passive, c onscious or unconscious. As Butts (1969) defined the term white racism, he remarked that the behavior mani fested in three forms: individual whites versus individual blacks; total white communities versus black communities (institutional racism); and, de facto racism (policies and la ws that discriminated). Charles A. Pinderhughes (1969) of Harvard defined racism slightly different. He thought that racism was an appearance -related paranoia, as a subdivisi on of a larger class of grouprelated paranoia, all of whic h were normal responses common to all social groups. When Pinderhughes discussed the primitive neuro-physiologi cal patterns of humans, he explained that medically and psychologically both white and black s in the United States were often deluded and victimized by white racism, because there were both pro-white and anti-black paranoia. Consequently, both groups needed a healing (Pinderhughes, 1969).
55 In contrast, Ethel S. Person (1969) of Colu mbia University refuted the psychoanalysis notation that white racism was pa thological in her critique entitled Racism: Evil or Ill? for the International Journal of Psychiatry (IJP). Person argued that a defined group with a distinct race, a common religion, language, cu lture, class, or geographical location that harbored some conflicts and unresolved issues was not pathological. In th at vein, Person (1969) wrote: Prejudice, national supremacy, ma nifest destinies, wars, and genocide on behalf of such group distinctions span the centuries a nd continents and seem universal (p. 930). Person asserted that it was illogical to categorize the American psychosoc ial character of being racist, as deviant, or a malignant pathogenic force and that the social behavior of white Americans caused the society to be stratified into distinct racial groups. Person justified her argument by explaining that humans had certain insecurities. Therefore, unconsciously they created a way to counteract them or to resolve the inner conflicts. Person further explai ned that some of the poorest Southern whites were impoverished economically and psychologically; therefore, they derived their self-esteem from being not black (Person, 1969, p. 931). The difference gave them a balanced cognitive center. Person justifie d the behavior in the following manner:: In racism as in all varieties of tribalism, a negative value judgment is linked to a perception of differences, partly to fulfill psychological need s. It is also likely that certain structural aspects of mans cognitive life reinforce this psychological tendency toward tribalism (p. 931). Persons (1969) justification of white racism on a psychosoc ial level explained why some individuals harbored little or no inner conflict or guilt for projecting hostilities or aggression against the outside group to maintain certain pr ivileges. Person conclude d that brotherhood was a powerful moral imperative, but cognitively it was an idealistic concept not readily accepted by all members of society toward outside groups. Pe rson further concluded that white racism was a social evil rather than a social illness Therefore, to eradicate wh ite racism a drastic
56 intellectual re-orientation and a serious snipping of social bonds (p. 932) ha d to take place for a social group to change its morals. The social change would occur, however, when the racists merged their moral concerns with their self-interes ts (Person, 1969). Frances Cress Welsing (1991) disagreed with the American Psychiatric Associations thinking. Welsings views about racism and wh ite supremacy were based on her study of antiSemitism in Germany. She thought the Nazis ra cial views were pathogenic and pathological within the social construct in the United States. To explain her views, she wrote The Isis (Yssis) Papers: The Keys to the Colors that consisted of 25 essays. Co llectively, they expressed her thinking about racism and white supremacy from 1970 to 1988 as she practiced psychiatry in Washington, DC. Although Welsing (1991) wrote the majority of the essays in 1979 and 1980, in 1973 she defined black mental health since the traditional professi onal organizations had failed to do so. Welsing explained that Black Mental Health was a unit-pattern of behavior common to people of African des cent who created a distinct culture in order to survive and sustain life in a hostile environment. Throughout the essays in The Isis (Yssis) Papers: The Keys to the Colors Welsing (1991) used Hitlers Aryan thinking as a basis for the theory of white supremacy and racism in the United States. Welsing further explained that the foundation of Arya n thinking was based on fear and insecurities of genetic domination and annihilation throughout the world (p. 83) by non-white people. She argued that Aryan thinking of white supremacy grew out of a psychogenetic motivation for the global, white su premacy system (p. 93). In explaining the term psychogenetic motivation, Welsing theorize d, white-skinned peoples initially were the mutant albinos of Black people in Africa (p. 170). Since albinism was a lack of melanin in the skin, people who harbored this logic, thought, speech, action, emotional response and
57 perception [to] genetic annihilation by Blacks a nd other non-white people (p. 228) needed help in eradicating their fear, rather than calling them immoral, since their psychological reaction was germane to their genetic survival. Therefore, the oppression of African Americans in general and to African American males in particular who sexually transmitted the melanin gene was viewed irrationally as a threat (Welsing, 1991). Consequently, Welsing maintained that white people must be made aware of their irrational fear of skin color, while black people needed to learn that no system of oppr ession ever maximally developed against those economically and socially oppressed because of the systems inherently flawed st ructure. In other words, African Americans had the power within themselves to overcome the systems oppression. Recent research supported Welsings (1991) genetic theory, that white-skinned peoples initially were the mutant albino of Black pe ople in Africa (p. 170). For example, Joseph Graves, Jr. (2004), an evolutionary biologist, theorized in The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America that a gene mutation occurred roughl y 80,000 years ago as humans migrated out of East Africa into Europe. The scientific community of evol utionary biologists like Graves argued that there were no variant species of the Homo genus; therefore, there was no biological diversity. Yet, individuals used their eyes to distinguish one group of people from another by using color descriptors such as white, black, red, and yellow, and called them races. In simplistic terms, Graves (2004) wrote: Were the only species of the Homo genus to have survived into modernity an analogy would be if the only members of Canis to survive were domestic dogs (no more coyotes, jackals, or wolves). Genetically, were not ev en separate breeds. Were all mutts (p. 16). Consequently, race was socially constructed and justified by myths and stereotypes (Graves, 2004). Gravess genetic assumption drew upon the findings of a DNA study conducted by Craig Venter, the CEO of Celera Genomics. Othe r scientists confirmed similar conclusions as discussed in the next section.
58 DNA and zebrafish storie s: The scientists In the sam e vein, the 2005 empirical findings of an 11-year study about the color variations in the zebrafish confirmed the genetic theories of Bamshad and Olson (2003), Graves (2004), and Welsing (1991) and answered the question: Does race exist? Keith C. Cheng (2005) was the program director for the 28member interdisciplinary research team at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine that discovered the variant gene that caused the skin color of black and white people to be different. Out of the 3 billion DNA genetic alphabetic codes only four MATP, ASIP, TYR, and OCA2, were known as the pigmentation genes (Cheng, 2005). The study of the zebrafish also confirmed that melanin [played] an important role in the protection of DNA from ultraviolet radiation an d the enhancement of visual acuity by controlling light scatter (Cheng, 2005, p. 1782). For years, an thropologists assumed that the people living on or near the equator had dark skin because th ey needed more melanin for protection from intense sunrays. Ba lter (2005) wrote in Science light skin [allowed] more absorption of sunshine and so produces more vitamin D, a trait that favored less sunny European latitudes (p. 1754). In addition to confirming an anthropologic a ssumption, the internationa l team added to the body of genetic knowledge by identifying SLC 24A5, as published in the December 16, 2005 issue of Science. In brief, the research team discovere d the zebrafishs pigmentation gene and its human counterpart (Balter, 2005). When the researchers found the one variant gene to cause recessive mutation, they then tested the DNA of four ethnic groups: Japanese, Chinese, African, and northern Europeans. Only the northern Europeans DNA had th e variant gene (Cheng, 2005). The researchers then tested the DNA of gr oups that represented a mlange of European ancestry African Americans and 105 Cari bbeans (Balter 2005). Neither the Asians (Chinese and Japanese) nor the mlanged group had the variant gene. However, Cheng (2005)
59 admitted that the various skin tones within people of color were still a mystery, as well as the variations of the skin, eye, and hair colo r in Europeans (p. 1786). Perhaps there were other genes that caused pigmentation within the pigmentation (Cheng et al., 2005). However, the zebrafish empirical study proved that race was a social construc t as Bamshad and Olson (2003), Graves (2004), and Wels ing (1991) theorized. The gate keepers: Some of the social and political scientists Before Cornel W est wrote Race Matters (1994), a collection of eight essays about the oppression of African Americans in the United States and the effects of racism in America in general, he wrote two essays, Race and Modernity and Race and Social Theory. In Race and Modernity West (1999) review ed Alexis de Tocquevilles Democracy in America regarding how a young democratic societys unrestr ained quest for wealth (p. 57) dehumanized Africans for establishing capital. Both of the essays were later published in The Cornel West Reader (1999). In Race and Social Theory, West analyzed more that 43 social scientists writings, in an attempt to find one applicable theo ry to eliminate racism in America. Then, he turned his attention to Western Europe's role in defining the period of modernity, 1871 to 1950, as its political power declined while the United St ates became a superpower with the help of the African Americans. According to West, their physical appearan ce was considered ugly, their culture was disdained, and their intellectual capac ity was considered inferior. These attitudes became embedded in the psyche of some black and white Americans as well in some of the academic writings in Western Europe with the rise of modern racist views on two continents. Being dissatisfied with the theorists and the Eurocentric suggestions of how to correct the Negro problem, West (1999), a de mocratic socialist, created hi s own. On the other hand, some social and political scientists tried to ma intain white racism, as asserted in the Bell Curve written by Herrnstein & Murray (1999), while ot hers like Steve Frasers (1995) The Bell Curve Wars:
60 Race, Intelligence, and the Future of America and Kincheloe, Gress on, & Steinbergs (1996) Measured Lies: The Bell Curve Examined refuted Herrnstein and Murrays work. There was no consensus among the social and political scientists to deconstruct white racism (West, 1999). Consequently, it thrived in most of the institutions in the United States (Feagin, 2000). Joe Feagin (1994, 2000), a sociol ogist, researched and documented well both covert and overt racism in Americans society, without focusing on the so cial effects on learning among school children. However, other educators began to loosen the grasps of the social and political gatekeepers that kept African American s from assimilating into American culture with their social theories to justify oppression and whit e privileges. Some of these educators and their influential research in the deconstruction of white racism were discovered in the literature and documented below as change agents to help elim inate the stress, fear, and anxiety that white racism caused in the African American subculture that often impeded learning The change agents: The educators The review of literature revealed that the Beverly Tatum (1992), Janet E. Helms (1992), Judith Katz (2003), Joe R. Feagin (2000), Davi d T. Wellman (1993) a nd Derrick Bells (1992) were the major educators that helped to info rm scholars about white racism and its negative effects in society. For example, Tatum (1992) cr eated a Psychology of Racism course that had five working assumptions to help college students to di scover their racial identity and racial identity development. The course was shared in a Harvard Educational Review article entitled Talking about Race, Learning about Racism: The Application of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom. Systematically, the class studied Janet E. Helmss (1992) stages of white racial identity development along with the characteristics of white culture. Both were summarized and presented in separate tables, Table 2-2 for White Identity Development and Table 2-3 for Some Characteristic s of White Culture. Tatums class also studied Cross et al
61 (1999) black racial development model found in the The Stages of Black Identity Development and was summarized for Table 2-1, Black Identity Development. According to Tatum (1997), the theories of Helmss and Cross et al. were used in the course to generate meaningful discourse and in-cla ss interactions between blacks and whites. In addition, Tatum (1992) used Judy H. Katzs (2003) White Awareness: Handbook for Anti-racism along with a variety of activities to guide th e learners through self-discovery with journal writings, taperecorded journals, and assigne d readings. Through self-analy sis, the learners became empowered with knowledge to deco nstruct racism in their lives as well as others (Tatum, 1992; Helms, 1992). Because of the social hierarchy of white dominance and black subordination, the environment shaped the human psyches differe ntly (Tatum, 1992). Unfortunately, no one born and reared in the United States escaped the raci al conditioning. However, the degree to which the effects were detrimental to the human psyche depended on the nurturing environment of the home and immediate society that shaped the black psyche a nd the white psyche (Poussaint, 1965; Tatum, 1992). The Black Psyche. Poussaint (1966) explained that some mothers unconsciously taught their children remnants of the plantation systems culture of being subservient to the racial etiquette of white supremacy. When the childs immediate social world rewarded only those persons who depended upon the goodwill and paternalism of the white man (Poussaint, 1966, p. 419), the subservient behavior was rein forced. Therefore, subservient or nonassertiveness was taught to ensure survival, a behavior motivated by the mothers fear (paranoia) (Poussaint, 1966). The white supremacists raci al etiquette of patern alism of keeping the subordinate group depended upon another with a re ward system was also motivated by fear (paranoia) according to Poussaint. Because the fear was circular the emotion became more of a
62 challenge for the individual to overcome being subservient because it destroyed the desire for self-reliance and self-confidence (Myrdal, 1994; Poussaint, 1966). To break the circular pathological concomitants of white racism and its effects on the psyche, Tatum (1992) used a five-stage model for Black Racial De velopment summarized in Table 2-1. The White Psyche According to Judith Katz (2003), some children learned to internalize the feelings of superiority by the age of four. Some even had a strong preference for the color white and a negative connotation for the colo r black. The negative connotation [was then] transferred from the color black to black people (p. 16). Consequently, the psychological disorder of racism [was] d eeply embedded in white people from a very early age on both a conscious and unconsci ous level (p. 17). Unfortunate ly, the same feelings were transferred to all people of color depending on the childrens mental, co lor continuum with one end being labeled white and the opp osite end black (Feagin, 2000). On this level, "the sense of whiteness [was] often hidden deeply in individual psyches and practices" (Feagin, 2000, p. 128). Because racist traits were acquired over one s life span, an individual often was not able to identify the racial behaviors, as David T. We llman (1993) illustrated in five case studies in Portraits of White Racism. Wellmans The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness was also often used as a textbook in the university for studying white culture (Rasmussen, Klinenberg, Nexica, & Wray, 2001). In contrast, Joe R Feagin (2000) focused on documenting racism in the book, Racist America. He maintained that children [were] socialized with racist thinking and behavior in family groups peer groups childrens books and school books (p. 132), and from various forms of media. Since racism existed in every facet of ones daily life in America, Feagin labeled the condition systemic w ith definite effects on the white child. Judith
63 Katz (2003) agreed. Psychologically, childre n who learned white-centeredness and white privileges (McIntosh, 1989) in their social world adopted a mo ral crutch that hindered their emotional and intellectual growth (Katz, 2003; Delany, 1970). Katz (2003) explained, [P]sychological superiority left us in a pathological and schizophrenic state (pp. 17-18) (emphasis added). Therefore she argued that wh ites must recognize racism as a white problem and then accept the respon sibility for dismantling it (p. 8). To accomplish this goal, however, one had to learn to recognize white cu lture and white privilege s and create a healthy white identity without the so ciopolitical oppression against pe ople of color (Helms, 1992), as described in the Autono my stage in Table 2-2. Because the racist, hegemonic tactics were successful, Derrick Bells (1992) Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism mixed fiction and non-fic tion to craft legal cases to teach law students how entrenched racial idea s were in the foundation of the culture in the United States. Consequently, Bell declared th at racism was permanent; therefore, his case studies were also designed for le gal scholars, educators, and soci al theorists, politicians, policy makers, parents, and general citizens to consider ways for thwarting hegemony power through the legal system. On the other hand, Joe R. Feag in and Melvin P. Sikes (1994) were more optimistic than Derrick Bell (1992) in Living with Racism: The Black Middle-class Experience. Their research reported on concrete black experience with everyday racism (Feagin & Sikes, 1994, p. 360) from approximately 200 return ed questionnaires from African Americans. Feagin & Sikes research acknowledged that some respondents shared [Derrick] Bells despair over the permanence of white racism, [but] for the most part they co ntinue to believe in or work for practical solutions to some of the nations ma jor race-related problems . (p. 363). Like Feagin & Sikes (1994), Albert Einstein (1971) was more optimistic about eradicating white
64 racism from the American society than De rrick Bell (1992). Having fled Nazi Germany, Einstein understood the dangers of racial superiority thinking. Although the media gave little attention to his humanitarian efforts, he worked to deconstruct racism (Jerome & Taylor, 2005). Collectively, through academic discourse, these educators research helped to identify and deconstruct white racism, a so-called taboo to pic (Tatum, 1992). The social oppression caused a great deal of stress, fear, and anxiety in the lives of African Am ericans that often denied them positive cognitively development and thus hindered their academic performance. An examination of the culture for similar negative effects on learning through the lenses of gender, poverty, class, monocultural curriculum, along with low literacy environment was less elusive than white racism, as a cursory view of gender was discussed in the next section. Gender In Raising C ain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys Kindlon and Thompsons (2000) research focused in general about the learning environment for boys without reference to any racial minorities. They gave a balance account of how boys readiness for classroom tasks in the early elementary school days was not on the same academic level as girls because boys matured more slowly than girls. In most instances, gi rls verbal ability deve loped quicker (Hyde & Linn, 1988). On the other hand, however, parents and teachers must used caution in nurturing children to fit gender stereotypes (Kindlon and Thompson, 2000). Kenneth Kidds (2004) Making American Boys explained how white middle class boys went to summer camps or participated in orga nized groups and activities to become programmed into societys stereotypic views of the Ameri can male. When some ch ildren did not accept the programmed boyology, they became victims of homophobia (Katz, 1995; Kidd, 1998; Trites, 1997). Therefore, teachers and parents needed to understand and embrace the continuum of individualized, manifested gender only as a social construct (Katz, 1995; Kidd, 2004). Since
65 human beings lives were often varied and very complex, children needed the guidance of caring adults to help them understand themselves and ot hers in order to be emotionally literate (Kidd, 2004). Although Kidd analyzed traditional white inst itutions that set the social standards for gender in the United States, African American boys were also judged by the same standards whether they had the opportunity to learn them or not (Dyson, 1993) Like racism, they did not escape from being judged by gender stereotypes (Dyson, 1993; Tatum, 2005). For example, if African American boys did not embrace the tough street life of the inner city or ghetto life, they were equally victims of homophobia (Tatum, 20 05; Ward, 1996). Often times the violent tension manifested in the learning environment at school without being addressed because the teachers did not feel comfortable in discussing the issue (Tatum, 2005). Therefore, in order to distinguish the difference betw een gender, nurtured programming, and stereotyping, parents and teachers needed to read with the children a dolescents l iterature such as Jim Howes The Misfit (2003) and Totally Joe (2005) about how young childrens emotional lives were affected by homophobia (Ki dd, 1998). Ideally, each child would be able to explore and develop emotionally without cons traints and stress (Ki ndlon & Thompson, 2000). When students were free from stress and anxiet y, they tended to perform well cognitively in academic settings (Kindlon & Thompson, 2000; Weinstein, & Mayer, 1986; Willis, 2006, 2007b). Of course, the human conditi on often created other social il ls to cause stress, fear, or anxiety that hindered a childs academic performan ce, such as poverty and class as discussed in the next section, Poverty and Class.
66 Poverty and Class It was well docum ented in the literature th at poverty and class influenced schooling (Connell, 1994; Harrington, 1973). For exam ple, in Michael Harringtons (1973) The Other America: Poverty in the United States, the description of economica lly impoverished residents quality of life was vivid. Often books like Harrin gtons were used as excuses for not teaching kids how to excel academically. On anot her level, however, Patrick Shannons (1998) Reading Poverty updated Harringtons views wit hout being sensational. He explained how the quality of life in the United States was controlled by capitalism driven by a market economy in the information age. Only the extremely literate members of the middle and upper classes benefited from such a competitive environment (Shannon, 1998). As an anthropological research er in Africa (Welch, 1964), it was apparent that poverty was not the greatest barrier for becoming literate for so me kids (Connell, 1994). Poverty in some of the third world countries in Africa was often worst than the slums and ghettos in the United States; yet, African children learned and some excelled academically for entrance into highly selected institutions of higher learning in Eur ope and the United Stat es (Welch, 1974; Connell, 1994). High poverty did not have to mean low academic performance. Neither did a high standard of living assure high performance. For example, Ogbu (2003) further proved that material wealth did not necessarily mean stude nts living in comfort with parents having the financial resources to provide educational ma terials, experiences, and opportunities would automatically excel academically. In Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement, Ogbu found the achievement gap wa s caused by societal factors like race relations: internalized Eur opean Americans stereotypes, beliefs and expectations about black people, tracking and negative behavior and attitudes of teachers, counselors, and unfair discipline within the confines of the school cu lture (Ogbu, 2003). During Ogbus study of the
67 African American affluent community, many of the parents testified that the school was segregated within the walls of an integrated building and that the school districts political system was against their childrens best interests. The parents often responded in anger without clearly articulating the perceived political actions of the teach ers and counselors (Ogbu, 2003). These parents mistakenly left their childrens ca reer advisement in the hands of the counselors without understanding the issues of race and cla ss (Feagin, 2000; Poussaint, 2004; Tatum, 1992). In contrast, Donna M. Beegle (2003) used her own familial background and life experiences to illustrate gene rational poverty and the results of a study of 24 ethnically and racially diverse college students whose families lived in poverty for at least three generations (p. 11). She documented that even though all were college graduates, poverty was not completely eliminated from their lives. Un like Payne (2001), Beegle (2003) used lack of financial resources only as the premise for defining poverty. Since Beegles familial group earned salaries from menial la bor and migrant work, she assumed that since college graduates worked in other occupations, they would no longer live in poverty. Her re search results showed, however, that 71% of the respondent s stated, their personal worth was judged by the work their parents did or did not do (Beegle, 2003, p. 13). Beegles study (2003) also paralleled the study of Duncan and Brooks-Gun's (1997) Consequences of Growing up Poor In brief, both studies demonstrated that if a family did not have ample financial resources to purchase adequate housing, food, and health care, there was also a tende ncy to react to events in their lives rather than setting goals and working toward achieving them (Beegle, 2003; Duncan & Brooks-Gun, 1997). Consequently, educational goals were no t given high priority. Therefore, 98% of Beegles (2003) respondents reported that education had little or no meaning in their early lives and simply was not important (p. 14). Th ese low educational expe ctations often caused
68 family members not to take advantage of free educational opportunities to eliminate economic poverty (Duncan & Brooks-Gun, 1997). The examples above explained, in part, that class and culture developed in separate tracts, especially for African Americans because of their racial isolation. Consequently, class and culture were viewed differently as discussed in the next section. Class, Culture, and African Americans Most Europ ean Americans saw all African Americans as descendants of slaves (Glazer, 1966). However, there were five other distinct cultura l groups that developed independently to create various social levels within the Af rican American subculture (Glazer, 1966). The descendants of free African American cultura l groups developed their own social conditions until they were also subjected to racial oppression first by the Dred Scott Decision and later by Plessey v. Ferguson (Lewis, 2000; Toppin, 1971). The parallel cultural development was recognized by members of the African American community (Toppin, 1971). Edward Franklin Fraziers (1969) seminal work The Negro in the United States described the various groups. The first group was those African Americans that came before the Mayf lower. The other four groups of free African Americans were (1) children born of a Native Amer ican mother and an African American father, (2) children born of a free Afri can American mother and a European or Indian father, (3) manumitted slaves, and (4) run-away slaves to free territories, states, and countries and their children born thereafte r (Glazer, 1966). These groups social conditions caused them to create a social class different from the Af ricans living in bondage (Frazier, 1965). Similarly, slaves that worked in the fields also developed a soci al stratum different from those that served as house servants and artisans in slave states (F razier, 1965). Collectively, therefore the social strata and the mentality of the two groups in bondage, along with fi ve groups of free people of color constituted a very rich African American culture in music, language clothing, and life style
69 in general. The commonality of subcultures identity to the dominant society, however, was solidified first with the Supreme Courts Dred Scott v. Sanford decision in 1857. Dred Scott declared all African Americans were not citizens and had no civ il rights in the United States (Frazier, 1969; Lewis, 1993) until after the Constitution of the United States was amended and the passage of the first Civil Rights Act during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War (Bergman & Bergman, 1969). For example, New Orleans, LA was a typical city in the United States where the five cultures of free people of colo r and the two classes of the slave descendants developed to afford a very rich African American subcultu re (Franklin & Moss, 2000). Homer C. Plessy, a free person of color that had a white-skin completion, attempted to ride in the white railroad car in New Orleans as a protest against the Louisiana Law of 1890 (Bergman & Bergman, 1969). Since he was known to be biracial, he was arrested and convicted as th e other free people of color predicted. Financed by a group of free persons of color, Plessy sued the city in the name of the mayor (Ferguson) and lost his case (Ber gman & Bergman, 1969). After losing on Appeals, Homer Plessy also was defeated before the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 (Franklin & Moss,2000). Consequently, the Supreme Court viewed all people of African descendant as the other a nd confirmed the separate but equal doctrine until 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education overturned Plessy (Lewis, 2000). With Brown as a foundation, the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 were passed to grant fu ll citizenship to African Americans, after they were denied social and political e quality for centuries (Franklin, 2005; Lewis, 2003). However, religion, the church, folk tradition, and the African family structure were common to the seven African American cultural groups until the evolution of a large, black middle class, according to Fraziers (1962) Black Bourgeoisie: The Ri se of a New Middle Class
70 in the United States Even though the church was the tradi tional stabilizing force for all of the cultural groups in the cities and the rural areas, the new societal structures such as mutual aid societies, sororities, a nd fraternal organizations began to serv e the needs of the cultural groups in urban areas. Consequently the emerging black middl e class withdrew its respect for folk values (Frazier (1962). Frazier noted that the ne w ... class structure slowly emerged ...based upon social distinctions such as e ducation and conventional behavior, rather than upon occupation and income (p. 23) like the dominate culture. Ho wever, as the black middle class became a synthesized cultural group, more em phasis and time were spent on fr ivolous social activities in sororities and fraternal groups while rejecting the folk values of the Negro masses (Frazier (1962). When W. E. B. Du Bois (1978) attempted to motivate the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity, a group of 400 African American profession als, to increase their ranks because the federal government was expanding the white middle class and had de cided not to do the same for the African Americans, the group did not respond (Lewis, 200 0). Du Bois identified the Boul (Lewis, 2000 p. 537), as being the Talented Tenth, but they did not accept his proposal to train members of the lower classes for economic integration. Their negativ e reactions to Du Bois s idea confirmed the earlier thinking of E. Franklin Fraziers (1962). However, Corn el West (1999b) argued that Du Bois did not understand the thinking of the masses, because they viewed his idea was unrealistic and threatening to their economic survival. In contrast, Ken Auletta (1999) studied the white and black underclass and identified them as the de relict, drunk, addict, hard-core unemployed, long-term welfare recipients, ex-convicts, ex-add icts, [and] delinquent youths (pp. 13, 14). Such individuals existed also in the segregated Af rican American communities. Thus, Auletta (1999) grouped individuals with this kind of behavior into four categories:
71 1) the passive poor, usually those trapped on welfare; 2) the hostile poor, usually street criminals who terrorize most cities a nd who are often substa nce abusers; 3) the hustlers who rarely commit violent crimes but w ho, like street criminals, may not be poor because they earn their livelihood off the books, [and] 4) the traumatized the drunks, drifters, depressed, often homeless miscreants who roam or collapse on city streets (p. 17). In some all black towns and hamlets the uppe r-, middle-, and lower-c lasses existed in harmony with mutual aid socie ties that helped th ose who were in dire economic straits immediately after the Civil War and emancipatio n (Franklin, 2005). In more modern times, however, individuals like John Harold Johnson (1989) understood the raci al malevolence of a white banker that refused to lo an him money to begin publishing The Negro Digest Magazine and learned how to circumvent racial discrimination in order to succeed. In his autobiography, Succeeding against the Odds Johnson and Bennett (1989) told how a banker encouraged him to borrow some money for a vaca tion when he refused his business plan. However, being born in 1918 and growing up during the nadir of negative race relations in the United States, Johnson understood the white loan officers low expectations of him and the business plan. Therefore, Johnson used the opt ion opened to him and borrowed the $500 for a vacation with his mother as a co-signer and her furniture as collateral. With the money, Johnson created a publishing empire that ultimately included The Black World, Ebony Magazine, Jet Magazine, and the JP Publishing Company for non-fiction books, as well as a line of cosmetics, Fashion Fair, for black women. In 2005, he donated a million dollars to Howard Universitys School of Journalism that was named in his honor. Others studied class, culture, and African Americans in diffe rent circumstances like Alfred Tatums (2005) Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males : Closing the Achievement Gap. Tatum explained a segment of the African Ameri can culture that caused black boys to live in turmoil trying to survive and b ecome literate. In contrast, Mi chael Eric Dysons (2005) wrote extensively about the st reet culture in (1) Is Bill Cosbys Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class
72 Lost Its Mind, and (2) Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and Natural, Racial, and Economic Disasters (3) Reflecting Black: African American Cultural Criticism and Sex, Race, and Class Tatum and Dysons writings discussed th e complexities of African American culture and its issues regarding the upper-middle-lower cla sses and underclass va lues and behaviors in an honest fashion that often defied racial stereotypes. Stress and strife often mani fested throughout the cultural divisions in the African American cultural communities (Dyson, 2006). Both intraand inter-cul tural conflicts and tension were negative, social effects on Afri can American boys academic performance (Dyson, 2006). Nevertheless, African American children need ed to see their lived e xperiences in print so that their social world would enter into the academic cla ssroom (Dyson, 1993), rather being exposed to literature about the dominant cult ure in a monocultural curriculum that often confirmed their oppression as di scussed in the next section. Monocultural Curriculum When Bloom (1994), Hirsch, Jr. (1988), and St otsky (1999) advocated the literary canon of the W estern World, they preferred literature wr itten by Anglo-Saxons and their descendants who wrote about white culture (Helms 1992). In other words, Adle r (1994), Bloom (1994), Hirsch, Jr. (1988) believed there should be a monocultural curriculum fo r a national literacy without regards for non-Western people. For exam ple, Derald Wing Sue (1992) discussed the psychological effects of monoculturalism as a Ch inese American going to school in Portland, OR at a predominately white school. She was taunted because of her physical appearance, called an alien even though she was born in the United States, and was judged by Asian American stereotypes. Reading literature that reinforced such views were harmful to her emotionally (Sue, 1992).
73 In contrast, other educators like Bank s (1998, 1999), Darling-Hammond (1985), and Ladson-Billings (2000) believed in diversity in the classroom to promote an egalitarian public school system. Of these educators, Banks (1998, 1999) advocated for and advanced the need for a multicultural curriculum, while Cai (2002) an d Sims-Bishop (1997) maintained that when literature reflected a pointofview that children related, it tended to heig hten their interest and enthusiasm for literacy learning. Therefore, multicu ltural literature gave ch ildren a broad view of the world (Cai, 2002). Similarly, children that grew up in a low literacy environment, regardless of their race, ethnicity, class, cu lture, if they experienced stress fear, hopelessness, or anxiety, in the environment, the condition had an advers e learning effect on th eir schooling (Heath, 1983) common also to a low literacy environment, as discussed in the next section. Low Literacy Environment To som e degree, the socioeconomic condi tions that caused low literacy in the home, school, and community were undergirded with ve ry complex socio-economic issues. Dyson (2005) wrote, anti-intellectualism [was ] endemic to the [broader]culture (p. 8). In the United States; therefore, collectively all of these factors influenced low literacy environment for underperforming African American boys in academic settings, including racism. In an attempt to address some of these concerns, teacher ed ucators like Willis (1995) advocated school literacy to move beyond its neu tral conception of culture; e ducators at all levels must acknowledge the role and importan ce of more than one culture, in defining school literacy (p. 47). Liza Delpit (1995) agreed with Willis (1998 ) in that African American childrens language should be used to teach them how to read and write Standard E nglish by comparing and translating their dialect into St andard English (Delpit, 1995). According to Paley (1979), teaching liter acy to racial minorities from a low-literacy environment in a predominately Eurocentric cl assroom presented anothe r challenge. Paleys
74 (1979) shared experiences revealed how some yo ung pupils acted and reacted toward racial ideas in the society and other children from low lite racy environments. Since Paley (1979) was opened to other cultural ideas, viewpoints, and so cial conditions, she was successful in solving issues regarding racial diversit y. On another level, Paley (19 79) was successful because she conducted her classroom in an atmosphere of democracy advocated by Wolk (2002) and LadsonBillings (1995). In contrast, Purcell-Gates (1995 ) research revealed th at pupils from some communities where oral communication was highly valued by their parents, printed materials were not (McGill-Franzen, Lanford, & Adams, 2003) Therefore, when these pupils from a low literacy environment entered Eurocentric schools, th eir parents had not soci alized them to value reading (Purcell-Gates, 1995; McGill-Franzen, Lanford, & Adams, 2003). Thus, teachers often had to help the pupils to observe environmental print in their neighborhoods in order to motivate them to understand how printed ideas were used and to appreciate how ideas were communicated with the letters of the alphabets (Dyson, 1993). On the other hand since they valued oral language, some teachers used poetry, songs, and c horal reading to motivate them to read print (Strickland, 1969). The more successful teachers of language arts, however, read orally to the class positive print about other African Americans and also incorporated the ideas into their instructional plans, along with reading quality childrens lite rature about African Americans socio-historical background and quest for literacy (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Sims-Bishop, 1997). Independent readings about the oppositional behaviors, laws, and techniques that were a part of the African culture and history also often motivated the pup ils to read and appreciate multicultural literature (Cai, 2002; Sims-Bishop, 1997. Early emergent readers also enjoyed reading picture books about posit ive African American life, ar t, and achievement (Cai, 2002; Sims-Bishop, 1997).
75 Unaware teachers and other pupils often viewed pupils from low literacy environments as possessing a low IQ. If a pupil became aware of such generaliza tion, it could affect the childs selfesteem and could create a dislike for school, a common behavior for children living in a low literacy environment (Dyson, 2005).. In fact, school often was considered a stressful place to avoid as much as possible, even by some parents. Generally, families with these traits, however, experienced a plethora of other social problems other than just a low literacy environment, especially if there was a cultu re of oppression and poverty that also contributed to the low literacy environment (Auletta, 1999). Any of the conditions explained in the discussion of the nine cultural lenses that caused stress, fear, and/or anxiety contri buted to negative social effect s of the underperforming African American boys learning prior to the study, si nce their cultural envi ronment impacted their learning, thinking, and worldview. These cultural lenses were briefly summarized in the Summary: Social Effects on Learning. Summary: Social Effects on Learning The review of literature emphasizing the negativ e, external events, conditions, attitudes, traditions, and laws that affected learning was a very broad topic (Sternberg, 2000; Vygotsky, 1978; Willis, 2006). However, the topic afforded a comprehensive, historical, and cultural exploration of research to identify the characte ristics of the social effects on learning in the culture (Ogbu, 1978; Ogbu & Stern, 2001). Since negative social effects caused stress, fear, and/or anxiety, they inhibited learning, accord ing to Judy Willis (2006), a board certified neurologist that became a middle school teacher (Hipsky, 2007). Consequently, in order to identity the social effects, past and present, th at might have played a ro le in the schooling of some African American boys that were identified by their langua ge arts classroom teacher as underperformers for the ethnographic case study, th e review of the literature included research
76 about Afrocentric and Eurocentric cultural traits in society (Allen, 1989; Feagin & Sikes, 1994; Sleeter & Grant, 1994). In that vein, the review of the literatur e consisted of the following eight (8) subtopics. The first subtopic, A socio-historical Perspective: African Americans Quest for Literacy, drew heavily upon W. E. B. Du Boiss (1975) book, Black Reconstruction in America: an Essay toward a History of the Part Which Black Folks, in order to explain the hi story and role of African American males in the development of the public school system in Florida for all of its citizens. The three African American arch itects of the public schoo l system were Josiah Thomas Walls, H. C. Harmon, and Jonathan C. Gibbs, the first Superintendent of Public Instruction for Florida. Using the nomenclature, the talented tenth, Du Boiss discussion of Walls, Harmon, and Gibbss quest for literacy illustrated how some African Americans attempted to create a democratic public school system during the Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War. The second subtopic was General Attitude to ward African American Males. Social hostility and physical violence against African Am ericans, after the R econstruction era ended, became the norm (Franklin & Moss, 2000). During that period, the Black Code Laws were created to reduce African Ameri cans to second-class citizenship. However, a few individuals like W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Joel Springarn, and Carter G. Woodson continued the legacy and quest for literacy even though the general attitude toward Africa American males were very hostile as discussed in the second s ubtopic, General Attitude s to African American Males. The third subtopic was Refusal to Learn: I Wont Learn from You, a saying borrowed from Herbert Kohl (1991). The literature reve aled how some African American boys coped in
77 hostile learning environments where teachers attitudes supported white supremacy as documented in Bad Boys: Public Schools in th e Making of Black Masculinity (Ferguson, 2003 ) and Disability Democracy: Reconstructing (Special) Education for Postmodernity (Skrtic, 1995). In this regard, the research th at supported the social policy th at oppressed African Americans in the schooling process was B. F. Skinners operant conditioning along with Jean Piagets stages of human development, as explained in Disability Democracy (Skrtic, 1995). Therefore, if pupils did not perform according to prescribed cl assroom behavioral objectives by a certain age they were labeled cognitively de ficient and put in special educ ation classes (Ladson-Billlings, 2000; McLaren, 2003; Tatum, 2005). The fourth subtopic was White Racism: The Struggle for Its Deconstruction. Although the politicians granted African Americans fr eedom, the debate lingered on through the professional organizations to deconstruct white racism. Since the African American medical doctors became organized in 1895 during Reconstruction, it was the oldest organization that studied and published in the Journal of the National Medical Association (JNMA) the social effects of white racism on black pa tients. In this effort the ps ychiatrists, Alvin Poussaint and James Comer, made the greatest impact to help children cope with their cultural environment and stress inflicted upon them from racism. The geneticists findings from studying DNA and the zebrafish (Cheng, et al., 2005), however, gave empirical evidence to answer Bamshad and Olsons (2003) question in their Scientific American article Does Race Exist? in humans In fact, Chengs et al. (2005) study also confirme d the theories of Graves (2004), the biological geneticist, and Welsing (1991), the psychiatrist, that race was a social construct. Nevertheless, the review of the literature for this subtopic, posed th ree major challenges. First, it was discovered that Karl Gunner Myrd al conducted in 1944 the first sociological study
78 of African Americans social conditions in the South after the Civil War. Myrdals (1996) two volumes, An American Dilemma, documented how oppressive and stressful African Americans life was in the United States. As an economist, Myrdal did not explain the pathology that caused the behavior of black and white citizen s. He merely described how dreadful race relations were for racial minorities, the others because their treatment was not analogous to the American Creed in the United States in general. Second, 50 years later in 1994 in Living with Racism: The Black Middle-class Experience, Joe Feagin (1994) argued that there was not a single in-depth article (sic) or book on the role of white raci sm in creating the foundation for current racial conflict, (p. 361) from the mass media and the mainstream intellectual literature (p. 361). Neverthe less, Myrdals research revealed that white racism generated a subculture based on a hierarchical relationship that defined the social status of all African Americans. Finally, American in Black and White: One Nation Indivisible (Thernstorm & Thernstorm, 2003) cited Karl Gunnar Myrdals (1996) research with an exam ple of the pathology that existed between a Southern white woman and her domestic, African American maid, without explaining why the negative, symbiotic race relations existed throughout the American culture including the north, as Myrdal stated in the conclusion. In was implied in An American Dilemma that the white/black social problem originated in the mind of the people as explained in "It's All in the Mind: The Pathological Problem. Through scientific, empirical studies (Bamshad & Olson, 2003; Cheng, et al., 2005) gave credence to Myrdals findings in 1944 that race was indeed a social construc t to justify a hierarchical system that granted privileges based on skin color (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). Conseque ntly, the researcher ha d to review literature
79 outside of the field of education to determine th e nature of the pathology to determine the social effects on learning. The fifth subtopic was Gender. Kenneth Kidds (2004) Making American Boys explained how society used structured organizations to socialize ge nder traits and roles. Pupils that did not conform, however, suffered taunts from the other children in these group settings. Taunting and bullying, sometimes instigated by homophobia, proved to be stressful and emotionally traumatizing to some victims. African Americans boys experienced the same hostilities (Dyson, 1993). In contrast Kindlon and Thompson (2000) in Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys explained that since boys matured later than girls their nurturing and learning environments reflected major differences. The sixth subtopic was Poverty and Class. Social deprivation because of poverty and class was aptly explained in Understanding Poverty (2002) through Ruby Paynes lenses. There were many causes for poverty. Young boys reared in generational poverty, however, often grew up faster, and went to work to help to support their families. As Payne explained often times ones parents determined the social class of an i ndividual. In contrast, class embraced more than financial resources because manners, values, edu cation, and character also helped to determine class. The seventh subtopic was Class, Culture, a nd African Americans. Because of their racial isolation, African Americans developed a un ique, creative subculture with five distinct intercultural traits, since all African Americans we re not descendents from slaves. The life style of African Americans after the large black middle class emerged was explained in Michael Eric Dysons writings, such as Reflecting Black: African American Cultural Criticism (1993); Is Bill Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost its Mind? (2005); Come Hell or High Water:
80 Hurricane Katrina and Natural, Racial, and Economic Disasters (2006). His explanations included the destructive street lif e of alcoholism, drug addiction, poor eating habits, and diet of mothers that affected their unborn. Dyson claimed that the hip-hop music merely reflected these postmodern conditions. Consequently, the economic status of the parents and their moral values shaped the African American boys outlook about literacy according to the way they were socialized. The eighth subtopic was Monocultural Curricul um. A curriculum of this kind narrowed the social perspective of the Af rican American boy (Tatum, 2005). Since the United States was multicultural, these pupils woul d be better served with a mu lticultural curriculum (Cai, 2002; Lowery, 2000). The reading mate rial about their lived experi ences would serve as background knowledge to teach other reading comprehensio n skills for cognitive development (Hirsch, Jr., 2006). The ninth subtopic was Low Literacy Environment. The African American boys culture placed high values on the oral tradit ion (Heath 1983). If the home lacked printed material or the adults in the boys environment ra rely read, then they had little use for printed material or reading, in general (McGill-Franzen, Lanford, & Adams, 2003). Therefore, a conscious effort to engage in literacy by intr oducing their lived experiences to encourage an interest in reading wa s necessary (Tatum, 2005). To overcome these external, social probl ems that thwarted learning, a few researchers investigated the cognitive processes that succ essful African Americans used to achieve academically., as discussed in the next section. Cognitive Processes for Learning In spite of the negative, social effects in th e lives of African Am eri cans that caused stress, fear, and anxiety that thwarted learning for African Americans, the African American boys
81 tended to perform less well than their female counterpart on high-stakes test that determined educational outcomes. In that vein, the sect ion Cognitive Processes for Learning discussed four major subtopics: (1) Two Psychiatrists Suggestions an d Views, (2) Multicultural Literature Usage, (3) Critical Thinking, and (4) African American B oys, Whats Your Major Academic Problem? Two Psychiatrists Suggestions an d Views about Learning James Comer and Alvin Pouissant (1992), leading Afri can American psychiatrists, gave suggestions and remedies regarding African American childrens academic achievement problems in Raising Black Children: Two Leading Psychiatrists Confront the Educational, Social, and Emotional Problems Facing Black Children. The book was about how children matured and how growth affected their emoti onal, psychological, and social development (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). Their first suggestion was to parents. They said, raise strong, well-educated, and computer-literate black children. There [was] no longer a need for docility; therefore, white racism should be repl aced with an attitude of black pride, selfconfidence, and appropriate assertiveness (p. 12). In other words, white racism would no longer exist as the foundation of the social order if parents stopped teaching th eir children to honor it (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). They also told parents that their ch ildren were allowed to spend too much time on sports, music, and dance. Therefore, they were not prepared to make the transition from the industrial to the information age (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). They said that black boys were not taught that becoming a professional athlete was not a re alistic career goal. Comer and Poussaint further explained that only about one percent of the four year college athletes became professionals. In addition, athl etic careers rarely lasted mo re than two years (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). The doctors admonished parents, Too many youngsters spend too little time
82 in academic areas (p. 12). Furthermore, they said that parents needed to teach their children to achieve in both academics and sports. Second, Comer and Poussaint (1992) discussed th eir views regarding the social effects on African American boys learning. The doctors argued that black males were thought to be threatening to society; therefore, they received more rejection. They were deliberately denied a chance for an education, so they supported thei r families as manual laborers in agricultural and industrial jobs until the 1960s when the economy changed. Of course, the more educated men, however, were often under employed (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). The doctors argued that there were social e ffects on African American childrens learning that were outside of their immediate control. For example, Comer and Poussaint (1992) maintained that there was not a black psychol ogy or white psychology, but psychological practices in the United States [that were] wh ite-dominated and [were] often culturally biased and racist (p. 15). In that vein, they stated, Many psychologica l tests standardized on white people [were] inappropriately a pplied to blacks, causing them to appear less intelligent or deficient. (p. 15). They furthe r maintained that the mental capabilities of individuals were not based on skin color. However, What [appeared] as differences [were] the results of experience and training (p. 15). Therefore, what a white child learned a black one would also, but deliberate segrega tion and inadequate educational and economic opportunities implied inferior ability when it was not stated dire ctly (Comer & Poussaint, 1992, p. 232). The doctors further explained that in a climate of overt and cove rt racism, stereotypes grew that blacks and other minorities were mentally inferior (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). Comer and Poussaint also exclaimed, These factors past and present. [affected] black [childrens] performance on achievement and intelligence tests (p. 232).
83 In spite of the negative social effects on learning, Comer and Poussa int (1992) argued that lack of learning experiences and training cau sed African American boys to underperform academically. They both acknowledged that poverty influenced families lives, but if children were reared in an atmosphere of love and security, even in th e poorest of homes [they would] be prepared to face the ch allenges (p. 12) of society. As a faculty member at Yale University in child psychiatry, James Comers approach to cognitive processes for learning was through th e Comer School Development Program (Noblit, Malloy, & Malloy, 2001). He believ ed that a responsible, supporting adult in the life of children made a difference in their academic performance. Since most African American children did not have the personal, social, and moral developmen t skills they needed to succeed academically, they must be taught cognitive development skills and processes at home and at school (Comer, Joyner, & Ben-Avie, 2004). Therefore, he addressed cognitive issues through the school reform approach with the Comer School Development Pr ogram. The Program was created four decades ago to remedy urban school reform (Noblit, Malloy, & Malloy, 2001). Multicultural Literature Usage Using m ulticultural literature th at reflected the lives of unde rperforming African American boys provided background knowledge for teach ing cognitive processes and reading comprehension (Cai, 2002; Hirsch, Jr., 2006; Si ms-Bishop, 1992). Eric Donald. Hirsch, Jr. (2006) explained that when pupils had the back ground knowledge of the text, they stored the information readily in their short-term memor y. Once the information was stored there, an experience learner could explain how to manipul ate the stored information using the cognitive activities listed in Table 2-4 found in the List of Tables to enhan ce reading comprehension, which in turn aided cognitive processes (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Moreover, in Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults: Reflection on Critical Issues Cai (2002)
84 expressed that the goals and usage of multicultural literature were positive social effects on learning and would be conducive for developing cognitive proce sses for learning how to solve problems. In addition, to counteract the negative psychol ogical effects of white racism, classism, poverty, and homophobia, children needed to read books depicting experiences of nonmainstream cultures (Cai, 2002, p. 19). According to Cai (2002), The inclusion of such books in the curriculum boost[ed] childrens self-esteem and enable[d] them to experience successes in school (p. 19). Using mu lticultural literature as a medium of instruction to interact orally with underperforming African American boys provided an immediate feedback for practicing reading comprehension skills and reader response. In addition, multicultural literature provided on the printed page the childrens lived experience, which was then used as background knowledge for learning additional inform ation processing skills analogous to reading comprehension (Hirsch, Jr., 2006). However, the read er response allowed the experienced reader to assume how the information processing occurred during the act of reading to develop the young readers mind as discu ssed in the next section. Cognitive-developmental dimension of reader response In Benefits of Childrens Literature Violet Harris (1990) m aintained that children gained cognitively from reading childrens lite rature. However, she did not give teachers specific instructions or suggestions about how to achieve the desired cognitive outcomes for academic success. Similarly, Alfred Tatum (200 6) in Engaging African American Males in reading argued that the culturally relevant appr oach to teaching literacy aided African American boys intellectual growth. Tatum emphasized teac hing various reading ski lls, but he failed to
85 explain how and why the intellectual growth occurred. However, Harris and Tatum advocated using multicultural literature with African American pupils for cognitive development. Like Harris and Tatum, Mingshui Cai (2002) en couraged using multicultural literature, but he said it must be culturally relevant to the learners lived experiences for teaching cognitive development skills. Cai maintained that when pupils saw their environment in print, it was easier to acquire the background knowledge for co mprehending and recalling the information. Therefore, a background knowledge about the printed text must be established first to engage in cognitive developmental instruction before t eaching higher-order thought patterns for reading comprehension and analytical reasoning skills (C ai, 2002; Sternberg, 2000). These skills tended to enhance cognitive growth and development (Cai, 2002). Unlike Harris (1990) and Tatum (2006), Mingshui Cai (2002), In Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults: Reflection on Critical Issues theorized how reader response suited the assessments of the pupi ls thoughts about the printed text, and how they recalled the information. The analysis of the oral and/or wr itten response helped the experienced reader or teacher to determine how and/or why the pupil responded a certain way. Collaborating with the pupils in the social c onstructivist approach to learni ng (Lamme, 1995), p. 221), pupils learned cognitive processing skills using activities in Table 2-4 in the List of Tables. Using multicultural literature in this manner, Ca i called the approach cognitive-developmental dimension of reader response. Children with parents that read to them ever y night before going to sleep tended to develop the mental sequence of events in a story for di scussing the readings aesth etically (Vandergrift, 1990). In addition, children that read a great d eal on their own got more practice through trial and error to develop cognitive strategies (Martin, 2005). However, children in grades K-3 from a
86 low-literacy environment required a great deal of neuro-developmental activities stimulation from reading to aid their thinking processes, in spite of the schools curriculum constraints and/or negative social effects on their learning (Levine, 2002; Littky & Grab ell, 2004). Therefore teachers that used talkalouds as a window to the mind (Hume & Weinstein, 1994) got a glimpse of the mental process from the reader response. Mel Levins (2002) book, A Mind at a Time, explained how teachers conscious efforts to engage in neuro-developmental activities with talk-alouds and reader response to literature were engaged in neuro-developmental pluralis m (p. 335). Thus, the teaching approach for cognitive strategies required more than the f our seconds commonly allowed for pupils to collect their thoughts for an oral response in a norma l classroom before calling on someone else. Children from low literacy environments were especially cited as needing more than four seconds to formulate thoughts in a new way when learning the different patterns of thought (Levine, 2002). The patterns of thinking, as information processing, for academic success, were discussed more in detail in the next section. Information processing using short-and long -term memories The patterns of thought for generating the re ader response from reading the culturally relevant multicultural literature were determined by the way the pupil processed the information from short-and long term memories (Wittrock, 1986) While Eric Jensen (2005) explained the scientific functions of the brain in Teaching with the Brain in Mind, Claire Weinstein (1988) and her associates (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) identified the cognitive strategies commonly used for information processing listed in Table 2-4 in the List of Tables. Likewise, John Bruer (1993), Michael Pres ley (1993; Pressely & Woloshyn, 1995), and Gerald Duffy (2003) shared their educational experiences fo r teaching cognitive strate gies to elementary school children. Therefore, it was well documente d in the literature how cognitive strategies
87 consisted of the various ways that pupils pr ocessed new ideas and experiences (Weinstein, 2003). The more academically successful pupils, however, learned how to incorporate at least eight of the 16 cognitive activit ies in Table 2-4 in their repe rtoire for studying (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). During the learning process, information was stored in the memory system after it was scanned and filtered through the sensory intakes areas of the brain (Willis, 2006; Wittrock, 1986). Then, the stored memory became prior knowledge for applying new experiences to solve problems, complete tasks, and/or evaluate ideas (Weinstein, Woodr uff, & Await, 2004). Consequently, the capability to store informati on in the short term and longer term memories were necessary for learning (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). For example, as the African American boy read the multicultural literature, he stored information in the short term memory first to recall the names of the characters, setting, sequence of events, etc. of the story. Activities in Table 2-4 with the active rehearsal strategies helped the reader to remember the basic parts of the plot (Weinstein & Mayer, 1986). However, pupils from a low reading environment probably needed help in engaging in the fifth active re hearsal activity because it was somewhat more complex than activities 1-4 (Weinstein, Woodru ff, & Await, 2005). Since the fifth activity involved linking facts, events, and persons with a theme or common trait to recall details using notes of reading/writing/saying details more than once to memorize, the teacher or an experienced reader would model how to do the activity (Weinstei n, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Pupils that read stories a great deal on their own, more than likely from practice, learned through trial-and-error how to retain basic information for comprehe nding a story (Cai, 2002; Martin 2005). Although these five active re hearsal activities stored information temporarily in the brain while reading, the skill to perform the tasks accurately was vital for processing the multicultural
88 literature using the next cognitive levels activities, the organizat ional and elabora tion strategies (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) listed in Table 2-4 to genera te reader response from the multicultural literature. For the longer term memories activities listed in Table 2-4 in the List of Tables, the same short term memories approach was used for generating reader responses that were more complex (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Information processing using the organizational and elaboration strategies activi ties, however, required the teacher to ask higherorder thinking questions (Bloom, 1956; Levin, 2 002b). Through practice, the pupil learned when to choose the appropriated information processi ng activity (metacognition) for giving a complex reader response (Jausovee, 1996). Norbett Jausovee (1999) and Judy Willis (2006) explained, without discussing culture, the role that social effects played on learning. Fo r example, in Metacognition, Jausovee wrote, All higher psychological functions (e. g. perception, vol untary attention, in tentional memory) encompassed social origins (p. 206). Drawi ng upon Lev Vygotskys research, Jausovee further wrote, Thus, knowledge and cognitive processe s [were] socially transmitted (p. 206). Likewise, Judy Willis used her background in ne uroscience to explain the impact of negative social effects on learning in Research-based Strategies to Ign ite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist and Classroom Teacher. Willis explained that when pupils felt helpless, threatened, stressed, and/or anxious, the affec tive filter did not respond to processing, learning, and storing new information (p. 106). She further said that when the affective filter was over stimulated new information [did] not pass through the amygdala to reach the information processing centers of the brain (p. 106), because the amygdalas affective filter did not allow access to the memo ry circuits (p. 106) in the brai ns temporal lobe. Therefore,
89 any of the nine (9) lenses through which the negative aspects of the culture were identified in the discussion of the topic Social Effects on Learning affected the amygdalas affective filter and thwarted learning (Willis, 2006). In that vein, Mingshui Cais (2002) five components of the cognitivedevelopmental dimension presented the foundation for multicul tural literature to achieve the goal of empowerment. He theorized that if pupils learned how to process information well they would be in a better position to unders tand and solve problems to overc ome the pathological obstacles created by the dominant culture and the domin ated cultures as well (Cai, 2002). Since information possessing assisted the pupils cognitive developm ent in the areas of reading comprehension and interpretative analyses of the texts, multicultural literature also provided cross-cultural skills for reading all literature multiculturally (Cai 2002). Putting culture aside, Weinstein (2003) noted that if pupils developed the ability to execute strategies to process information aptly, their level of comprehension and interpretation of literature would increase for other academic subjects. However, for African American pupils to overcome a barrage of negative social effects on learning, the reading of multicultural literature vicariously provided positive background knowledge to practice inform ation processing activities for developing cognitive strategies for learning in general, as well as critical thinking (C ai, 2002) as discussed in the next subtopic. Critical Thinking Critical thin king skills were the results of information processing activities using organizational and elaboration strategies (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). In fact, John Wherry, Kristen Amundson, and Luann Fulbright (2001) as the educators at the Parent Institute in a monogram entitled Critical Thinking Skills They explained, Critical thinking skill [were] the most important skills for success in school and in life (p. i). The author outlined
90 for teachers and parents how to teach their chil dren the following six basic critical thinking skills: observing and questioning, classifying, comparing, summa rizing, hypothesizing, evaluating and decision making (Wherry, Amunds on, & Fulbright, 2001). They also reminded parents that the skills were usef ul in language arts, but observati on as a critical thinking skill was equally needed as background knowledge for science and mathematics (Wherry, Amundson, & Fulbright, 2001). Critical thinking skills, according to Mel Levin (2002) in A Mind at a Time were higherorder skills that released pupils from relying on ro te memory to perform academic tasks. In fact, Levine (202) suggested seven (7) steps for parent s and teachers to corre ct the deficiency in critical thinking. He also warned that children who had not lear ned to look beneath the surface of things using critical analysis usually were the ones highly influen ced negatively by peer pressure and often made wrong choices involving the law. Conse quently, as a life skill pupils needed to learn how to assess the validity and quality of id eas, people, and things (Levine, 2002, p. 203). In brief Levine (2002 ) suggested the following activ ities: 1) list the important facts of a story based on details, 2) identify the authors point of view from words, phrases, ideas found in the text, 3) identify personal pointsof-view, 4) point out errors in thinking, overstatements, exaggerations made by the characters or in the author s explanations of the characters actions, 5) learn how to do library re search to support persona l point-of-view, 6) look at all entities in the text fo r facts for making an informed opi nion, and 7) present in a reader response the private thoughts about a story or a text in a cohe sive and convincing manner to explain why and how the evaluative conclusions were based. Although James Comer (2004) in Leave No child Behind in general, suggested some of the same approaches that Mel Le vine (2002) addressed, he also included critical thinking for
91 cognitive development. However, Comer did not identify the major academic problem that hindered African American boys academic performance. These issues were discussed in the next section, African American Boys, Whats Your Major Academic Problem? African American Boys, Whats Your Major Academic Problem? The literature tended to s uggest that critical thinking involved cognitive skills utilizing the long-term memories for organizational and elaborat ion strategies (see Table 2-4 in the List of Tables) were vital for academic success. But, there was no consensus on a solution to African American pupils underachievement, in gene ral. In fact, Gail Thompson (2004), in Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know but Are Afraid to Ask about African American Students argued that if African American kids werent dumb or lazy, why they were still underachieving? Thompson searched the literature and found ten (10) theories that addressed the issue: They were the deficitdeprivation theory, the theory of structural equality, tracking, the theory of cultural discontinuity, Fourth Grade Failure Syndrome, the acting white theory, the peer-pressure-and the lure-of street life theory, the parents-are-at-fault theory, under prepared teachers, and low teacher expectations (p. 13) Thompson acknowledged that all of the theories explained different reasons for poor acad emic success. Yet, the initial question that gave rise to her research was not forthcoming for a teacher/teacher educators curriculum and instruction solution. Neither did Thompson propose a solution to African Americans academic plight or answer her initial que stion. Instead, she gave an anec dote about an African American boy who won a spelling bee, but the teacher di squalified him unjustly. When the boy later proved to the teacher in private about the error, she failed to apologize for the mistake. Instead, the teacher acted out the stereot ypic behavior of the blac k boy threat to [white] women (Thompson, 2004, p. 33). Acknowledgement of the t eachers pathological problem of racism and gender did little to help African Americans to increase their scores on the Florida
92 Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) or th e Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) (Noguera, 2002). In the meanwhile, Lamont Flowers (2002) was analyzing tests and i nventories to answer the same question in general for student affairs graduate students th at Gail Thompson (2004) posed. Flowers suggested that the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory s (LASSI) validity proved to be most appropriate as a research tool to answer th e question (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). As a follow-up to Flowers suggestion, during the 2002-2003 academic year, participants in the College Reach-Out Program (CROP) for students in rural high schools in a surrounding county near a research university were administered the LASSI to determine their academic strengths and weaknesses of some st udents that had difficulty with passing the Florida Comprehension Assessment Test (FCAT) (Welch, Bowie, & St. Ju ste, 2004). After isolating the African Americans scores by gender, the boys strengths were in three subscale areas: concentration study aids and time management. Their academic weaknesses, however, were test strategies and information processing subscales. Of the tw o, information processing was their major academic problem (See the Appendix fo r full description of the pilot study) (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). Having identif ied the major academic problem for some underperforming African American boys, the res earcher and other educators had a tangible concept applicable to teaching and lear ning (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2003). In this vein, Mingshui Cai (2002) theorized that culturally conscious multicultural literature helped pupils to develop cognitively by engaging in reader response, while Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await (2004) developed an instruc tional module to help pupils to develop the necessary skills like information processing. The activities the cognitive psychologists suggested for strengthening information processing skills we re closely related to reading comprehension
93 skills. The details regarding the two were discussed in the topic, Reading for Cognitive Development, after the summary of cognitive Processes for Learning. Summary: Cognitive Processes for Learning African American psychiatrists, Jam es Comer and Alvin Poussaint (1992), suggested that cognitive processes for learning began before pup ils enrolled in primary school. Thus, parents were the first teachers upon which classroom teach ers further developed cognitive skills. Parents were also told to encourage achievement in both academics and athletics for realistic career choices. Their views as medical educators at Ya le and Harvard were succinct. They explained how standardized tests were often used to suppo rt and/or rationalize soci al policies undergirded with white racism for white privileges. Admitting that the practice was beyond the pupils control, they told parents to educate their ch ildren to become computer savvy, academic scholars and achievers. By doing so, parent would stop inadvertently teaching them to be docile and thereby no longer honored the social etiquette of white supremacy (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). Multicultural literature usages strongest advocator was Mingshui Cai (2002). In addition to being a vehicle to achieve cultural diversity, he argued that multicultural literature was conducive for racial minorities to see their lived experiences in print. When reading about experiences to which they related, pupils more easily formed background knowledge for formal cognitive-developmental training and learning. In this regard, Claire Weinstein (2003) spent more than two decades researching and teachin g how to use prescribed thought patterns to process information for academic success. Her research also supported Cais cognitivedevelopmental dimension theory. Thus, reader response to child rens multicultural l iterature accommodated the 16 cognitive activities in Table 2-4 in the List of Tables that enhanced academic learning (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Ca i (2002) called the phenomenon the cognitive-developmental
94 dimension for reader response drawing upon Louise Rosenblatts (1980) transactional theory. Hence, oral and written reader responses were created from ment ally processing details from the multicultural literature using short-and long-te rm memories (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Although the process of learning how to form ulate thought patterns were labor intensive, Mel Levine (2002, 2007) maintained that the discovery of ones cognitive backpack was essential for academic success. In other words, children must be taught how to use their shortand long-term memories to their advantage to su cceed in academic settings, as well as critically thinking skills for personal survival and well being (Levine, 2002). Critical thinking skills, however, engaged pupils skills in organizational and elabora tion activities and higher-order thinking strategies, according to Matthew Lipman (2003). To determine the best approach to instruct some underperforming African American boys cognitive processes, an invent orys findings revealed that th e African American boy major academic problem was information processing (Welc h, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). In as much as the same neurology process of information processing took place when humans read, the researchers attention turn to literature about reading and literacy to understand the cognitive strategies that were involved neuroscience (Willis, 2007b). After a ge neral search, special attention was given to the literature that discussed read ing for cognitive development since Michael Pressley (1993) and Gerald Duffy (2003b) theorized that the reading helped students to develop in this area. In add ition, Mingshui Cai (2002) theori zed that culturally conscious multicultural literature specifica lly helped racial minorities pupils to develop cognitively. The literature review concerning these issues was discussed in the next section, Reading for Cognitive Development
95 Reading for Cognitive Development The third strand, Reading for Cognitive Develo pm ent involved a brief discussion of five subtopics. They included reading selections for African American boys, reading skills for cognitive development, information-processing skills of disadvantaged readers and learners, information-processing competencies and reader response, and the American Psychological Associations (APA) task force report on intelligence. Sin ce some African American boys major academic problem was information pro cessing (Welch, Bowie, St. Juste, 2004), the literature was reviewed for meaningful approach es, activities, and intervention programs to enhance cognitive development through the reading process (Duffy, 2003; Duffy & Roehler, 1989). No emphasis or attention was given to the way a teacher or parent chose to teach reading using the phonics or whole language approaches (Duffy, Sherman, Roehler, 1997). Since the population of this study was in grades 3, 4, and 5 where pupils primarily read to learn, the reading debate about the best approach for teach ing pupils to read was of little concern (Duffy, Sherman, Roehler, 1997). However, the issues about using multicultural literature were discussed. Reading Selections for African American Boys Kathy Short and Dana Fox (2003) in Stories Matter: The Complexity of Cu ltural Authenticity in Childrens Literature explained how stories influen ced the ways in which children think about themselves a nd their place in the world as well as the ways in which they think about other cultu ral perspectives and peoples (p. v). Therefore, the reading selections for African American boys to read for cognitive devel opment also served a crucial role in multicultural education, social justice, and reform (Short & Fox, 2003, p. 8). In this vein, multicultural literature became a pedagogical te rm in Cais (2002) cognitive-developmental dimension theory in Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults: Reflections on
96 Critical Issues and Rosenblatts (1995) readers response. When African American boys read about their lived experiences, including the effects of living in a r acist society (Cai & Bishop, 1994, p. 68), the familiarity made it easier for them to formulate the necessary background knowledge for learning how to practice how to process information using a variety of thought patterns communicated through reader response (Cai, 2002) expected for academic settings (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). In choosing reading selections for cognitiv e development (Cai, 2002) as Zhihui Fang, Danling Fu, and Linda Lamme (2003) wrote, M ulticultural lite rature cannot serve as the handmaiden to skill-and-drill methodology(p. 29 6). Although the authors were referring to using multicultural literature as a basal reader to teach reading skills, the principle applied also for teaching academic thought patterns when practici ng the 16 cognitive activities in Table 2-4 in the List of Tables (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) in order to adopt personalized cognitive strategies (Willis, 2006). In fact pup ils, must be given the opportunity to personally and critically respond to a text (F ang, Fu, Lamme, 2005, p. 296) before the reading skills for cognitive development, as discussed in the next subtopic. Reading Skills for Cognitive Development Gerald Duffy and Laura Roehler (1989) in W hy Strategy Instruction Is So Difficult and What W e Need To Do About It admitted that the task was difficult because sometimes there was a disconnect between what the teacher said and what the pupils heard. Nevertheless, good teachers of reading made themselves understood and helped pupils to develop cognitively automatically. In the same vein, Duffy and Hoffm an (1999) wrote, There [was] no one perfect method for teaching reading to all children. Te achers, policy makers, researchers, and teacher educators [including parents] need ed to recognize that the answer [was] not in the method but in the teacher (p. 10). However, early on in How to Teach Reading Systematically Gerald Duffy,
97 George Sherman, and Laura Roehler (1997) outline d a graded timeframe for the development of certain reading skills for cognitive development. They were designed for K-5, K-6, grades 4-10, and grades 7-12. The three of the f our divisions were briefly summarized. K-5, word recognition skills and comprehension To reach th e dual goals of word recogn ition and comprehension, pupils learned the graphemic, syntactic, and semantic systems (Duffy, Sherman & Roehler, 1997). In brief, the graphemic coding system involved the initial, inte rrelated signals related to printed letters and words. Through practice, pupils learned how to make the association between speech and print (Moats, 2002). When the pupils made the ment al association, the application involved the cognitive act of moving the words from th e page into the childs head (Duffy, Sherman, & Roehler, 1997, p. 35). The next set of basic reading skills invol ved the syntactic signals (Duffy, Sherman & Roehler, 1997). Pupils learne d the meaning of words in phras es, sentences, or paragraphs (Duffy, Sherman & Roehler, 1997). The thoughts fr om syntactic signals that came from chunks of words for the children to receive a message were considered to be very involved cognitive act (Duffy, Sherman & Roehler, 1997). Likewise the third set of generalized reading skills involved the semantic signals. By using the gr aphemic and syntactic systems, pupils learned through practice how to process semantics ment ally (Duffy, Sherman & Roehler, 1997). The cognitive acts involving the semantic system, however, occurred in the brain simultaneously and automatically (Moats, 2002 ; Pressley, 1993; Rosenblatt, 1989). For example, Rosenblatt (1989) wrote, Meaning [did ] not reside ready-made in the text or the reader; it [happened] during the transaction be tween the reader and te xt (p. 157). Rosenblatt (1989) described the cognitive act the read ing transaction (p. 157). The cognitive psychologists and neuroscientist called the same action information processing (Pressley,
98 1993). Consequently, word recognition and comp rehension occurred simultaneously within the cognitive act of reading and inform ation processing (Pressley, 1993). K-6 reading comprehension skill In general K -6, the main focus was the development of comprehension skills within the cognitive development process. Therefore, it wa s a part of learning speech to print (Moats, 2002). Systematically, the pupil learned the inform ational process when th ey grasped the factual content, learned the thinking or manipulative process, and evaluated or judged the process (Duffy, Sherman & Roehler, 1997). These thr ee operational skills caused the pupil to understand the text (Moats, 2002). Although th e description of the reading process was summarized very briefly, the process of learning to read was a complex and purpos eful socio-cultu ral, cognitive, and linguistic process (NCTE Commission of Reading, 2007). Grades 4-10, reading skills for efficient study According to Duffy, Sherm an and Roehler (1997), efficient study was a reading skill beyond functional literacy. Therefore, cogni tive development beyond the level involved practicing locational skills such as finding info rmation in directories, dictionaries, various kinds of libraries, and the Inte rnet (Duffy, Sherman & Roehle r, 1997). Second, pupils learned organizational skills: outlining, notetaking, summ arizing, and constructing graphic organizers (Duffy, Sherman & Roehler, 1997). After organi zing materials, pupils learned how to use the SQ3R (survey, question, read, review, and recite method to recall information) (Duffy, Sherman & Roehler, 1997). Third, pupils learned how to adjust their reading rate according to the complexity of the text (Duffy, Sherman & Ro ehler, 1997). Pupils were expected to have mastered these skills before leaving the tenth grade (Duffy, Sherman & Roehler, 1997). In other words, in high school pupils focused on recogniz ing and interpreting informal and persuasive
99 techniques and recognizing and in terpreting literary characteristics (Duffy, Sherman & Roehler, 1997, p. 319) from reading a variety of complex literary selections. As a final comment in the discussion about the division of reading skills for cognitive development by grades in elementary and hi gh schools, Fang, Fu, & Lamme (2003) cautioned practitioner to integrate skills instruc tion with multicultural literature [utilizing] a whole-part-whole approach (p. 296). Simply le t the pupils first read, comprehend, critique, and enjoy the reading selection. The n, teach the skills or cognitive strategies by drawing from or extending the text. Finally, enc ourage the pupils to apply the ne wly acquired skills with other readings for enjoyment (Fang, Fu, Lamme, 2003). In addition How to Teach Reading Systematically reading skills for cognitive development and the graded levels were based on eight reading approaches to teaching reading acc ording to four general definitions of reading categories: reading as a learned system, reading as a language process, reading as an interest (p. 7), and reading as an explora tion of cultures. However, the au thors admitted that none of the eight approaches reflect[ed] a cultural definition per se, so that one approach [was] omitted (p. 7). However, it was well documen ted that multicultural literature for teaching reading was highly effective for African Amer icans (Cai, Sims-Bishop, 1994; Harris, 1990; Rickford, 1999; Tucker, 1999). Information-processing Skills for Disadvantaged Readers and Learners In Teach ing Cognitive Strategies to Brai n-injured Clients: The Good InformationProcessing Perspective, Michae l Pressley (1993) confirmed Gerald Duffy and Laura Roehlers (1989) research in Why Strategy Instruction Is So Difficult and What We Need to Do About It. Disadvantaged readers and learne rs, however, were taught how to predict what a text was about, relate their background k nowledge to the text, and ask questions (who, why, what, when, where, how) as they read. They were also taught how to monitor their understanding of the text, seek
100 clarification of words or parts of the text with unclear messages, and summarize the text all of which described activities of skilled readers (Duffy, 2003; Duff y & Roehler, 1987; Pressley, 1993). Since teaching information process as merely t hought patterns to communicate a certain way for a particular audience was often difficult for teachers, in Explaining Reading: A Resource for Reading Concepts, Skills, and Strategies, Gerald Duffy (2003) wrote explicit directions for the following categories: modeling the thinking, s caffolded assistance, ap plication in reading, and application in writing. The script fo r teachers entitled Modeling the Thinking, for example, included what to say to pupils to avoi d miscommunication. Hope fully with the script, disadvantaged readers and learners became practit ioners of the same cognitive activities like other pupils (Weinstein, Woodr uff, & Await, 2004). In Improving Comprehension: 10 Research-based Principles Duffy (2003b) wrote collec tively for improving reading comprehension in grades 3, 4, and 5 using the whole language approach that was often called the teaching of reading as language process ap proach in his earlier research (Duffy, Sherman, & Roehler, 1997). Likewise, Richard Allingtons research in What Really Matters for Struggling Readers: Designing Research-based Programs explained that struggling re aders needed to practice thinking about what they read. Then, they al so needed practice in describing their thinking (Allington, 2006). Because struggling readers spen t so much energy performing the mechanics of reading, these pupils lacked knowing when to a pply a particular cognitiv e activity to achieve a certain thought pattern. Theref ore, they benefited from modeling the information processing technique (Allington, 2006). Children born and reared in low literacy environment also lacked
101 these metacognitive skills (McGill-Franzen, Lanford, & Adams, 2003) and needed explicit instruction in the information-processi ng technique (Allington, 2006; Duffy, 2003). The dominant-specific knowledge approach Eric Donald Hirsch, Jr. (1988) in Cultural Literacy: What E very American Needs to Know theorized a different approach for teaching read ing and reading comprehension to disadvantaged readers and learners. He argued that the lack of core knowledge about Western culture was the basic cause of poor performance on national and in ternational reading test s. Hirsch, Jr. drew heavily upon George Armitage Millers (1969) th eory. As a cognitive scientist, Miller wrote The Psychology of Communication in which he explained that in dividuals held about seven new inputs in their short-te rm memory. Hirsch, Jr. explained th at when children read a passage on a test that they had no prior background knowledge, their readi ng comprehension was hindered because of the new input overload, even if the pupils achieved fluenc y they would not have enough time to perform well on the test. Therefore, he advocated teaching domain-specific knowledge (2006) because that was what state, na tional, and internationa l reading tests were testing although the test makers pretended that formal reading sk ills were being tested (Hirsch, Jr., 2006). In fact, the tests favored those with the dom ain knowledge about the reading passage, thus the tests were culturally biase d, according to Hirsch, Jr. C onsequently, racial minorities performed less well on reading tests because they lacked the cultural background to process the information quickly in order to answer the time-te st questions correctly (H irsch, 2006). He also argued that rich oral, contextual language enviro nments in the proper sch ool culture would erase the deficiency and the achievement gap on the pupils reading performance would be narrowed. Consequently, Hirsch, Jr. (1988) theorized that the learner needed to acquire a cultural background as a basic mediated learning approach for performing well on standardized reading
102 tests. Other approaches, howev er, were discussed in the next section called the Mediated Learning Experiences (MLE) Approaches. The mediated learning experience (MLE) approaches Six years before B. F. Skinner (1990) fini shed writing the night before he died Can There Be A Science of the Mind ?, Robert Thor ndike (1984) wrote Intelligence as Information Processing: The Mind and the Computer. Unlik e Skinner, Thorndike acknowledged cognitive science and cognitive psychology. However, they both thought intelligence was biologically determined. Thorndike also accepted that there we re individual differences in higher-level cognitive functioning (p.15), but, if all the cultural differences were eliminated, these biological differences would remain (p. 15). Reuven Feuerstein (1980) who worked with culturally deprived pupils in Israel proved Thorndikes theory false in Instrumental Enrichment: An Intervention Program for Cognitive Modifiability In fact, Feuerstein formulated an intervention program to reverse pup ils cognitive deficiencies. He realized that children from economically and psychologically impoverish ed homes perform[ed] poorly on intelligence tests and function[ed] generally at a low level because they [had] been denied appropriate mediated learning experiences (MLE) (p. xiv). He further wrote, retarded cognitive performance [was] a reversible condition (p. 678). For novice teachers to duplicate MLE the entire Instrumental Enrichment Program was entered in the Appendix of his book, Instrumental Enrichment: An Intervention Progr am for Cognitive Modifiability. Later, Feuerstein, Rand, and Rynders (1988) applied the concept of MLE with students that were mentally challenged in the book, Dont Accept Me As I Am: Helping Retarded People To Excel. The authors explained [T]he ingredient necessary to turn an experience into a source of learning [were] found in prompting the individual to label, compare, group, categorize, and give meaning to the present experience as it [rel ated] to former ones ( p. 55). These activities
103 were analogous to information processing methods that all proficient lear ners used (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). When adults used MLE to help students to learn about core knowledge and social behaviors, th e authors noted that the MLE wa s used as a second form of interaction (p. 55). The usage of MLE on two levels reaffirmed Feuerstein, Rand, and Rynders (1988) belief in Jerome Bruners notio n that MLE was not just for the handicapped, it [was] for all of us since it [was what made] us human (p. 87). In that vein, Alfred Tatum (2005) in Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement Gap also used mediated learning experiences (MLE) to teach adolescent African American boys in the lower reading tracts. Tatum used literature that reflected their culture and imme diate surroundings rather than us ing the selection in the basal textbook. Orally, they received addi tional core knowledge about the reading selection in order to elevate their thinking before teaching a specifi c reading concept (Tatum, 2005). Through class discussion, he determined if the students had internalized cognitively the necessary background to receive additional new on-grade level academic tasks (Tatum. 2005). Hence, Tatum adopted the general rule that once a caring adult captured childrens attention, they would learn. Information-Processing Competencies and Reader Response Linda Lamm e (1976) in Are Reading Habits and Abilities Related? revealed that some researchers found relationships between childrens reading abilities with the amount of their recreational reading, as well as a possible link to the amount of their reading, in general, to their intelligence. In this regard, Mich ael Pressley (1993) in Teachi ng Cognitive Strategies to Braininjured Clients: The Good Information Processing Perspective studied th e relationship between reading comprehension and cogniti on, while Robert Sternberg in The Triarchic Mind: A New Theory of Human Intelligence (1988) and How Can We Teach In telligence? (1992) explained the application of the information-processing system and human intelligence. In addition,
104 Michael Pressley and Vera Woloshyn (1995) in Cognitive Strategy Instruction that Really Improves Childrens Academic Performance also revealed that good information processing for general intelligence involved some of the same cognitive strategies used for reading comprehension. Both researchers agreed that some of the cognitive processes that were used for reading comprehension became automatic as a re sult of continued exposure to and practice of these skills. However, Robert Sternberg (1992) extended th e idea of just benef iting from recreational reading and acquiring reading comprehension sk ills from good information processing to teaching intelligence through reader response. Drawing heavily upon the work of Reuven Feuersteins (1980, 1988) research using mediated learning experience (MLE), Sternberg (1992) proposed for teachers to use think-alouds to help them to choose a cognitive strategy (metacognition) for appropriate app lication to solve problems. Next, they were to show the steps involved for solving the problem or completing a task (performance). Finally, they were to give instructions about how to learn new informati on for storage into their short-and long-term memories (knowledge-acquisition). These three mental components all involved in strengthening their reasoning, one of the compon ents of intelligence (S ternberg, 1992). From reading childrens literature a nd discussing the readings in cl ass enabled pupils to practice cognitive strategies while being guided by an ex perienced reader (Sternberg, 1992). In addition, if the pupils were allowed to gi ve reader responses that expres sed their heuristic interpretation, they often discovered their comfort zone for usin g certain thought patterns and a preference for a particular cognitive strategy (Sternberg, 1992). For assessment, teachers asked questions to understand how the pupils mentally processed the texts. Through this type of dialogue, pupils were ultimately taught vital thinking skills f or both academic and everyday information
105 processing (Sternberg, 1992, p. 152) Consequently though reading and reader response, pupils acquired the abilities to define and re-define problems insightfully, the two major factors of intelligence, according to Sternberg (1996) in Successful Intelligence. Critical literacy Dixie Spiegel (1998) in Reader R esponse A pproaches and the Growth of Readers explained that critical reading and higher le vels of thinking increased elementary pupils repertoire of reader responses. The process, therefore, enhanced th eir growth to become strategic readers. Kasten, Kristo, & McClure in Living Literature Using Childrens Literature to Support Reading and Language Arts agreed with Spiegel. The authors explained that the mental process involved many intricate, cognitive functions for the brain to ma ke meaning from the symbols on the printed page. Therefore, they maintained that reading comprehension was thinking, and when pupils read critically they became proficient (Kasten, Kristo & McClure, 2003). However, thinking often occurred without read ing and likewise for critical literacy (Freire & Macedo, 1987). Although Duffy, Sherman, and Roehler (1997) in How to Teach Reading Systematically adopted the hierarchical approach for t eaching reading skills suggested for pupils to learn critical literacy skills in the seventh grade, Donna C. Creighton (1997) in Critical Literacy in the Elementary Classroom disagreed when she explained that young children needed to critically analyze texts and illustrations for an authors point of view, intended audience, and elements of inclusion or bias (p. 439). In the same vein, Kasten, Kristo, and McClure (2005) noted that picture books illustrations were excellent tools to teach and/or address issues in social justice, ethics, civil rights, and human rights. Conseque ntly, the ability to read words on paper was not necessary required in order to e ngage in a critical discussion in an elementary language arts classroom (Kasten, Kristo, & McCl ure (2003). Collectively, these authors that expressed critical literacy for the elementary cl assroom practice were more in agreement with
106 Ernest Morrells (2004) definition of critical literacy as the ability to asse ss texts in order to understand the relationships between pow er and domination (p. 5). In Becoming Critical Researchers: Literacy and Empowerment for Urban Youth Morrell explained that critical literacy included power domination exhibited in the digital media, movies, arts, and many other means of expressions. In fact, Alfred Tatum (2005) in Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement Gap discussed how he used the critical l iteracy pedagogy to teach pupils how to read multiculturally the Pledge of Allegiance that they recited each morning in school. First, he instructed the pupils to write the Pledge of Allegiance from memory. From their text, they applied critical thinking skills fo r deep-structural reading and anal ysis. Then, they discussed the Pledge of Allegiance in terms of its democratic applicati ons to different cultures in society. Next, they engaged in extended-r eadings and research activities that involve d the issues of the postmodern culture of the inner city as it related to the Pledge of Allegiance and with other art forms that depicted multiculturalism (Cai, 2002; Kincheloe & Steinberg, 1997). Thus, Tatums (2005) critical literacy approach engaged the usage of organi zational and elaboration strategies (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) for li teracy understanding (Duffy, 2004) of the Pledge of Allegiance Hence, the pupils reader responses involved the issues of race, gender, poverty, and class as they processed information about their li ved experiences from thei r shortand long-term memories (Tatum, 2005). Creative thinking, diverg ent thin king, and culture Alfred Tatum (2000) in Break ing down Barriers that Disenfranchised African American Adolescent Readers in Low-level Tacks demonstrat ed also how he encourag ed critical literacy, creative and divergent thinking within a cultural context. From reading culturally relevant literature, for example, its vocabulary words were used to create a wor d wall. However, the
107 texts words inspired one pupil to write a lengthy poem as a reader response. In the poem, the pupil used each vocabulary word from the word wall correctly. The pu pils actions involved information processing in a very complex mann er (Torrance, 1977) because he incorporated creative thinking, diverg ent thinking, and culture. First, the pupil decided to use the words in the word wall in one text (creativ e thinking). Then, he expresse d divergent thinking in creating poetry to express his feelings of racial oppression from external forces. However, the ideas of external social effects lead hi m to realize that he was oppressi ng himself by internalizing the negative thoughts. Thus to become self-actualized, he must conquer The Man (the title of the poem) inside himself first before overcoming the negative, outside social effects of oppression. The title, however, symbolized a double entendre; for in African Americans (culture) the title also referred to a dominant, white male as an oppressor. Divergent Thinking, according to Mark Runco (1999) in the Encyclopedia of Creativity was defined as cognition that led to another idea (p. 578) often through association, as dem onstrated in the pupils reader response. As he read the culturally conscious literatures context abou t social injustice, his reading of the text multiculturally made him detect a personal flaw that he vowed to overcome. Thus, the reading of the text multiculturally empowered him (Cai, 2002). Ellis Paul Torrance (1977) in Discovery and Nurtance of Giftedness in the Culturally Different explained that when the majori ty of people in a society valu ed a particular talent in a subculture, it was cultivated and adopted by others. Torrances rese arch involved African American children. He found that they needed to be able to express fe elings and emotions, as they improvised in a variety of ways to comm unicate. Not only were the African American children creative, according to Torrance, but they were divergent thinkers and gifted as well. Robert Sternberg (1988) in The Triarchic Mind also included the sociocultural environment in
108 his theory of creativity. Howard Gardner (2006) however, extended Torrances and Sternbergs theories to explain how there were mu ltiple intelligences as discussed in Development and Education of the Mind: The Sele cted Works of Howard Gardner The three theorists views were encapsulated in Alfred Tatums pedagogical appro ach to teaching African Americans reading in the lower reading tracts. Th e pupils reader response in Tatums classes involved culture, creative and divergent th inking that empowered them (Cai, 2002). Information processing of this kind enhanced his pupils c ognitive growth when they used higher-level thinking patterns with organizational and elaboration skills (W einstein, Woodruff, Await, 2004). Likewise, Valerie Ruth Kirschenbaums (2005) approach in Goodbye Gutenberg for reading combined visuals with verbal messages for reading the cl assics. Tatums and Ki rschenbaums pedagogical approaches made powerful and memorable messa ges for building cognitive strategies (Hillman, 2003). Information processing and jazz Valerie Ruth Kirschenbaum s (2006) resear ch explained in The Old Way of Reading and the New how important the other senses, like visuals and sounds, influenced the way the brain processed new information. Likewise, Vera John-Steiner (1997), one of Lev Vygotskys pupils, discussed in Notebooks of the Mind: Explorations of Thinking that the reader and the jazz musician both build on prior experiences and ba ckground. In jazz, the aes thetic responses were called improvisations, for literature it was reader response. Therefore, the experiences of the jazz musicians last performances were always different from the prior one because of the extenuating, physical, and mental conditions (O ldfather & West, 1994). The same mental process happened when children chose to read the same book many times because the previous reading gave a schema (Anderson, 2001). For ea ch new reading, the children added more creative ideas for pleasure to th eir schemas repository of knowledge (Smith, 1997). Louise
109 Rosenblatt (1968) in Literature as Exploration maintained that each reading of a text was a different happening because of the environmen tal and contextual circumstances to impact the readers mindset. Using the same terminology, th e jazz musicians also called their performances a happening (Oldfather & West, 1994). For example, when jazz musicians played a t une it was not played the same way even though they followed the tenets of harmony and/or dissonance common for the musical selection (Oldfather & West, 1994). Yet, within the musi cal scores constraints, they improvised notes after listening intensivel y to the music of the other player s in order to re spond appropriately (Oldfather & West, 1994). The musics sounds act ed as mental stimuli that affected them emotionally (Oldfather & West, 1994). Simultane ously, the vibrations generated by the sounds created energy that bounced from the walls, people and other contents in the environment to affect them physically (Oldfather & West, 1994) Then, they watched the body language of the other musicians to determine when to contribute to the musical score with their individualistic improvisations (Oldfather & Wise 1994). Yet, a stylized improvisation allowed a definitive musical signature, according to Solomon, Powell, and Gardiner (1991) in their discussion of Multiple Intelligences. They wrote, For exam ple, jazz trumpet player Miles Daviss rendition of classic tunes [would be] somewhat different with each pe rformance but [they would be] always recognizable as hi s (Solomon, Powell, & Gardiner, 1999, p. 278). Likewise, Vera John-Steiner (1997) explored t he diverse process of artists scientists, philosophers, and historians (p. 3) in three major contexts of literature, music, and science (p. xviii) found that each individual had a distinct characteristic or signature. In the same vein, when an individual read a text, the reader respons e was also distinct from another reader (Rosenblatt, 1980).
110 In addition, John-Steiner (1997) also observed how the Navajo Indian children in Rough Rock, AZ used visual symbols in play and ot her forms of communication. Likewise, she noted that Chinese writing consisted of visual charact ers that supported words. Consequently, she concluded that the different cu ltural variations in the forms and roles of language and their connections to other symbol systems (p. xix) wa s embedded in the thought process. Therefore, she used the phrase cognitive pluralism (p. xvi ) to describe the cognitive strategies of the highly creative individuals, because they processed certain information in various ways to create their craft. Therefore, creative people may use sounds, visuals, and language in a variety of creative and divergent thought patterns as they processed info rmation (John-Steiner, 1997), just as a reader would use in ge nerating a reader response duri ng the transactional moments (Rosenblatt, 1968). Scholars, like Vera John-Steiner, Ellis Paul Torrance, Robert Sternberg, and Howard Gardner that acknowledged cultural va riations in information processing and intelligence prompted the American Psychological Association (APA to form a Task Force to study intelligence (Neisser, et al., 1996) as summarized in the next section. The American Psychological Associations (A PA) Task Force Report on Intelligence As more theorists acknowledged informati on processing as intelligence like Robert Thorndike (1984), while also emphasizing the social contextual components of intelligence like Lev Vygotsky (1978) in Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes and the role or sociocultural environments on the human expression (Sternberg, 1988), the controversy prompted a new record of de bate about the meaning of intelligence test scores and the nature of intelligence within the Ameri can Psychological Association (APA) assemblies (Neisser et al., 1996, p. 77). The fi nal report consisted of six part s: concepts of intelligence, intelligence tests and their correlates, the ge nes and intelligence, environmental effects on intelligence, group differences, and summary and c onclusions. The report yielded seven findings
111 as a conclusion with a discussi on of each. In brief, the seve n findings as c onclusions were parsed for the Review of Literature into twelve (12) known facts with nine (9) unknowns, unresolved issues and unanswered qu estions about intelligence as li sted in the Appendix Out of the 21 statements, number #3 of the Task Forces Knowns: school attendance and the quality of instruction were important for the development of intelligence Neisser et al., 1996) and number #9 of the Unkowns: what aspects of schooling were critical to the development of intelligence (Neisser et al., 1996 were of significance to this study. In addition, the Task Force reported the array of definitions to denote the complexity of human intelligence with no final consensus (Neiss er, et al., 1996). Their exploration, however, included Howard Gardners multiple intelligence th eory and Robert Sternbergs triarchic theory (analytic, creative, and practical). Sternbergs theory also embraced the psychometric approach in the analytic aspect of intel ligence. For the developmentally based concept of intelligence, the Task Force also discussed Jean Piaget and Le v Vygotskys theories with an acceptance of the Russian psychologist Vygotskys belief that a ll intellectual abilities [were] social in origin(Neisser et al., p. 80). The Task Forces decision about culture was not as clearly supported. It admitted that it was very di fficult to compare concepts of intelligence across cultures (Neisser et al., 1996, p. 79). Although it stated that language and thought were fundamental in the development of mental abil ity (Neisser et al., 1996), which further confirmed Vygotskys theory. Although the Task Force predicted that brainimaging instruments would help to solve some of the debate, the report failed to include in the final report tw o brain imaging studies published in 1990. One study involved using pos ition emission tomography (PET) to study brain development in living humans (Chugani & Phelps 1990). Significance to this study was that it
112 revealed how neuronal processes and synaptic connections must be constructed before they could function (Chugani & Phelps, 1990). The other study involved the brain morphology with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of nine norma l children aged 8 to 10 years in comparison with 15 adults brains aged 25 to 39 years old (J ernigan & Tallal, 1990). The results of the study revealed that the brain continued to mature over the age-ranges with increased gray matter more so than the white matter which had the potenti al for mental capacity (Willis, 2006). Both studies revealed addition information of the pr ocesses of the brain and the understanding of human intelligence that influenced this ethnographic study. A third study involved using the PET to observe the brains of six right-hande d men reading two descriptive environmental passages (Mellet, et al., 2002). The brain activity was in the parieto-frontal network with some activity in the Broca and Wenickes areas. Bu t, when they learned information from the topography of a printed map, th e PET showed activity only in the right medical temporal lobe Therefore, the study in part, gave validity to Ruby Paynes (2001) classroom practice for observing pupils eye movements to gain some in sight into how they processed information. Restak (2006) also theorized that eye movements were a way to observe the act of humans processing information without instruments becaus e the eyes served as laser beams to activate the neuronal circuits to re trieve stored memories from various parts of the brain. Since the Task Forces Report in 1996, the neuro-Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) was created (Restak, 2006). However, teachers must heed Judy Willis (2007b) advice that the human brain was very complex and that fMRI scanning did not support a one-size-fits all approach to teaching children how to read. Ther efore, the research in neuron-imaging was still highly suggestive, ra ther than completely empirical (p. 82). Like Restak (2006), Judy Willis (2007b) understood the dilemma involving the limitations of fMRI because she was a
113 certified neurologist for 20 years. Willis became concerned that some politicians advocated that phonics was the method to teach children how to read based on research that used neuroimaging. As a neurologist and classroom teacher, Willis maintained that there was no scientific evidence to support the claim. Most significantly, however, the Task Force dec onstructed racists theories that most white supremacists utilized (See numbers #1, 2, 11, 12 of the Known Facts and numbers #1, 7, 8 of the Unknowns in the Appendix). Summary: Reading for Cognitive Development In spite of th e lack of empirical evidence w ith scientific machinery in a laboratory to record how the brain learned (Neisser et al ., 1996; Restak, 2006; Willis, 2007, 2007b), classroom teachers still drew conclusions from classroom research about teaching reading for cognitive development through think-alouds and eye obs ervations along with body language (Restak, 2006). For example Gerald Duffy (2003), one of the reading experts, systematically studied reading as a way to help individuals with th eir cognitive development since the 1980s, while some educational psychologists constructed a learning and study skills inventory (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2001, 2004) to help individual s to discover their strengths and weaknesses for matriculating in academic settings (Pre ssley & Woloshyn, 1995; Sternberg, 1977, 1988; Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2001; Wein stein, 2003). Collectively, thes e individuals discovered that some of the same reading comprehension skills were also informationprocessing skills that equally enhanced pupils cognitive abilities (D uffy, 2003; Pressley, 1993; Pressley & Woloshyn, 1995). Reuven Feuersteins (1989) research pr oved how young readers were trained through mediated learning experiences (MLE) how to develop cognitively. While Alfred Tatums (2005) pupils in low r eading tracts learned higher-order thinking skills from reading culturally conscious literat ure (Cai, 2002), he engaged in meaningful
114 dialogue to motivate their thinking. Tatum (2000) also used critic al literacy to empower pupils by using creative and divergent th inking within a cultural context. Culturally conscious texts served as background knowledge so that reader s would expedite their energy on discovering how to practice processing information from shortor long-term memories in order to recall facts when needed for standardized texts, classr oom activities, or creative thinking for solving problems or creating new products (Cai, 2002; Ta tum, 2005). Tatum (2005) also found that African Americans pupils in low reading tracts benefited from using culturally conscious texts to learn how to read texts multiculturally beca use the texts gave the pupils the necessary background to teach higher-order thinking skills. In the same vein, Eric Donald Hirsch, Jr. (2006) explained how background knowledge was important to perform well on standardized reading tests. However, he asserted that reading comprehensi on tests were unfair because they tested background knowledge common to the group th at was used to standardize the test, while the test pretended to assess formal reading ski lls. Because the subject matter was unfamiliar to the test-taker, the fluency-level was reduced when the reader had to slow down to process the new information before trying to formulate an answer to correspond to one of the preferred answers (Hirsch, Jr. (2006). Consequently, the tests were un fair (Hirsch, Jr. (2006). Vera John-Steiner (1997) also discovered how important background knowledge was to jazz musicians. In fact, they used information processing similar to individuals cognitive strategies and techniques used to generate reader responses from reading literature (Rosenblatt, 1980). Since jazz was created by African American s, John-Steiner (1997) realized they were creative and intelligent even though they were ofte n devalued as people. In that vein, the American Psychological Association Task Fo rce on Intelligences report, however, further supported her assumption that racism was a social construct with little scientific support.
115 Reflections: Summary of the Three Major Strands Although Lev Vygotskys social cultural theory of the m i nd (John-Steiner, 1997, p. xvi) which embraced the idea that all intellectual growth was a ffected by social contact and interactions, these educational implications were rarely discussed and researched in American universities prior to the 1960s. According to Giselle Esquivel and Kristen Peters (1999) in discussing cognitive style and cultural diversit y, non-Western and racial minorities in the United States were often considered t he other because of their language, customs, religion, race, and/or socioeconomic status. Therefore to main tain an educational hierarchy, it was in keeping with social policy to rationalize why some individuals were incap able of assimilating into white culture, because they were genetically inferior (Ogbu & Stern, 2001). By so doing, the other, especially African Amer icans, became members of a so cial caste, according to John Ogbu and Pamela Stern (2001) in Caste Status and Intellectual Development. As Robert Sternbergs resear ch and others with Vygotsky s theory flourished, research universities began to notice, sin ce their work was not grounded in Jean Piagets theory of human development and B. F. Skinners educational ps ychology with behavioral objectives as discussed in Robert Sternberg and Elena Grigorenkos (2001 Environmental Effects on Cognitive Abilities. In fact, young educational research ers were once encouraged not to study the creativ ity of certain people (John-Steiner, 1997). For example, Vera John-Steiner (1997) fr om Budapest, Hungary explained in Notebooks of the Mind: Expl orations of Thinking how biased an American university professor was when as a graduate student she wanted to study how creative people thought. Instead, she was told it was unscientific However later on, she conducted the research and learned that the bias was not exclusive to th e university because in an interview with Aaron Copeland, the great American music composer, said that he discovered the genius of American jazz in Paris, France from one of his French teachers and idol, Maurice Ravel (John-Steiner,
116 1997). Although Copeland was born and reared in Brooklyn, New York, he escaped the music of nearby Harlem and did not know the value of it because the people who created it were not valued (Ogbu & Stern, 2001). However, for a mu sician to respond to hearing a musical score and instantly responded to it afte r reading the energy waves fr om the entire environment was information processing at its hi ghest level to create a happen ing (Oldfather & West, 1994). Therefore each time a jazz piece was played it was always different Summarily, the original archit ects, Josiah Walls, H. C. Harmon, and Jonathan Gibbs, were African Americans that helped to create the public school system in Florida, in order to give all people equal access to education (Du Bois, 1975). Therefore, teachers and teacher educators began to deconstruct the social policies that ex cluded the other (Tat um, 1992). However, the two psychiatrists, James Comer and Alvin Poussa int (1992), told African Americans that they needed to adopt a different mindset to dishonor th e social etiquette of white supremacy and to learn to use cognitive strategies to achieve in academics just as they did in music, sports, and dance. Yet, Judy Willis (2006) in Research-based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning Insights from a Neurologist/classroom Teacher explained how the amygdala in the temporal lobe did not function properly to process information due to ne gative social effects that generated stress, fear, and/or anxiety. Nevertheless, in spite of the negative social effect s outside of pupils control, the African Americans psychiatrists, Comer and Poussaint (1992), advice to parents was to love their children and teach them black prid e, self-esteem and not to intern alize the negative things that influenced their learning. Finally, since the State of Florida mandate d how public schools provided appropriate instruction to assist students in the achievement of the Florida Curriculum Frameworks (1996) strands and standards with benchmarks for langu age arts, this research revealed how some
117 underperforming African American boys processed information when they read childrens literature. Collectively, the literature review ed according to three strands, Social Effects on Learning, Cognitive Processing for Learning and Reading for Cognitive Development supported the theoretical framew ork for the ethnographic study Cognitive Strategies of Underperforming African American Boys in Response to Childrens Literature as discussed in Chapter 3, The Study, which explained in detail the methodology.
118 Table 2-1. Black identity development. Stages Descriptors 1. Pre-encounter Believes and accepts White superiority; has adopted the idea that white is right and Black is wrong; seeks to assimilate for social acceptance; aloof to other Blacks; identifies with the oppressor; selfhate. 2. Encounter Acknowledges the impact of racial event(s); r ecognizes permanent non-acceptance as an equal in th e dominate White group; identified with Black subordinate group because of rejection. 3 Immersion/Emersion Surrounds one-self with Black cultural symbols with Blackerthanthou attitude and actively avoids symbols of whiteness; denigrates Whites while glorifying Blacks; explores Black history and culture from Black peers and organization; releases anger toward Whites to redirect energy toward group-exploration for a more affirmed sense of self-emersion. 4. Internalization Secures oneself in Black identity and culture; becomes more expansive, open, and less defensive; established meaningful relationships with Whites who respect and acknowledges individuals self-definition. 5. Internalization/ Commitment Anchors oneself in a positive sense of racial identity; perceives and transcends race pro-actively; di scovers the universe of ideas, cultures, and experiences beyond Blackness to embrace human commonalities, interests and/or diversities. Source: Beverly Tatum (1992). Talking about R ace, Learning about Racism: The Application Of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom. Harvard Educational Review, 62 (1), 10-12.
119 Table 2-2: White identity development. Stages Descriptors 1. Contact Lacks awareness of cultura l and institutional racism; lacks awareness of white privilege; sees racism as a personal act of meanness; unaware racism exists to create/maintain social dominance; fears people of color; gains knowledge about people of color from family, friends, TV, and other forms of media; lacks the ability to recognize stereotypes about people of color; has little or no interaction with people of color; unaware of racial issues. 2. Disintegration Acknowledges the existence and role of the racist system; feels guilt, shame, anger from being a part of the dominate group; tries to relieve discomfort of being identified as the privileged group by blaming the victim or by denying racism exits; avoids contact with people of color; attempts to change friends, fami ly members, colleagues racist attitudes. 3. Reintegration Responds to societal pressure to accept white privileges; reshapes personal belief system to conform with racist system; projects fear and anger on to blacks and other people of color; believes source of internal turmoil and discomfort is caused by blacks; continues to remain at this stage if withdrawal of people of color occurs with no desire to examine ones psyche; accepts the challenge to question ones belief system or responds to stimuli to question the behavior of members of the dominate group; redefines Whiteness and racism in the course of self examination. 4. Pseudo-Independent Makes a conscious effort to seek out information about people of color and analyze their critical remarks about white social dominance; abandons belief in white superiority, but may unconsciously still perpetuate the racist system; seeks personal contact with people of color to understand the social effect s of racism in their personal lives; disavows Whiteness through active affiliation with blacks; feels alienated from dominant social group members who have not examined their own racist attitudes and behaviors; experiences rejection by some blacks or other people of color who do not understand the motives for information seeking. 5. Immersion/Emersion Seeks a ne w comfortable way to be white ; learns accurate information about the culture and history; s eeks to replace racist myth and stereotypes with accurate informati on; learns about whites who were antiracist allies to people of color; learns how to unlearn racism from reading antiracist literature; learns from white antiracist individuals success of being an ally with antiracist people of color; resists racism in the environment. 6. Autonomy Internalizes newly sense of self as white; feels positive about the redefinition and becomes energized to confront racism and oppression; allies with ease with white antiracist, blacks, other people of color; experiences racial selfactualization; remains open to new information and new ways to thinking about culture and race. Source: Beverly Tatum (1992). Talking about R ace, Learning about Racism: The Application Of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom. Harvard Educational Review, 62 (1), 13-17.
120 Table 2-3. Some characte ristics of white culture Cultural Categories Attributes 1. Rugged Individualism -Individual achievement highly valued -Individual more important than the group -Nuclear family grouping is the norm for society 2. Rationalism -Mind, body, emotions are always separated -Expressed emotions are not valued -Belief in the physical and tangible most valued 3. Time -Often equated with money -Precious quantity, ther efore time is saved and spent, and one is expected to perform on time -Operations within a time-frame most valued 4. European Aesthetics -European male and female ideals extracted from art equated the models for beauty -People often altered themselves to imitate the Eurocentric models 5. Action Orientation -Humans control their own destiny and fate -People must provide for themselves -Humans are responsible for their lot in life 6. Universalism -European culture is the norm -Other cultures weaken the generic norm 7. Competition -The best should go to the winner -Conquest is highly valued -High test scores achievers should get the best of Societys goods and services 8. History -Past events and ideas a bout white Americans are most highly prized and valued -Other cultures historie s are not important, so little tim e is needed to recogni ze them, a week or month is sufficient Source: Janet E. Helms (1992), A Race is a Nice Thing to Have: A Guide to Being a White Person or Understanding the White Person in Your Life p. 13. Topeka, KS: Content Communications.
121 Table 2-4: Cognitive strategies commonly used for information processing Active Rehearsal Strategies Short term Memory Only Activities 1. Use the first letter of a word or se ntence to create an acronym to recall 2. Use a place or series of locations to recall 3. Use rhymes and tunes to recall 4. Reduce information to create a brie f story paragraph, or sentence to recall 5. Link facts, events, and persons with a theme or common trait to recall details using notes of reading/ writing/saying/ details more than once to memorize Organizational Strategies Longer term Memory Activities 1. Divide the material into meaningful parts or vital beginning, middle, and sections and categories that reflect the essence of the whole text 2. Identify hierarchical rela tionships within the material 3. Diagram outline the information (charts, tables, figures, etc) 4. Classify or categorize the material Elaboration Strategies Longer term Memory Activities 1. Associate new materi al with prior knowledge 2. Form mental images for asso ciation generated by the reader 3. Paraphrase/summarize the text 4. Create analogies 5. Create and answer qu estions about the text 6. Apply knowledge from the essence of the text 7. Teach someone else the essence of the text Source: Claire Ellen Weinstein, A. L. Woodru ff, & C. Await, University of Texas at Austin (2004). Becoming a Strategic Learner, LASSI Instructional Module: Information Processing Strategies and Skills Clearwater, FL: H & H Publishing Company, Inc.Webb: www.hhpublishing.com (Adapted by perm ission from the H & H Publishing Company)
122 Table 2-5: A classification of black-American self-esteem Stages Descriptors 1. Mature Self-Esteem Has a healthy mind; avoids stereotyped content or complex, contextual distinctions concerning the races; has a deep inner sense of peace and self-satisfaction. 2. Super Self-Esteem Is superior in acquiring and possessing effective tools for developing self-worth and self-value traits; a w illingness, if necessa ry, to leave the crowd in order to follow ones belief or dreams; spends a lot of energy for a job at hand; stays focused; perseveres in the face of great difficulties; works with a sense of urgency, persists to the end, and views failures as opportunities for learning. 3. Good Self-Esteem Practices honesty and fair-play regardless of what dishonorable things others do; owns very little because the channeled focus on things of worth creates problems in things of value; values problems that are viewed as tests from God as fitness for redemption tests 4. High Self-Esteem Receive s self-confidence fr om great successes in acquiring money, possessions and power over people; black ghetto street leaders; has problems relating to self-worth. 5.Normal Self-Esteem Refers to individual self-worth and self-value traits clustered closely around the average; spends time developing stylish skills particularity in playground sports; has a low-grade dissatisfaction from their actual accomplishments on the dreams and talents. 6. Low Self-Esteem Receives personal dissatis faction from an awareness of falling short of some significant self-determined stan dard or goals; internalizes failures and negative self-talk from the daily message sent by members of society; believes in God sustaining their sense of community. 7. Inferiority Complex Believes one is a failure as a person; gives self-destructive, personal attack through negative self-talk, with a malignant sense of fear, chronic rage against accomplishment of others; has a misguided perception of personal achievement 8. Superiority Complex Has an egotistical persona mask, hiding an inferiority complex, low self self-esteem; or has a normal or a high self-esteem masking a temper, chronic anger, frustration, aggression, homophobia, fear etc. 9. Apathetic Enslaved Minds Possesses apathy from hopelessness; keeps talents and skills dormant; has the lowest possible level of sel f-esteem with respect to the real self and society-at-large; hopelessn ess originated from those slave ancestors who, as a result of extreme rage, malignant fear, and everpresent emotional pain, gave up the fight for their self-hood and then exchanged their system of values fo r those dictated by the captors; takes pride in slavery; accepts supe rficial pleasures while waiting to die. Source: Joseph A. Bailey II (2004). A Classifi cation of Black-American Self-esteem. Journal of the National Medical Association 96 (1), 23-28.
123 CHAPTER 3 THE STUDY Introduction Based upon the collective views from the three strands of the review of the literature, Social Effects on Learn ing, Reading for Cogn itive Development, and Cognitive Processes for Learning, the researcher chose to conduct an ethnographic case study in an urban elementary school utilizing the epistemology of postmodern, post structuralism ( Gubrium & Holstein, 2002, 2003; Moon, 1999). This epistemo logical research paradigm was chosen because it was conducive for deconstructing the ma jor negative, social effects that thwarted schooling for African Americans in general and African American boys in particular, according to the review of the literature. In fact, postmodern, post structuralists also gave a solution to the problem they deconstructed (Moon, 1999). Simply st ated, the intent of the research was to discover the cognitive strategies of some unde rperforming African American boys when they responded to childrens literature. By so doing, parents, teachers, and teacher educators would better understand how to design mediated, inte rvening reading comprehension approaches, activities, and language arts programs in order to empower other pupils with similar characteristics that needed to upgrade their learning outcomes ( Florida Curriculum Frameworks (1996). In addition, the body of knowledge gleamed from this ethnographic case study would also empower pupils, other than African Americans boys, with similar cognitive strategies for processing information (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). By acquiring better cognitive skills, pupils would develop the mental capac ity to master the learning outcomes on the prescribed grade level ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996) and/or study effectively for academic success for post secondary education settings (Levine, 2002; Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004).
124 Although the major social behavior that thwart ed learning on African Americans in general was a social problem, the effects were mental (M yrdal, 1996). Therefore, the problem needed to be solved cognitively within the minds of the pupils for academic success (Strickland, 1969). In that vein, the literature revealed that informa tion processing was the most vital skill for academic success (Levine, 2007). In this regard, a pilot study indicated that some rural, high school African American boys lacked th e skills for information processing from their results on the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI-HS). Since there was no LASSI for elementary school pupils, the researcher wanted to know if some underperforming elementary boys in grades 3, 4, and 5 lacked the same skills ear ly on in their language arts classes. To this end, pupils that were identified as underperforming in their la nguage arts classes we re recommended for the voluntary, after-school reading progr am in which the study occurred. What kind of cognitive strate gies did some underperformi ng African American boys use for reader response to children s literature that were equally applicable for studying, learning, and recalling data for academic success? was th e guiding question to the study. To answer the question, the researcher divided th e study into seven (7) subtopics for discussion. The first five subtopics, however, drew heavily upon the review of the literature in Chapter 2. The subtopics for discussion were (1) Ethnographic Case Study, (2) Researche rs Perspective, (3) Researchers Design, (4) Components of the De sign Model, Figure 3-1, and (5) Components of the Design Model, Figure 3-2. In contrast, the other two subtopics di scussions were tailored to the methodology of the study. Since th e community previously had conducted Young Black Males Study Part 1(1992) and Part 2 (2003), their findings also in fluenced the researchers methodology. Therefore, certain precautions in th e study were discussed in the (6) Methods of
125 the Study, and (7) Procedures for the Study. Finally, (8) Summary: The Study was included in the chapter because the seven (7) subtopics discussions were quite lengthy. The first discussion of the subtopic Ethnogr aphic Case Study below included how the thinking of the interdisciplinary, cross-cultural study, utilizing a postmodern, post structuralists epistemological research paradigm, was rather co mplex to describe because it was a mlange of many disciplines written for practitio ners in the field of education. Ethnographic Case Study Lev Vygotskys social developm ental theory of intellectual ability and Robert Steinbergs triarchic theory of the multiple forms of intelligence (Neisser et al., 1996) were used as the theoretical framework for this ethnographic case study. However, the outcome of a pilot study (Welch, Bowie, St. Juste, 2004) documented the need for these theories (See the Appendix ). After administering the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory-High School Version (LASSIHS) (Weinstein & Palmer, 2002) in the pilot st udy of academically underperforming rural boys in grades 6-12 in 2003 the findings indicated that information proces sing was the greatest academic weakness for some African American boys (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). Since no similar inventory existed for elem entary pupils, the researcher conducted field research about information processing with African American boys in grades 3, 4, and 5 in an urban elementary school that were identified as academic underperformers by their language arts teachers, a guidance counselor, and the Title 1 Dir ector of the Parenting and Counseling Center. Therefore, special attention was paid to the anal ysis of the third grade participants data to determine if they performed according to the K3 language arts skills prescribed by Floridas Sunshine Standards in the Florida Curriculum Framework (1996). By so doing, it gave the researcher a better understanding of why some African American boys needed early mediated learning experiences in language ar ts that involved cognitive stra tegies for reader responses,
126 since K-3 was the first prescribed developmental level ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996) applicable to psychometric and other assessment tests. Furthermore, in The Triarchic Mind : A New Theory of Human Intelligence Robert Sternberg (1988) illustrated how thought and language (Vygotsky, 1962) were embedded in the culture and influenced the cognitive developm ent of children. Drawing upon Shirley Heaths (1983) ethnographic study in Ways with Words: Language, Life, and Work in Communities Sternberg explained how pupils cognitive development was different because of their sociocultural environment among the three comm unities (Trackton, Roadv ille, Gateway) that Heath studied. Robert Sternberg further explained that when these pupils entered school, their approach to learning was remarkab ly different and that the Afri can American childrens oral tradition and culture were undervalued. In a ddition, Sternberg (1988) used Heaths (1989) illustrations to explain cognitively the socializati on of intelligence and the role that the schooling process played in the psychological drama. Howe ver, Sternberg also be lieved that individuals ultimately determined the outcome of their academic success by the way they processed information. Therefore, he also explained th at information processing was a component of humans ability and thought (Sternberg, 1977). Consequently, the traditional psychometric tests similar to the Stanford-Binet that measured human intelligence (IQ) and psychometrically constructed tests like the Scholasti c Achievement Test (SAT) used for selection in admissions to institutions of higher learning we re too limited. Sternberg also be lieved that the tests measured only analytic intelligence (Neisser et al., 1996). In view of his theory, Sternberg (1985) thought a more balanced approach would be more in clusive if practical in telligence and creative intelligence were also consid ered (Neisser et al., 1996).
127 Therefore collectively, three major factors in fluenced the qualitativ e study. The first influence was the results of a pilot study that in dicated information processing as an academic weakness for some African American boys in a rural high school (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). The second influence was Sternbergs (1977, 1988; Sternberg & Grigorens (1999), Weinstein, Woodard, & Awaits (2001, 2004) resear ch and investigations about information processing. The third influence was the acknowledg ment of the sociocultu ral role that formal schooling played in the cognitive development of children (Sternberg, 1988; Vygotsky, 1962) as manifested through their reader responses in general (Rosenblatt, 1968, 1980, 1995) and to multicultural literature (Cai, 2002) in particular. As an ethnography (Creswell, 1998), the study focused on African American culture as reflected in the elementary boys reader response s (Rosenblatt, 1980) to multicultural literature (Cai, 2002). Since the participants were obser ved in a bounded environment, the qualitative investigation also was a case study (Creswell, 1998). Because of these two outstanding features, the qualitative inquiry was called an ethnographic case study (Baszanger & Dodier, (2002). Moreover, Baszanger and Dodier (2002) explaine d that a study was ethnographic when the field worker connected the observed f acts with the historical and cultu ral backdrop. On another level, however, this qualitative study also had characte ristics of grounded theory, the most widely known inductive approach (Hatch, 2002, p. 26). Strau ss and Corbin (1998) maintained that in grounded theory the researcher did not begin a proj ect with a perceived theory in mind (p. 12) because the theory should emanate from the data gathered and analyzed from the entire research process (Hatch, 2002). However, if th e research elaborated and extended the existing theory, according to Strauss and Corbin (1998), the researcher also used grounded theory. In summary, Hatch further explained that when qualitative research involved detailed procedures
128 for generating theories inductively from carefully examined data with a post positivist paradigm, it was considered grounded theory (Hatch, 2002, p. 26). John Creswell (1998) used a more traditional definition for a grounded theory study. For instance, Creswell wrote, The intent of a grounde d theory study [was] to generate or discover a theory, an abstract analytical schema of a phenomen on (pp.55-56). Since African American boys, in general, performed less well on psychometrically constructed tests (modeled after IQ tests) to measure thei r academic performance, this study intended to discover how they processed prior information to generate cogni tive strategies when re sponding to childrens literature applicable to psychometric and other as sessment tests. Such a discovery would give specific directions for strengthening this targeted groups cognitive development through schooling (Cai, 2002). According to the Task Fo rce established by the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) of the American Psychological A ssociation (APA) 1996s Task Forces report, the specific aspects of schooling critical to the de velopment of intelligence were unknown facts in the field of psychology (Nei sser et al., 1996). Among the unknowns, the Task Force concluded that there was no easy th eoretical interpretation for the overall pattern to explain the measured correlation of information-processing sp eed and psychometric intelligence, especially since there was no one definiti on for intelligence (Neisser et al., 1996). The most chilling revelation, germane to this study, was that of not knowing what aspects of schooling were critical to cognitive developm ent (Neisser et al., 1996), sin ce these three unknowns were related to the purpose of this qualitative study. This qualitative study also involved soci al history, cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, neurology, literacy, and pedagogy. Therefore, the ethnographic case study (Baszanger & Dodier, 2002; Cr eswell, 1998) was best suited for documenting a complex
129 behavior such as human information-processing techniques to generate cognitive strategies (Neisser et al, 1996; Willis, 2006, 2007). Although it was well documented in the literature that the cognitive strategies that were conducive for academic settings (Levine, 2007), few studies indicated which cognitive strate gies that underperforming African American boys used to create reader responses to multicultura l literature (Cai, 2002). Becau se of the interdisciplinary approach, the ethnographi c case study with a postmodern, posts tructuralists epistemological paradigm was chosen for creating the re search design (See Figures 3-1 and 3-2). According to Brian Moons (1999) post structural theory, as a literary term, argued that cultures created standards, with the major producer s being the state, the family, the educational systems, the church, [and] the media (p. 11 9). As social institutions, they shaped thoughts and behavior and determined what was perceived as truth and knowledge that often worked for the dominant culture and against others (Moon, 1999). Often times, neither group was consciously aware of the unequal dynamics. Howe ver, when a reader looked at texts for the cultural enforcer (Ogbu & Stern, 2001) to create a more equal society, the process was called deconstruction (Moon, 1999). With reference to an educational philosophy, post structionalism and deconstruction were synonymous with social reconstructionism epis temology since both had similar traits and addressed social problems of the modern era (W ebb, Metha, & Jordan, 2000). Their curriculum included, in part, critical literac y, cultural pluralism, and the polit ics of change (Webb, Metha, & Jordan, 2000). All of these approaches pointed out the major difference from the structuralists that often explained the causes of the inequality. However, the post structuralists took an additional measure and proposed a remedy. Th erefore, the epistemological terms post structionalism and social reconstructionism were often used interchangeably. For example, the
130 social reconstruc tionalists assessment methods include d group activities, portfolios that demonstrated learning, critical thinking, cooperative learning, a nd action research in education research. The post structionalists also used the same kind of assessments (Webb, Metha, & Jordan, 2000). For example, Paulo Freire was a leading educational or pedagogical proponent of the social reconstructionists thought, along with Henry Girou x, Jacques Derrida, and Michael Foucault (Webb, Metha, & Jordan, 2000). According to Webb, Meth a, and Jordan (2000), Freire believed pupils should not be manipulated or controlled but should be involved in their own learning (p. 121). Because of this broad pedagogical approach, Paulo Freire embraced postmodern, post structuralists thought (Webb, Meth a, & Jordan, 2000). In addition, he also embraced the epistemological meaning of construc tivism that referred to the meaningmaking activity of the individual mind (Crott y, 1998, p. 58), which was highly valued in the postmodern era. Rosenblatt (1968) called Frei res meaning-making activity idea a reader response, while the psychologists called the same act cognitive st rategies (Weinstein, Woodruff, Await, 2004; Sternberg, 2000). Sinc e these epistemological terms were just emerging into the research literature for the twenty-first century after the death of Freire they were often used interchangeably in solving postmodern problems (Gubrium & Holstein, 2003). Collectively, the integrated, ethnographic cas e study grounded in the theories of Lev Vygotskys developmental theory of intellectual ability and Robert Steinberg s triarchic theory of the multiple forms of inte lligence (Neisser et al., 1996) wa s also best suited for studying members of a subculture (Bas zanger & Dodier, 2002). In addition, the ethnographic case study was more suitable for documenting the comp lex internal makings of a small group of underperforming African American boys reader re sponses to discover how they processed the information from multicultural lite rature (Cai, 2002; Jensen, 2005). In addition, since it was well
131 documented that negative social effects that i nvolved stress hindered th e way pupils learned, the postmodern, epistemological paradigm for pos t structuralism framed the study and the researchers perspective as di scussed in the next section. Researchers Perspective Even with th e post structuralists and structur alists efforts to deconstruct the two-tiered education system that created a cheap source of labor, the African American masses in a segregated, stratified su bculture did not overcome quickly th e psychological ba rriers of slavery and low expectations (Lynch, 1712; Ogbu, 2003). Nevertheless, in a high-technological society all citizens were required to achieve literacy (Allington, 2006) even thoug h some cultures valued more highly orality (Heath, 1983) Thus, African American boys were no exceptions (Allington, 2006; Tatum, 2005). They needed to learn how to ma ster literacy in order to perform at a higher level of proficiency on psychometrically constructed achievement tests to demonstrate required educational outcomes (Sternberg, 2000; Tatum, 2005). Since all hum ans had the same biological faculties for thought and language (John-Stei ner, 1997; Vygotsky, 1962), if underperforming African American boys ineffective cognitive strategies were discovered (Weinstein, 2003), experienced readers would be able to help them to overcome the deficien cies through mediated learning experiences (MLE) (Feurstein, 1980; Sternberg, 1988, 1992; Weinstein, 2003). As a member of and participan t in the African American cu lture in the community with experiences in anthropological field research in Africa (Welch, 1974), teacher of language arts and English in secondary and post-secondary sch ools and universities, as well as a contract consultant for the State of Florida Department of Education (DOE) to help administrators and teachers to align their curriculum with the Florida Curriculum Fram ework: Language Arts (1996), the researcher drew upon a plethora of knowledge about th e nature of this integrated ethnographic qualitative study. Creswell (1998) noted that when researchers observed subjects in
132 ethnographies, they were a part of the study as participant observers. Creswell then defined participant observation as being immersed in the day-to-day lives of the people or through one-on-one interviews with members of the group (p. 58). Living in the community with the participants of the study and part icipating in their literature circ les in the afte r-school book club made the definition quite applicab le for this ethnographic case study. A socio-historical background of the researchers perspective for this study would best be described by recalling her first-year experience of teaching English to grade 7 classes in one of Pinellas County Floridas all-black junior high schools. In th e English Departments first meeting, the teachers received their class rosters with the announcement that all of the classes were grouped according to similar Stanine scores from the Stanford Achievement Test and that there was one set of literature books for five classes with grammar books for each pupil. Nothing else was said about classe s or instruction. The researche rs five classes consisted of a range: one class of pupils with 7s and 8s Stanin es, three classes of 6s and 5s, and one class with 1s and 2s. At the end of the meeting, contact was made with the counselor for an old Stanford Achievement Test. After explaining th at the test would be used to construct the curriculum, the counselor understood the situation of being a novice teacher and granted the request. The language arts secti on of the test was then analyzed to determine the core content knowledge being tested (Hirsch, Jr., 2003, 2006). Each pupil was given a copy of the curricu lum with an emphasis on a mandatory requirement that only Standard English would be spoken in all classroom dialogue, literature discussions, and compositions (Baugh, 2000; De lpit, 1995). For homework each night, pupils were also required to respond to a reading selection of choice fo r a written composition of choice (unless instructed otherwise). They were assessed and given a fractional grade with the
133 emphasis being on the bottom grade to reflect the content, form, style (semantics and syntax), and the complexity of the reading selection. Howe ver occasionally, readin gs were in common for discussing in a group and learning how to analyze li terature. But, the top grade indicated what needed to be learned about grammar and convers ational Standard English (Delpit, 1995). The teacher or the pupil read the best composition to the rest of the class for their classmates comments and critique. Before each grammar lesson, a pretest was given. Based on the pupils prior knowledge (Hirsch, Jr., 2003, 2006), the class was divided into three groups. Using the grammar book as a reference, the general concepts we re explained to the entire class. Then, pupils worked in groups to reinforce the concept. Some times they created competitive game s in their groups or the entire class. At the end of the allo tted time for group work or games, the entire cla ss took a teacherconstructed posttest using the Stan ford Achievement Tests format. Pupils that scored below 80% were instructed one-on-one by students that sc ored 100% or with the teacher in the back of the room. Then, the pupils were told to spend some time at home doing the exercises in the grammar book for pupil-teacher assessment, in or der to learn the concepts before reading a selection and responding to it in a written compos ition. The re-do exercises were also given a fractional grade and considered at th e end of the official grading-period. Since the pupils in the class came from vari ous feeder elementary schools in the city, their proficiency in language arts based on the Stanford Achievement Test reflected the quality of instruction received in several schools (Bruner, 1996). The test scores of the 7th graders on the Stanford Achievement Test administered each spring in the junior high school, however, showed remarkable gains for some pupils (Dixon-Krau ss, 1996; Duffy, 2002). Having only one set of literature books for five classes created an opport unity to be free to choose other texts (Daniels,
134 2004; Dixon-Krauss, 1996). However, the constant practice of reading literature, writing, and discussing ideas orally in Standard English about subjects, and creating games to re-enforce their learning, the pupils were passionate about reinfo rcing their newly acquired skills that they learned in their lessons and performed well on th e Stanford Achievement Test (Dixon-Krauss, 1996; Irvine & Armento, 2001. Since the pupils in the class came from vari ous feeder elementary schools in the city, their proficiency in language arts based on the Stanford Achievement Test reflected the quality of instruction received in several schools (Bruner, 1996). The test scores of the 7th graders on the Stanford Achievement Test administered each spring in the junior high school, however, showed remarkable gains for some pupils (Dixon-Krau ss, 1996; Duffy, 2002). Having only one set of literature books for five classes created an opport unity to be free to choose other texts (Daniels, 2004; Dixon-Krauss, 1996). However, the constant pr actice of reading literature, writing in class about literary selections, and discussing ideas or ally in Standard English about subjects reenforced lessons learned. Therefore, the pupi ls performed well on the Stanford Achievement Test (Dixon-Krauss, 199 6; Irvine & Armento, 2001). Since high-stakes testing was not used in the county, there was no urgent need to determine the specific aspects of the pedagogy that helped the pup ils to perform impressively well on the language usage section of the Stanfo rd Achievement Test. However, the same teaching routine was used in grades 8 and 9 in the same black, impoverished junior high school with measurable success (DixonKrauss, 1996). Because of their success on psychometrically constructed tests, the research er wondered why some African American boys underperformed in academic settings for grades 3, 4, and 5 during the era of high-stakes testing in the 2000s (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). The anecdot e summarized above also best described the
135 researchers post structuralist perspective about how to eradic ate the achievement gap among the African American boys performance on achie vement tests in general (Gay, 2004). Consequently, this ethnographic case study grounded in the lear ning theories of Vygotsky and Sternberg (Neisser et al., 1996) wa s a conscious, post structuralis ts effort to document the cognitive strategies that some underperforming African American boys were using to process information, so that language arts teachers would understand how to help similar pupils adopt better learning strategies With a mastery of the appropria te study skills, underperforming pupils would overcome their academic deficiencies (Lev ine, 2007). Analogous with this perspective, the literature reviewed in Chapter 2, Review of Literature, and the pi lot study influenced the creation of the researchers design as illustrated in Figures 3-1 and 3-2. Since the theory to support the researchers design was discussed in detail in Chapte r 2, along with the methods and procedures for achieving three levels of thinki ng shown in Figure 3-1 with Table 2-4: Cognitive Strategies Commonly Used for Information Proce ssing the explanation of the figures symbolic representations of these ideas were merely summ arized in the next section called Researchers Design. Researchers Design David Boote and Penny Beile (2005) argued that education research must be cum ulative; it must build on and learn from prior research and scholarship on the topic (p. 3). Therefore, Boote and Beile explained that often times the messy, complicated nature of problems in education (p. 3) did not exist in other disciplines. For example, to unravel the pathological bond between black and white Americans depicted in Myrdals (1966) An American Dilemma in 1944, it was necessary for the res earcher to review literature across several disciplines and cultures. By so doi ng, African Americans in general and African American boys in particular would understand how to deconstr uct their own caste-like status
136 (Ogbu & Stern, 2001). Dorothy Strickland (1969) argued that parents and teachers taught, but pupils were the major stakeholders in the learning process. Hence, they needed to be motivated to learn how to overcome the negative environmental effects on their cognitive abilities for performing successfully in academic settings (Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2001). As predicted by Boote and Beile, the research er was faced with analyzing cross-cultural theories and interdisciplinary lite rature with the challeng e of communicating with a diverse audience (p. 3) when often times there was no consensus that a pathological state existed between the black/white psyches that often manifested certain racial behaviors in the United States. Instead, some of the soci al and political scientists declared that African Americans were intellectually inferior in order to justify white privileges (Com er, 1969; Einstein, 1971). These views often influenced social polic ies in schools and universities. In that vein, their research and educational practices and act ions supported the social scien tists racial beliefs of white supremacy and the critical mass of African Am ericans internalized the negative, racial stereotypes (Poussaint, 1966). Th erefore, the educational system in the United States continued to affirm the inferiority myth through track ing (Skrtic, 1995), special education (Mercer & Mercer, 2001), and with the result s of psychometrically constructed tests (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). Consequently when schools were desegreg ated in 1954, most teacher education programs historically consisted only of the educational psychologists res earch grounded in B. F. Skinners behaviorism and Jean Piagets theory of biological development of human cognition and learning. Therefore, some white teachers were not trained and re sisted being trained to address the psychological and pat hological effects of slavery and racial segregation influenced by white supremacy that hindered academic success for 90 % of the African Americans (John-Steiner, 1977; Tatum, 2005; Torrance, 1999). In contrast, as discussed in the social history discussed in
137 Chapter 2, the other Talented Tenth (10 %) of African Americans always existed (Lewis, 2003; Franklin, 2005). However, the scientists research prevailed and further confirmed the idea that racial inferiority was an irrational social construct after they created artificial inte lligence in the 1950s (Newell, 1994, 2002). In the same vein, a lega l team with psychologist s research executed successfully Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 before the Supr eme Court (Franklin, 2005). The ruling outlawed racial segregation, and the re search grounded in Lev Vygotskys theory of sociocultural development of human cognition (Dixon-Krauss, 1996; John-Steiner, 1997; Moll, 2002) flourished. Others psychologists applied c ognitive science to educational psychology to understand how cognitive pluralis m (John-Steiner, 1997) worked to help humans learn, study, and recall information for academic settings (Sternberg, 1977b, 1988; Weinstein, 1988; 2003; Weinstein & Mayer, 1986; Weinstein, Woodr uff, & Await, 2001, 2004). Grounded with more than a half of a century of re search regarding learning, cognitive psychologists concluded that human intelligence was a complex, neurological phenomenon manifested through thoughts of the mind (Neisser et al., 1996; Willis, 2006). Although the scientific community further exposed the irrational ideas of genetic supe riority/inferiority based on skin color (Balter, 2005; Bamshad & Olson, 2003) through experimental DNA research, the necessary apparatus to conduct neurocognitive brain images to confirm the plural brain/mind/thought connections for experimental study were not yet available (Chopra, 1989; Neisse r et al., 1996). However, in spite of the limitations involving experimental research of pupils thoughts and strate gy-category research (Wittrock, 1986; Weinstein & Mayer, 1986), Joel Levin and Herrine Marshall (1993) reminded researchers to refrain from avoidi ng the subject so that syst ematic learning and instructional techniques or methods (p. 4) would be improved. Therefore, the research ers design illustrated
138 in Figures 3-1 and 3-2 was created from the co llective understanding gleamed from the lengthy, cross-cultural review of literature presente d in Chapter 2 and summarized briefly above (Viadero, 1998). As Boote and Beile (2005) forewarned that if a common problem existed and that there was not enough research on the subject to have a canon of shared knowledge across disciples, the review of the literature needed to be broadened to examine analogous research in other fields or topics (p. 7). As Boote and Beile (2005) also advised, there were cognitive psychologists views regarding how information processing generated cognitive categories (Sternberg, 1988;Weinstein & Mayer, 1986; Wittroc k, 1986), which ultimately yielded cognitive strategies for academic learning, as illustrated in Figure 3-1 although most teacher education programs and some literacy studies often ignor ed the theory (John-Steiner, 1997; Levin & Marshall, 1993; Viadero, 1998). In an attempt to fill that void, the res earcher pursued the challenge and illustrated definitively in Figure 3-1, A Model of the Research Design: Discovery of Strategies for Processing Text and Figure 3-2, Levels of Cognitive Thinking for Academic Learning The design was created from the result s of the Pilot Study and the review of the literature regarding reader response to children literature as discus sed in the next section two sections, Components of the Design Model: Figure 3-1, Component s of the Design Model: Figure 3-2 and illustrated in Components of the Design Model: Figure 3-1 The components of the researchers design i llustrated in Figure 3-1 were a combination of four elements. The first element was Mi ngshui Cais (2002) idea of using multicultural literature to research the cognitive-developmental dimension of reader response [to] discover the strategies [used] to process the text (p. 155). The second element was Claire
139 Weinstein, A. L. Woodruff, and C. Awaits (20 01, 2004) identification of three major categories for processing texts in an instructional module fo r college students: active rehearsal strategies, organizational strategies, and elaboration stra tegies. The third element was Wendy Kasten, Janice Kristo, and Amy McClures (2005) adap tations of Louise Rosenblatts (1980) transactional response theory for elementary school language arts programs to use questions in to elicit the aesthetic stance from young readers. Finally the fourth element was (4) Robert Steinbergs (1977, 1984, 1988) theory of inform ation processing for solving problems on psychometrically constructed te xts (Vygotsky, 1962, 1978). These in fluences were integrated for a composite figure as explained in the five se ctions: The Venn diagra m within the Design, The Left Rectangle: the Reader, The Right Rectangle to Denote the Readers Responses, The Small Center Rectangle beneath the Venn Diagram to denote questions, and The Horizontal Line to Denote Info rmation Processing. Each of the five sections was discussed in the same order. The Venn Diagram within the Design The Venn diagram three overlapping circles, in Figure 3-1 repres ented the three major strategy-categories used in the thinking pro cess to store memory (Wittrock, 1986; Weinstein, Woodruff, Await, 2001, 2004), in Richard Allingtons (2006) research in re ading, and in Gerald Duffys (2003) research regardi ng cognitive strategies for readi ng comprehension. All of their research affirmed the cognitive psychologists iden tification of the techniques that humans used consciously or subconsciously wh en processing information for s hort or long-term memories depending on the purpose for reading. The complex brain/mind/thought processing phenomena (Chopra, 2001) were explained in much detail in Chapter 2, Review of the Literatu re with each of the major categories procedures and techniques outlined in Table 2, Cognitive Strategies Commonly Used for Information Processing.
140 As enumerated in Figure 3-1 and listed in Ta ble. 2-4, there were collectively 16 cognitive activities divided among three broa d categories (active rehearsal, organizational, and elaboration strategies). Specifically, there were five (5) active rehearsal ac tivities, four (4) organizational strategies, and seven (7) elaborative strategies within the Venn di agram. For example, the topcenter circle represented the five (5) active rehearsal activiti es that included the mnemonic devices and gimmicks a pupil used to store inform ation in the short-term memory. Because the techniques must be repeated several times, the educational psychologists called them active rehearsal strategies (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2001, 2004). The circle positioned slightly to the left represented the four (4) organizational activities, while the circle positioned slightly to the right indicated the seven (7) elaboration activities. The left/right positioned circles represented strategies that pupils learned to store inform ation into what Mel Levine (2002b) called the hard-drive or long-term memories. Vera John-Steiner (1997 ) called these varied strategies involving th e long-term memories the fountai nhead for creativity or cognitive pluralism, while Eric Hirsch, Jr. (2006) mere ly called them prior experiences and background knowledge. Mel Levin maintained that if childr en were not taught how to process information into the minds hard-drive, they would not be successful in recalling information to solve problems presented on standardized tests, while Eric Hirsch, Jr. argued that prior experiences and background knowledge were mandatory for successful academic performance. Since pupils usually adopted the cognitive stra tegies techniques that worked best for them in different academic environs, Weinst ein, Woodruff, and Await (2001) created an inventory to determine pupils strengths a nd weaknesses in using active rehearsal, organizational, and elaboration strategies involving the sixteen ( 16) activities in Table 2-4. The instrument was called the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) which consisted of
141 ten (10 assessment areas: attitudes, motivation time management, anxiety concentration information processing selecting main ideas, study aids, self testing, and test strategies Only the information processing subscale of the inventory assessed pupils usage of the sixteen (16) cognitive activities for processing information in shortor long-term memories; however, Weinstein, Woodruff, and Await (2004) explained th at these particular skills constituted the capstone that pupils needed for successful classroom perf ormance and psychometrically constructed tests (Steinberg, 1977, 1984, 1988). To help pupils to overcome their weaknesses on any of the ten (10) subscales of the inventory s assessments areas, the authors created ten (10) instructional modules in the LASSI companion series called Becoming a Strategic Learner (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Both of th ese instruments were used in the pilot study to determine that African Americans boys performed less well in the area of information processing (Welch, St. Juste, & Bowie, 2004); therefore, they needed to master cognitive strategies applicable for standardized texts and better classroom performance. The Left Rectangle: The Reader The lef t rectangle represented the readers interactions with the text and the strategycategories as illustrated with the arrow pointing right. Frank Smith (1990, 1997) explained what happened behind the eyes as information was r eceived and processed from the printed page while reading. However, Figure 3-1 illustrated the options for the readers mind to interact with strategies before choosing th e appropriate activity within the chosen cognitive-category depending on the occasion, stance, or habit of processing information from texts during the thinking process (Weinstein, 2003; Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await 2001, 2004; Wittrock, 1986). The arrow pointing left toward the left rectangl e represented the readers altered thoughts after re-reading the text or was influe nced by additional information from environmental stimuli for
142 additional consideration by one of the cognitive strategies (Weinstein, 2003; Wittrock, 1986; Smith, 1990). The Right Rectangle: The Readers Responses The right rectangle represented the com pleted processed information through a chosen cognitive strategy manifested in a response to the text (Weinstein, 2003 ; Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2001, 2004; Wittrock, 1986). Since a readers re sponse may be oral or written, the small rectangle above the large right re ctangle signified the oral res ponses while the small rectangle below the large right rectangle re presented the written ones. After listening to another readers response, reacting to some other ex ternal stimuli, or re-reading the text, the reader may alter the original thoughts that generated a response; if that happened, the arrow pointing left toward the three major cognitive strategies categories with in the Venn diagram showed that the mental processing was repeated or re-considered (W einstein, 2003;Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2001, 2004; Wittrock, 1986). The Small Center Rectangle beneath the Venn Diagram The sm all center rectangle w ith question marks above and below the word questions beneath the Venn diagram represented the questi ons used to encourage Louise Rosenblatts (1980) transactional theory for reader responses adapted for el ementary school language arts programs (Kasten, Kristo, McClure, 2005) if th e aesthetic stance was not obvious. Even though the aesthetic stance was the reade rs original intent during the mental nego tiation for a cognitive strategy, the efferent stance could become the readers chosen stance (Rosenblatt, 1980). Rosenblatt further explained the phenomenon in the following remark: Efferent reading will select out the desired reference a nd ignore or subordinate the [affective element]. Aesthetic reading, in contrast will fuse the cognitive and affective elements of consciousness sensations, images, feelings, ideasinto a personality lived through [a] poem or story (p. 388). In the
143 statement, Rosenblatt separated systematic or formulistic thinking that adhered to a guided request or question for a correct answer about a poem or a story with the term cognitive as opposed to reacting emotionally to an idea in a text (Wittrock, 1986). In addition, according to Rosenblatt (1980), the read er [selected] the stance [for] any text [therefore a] newspaper item [could] be read eith er efferently or aes thetically (p. 389). The upward arrow from the small centered rect angle with question marks above the word question illustrated that pupils were also asked questions so that the researcher would identify correctly the chosen cognitive strategy for generati ng the responses in an attempt to clarify any ambiguities (Willis, 2005). The downward arrow from the small centered rectangle with question marks beneath the word question pointing to the horizontal informati on-processing line at the bottom of Figure 3-1 demonstrated that verb pr obing techniques questions were asked (Willis, 2005). For three boys, the researcher chose to ob serve their eye movement s to clarify how they processed information during an interview. Fo r the probing one-on-one in terviews, appropriate questions were asked from the list in the A ppendix. During the interv iew, the researcher imagined that a boys face was like an analog cl ock with 12 noon being an upward gaze toward the forehead, as the participant talked. If ey e movements occurred, the researcher drew arrows pointing in their directions. All other eye movements, dependi ng where there was a fixed gaze like the hour hand on the analog clocks numbers 3 6, and 9, arrows were drawn. From these introspective notes and drawi ngs, the researcher made assu mptions about the three boys cognitive strategies of the brain/mind pro cesses for generating thoughts (John-Steiner, 1997; Restak, 1991, 2006; Willis, 2005). Collectively, the complex brain/mind processes (Restak, 1991, 2006; Willis, 2005) were represented with the horizontal arrow pointing both left and right simultaneously in Figure 3-1.
144 Gordon Willis (2005) maintained that the te chniques of cognitive interviewing embraced the think-aloud interview and the wide appl ication of the verbal probing techniques (p. 42). Willis rigorous techniques involved six different kinds of questions: comprehension/interpretation probe, paraphrasi ng, confidence judgment, recall probe, specific probe, and general probe. The verbal probing techniques validated the essence of Claire Weinsteins (2003) research for cognitive developm ent for effective study skills and learning as well as Kasten, Kristo, and McCl ures (2005) application of Rose nblatts (2003) reader response for an elementary school language arts program However, Willis ri gor was specifically designed to improve a researche rs questionnaire-design in order to study the manner in which the targeted audience [understood], mentally process[ed], and respond[ed] to the materials present[ed] (p. 42). His approach also validated Irving Seidmans (2006) notion that each word a participant [used reflected] his or her consciousness (p. 114) because thoughts were encased in the words (JohnSteiner, 1997; Sternberg, 1988; Vygotsky 1952, 1978). By using verbal probe techniques the res earcher also made assump tions about the voice, literary/cultural interpretation, and cultural thought patterns of each participant (Eder & Fingerson, 2002) without crea ting a power imbalance when asking postmodern, post structuralists questions that pointed out a traditional assump tion for deconstruction (Fontana, 2002; Gubrium & Holstein, 2003). In lieu of laboratory instruments to record cognitive strategies encased within humans thought proc esses (Neisser et al., 1996), researchers and classroom teachers relied on verbal probing techniques and body language, according to Gordon Willis (2005). Data from verbal probing were often used to enhance pedagogical assessment enhanced the approaches for cognitive development (Sternberg, 1977). For example, Robert Sternberg
145 (1988), Michael Pressley and Vera Woloshyn (1995), Vera J ohn-Steiner (1997), Mel Levin (2002), Gerald Duffy (2003), and Er ic Hirsch, Jr. (2006) maintained that pupils could be taught how to choose the appropriate cognitive st rategy for successful academic performances, providing there were thorough questioning and interactive activities with an experienced reader and learner. During the interactions and the act of discovery (Brune r, 1961), pupils learned how to personalize their thinking for choosing the appropriate cognitive strategies (DixonKrauss, 1996) for studying and learning. The horizontal line pointing both left and right symbolized the collective thoughts/mind/brain processes (Chopra, 2001;Will is, 2005; Willis, 2006) that occurred between the reader and the text for generating a reader response represented by the rectangles and the Venn diagram above it (John-Steiner, 1997). Thes e actions occurred continuously, consciously and/or subconsciously, through th e reading process (Smith, 1997) and from the environmental stimuli absorbed through the fi ve senses (John-Steiner, 1997). The Horizontal Line: Information processing Sim ply stated, the horizontal line as a left/right arrow represented the neural and biological bases of all human intelligence charac terized as a brain func tion (Neisser et al., 1996) called information processing to generate thought (Sternberg, 1977, 1985, 1998, 1996; Sternberg & Subotnik, 2006). From the basi c collective thought proc ess, pupils then mentally chose from two additional levels of cognitive thinking to create their reader respons es as illustrated and discussed in Figure 3. 2. The figur e summarized the neural information-processing activities of the cognitive categories in to three hierarchical levels in Figure 3-2. Components of the Design Model: Figure 3-2 Figure 3-2, Levels of Cognitive Thinking for Academic Learning, summarized the total or general cognitive theory explained in much detail in Chapter 2, Review of Literature, and
146 symbolized in Figure 3-1s horizontal line pointing simultaneously left and right. The foundation of the cognitive theory emanated fr om the physical and mechanical scientists collaborations with lingui sts during their creation of artificial intelligence, the computer, so that the machine could be programmed to function as a word-processor (Newell, 1994, 2002). In Figure 3-2, the innermost circle labeled information processing symbolized the neural and biological bases of all human intelligence as a brain function (Neisser et al., 1996; Willis, 2006), for the basic level of human cognition. As e xplained by Vera John-Stei ners (1997) research, only the basic level of human cognition paralleled the computers capabilities of word processing that could be successfully studied in the experimental laboratory while humans explored short-term memory, perceived and verbal compre hension tasks, and certain kinds of problemsolving (p. 2.). Special brai n-imaging instruments must be further created (Chugan & Phelps, 1990; Neisser et al., 1996). They were needed for observing the neurobiological functions of thought in laboratory experimental settings and for explaining the brain cells reactions to human emotions. Then, rese archers would document why the brain retrieved certain lived experiences triggered from reading a text as thought (Rosenblatt, 1980, 1989, 1995, 2003). In other words, no machinery had the capabil ity of observing thoughts, although scientists assumed that they were stored somew here in the brain cells (Chopra, 2004). Some practitioners in the areas of social psychology, educat ional psychology, psychiatry, cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, unde rstood and acknowledged the possibilities of developing higher levels of information pro cessing in school childre n, but the idea was not widely accepted. For example, data existed from the research of Mamie and Kenneth (1997), the social psychologists; Ja mes Comer & Alvin Poussaint (1992) the psychiatrists who researched learning and achievement for African Amer icans; Michael S.Gazzangia (1996, 2000), the
147 cognitive psychologist who studi ed short-and long-term memories in humans; the cognitive neuroscientists like Richard Restak (1991, 2000); Karl Pribra m (1996, 1997); Robert L. Solo (1994; 1997, and Judy Willis (2006, 2007, 2007b, 2007c); educational psychologists like Howard Gardener (1982, 1988), Robert Sternberg (1977, 2000), and most of the classroom practitioners like Feurstein, Rand, & Rynders (1988); Weinstein, Witrock, Underwood, Schulte, 1983). In addition, Benjamin Bloom (1956) separated humans thinking from machines and other life forms thinking. The higher-level of thinking were represented in Figure 3-2 by the inner cognitive strategies circle, while the outer circle symbolized Blooms highest cognitive domain that encompassed conscious or subconscious choice of info rmation processing that some educational psychologists (Weinstein, 2003; Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2001, 2004) identified as being suitable for academic lear ning (Sternberg & Grigoren, 1999, 2001; Steinberg & Lubart, 2002, 2003; Ster nberg & Subotnik, 2006). In contrast, Edward Throndike (1984), the behavioral psychologi st, acknowledged the overlapping levels of cognitive thinking, symbolized by circles within each other in Figure 3-2 for information processing and called (the two outer illustrated circles) higher levels of thinking heuristic, while B. F. Skinner (1990) rej ected cognitive psychology because it involved consciousness that was unobservable in a laborato ry. Therefore, Skinner saw no need to apply it to his experimental theory of learning for the classroom (Skinner, 2001). Nevertheless, Michael Pressley and Vera Woloshyn (1995) ap plied cognitive theory in the classroom and shared their experiences in Cognitive Strategy Instruction That Really Improves Childrens Academic Performance For yielding the best cognitive st rategy, Pressley and Woloshyn (1995) explained that when people registered in formation from the environment in their sensory
148 organs (i. e., the eyes, ears, nose), some of the information [was filtered] out at the sensory level, while the remainder [entered] into the short-term memory [and then was transferred] into the long-term memory (p. 2). Pressley and Woloshyn (1995) al so taught pupils how to think through the information-processing levels for im proved academic performance depicted in the researchers design illustrated in Figures 3-1 and 3-2 Gerald Duffy (2003) applied cognitive theory to reading comprehension for similar educational outcomes. Few studies, however, investigated the appli cation of cognitive theory grounded in Lev Vygotskys sociocultural approach to cogniti ve-development for African Americans through information processing (Cai, 2002). Instead, th e emphasis was on buildi ng self-esteem (Bailey, 2004; Clark & Clark, 1939). For example, the le ading husband-wife team of African American psychologists whose research helped to deconstructed de jure segregation in the United States, Mamie Phipps Clark (1939, 1945, 1977) and Kenneth Clark (1939, 1965, 1977) spent their lives as scholar-practitioners trying to help African American children to develop strong self-esteem, indicated in Table 2-5, in order to thwart the negative effects of racial segregation and racism that stunted cognitive development (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005). However, when Mamies field research in Clarenton County, SC with 16 children, ages 6 to 9, yielded the same research findings of her earlier research in Washington, DC for the Masters at Howard University in 1939 and in New York City for the doctorate fr om Columbia University in 1943, she realized that the pathological problem of racism (Myrda l, 1966) was not regional and restricted to one subculture (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005). Therefore, they both began to work with the society at large. Kenneth worked with educational and civil rights groups, the American Psychological Association, and other civic in stitutions, while in 1943 Mamie expanded the Northside Center for Child Development services from testing to psychological consultations for
149 behavior problems, vocational guidance to adolescen ts, and parental education in child care to everyone (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005, p. 650). Prior, she primarily tested African American children living in New York City for parents who wanted psychological documentation to escape the tracking system for cl assroom assignments in the pub lic schools and to make the appropriate choice for attending one of the many specialized hi gh schools in the City (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005). Although Kenneth publishe d scholarly papers and wrote books, Mamie became a devoted practitioner trying to help so lve individuals psychological problems for anyone requesting her services without publishing widely the experiences (Jones & Pettigrew, 2005). In an attempt to fill the void, the researche rs design, illustrated in Figures 3-1 and 3-2 provided a general theore tical research framework (Pogge npohl & Sato, 2003, p. 2) for the ethnographic case study. The methods and procedur es used with the betw een-participants design (Reis, 2000) to discover the cognitive strategy categories and strategies used for processing childrens literature by seventeen (17) underper forming African Americans boys in an academic setting were discussed in the next sections. Methods of the Study When Harry Reis (2000) described the thre e types of experimental designs, he m aintained that if the particip ants engaged in the same activi ties, setting, or conditions, the design was between-participants. But when subject s were required to par ticipate in more than one activity or condition while othe rs did not, the design was within -participants (Reis, 2000). In contrast, if the design included at least one between-participant and one within-participant [for an] independent variable (Reis, 2000, p. 91), it was a mixed-design. Although some educational psychologists often preferred laboratory experiments for their research, the distinction here of the three ba sic experimental designs should provide eviden ce to support the
150 researchers qualitative desi gn for an ethnographic case study (C reswell, 1998) for a basic between-participants study in a classroom atmosphere (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994). The design utilized verbal probing techniques for reader responses (Willis, 2005) to discover cognitive strategies used in information processing in lieu of instruments needed for an experimental study in a laboratory yet to be invent ed and studied (Neisser et al., 1 996). Gall and Gall (1999) wrote, Quantitative researchers typica lly ignore the study of inner expe rience (p. 310). Gall and Gall further noted: Qualitative researchers, by contrast, view human thoughts and feelings as phenomena worthy of investigation. They have developed research tradi tions that focus on the thought processes of individuals and on ways that different indivi duals apprehend and describe their experiences (p. 311). In that vein, Gall and Gall recognized four qualit ative research traditions that involve[ed] the study of inner experience cognitive psychology, psychology, phenomenology, phenomenography, and life history (p. 311). However, since 1999 the quantitative researchers in neurology and neuroscience created some ba sic neural imaging instruments (Restak, 2006; Willis, 2007). Therefore, this ethnographic case study incorporated the qualitative verbal probing technique for cognitive interviewing suggested by Gordon Willis (2005) and drew upon Judy Williss (2007, 2007b, 20037c) neuroscience re search and educational experience as a practicing classroom teacher in a middle school. As former editors of the Journal of Educational Psychology Joel Levin and Hermine Marshall (1993) discussed laborator y versus classroom research ( pp. 4-5), they maintained that researchers who engaged in psyc hological studies even with ad equate operationalization and control of variables [needed] to consider how a studys theoretical ra tionale and design [would] affect the results (Lev in & Marshall, 1993, p. 4). Levi n and Marshal further explained that classroom research in some situations was better than a laboratory st udy that did not
151 provide enough options for students to respond acco rding to perceptions pertinent to more realworld settings (p. 4). Levin and Marshall al so illustrated their points-of-view by citing the problem with research that used correla tes and effects of attributions for success and failure (p. 4) based on Weiners (1979) experimental resear ch involving th e theory of motivation for some classroom experiences. Le vin and Marshall also argued that some researchers simplified Weiners motivation theory and focused only on four attributions: ability, effort, task, difficulty, and luck [while] other possible attribut ions to strategy [, were] over looked in [the] research (p. 4). Ev en some attribution studies that dealt with just one strategy or one task, which was suitable for laboratory experiments, often had insufficient options; therefore, research to include strategy categories were needed (Levin & Marshal 1993). The most compelling rationale for classroom research involving cogni tive strategy categories was found in the following Levin and Marshalls statement: Moreover, many attribution retraining stud ies have attempted to shift attributions for failure from low ability to lack of effort, desp ite the drawbacks of attr ibution to effort (e. g., What does it mean if someone is trying as hard as she or he can with the same ineffective strategies?) (p. 5). Therefore, the researchers qualitative design was created to focus on identifying cognitive strategy categories and c ognitive activities with specific methods for information processing that used various options for respons es in a classroom setting in order to simulate real-world conditions and perceptions (Lev in & Marshall, 1993). Howeve r, to address ambiguous or unclear reader responses for discovering cognitive strategies, the research er used the verbal probing technique (Willis, 2005) by asking a series of questions to elicit a reader response similar to the questions found in the Appendix Heaths (1983) study of literacy developmen t in three different environments that Sternbergs (1988) triarchic theory encompasse d in the discussion of pupils academic success
152 for demonstrating successfully educational outcomes on psychometrically constructed tests were ground in Lev Vygotskys (1962) sociocultural theory of the mind and learning. Research of this kind was most suitable for a literacy study, accord ing to Vera John-Steiner (1997). Hence, the qualitative study followed the rigorous methods and procedures suggested for postmodern, post structuralists cognitive interviewing techniques (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994; Gubrium & Holstein, 2003, 2003; Holstein & Gubrium, 2002; Willis 2005). In order to identify underperforming African Americans boys in grades 3, 4, and 5 cognitive strategy categories and cognitive activ ities that Levin and Marshall (1993) called various options, the ethnographic case study s methodology included se lecting the population, participants and setting, and the reading selections for data colle ction and analysis. These five sections were discussed below. Selecting the General Population The Pilot Study used the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory-High School Version (LASSI-HS) to determ ine the academic strengt hs and weaknesses of high school students enrolled in a research universitys College Ou t-Reach Program( CROP). All of the CROP afterschool programs participants were recomme nded by the high schools counselor and/or a teacher because of a students low performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and a below-average cumulative grade point average in a rural high school (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). According to LASS I-HS, the African American high school males results from ten subscales indicated that th eir most critical weakness was information processing, the most important subscale in the inventory for completing secondary and postsecondary education (Sternber g, 1988; Weinstein, 1988). Since Claire Weinstein (1983, 1988) believe d information processing was a vital academic skill, in the early 1980s, she began creating teaching strategies that were grounded in
153 cognitive psychology. Later, she and her colleague s created for college students an inventory to discover their strengths and weaknesses in l earning and studying for academic settings. After using the inventory successfully with incomi ng freshmen in a Southwestern university, Weinstein and her colleagues created instructio nal modules for each of the LASSIs ten subscales (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Although Weinsteins early research about studying and learning was first shared with parent s in a governmentally s ponsored study in order to help children achieve in school elementary (Weinstein, Wittrock, Underwood, & Schulte, 1983), there was no LASSI or LASSI instructional module designed for elementary and middle school pupils. But, Weinstein and her colleagues (2004) created for the H & H Publishing Company a version of LASSI for high school studen ts (LASSI-HS) after many years of using successfully the adult version with at-ri sk students in several universities. Similarly, a professor with a re search interest in student affairs administration in and admissions to higher education argued that stude nts were unsuccessful in high school and higher education because they had not developed, dur ing elementary and secondary schooling or elsewhere, the productive learning and study skills and habits to meet the demands of academic rigor (Flower, 2002). Therefore, Flowers (2002) maintained that incoming college freshmen would find it useful to discover their strengths and weaknesses for learning and study skills for making the necessary corrections and adjustments for academic success. One of the instruments Flowers recommended to young stud ent affairs professionals was Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004) to monitor at-risk-admissions. Since there was no companion inventory nor a LASSI instructional module designed for elementary pupils and the African American males performed less well on the information subscale of the LASSI during the Pilot Study, the rese archer chose to conduct field research in an
154 urban elementary, after-school re ading program in order to discover how some underperforming African American boys in language arts were using cognitive activitie s and strategies for processing literature, a vital skill for successful academic performance (Sternberg, 1988). In fact, Sternberg (1988) argued that individuals ultimately dete rmined the outcome of their academic success by the way they processed inform ation. Hence, an elementary school in the Duval County Public District, a large urban school district, was chosen for doing the field research. Selecting a Specific Population The City of Jacksonvilles general p opulat ion of more than 860,000 million people was chosen for the ethnographic case study because it had a below-average li teracy rate for both blacks and whites adults (U. S. Bureau of Census, 2000) with more than twelve low-performing schools in 2003 (FL DOE, 2003). However, the Afri can American students had the highest level of underperformance in literacy. The Jacksonville Community Counc il, Inc. (JCCI) said, Of the 38, 332 Duval County students who failed to read at grade level in th e 2003 school year, 35 percent were white, 57 percent were black, and seven percent were Hi spanic or Asian (p. 3). In addition, the large metropolitans urban center, approximately 80 m iles northeast of the University of Floridas main ca mpus, often served as a medical research center for other inquiry projects involving national urban subjects. Consequently, the population was accessible with participants and conducive for the ethnographic case study of child ren living in high-poverty and plagued with a very low-literacy envir onment (Heath, 1983; McGill -Franzen, Lanford, & Adams, 2003; Tatum, 2005). In addition, the co mmunity was densely populated and similar to other national areas in the United States that also lagged behind in e ducational attainment (Tatum, 2005; Williams, 2006).
155 In 2004, the Duval County Public Sc hool District (DCPSC) was the 19th largest in the United States with approximately 130,000 students with 165 schools located in Northeast Florida (DCPS Research Data, 2004). Undergoing sc hool reform, Jacksonville already had the administrative infrastructure with allocated resour ces at the District level working with Title 1 parents and an after-school r eading program for girls (Welch, 2003). In addition, there was a non-partisan civic organization of diverse citizens in the community that had also conducted two studies that identified the general environmental indicators that had eff ects on pupils learning in the urban core schools (JCCI, 1992, 2004). The first study was Young Black Males: A Report to the Citizens of Jacksonville in 1992, while the second study was Pub lic Education Reform, (Phase Two) Eliminating the Ac hievement Gap: A Report to th e Citizens of Jacksonville in 2004. In brief, the Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI) launched the Young Black Males Study for the following reasons:  to discover why a disportionate number of young black males in Jacksonville, ages 25 and under, [were] failing to survive and thrive, and  to suggest ways in which all segments of the community [could] be a part of the solution to the problem (JCCI, 1992, p. 1). JCCIs (2004) analytical appr oach was to focus on three interconnected issues, two of which were directly connected to this ethnographic cas e study about African American boys underperformance in school. Those issues were identified as:  underlying public issues such as established patterns of racism, desegregation, the lack of economic security, pervasive crime and violen ce, the lack of adequate infrastructure in black neighborhoods, and Americas ch anging moral and ethical values;  underlying issues specific to the black community such as changes in the family, the church, the schools, and the neighborhood; [and]  dysfunctional individual behavior such as involvement with crime and drugs (p. 1).
156 The JCCI (1992) studys findings revealed some of the problems about race relation that were analogous to the pathologi cal behavior that Gunnar Myrdal cited in 1944 for his conclusion in the volumes, An American Dilemma (1966). According to JCCI (1992), some of the behavior affected the African American childrens cognitive development and learning in school, as discussed in Chapter 2, R eview of Literature. Therefore, it seemed appropriate to chose th e Jacksonville Public Sc hool District because of its large, urban African Amer ican community with the concen tration of political, economic, and sociocultural problems (JCCI, 1992; Tatum, 2005; Williams, 2006) common for schoolreform in the South after Brown (Thernstrom & Thernstrom, 2003). For example, JCCI (1992) noted that the term desegregation was a part of the Citys underlying p ublic issue. Although in 1991, 62 percent of the whites and 72 percen t of the non-whites indi cated that racism was a problem (JCCI, 1992, p. 3), the community chose to desegregate rather than to integrate and to solve the racial issue of inequity. JCCI (1992) explained th at to desegregate meant the dominant culture [would] conti nue to prevail as is. Those in the non-dominant culture [were] included to the extent th at they [were] able to assimila te to the dominant culture (pp. 34) often in a subservient manner. Individuals w ho were unwillingly or unable to assimilate were considered to be non-conformist, and they were isolated or excluded from the mainstream (JCCI, 1992, p. 4). On the other hand, integrat ion implicitly [added] value to any and all cultures being jo ined [to the dominant cultu re] (JCCI, 1992, p. 4). Thus, JCCI (1992) wrote, The end of legal segregation in Jacksonv ille did not usher in an era of integration but rather one of desegregation (p. 4). This appr oach had a chilling effect on creating a unitary public school system of equity, especially when many white teachers [were] visibly frightened of their black student s, especially males (JCCI, 1992, p. 4), some eighteen years after
157 Brown v. Board of Education (JCCI, 1992) when the District C ourt mandated that Jacksonvilles schools be desegregated in 1972. The communitys solution to the mandate wa s busing black children, K-5, to schools in the suburbs, re-assigning teachers throughout the District, and creating magnet schools in some of the predominantly black neighborhoods (JCCI, 1992). Later, both black and white students neighborhoods subject to the c ourt order were bused to 6th and 7th grade centers (JCCI, 1992, p. 4), while black students were bused to the suburbs for 10th, 11th, and 12th grades (Jacksonville Branch, NAACP v. Duval County School Board, M.D. Fl, App., 1998). Although the Duval County Public School District (DCPSD) was trying to desegregat e much like other districts in the South (Thernstorm & Thernstorm, 1997), integration remained largely a court ruling on paper, while segregation persis ted as a reality in society (Takaki, 1993, p. 402). In some aspects, the DCPSD merely imitated some of the desegregated school di stricts in the North (Thernstorm & Thernstorm, 1997). Unlike most school districts, however, the D uval County Public School District (DCPSD) covered 800 square miles of urban, suburban, and rural settings with sl ightly more than 360 million people (U.S. Bureau Census, 2000), as a result of resistance to the Supreme Courts mandate to desegregate the schools (JCCI, 2003; Martin, 1993). For example, when the aftermath of the white-flight to the suburbs during the 1960s left the urban core of the original City of Jacksonville with a low-tax base to support public schools and government (JCCI, 2003), the Countys governmental officials refused to provide ample services for the newly arrived city folks (Martin, 1993). While the inner city sc hools decayed with few operational and teaching supplies, all of the high schools in the District were disaccreditated in 1964 (JCCI, 2003). When this occurred, the people voted for consolidated government (Martin, 1993). In the meanwhile,
158 some inner city schools closed because of declining population from urban renewal, some became magnet schools, while still others operated under capacity (JCCI, 2003b). When the schools in Atlantic Beach, Baldwin, Jacksonville B each, Neptune Beach, and the original City of Jacksonville, became under the jurisdiction of one governing body for the consolidation charter, the School Board inherited a plethor a of problems, especially in re versing years of neglect of the rural schools that were predominately white (JCC I, 2003). Therefore, in order to make the District more manageable, the Board divided th e 800 square miles into six regions with each having a regional superintendent and a support staff (JCCI, 2003b). In this environment of historical change (consolidated government, desegregation, and reaffirmation of the high schools accreditation) as well as th eir more recent performance on standardized, high-stakes tests, African American boys in the i nner City struggled to achieve academically (JCCI, 1992). The JCCIs report in 1992 said, Young black males [scored] poorly on annual tests administrate d by the Duval County School Boar d (p. 15) and that the low achievement pattern occurred early in grades K-5 (p. 16). The report also noted that there was a need for intervention and correction because the pattern of low achievement often continued after high school (p. 16). In addition, the report revealed, Failure to achieve in school [perhaps was] the beginning of failure in other areas of life as well (p. 49) and that racism [was] a common thread that [wove] through most problems relating to Jacksonvilles young black males, often preventing them from achieving their potential or prospering (p. 24) (emphasis added). These findings were analogous to the historical so cial effects on learning discussed in Chapter 2, Review of Literature. Therefore, thes e sociocultural conditions also were analogous with other large urban school dist ricts in the United States that manifested the pathological residue of slavery, white supr emacy, and legal segregation (Williams, 2006).
159 Consequently, the Duval County Public School Dist rict (DCPSD) seemed to be most appropriate for the case studys participants and setting. Selecting the Participants and Setting In order to serve parents of pupils who received free or reduced lunch under Title 1s federal funds to overcom e some of the socio economic problems that impacted negatively on their childrens academic achievement, the D uval County Public Schoo l District (DSPSD) established the Title 1 Parent C ounseling and Resource Center and lo cated it in Region Six of the District. With the use of the Florida Assessment Test (FCAT) as a high-stakes test for grade-level promotion and criteria for high school graduation, th e District created the Center to offer services to all parents and to provide additional academic se rvices to students (Wel ch, 2003). Therefore, the permission to conduct the research about the underperfo rming African Americans boys cognitive strategies in the Jacksonville, Florid a was under the jurisdiction of the Title 1 Parent and Counseling and Recourse Center (Welch, 2003). In the spring of 2003, prior to the pilot study, the researcher contacted the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Resource Center for permission to visit an elem entary school classroom with a high percentage of pupils from low-income home s. The Director of the Center, an African American woman who was a former vice principal in an urban elementary school in Jacksonville with degrees in history, library science, and a doctorate in counseling, called a principal of the school she chose who in turn contacted the teacher for the day-long visit. The principal relayed the information to the Centers Director w ho then contacted the researcher about the arrangements (Welch, 2003). At that time, the Director suggested arri ving at the school in Region Six at 7:00 a.m. to have a chat over breakf ast about the detailed nature of the visit and to observe the interactions between parents, pupils, and cafeteria workers as pupils were left at school before their parents went to work (Wel ch, 2003). At the scheduled breakfast meeting, the
160 Director of the Title 1 Center informed the rese archer that the Principal chose this particular teacher for observation because she had a track re cord of producing strong first graders and that the class was a K/1 combination. She then requested that an exit interview be shared with her at the end of the day to discuss the results of the three areas (physical envi ronment, instructional context, and social context) of Hemmeters et al. (2001) Assessment of Practices in Early Elementary Classroom (APEEC) that was used for the classroom observation. In January of 2004, after the pilot study, the researcher contacted the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Resource Center for permission to conduct field research in a language arts program to discover how underperforming Afri can American boys in grades 3, 4, and 5 processed information when they read children lite rature. She agreed with the concept because a Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. (JCCI, 1992), study reported low achievement patterns occurred early in grades K-5 [and that there] was a need for intervention and correction (p. 16). She also stated that the results of th e study would be beneficial to the Center. However she did not agree with the observation of the boys in the classroom with their classroom teacher during their regular language arts period. Instead, she proposed an afterschool reading program, similar to an existing on e for girls, for each Wednesday during February thru May of 2005. When there were early-release da ys for teacher planning on Wednesdays twice a month, the after-school reading program was from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. since many parents of children receiving Title 1 services voi ced concerned about their children being without adult supervision on early-release days for teach er-planning while they worked. On the other Wednesdays in the month, however, the after-sch ool reading program was from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The researcher accepted the Directors modification. Upon doing so, the Director of the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Resource Center took ownership of the study as a partner and
161 (1) located the site and setting, (2) named the af ter-school reading program Great Boys + Great Readers Program, (3) contacted a principal of the school in Region Si x where the initial K/1 observation occurred, (4) contacted the teach ers of grades 3,4, 5 about the research for recommending participants, (5) obtained permi ssion slips from the parents of the recommended boys who wanted to participate, (6) provided a snack to all participants and assisted each pupil with his regular classroom homework, a mandato ry activity of the host school, (8) shared records for creating the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Protocol for the University of Florida, and (9) selected the texts for th e study along with resources for ma terials, equipment, and other teaching aids to simulate a language arts classroom. Seventeen boys returned their signed parental permission slips to participate in the study. All of the participants were enrolled in the same elementary school in Region Six, where the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Resource Center was located. Collectively, the randomly selected participants ranged from 8 to 12 years of age. Specifically, thei r age-ranges were 8 to 10 years for 3rd graders, 10 to l3 for 4th graders, and 11 to 12 for 5th graders. The reading levels for the boys also were varied, according to their Fl orida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) scores. In general, the FCAT reading scores ranged from Levels 1 to 5, with Level 3 being average. Of the participants, one boy had a reading Level 4, four boys had 3s, five boys had 2s, and seven boys had ls. Most of the boys had attended the school throughout their elementary schooling. In general, they knew each othe r and were acquainted with the Centers administrators and their activities. Their urba n school in 2005 had an enrollment of 665 with pupils from Pre-K to the 5th grade. Of that number, 83% were African Americans, 8% European Americans, 5% Hispanics, and 4% of mixed herita ge, with 82% of the total enrollment receiving free or reduced lunch ( www.educationalcentral.org ). The Center understood the boys academ ic
162 background and home environment well through th eir teachers who recommended them, their personal contact with their parents on the phone or in person about the study, the parents responsibility of providing transportation for th eir child by 6:00 p.m. each Wednesday until the end of the school year. With this background about the participants, the Director of the Center, a former librarian/media specialist, chose the reading selections for the after-school reading program. Choosing the Reading Selections In addition to being a librarian/m edia specialist in an elementary school, the Director of the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Resource Center was trained by the Great Books Foundation as a facilitator for the Junior Great Books for Elementary School Series (2004-2005) curriculum. She was also familiar with the various language arts program classrooms routine and the participants academic performance and backgro und, the Director selected the following stories from the Junior Great Books for Elementary School (2004 series: (1) Thank You M am Langston Hughes (2) Allah Will Provide. A North African folktale as to ld by Robert Gilstrap and Irene Estabrook (3) The Fisherman and His Wife Brothers Grimm, translated by Lucy Crane (4) The Brave Little Tailor Brother Grimm, transl ated by Ralph Manheim (5) Prot and Krot A Polish folktale as told by Agnes Szudek Crane (6) Two Wise Children Robert Graves (7) A Game of Catch. Richard Wilbur There was an advantage in using the Junior Great Books for Elementary School Series (20042005). First, it was a complete interpretive re ading, writing, and discussion curriculum. Second, the texts were printed on high quality paper with eye-appealing fonts with black/white drawings or pictures that often illustrate d the highlights of the stories. Th ird, there were audiotapes of the reading selections, along with varied writing activities, includi ng essays and creative writing suggestions. In addition, there was a resour ce manual with easy to read suggestions for
163 maintaining a lively discussion for young readers. All of the aids were valuable and useful in simulating an academic setting that was relaxing but engaging for a viable study of interpretive responses. Although the multiage group had various reading levels, their socioeconomic levels and reading interests were similar. Since the boys background also included being reared in a lowliteracy environment, when they asked questions about the behavior of ch aracters in the story, the cause and effect of certain actions, or even inquiries about moral issu es, the researcher and the Director of the Center read aloud the following reading sel ections as background information (Hirsch, Jr., 2006) to answer their inquires for further discussion and enlightenment: (1 ) Langston Hughes: American Poet Alice Walker, Paintings by Catherine Decter (2) Portraits of African-American Heroes Tonya Bolden. Paintings by Ansel Pitair a. Martin Luther King, Jr. b. Joe Louis c. Malcolm X (3) Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly Walter Dean Myers. Illustrated by Leonard Jenkins (4) Excerpts from Reallionaire: The Essential Lessons that Took Me from Assistance to a Millionaire by the Age of 14. Farah Gray (5) The Millionaire Mind (excerpts from The Success Factors). Thomas Stanley (6) Peter Pan. J. M. Barrie. Illustrated by Diane Goode (7) The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Retold by Marylyn Helmer. Illustrated by Joe Weissmann (8) Disneys The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Adapted by Justine Korman. Illustrated by Don Williams (9) Night Golf William Miller. Illustrated by Cedric Lewis (10) Training a Tiger: A Fathers Guide to Raising a Winner (Introduction). Earl Woods (11) Start Something: You Can Make a Difference (Foreword). Tiger Woods (12) Wynton Marsalis: Trumpet Genius (Excerpts from the Introduction). Leslie Gourse In an attempt to model that adults us e all kinds of additional books and texts to find the answer to things that they think about even wh en reading for pleasure ( aesthetic reading), the researcher chose longer works and read excerpts from them. For example, to expose the boys also to the reality of life for considering financ ial wealth as a goal, excerpts were read from Thomas Stanleys (2000) T he Success Factors in The Millionaire Mind and Farahs Grays
164 (2004) Reallionaire: The Essential Lessons that took Me from Assistance to a Millionaire by the Age of 14. The two books were chosen because the boys asked a plethora of questions about acquiring wealth after reading Allah Will Provide (Gilstrap & Estabrook, 2004). After reading and discussing the additional texts, the boys provided realistic ideas to cont radict the thinking of the main character in the story. The extended read ings gave the boys an opportunity to acquire a broader, comparative b ackground, and context for Allah will Provide (2004). In summary, the story Allah Will Provide (Gilstrap & Estabrook, 2004) was a North African folktale about Bou Azzana, the hardwo rking woodcutter who made just enough money from selling wood in the marketplace to support hi s wife and himself. Since he was getting too old to work, he worried about how they were going to support themselves. One day he stopped working to rest under an olive tree. Suddenly, he saw a coiled viper near him. Afraid of the snake, the man climbed up a tree. Then, he noti ced the snake was charming a little bird for his meal as it perched on a limb. Charmed and paralyzed with fear, the bird fell out of the tree, and the snake swallowed it. From this experience, the woodcutter learned how Allah dropped the provision near the snake without it working hard. So, the woodcutter stopped working while vowing not to ever move an inch to work again until Allah dropped ample provisions at his feet also. This behavior forced his wife to go in to the woods to look for mushrooms to sell in the marketplace; but she found a pot of gold instead. She ran and asked her husband to help her bring the heavy pot of gold home. However, he refused to move. Getting her brothers to help her carry the gold home, she asked her husband to count it. However, he refused to get up. Instead, he told her that he was waiting for Allah to dr op the fortune at his feet. Not knowing of her husbands experience with the snake and the bi rd, the wife dumped the gold on his head. Thereafter, they lived happily. When visitors came to their home, the woodcutter told the story
165 of what happened to him. Then, he asked them why they worked when Allah would provide. Everyone felt the woodcutter was wrong, but they did not contradict him. Allah Will Provide (Gilstrap & Estabrook, 2004) was a catalyst to discuss the most logical argument to contradict the woodcutte rs thinking, the motives and behavior of the characters. The extended readings afforded different points-of-view In fact, the story also was used for the boys to think about their innate abilities to acquire fi nancial wealth, morals, character, ambitions, and aspira tions for choosing a lucrative occupation as an adult. The additional readings outside of the Junior Great Books for Elementary School Series (2004-2005) also gave the researcher addi tional understanding of how the boys processed information from the stories when they used associative thinking (Willis, 2005) for answering some of the verbal probing questions that were found in the Appendix.. However, some of the additional readings were chosen because of the boys interest in events in the community, such as the media hype about the TPC Golf Tournament with Tiger Woods as the 2005 number #1 player with Vijay Singh as the number #2, a resident of one of the exurbanant communities near the Atlantic Ocean. Since both of the golf players were promoted as major winners of the sport, when they inte racted in the community during the week of the tournament, the boys wanted to understand why th e adults and media were constantly talking about the players and the skills needed for the game. Their interests prompted the Director and the researcher to r ead aloud to them (1) Night Golf (Miller, 1999), (2 ) Introduction of Training a Tiger (Woods, 1997), and (3) the Foreword of Start Something: You Can Make a Difference (Woods, 1997). The three readings were discussed until the boys curiosities about the learning of certain skills required for the game were satisfied.
166 In the same vein, each spring the community hosted a jazz festival. A few of the boys admitted that for their regular language arts classes they made book reports from the school librarys collection about Duke Ellington and Miles Davis during Black History Month, but they knew little about the musical contributions of the Ma rsalis family. Because of this interest, the researcher and the Director chos e to view with the boys Wynton Marsalis PBS video about jazz for young children before the researcher read aloud excerpt s of his biography, Wynton Marsalis: Trumpet Genius (Grouse, 1999). This background info rmation helped the boys to understand and appreciate (Hirsch, Jr., 2006) why the Marsalis family members participation was special to jazz enthusiasts in the Jacksonville community duri ng the Jazz Festival. Similarly, the Director of the Title of Parent Counse ling and Resource Center chose Peter Pan (Barrie, 2003) during the trial of the pop-star, Michael Jackson, to explor e the perils of adults not growing up and how to avoid similar situations. In th e same vein, the Director chose The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Andersen, 1997) and Disneys The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Korman, 1996) for building character and streng thening their self-esteem. To reinfo rce these traits, th e group read about Martin Luther King, Jr., Joe Louis, and Malcolm X (Bolden, 2003), as well as the boys suggestions about reading them as references for understanding Walter Dean Myers (2000) Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly. The seven (7) reading selections from the Junior Great Books fo r Elementary Schools Series (2004-2005) had recorded readings by professionals, while the researcher read orally all of the excerpted selections aloud to the boys. The twelve (12) additional readings used in the study were copied in color for each boy, while the selections from the Junior Great Books for Elementary Schools (2004) series were found in the books for each reader. Since there were never any home assignments for the after-school reading program, each week the Title 1 Parent
167 and Counseling Resource Center provided copies of the additional reading selections for each boy. The detailed procedures used with the 19 reading selections in the after-school reading program to collect data for making assumptions about seventeen (17) boy s cognitive strategies for generating reader responses were discussed in the next section, Procedures for the Study. Procedures for the Study Seventeen A frican American boys parents signe d informed consent forms for their sons to participate in an afterschool reading program called Great Boys + Great Readers Program for the researcher to study how some underper forming boys processed information when they read childrens literatu re (IRB, 2005-2006). Since the Director of the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Resource Center in Duval C ounty, Florida chose the participants for the after-school reading program to be information-rich with resp ect to the purposes of a qualitative study (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996, p. 231), the researcher consider ed the participants as a purpose sample (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996, p. 231) for the spec ific population according to the standards for random sampling interviewing suggested by Jabe r Gubrium and James Holstein (2002, 2003). Although the Director of the Center relied on the language arts teachers criteria for grades 3, 4, and 5 for identifying the boys, the res earcher waited until the end of the study to inquire about the particip ants reading levels. At that time, an exit interview with the schools guidance counselors explained that the Director of the Center reque sted their office to check all of the recommendations cumulative folders and r eading levels before giving her approval to alert the parents about the study. At the end of the exit intervie w with the counselors, they shared each boys FCAT (Florida Comprehension Assessment Test ) reading score. Because all of the boys reading scores were not the same, technically as a group, the participants were a stratified purposeful sampli ng (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996, p. 233) to represent the specific
168 population. This fact was consider ed during the analyses of the readers responses by noting in the transcript the grade level of the pupil with the fictional name. The Great Boys + Greater Readers Program was held in the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Research Resource Centers reading laboratory area with a plethora of teaching aids and resources. The boys sat at the four large round tables. At the first meeting, each boy was given a single 8 x 11 heavy sheet of white paper and a black felt pen for writing his name and grade level after folding the sheet leng thwise in order to make a stand-up nametag. Then each boys photograph was taken with the researchers camer a. Although the nametags were left at the Center and used each week, until the researcher le arned the name of each participant, two prints of each picture were made, one for the participant and one for the researcher who affixed the photo to a manila folder. In the transcripts, howev er, fictional names were used to identify their reader responses. Each individual manila folder was used as a file to keep copies of the data collected, which included (1) tape recordings transcripts of oral discussions of stories from large group sessions and small group discussions (2) written reader responses about four stories, and (3) drawings arrows to note the eye movements of th ree boys to clarify borderline assumptions from oral and written responses (Seidman, 2006). The co llected data were used to make assumptions about the seventeen underperf orming African American boys thought processes that were considered academic cognitive strategies (Wei nstein, Woodruff, Await, 2004). The majority of the data was collected from large group sessions and small discussion groups, which included literature circles, discussion webs and individual interviews. Ho wever, the data from individual interviews using the verbal probing technique (Willis, 2005) were also collected when needed. The details of the data collected from oral read er responses were discu ssed in the next section.
169 Data Collection: Oral Reader Responses All stories w ere read first in common in a large group setting. Since the participants Florida Comprehension Assessment Test (FCAT) r eading levels ranged from 1 to 4 with one boy having a level 4, the stories were read aloud or read silently along with the tape recordings of professionals reading the stories from the Junior Great Book for Elementary School (2004) series. In addition, the researcher read aloud supplementary texts used for background knowledge (Hirsch, Jr., 2006). In both instances, th e boys had individual copi es of the readings. However, to ensure that each participant underst ood the reading selection, the Director of the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Resource Center or the resource teacher led large group sessions to simulate how the language arts teachers in that elementary school approached childrens literature for reader responses and reading co mprehension, while the researcher observed the participants, took notes, and tape recorded the large group sessions. Large Group Sessions. The large group sessions provided the settings for reading the selections in common and sharing experiences (Willis, 2007c). These sessions included four activities after reading th e story. First, one boy volunteered to state briefly the plot of the story (Sipe, 2000). Second, any vocabulary crucial to the readers level of reading for text comprehension of the story was entertained th rough word study (Tatum, 2005). The Director, the research teacher, or the rese archer explained the meaning of the word, or a boy shared his definition of it (Sipe, 2000). When member s of the group disagreed, one boy volunteered to reference the word in the dict ionary and the definition was r ead aloud to the group. Then, a boy explained how the word related to the character or action in the story (Sipe, 2000). Third, the plot was reviewed again after the vocabulary study. Fourth, the researcher engaged the participants for the reader re sponses by asking the first aesthe tic question of the eight (8) questions (see the Appendix ) that Kaston, Kristo, and Mc Clure (2005) recommended for
170 eliciting the aesthetic stance, What did you think about the story? (p. 77). While the Director of the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Resource Center or the resource teacher was in charge of the large groups review, the researcher sat in th e rear of the room to observe the frequency of the par ticipants reader responses. Th e researcher also made notes about the speaker, including what some of the other boys were doing while the oral responses were being tape-recorded. The oral recordings were later transcribed in writing that identified each speaker by an assigned pseudonym (Seidman, 2006). Multiple copies of the wordprocessed transcripts of the oral responses to each story were made The portion of the transcript that involved a boys reader response was placed into his personal folder as a cross reference for the researchers analysis (Seidman, 2006). Although the tran scripts from the boys oral reader responses, during large group sessions provided the majority of the data for analysis, they also participated in small group discussions. Small Group Sessions. The small group discussions includ ed literature ci rcles (Daniels, 2004), discussion webs (Alvermann, 1991) and indi vidual interviews (Cre swell, 1998; Gubrium & Holstein, 2000, 2003; Kerlinger, 1993; Willis, 2005) to include a variety of reading activities for sustaining engagement (Willis, 2007c). The data from the Director s techniques, however, only served as cross references for the written reader responses and the oral reader responses from the large group sessions condu cted by the researcher. For all of the small group discussions, the boys used the three or four available tables so that the Title 1 Director of th e Parent and Counseling and Resour ce Center, her resource teacher, and the researcher served as monitors to keep the boys on task in an orderly fashion. For example in discussion webs (Alvermann, 1991), th e boy that raised a controversial question about the story and two other boys who agreed with him became discussion leaders and were
171 assigned to a table. In the event, there were more than two boys that equally questioned the authors views or no other questioner, a discussi on leader was chosen by members at the tables. The discussion pursued and continued until a consensus was reached. Then, each table reported the consensus for large group discussion, after which the group voted on the consensus or a modified one to resolve the i ssue. In discussion webs (Alv ermann, 1991), the Director of the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Resource Center used the adult monitors to ensure that the boys maintained order, gave boys with different opinions an equal opportunity to speak, and remained on task in a equitable and democratic ways. All the discussions were audio taped for analysis. In contrast, for literature circles (Daniels, 2004 ), the boys randomly chose to sit at one of the three tables and chose one of their peers to be the discussion leader. The adult monitors served as observers and guides to keep the discussion on task as they ensured proper classroom decorum and behavior. However, when literature outside of the Junior Great Books for Elementary School (2004) series was used as background information and enrichment (Hirsch, Jr., 2006), the adult monitors were the discussion leaders. Hence, the literature circles were more controlled than Daniels (2004) r ecommended for pupils in book clubs to serve in various roles: connector, vocabulary enhancer, summarizer, and illust rator to assist the discussion leader. Oral reader responses also included interviews. The indivi dualized sessions were held outside of the reading laboratory (Creswell, 1998; Gubrium & Holstein, 2000, 2003, Kerlinger, 1993; Willis, 2005). The transcripts, however, from these sessions were used to clarify the researchers assumptions about some partic ipants responses through the verbal probing techniques (Willis, 2005). Although there were fewer tr anscripts for the written reader responses, they provided concrete evidence for making a ssumptions about the students language arts
172 proficiencies. The details for co llecting the written reader respons es were discussed in the next section. Data Collection: Written Reader Responses Since the after-school reading pr ogram was designed to sim ulate their normal language arts classroom in the school that the participants attended, the Director of the Title 1 Parent Counseling and Resource Center chose the appr opriate activities for each reading selection. However, data were collected from written reader responses to four (4) of the seven (7) stories the boys read from the Junior Great Book for Elementary School (2004) series. The written exercises were open-ended activities suggested in the series manual, with the exception of Langston Hughes Thank You Mam However, the researcher wanted to know how the boys related to the detailed socioeconomic conditions in a story by an African American author. Therefore, at the first meeting of the after-school read ing program, the Director of the Center read aloud Langston Hughes (2004) Thank You Mam since there was no professional recording of the story in the Junior Great Books (2004) series. Upon the completion of the reading, the researcher asked them to respond in writing to the question, What did you think about the story? (Kasten, Kristo, & McClure, 2005, p. 77) for tw enty minutes in order to collect data about how they processed information to express themselves in written sentences and paragraphs about the storys social and ec onomic issues. In brief, Hughe s (2004) story was about a young boy that tried to snatch an old womans pocketb ook one night in order to buy some popular blue suede shoes. However, the old woman foiled the a ttempt, took the boy home with her for dinner. During dinner, she lectured to him about his wr ong behavior and the possible consequences for it. Then, she gave him the ten dollars and sent him home (Hughes, 2004). The other written reader responses collected were from were open-ended activities from the Junior Great Books for Elementary Schools (2004) manual designed to help group leaders to
173 generate lively discussions. For example, th e motivational activities for discussion from the boys writings included three ca tegories: (1) creative writing for The Fishermans and His Wife (Grimm, 2004), (2) evaluative writing for Two Wise Children (Graves, 2004), and (3) directed notes for A Game of Catch (Wilbur, 2004). The Junior Great Books (2004-2005) manual also recommended for young readers to use these open-ended activities for participation in book clubs (Daniels, 2004). Judy Willis (2007c) also recommended using wr itten ideas for creating an engaged classcommunity for shared experiences. Specifically, Willis suggested that pupils use the quick write for three to five minutes without hesitati on about how a new experience made them feel (pp. 108-109). If they did not th ink of anything immediately, they were told to write the last word over and over again for inspiration. At th e end of the quick wr ite, pupils underlined portions of the written text for sharing orally (Willis, 2007). However during this study, pupils were given twenty minutes to write a reader resp onse for sharing. At the end of the discussion, the papers were collected for analysis. Collectively, the four (4) written reader respon ses gave the researcher data regarding how the boys processed information for performance in a variety of written activ ities common to most elementary language arts classrooms ( Junior Great Books 2004). The data collected from the oral sessions, small group discussions provi ded transcripts for analysis, along with the written responses, provided concrete evidence fo r analysis. However, the drawing from the observations of the eye movements to determine how the brain and its neural circuits generated cognitive strategies were introspectiv e, as discussed in the next session. Data Collection: Eye Movement Drawings The third p rocess used to collect data incl uded eye movement drawings (Payne, 2001) for three boys during the one-on-one interviews to make final decisions about their cognitive
174 strategies. Ruby Payne (2001) de monstrated in her research how to make drawings of the position of the eyes for making assumptions about how some pupils used th eir eyes to retrieve ideas while responding orally to classroom teacher s. Richard Restak (1991), a neurologist at George Washington Universitys Me dical Center, explained that the optic nerve [was] the only extension of the brain that could be direc tly visualized (p. 161) w ithout neural imaging. For example, when Payne (2001) looked at the pupils face, she saw it as an analog clock. As the pupil talked, she drew on paper how the ey es shifted to certain positions. According to the eyes positions, she estimated if the pupil was recalling information from what once was seen, heard, touched, tasted, or smelled. From the drawings, Payne also estimated about the pupils level of understanding of the material discussed. For this study, however, Paynes technique was modified. Rather than drawing the oval face of the clock, the researcher merely drew an arrow pointing to the imagined numbers positioned on the analog clock without looking away from the speaker. Although the process was introspective, Rich ard Restak (1991), a cl inical professor of neurology at George Washington Universitys Medical Center, further ex plained that information processing [was] based on the organizati on of the brain (p. 59). Simply stated, the eyes, in part, served as a laser beam to signal certain brain cells (neurons) to function. When the beam activated the neurons in the brain, the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) instrument was capable of detec ting the electrical activity in the brain when subjects were shown pictures or asked questions. When the electr omagnetic energy connected through impulses with the neurons in the brain that generated the sens es of sound, touch, taste, smell, and emotion the brain further selected the appr opriate memories for generating the response (Restak, 2006). However, the electromagnetic process to deliver a written or oral respons e involved interactions
175 among a vast network of two hundr ed billion neural cells, each connected with anywhere from one thousand to ten thousand other cells, creating the potential for any one cell to influence a distant other [ce ll] through any number of inte rviewing connections (Restak, 1991, p. 39). Restaks (1991, 2006) research with th e fMRI and human cognition, however, confirmed and refined the earlier work on eye movements w ith other brain imaging instruments used by Stanley Lorens, Jr. and Chester Darrow (1962) at the Chicago, Illinoi s Psycho-physiological Laboratory, and Institute for Juve nile Research. However, the complex neural system needed additional future instrumentation to definitivel y decipher the workings of the four billions neurons for laboratory research. Nevertheless, Richard Restak (2006) explained that information processing through the complex retrieval system involving the optic ne rves was indeed a complex system and often caused issues for neurologists collecting quantit ative and qualitative data. For example, an individuals oral respons e could be generated from the left hemisphere of the brain when the fMRIs results showed there were electromagneti c impulses in the right hemisphere or in the middle part of the brain (Resta k, 2006). Restak therefore conc luded that the eye movements indicated the individual was not always articulating what he or she visualized or thought. Because of the inconsistencies, Restak (1991) sa id, Observing the eye and speculating about [the] observations [were] fascinating. But, [researchers] must not be careless in [their] observations (p. 163) in making assumptions ab out what a subjects cognitive processes for telling the truth about actual t houghts. Heeding Restaks warnings, no attempt was made to compile data to correspond with each reader response collected from the 17 African American boys in this ethnographic case study.
176 Consequently, the collection of the eye moveme nt data was sparse and highly selective, using a modified version of Ruby Paynes (2001) technique of viewing the human face as a clock (p. 129). Refining, however, Paynes method of observing eye movements for non-verbal cues to identify how a pupil stored and retrie ved information mentally during oral reader responses, the researcher used the same positi on for the hour and minute hands when viewing a boys face like it was a clock. For example, the researcher noted on paper when a boy talked primarily while his eyes were in 2:10 oclock position rather than adopt ing Paynes two oclock (2:00) position. Therefore, a simple upward arro w drawn to the right pos ition in the direction where the number was approximately located on the face of an imaginary analog clock was sufficient. Simplifying the noted illustration a llowed the researcher to continue observing the boys face, while sitting directly in front of him during an inte rview as some of the questions in the Appendix were asked (Creswell, 1998; Kerlinger, 1993; Payne, 2001). On the other hand, Paynes (2001) technique for collecting eye movement data according to three facial zones (visual, auditory, and inte rnal dialogue or feelings) was used in the study because it was analogous to Horowitzs (1992) representation of consciousness and Newells (1994) mode of human processing that was us ed in creating a comput er program for word processing, which was discussed in Chapter 2, Rev iew of Literature. For example, when a right-handed boy gazed upward (represented on the face of a clock between 10:50 and 2:10), he was considered visualizing th e events in the story (Payne 2001). But, when a boys eyes constantly were positione d downward as he gave an oral reader response in the 8:40 to 4:20 positions on a clock, he was considered expressi ng his emotions or repeating his internal dialogue about the story (Payne, 2001). In contra st, when a boys eyes were fixed in a middle
177 zone, between the 9:45 and 3:15 range, he was recalling the storys a uditory details (Payne, 2001) In an effort to determine if the boys or al reading response was remembered from details in the story or from hi s constructed ideas, the resear cher mentally divided the boys face into two sides (left and righ t) with a vertical line between the left and right eye (Payne, 2001; Restak, 2006). If the drawn arrows in ha ndwritten notes pointed correspondingly to the left toward the numbers 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 positi ons on the clock, the boy constructed the ideas from the details in the story to generate the oral read er response (Payne, 2 001). While all noted arrows pointing to the right for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 numbers positions on the clock indicated that the boys remembered the details of the story (P ayne, 2001). All of the boys in the study were right-handed. Therefore, Paynes (2001) construc ted side (the left side of the face) for eye movements and the remembered side (the right si de of the face) were not reversed for lefthanded participants (Payne, 2001; Restak, 2006) The combined observations of the eye movements for the sensory (visual, auditory, a nd internal dialogue or feelings) notations, along with the left/right hemispheric retrieval for cognitive processing, yielded compound designations when the data was analyzed. For the visua lly remembered an arrow was drawn for the 2:10 position on a clock In contrast, the arrow was drawn for the 11:55 position for the visually constructed (Payne, 2001; Restak, 2006). Collectively, the compiled data for analyses included oral transcriptions of selected stories that were read and discussed. There were only written reader responses about four (4) of the stories. Although eye movements played a minor role in the collection and analyses of data during interviews (Creswell, 1998; Kerlinger, 1993), major emphasi s was placed on the written reader response of the first story Thank You Mam a culturally specific short story (Bishop,
178 1992; Cai 2002, 2003) written by Langston Hughes. Since it was the first story, there was less chance for bias. Therefore, the assumptions abou t the participants academic proficiencies as discussed below impacted the findings of this ethnographic study more th an the oral reader response. Data Analysis: Written Reader Responses The written and oral reader responses provided the m ajority of the analyzed data for making assumptions about the boys cognitive strate gies, while the eye movements data (Groner & Menz, 1980; Knowles, 1991; Witruk, 1982) merely were used as a cross reference to make final decisions about three boys cognitive activities and strategies as borderline cases. The four (4) written reader responses were analyzed for surface and deep structur e s (Bandler & Grinder, 1975). Then, the written reader responses were analyzed comparatively with the standards and benchmarks found in the Florida Curriculum Framework, Sunshine State Language Arts (1996). These benchmarks were used in making assumptions about the boys language arts developmental levels. In addition, the writ ten essays provided ample samples to make assumptions about the boys proficiency in expressing themselves a ccording to standard conventions for written compositions ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996), as well as their familiarity with responding to liter ature (Kaston, Kristo, & McClure, 2005). Since the participants for the study were ra ndomly chosen for the study, the researcher wanted to determine at the beginning of the st udy if the boys were underperformers in grades 3, 4, and 5. Immediately after the pupils introduced themselves to the researcher at the first meeting, the Title 1 Director of the Parent ing and Counseling Center read aloud Langston Hughes (2004) Thank You Mam, a culturally specific short story. (Bishop, 1997; Cai, 2002, 2003). After an understanding of th e plot, twenty (20) minutes were allowed for responding in writing to the question: What do you think about this story? (Kaston, Kristo, & McClure,
179 2005, p. 77). The researcher then issued lined notebook paper for the writt en reader responses with no other further instructions. First, each boys written reader response for Langston Hughes (2004) Thank You Mam was grouped according to grade levels Second, the responses were an alyzed to determine if the thoughts were surface or deep structures according to Richard Bandler and John Grinders (1975) Meta-Model criteria for analyzing langu age. These designations were useful for making assumptions about the boys level of co gnitive strategy thinking (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) as discussed in Chap ter 2, Review of Literature, as well as their proficiency in writing ( Florida, Curriculum Framework 1996). Finally, the responses were co lor-coded by drawing lines unde r the sentence with orange or purple colored highlighters. The orange co lored highlighter was used for underlining the surface structure with the purple colored one for the deep structures (Bandler & Grinder, 1975). Richard Bandler and John Grinders (1975, 1979, 1982) Meta-Model techniques were chosen for analyzing the written reader response because th e researchers used psychotherapists techniques for making assumptions about cognitive func tions influenced by personal emotions and experiences. In addition, the Meta-Model was based on linguistics and language usage analysis for transformational grammar (Ba ndler & Grinder, 1975). Bandler and Grinder also maintained that when humans communicated a representati on of their worldview, they formed complete, linguistic representations of the experiences. Therefore, the expressed thoughts from the nervous system were often unconscious representations of digital communication (Bandler & Grinder, 1975, p. 110). However, the same nervous system that produced language also produced unspoken thoughts (Chopra, 2004). Therefore, Bandler and Grinder (1975) called the semantic meanings
180 the Meta-Model of the individuals world. Us ing the transformational grammar model, they merely adopted the linguistics technique for analyzing sente nce meanings and called it the Meta-Model tool for interpreting unconsci ous, rule-governed behavior (Bandler and Grinder, 1975, p. 36). If a statement was vague or ambiguous, it was called a surface structure while explicitly stated ideas were considered deep structures (Bandler & Grinder, 1975). Most of all, since the language arts teachers taught pupils to write sentences in complete thoughts while adhering to certain grammatical rules for well developed sentences and paragraphs, Bandler and Grinders Meta-Model technique for analyzing the boys written responses appeared to be most appropriate fo r this ethnographic case study. After the boys written read er responses, the transcripts were analyzed for surface and deep structures (Bandler & Grinder, 1975). Then, they we re compared with the language arts standards and benchmarks for writing in the Florida Curriculum Framework: Language Arts (1996). From the comparison, assumptions were made about their academic performance and developmental levels for the study. Since the state [held] schools acc ountable for students learning at four developmental levels (grades preK -2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) . ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996, p. 4), the boys developmental levels results from the written responses to Thank You Mam indicated if they were performing according to the Sunshine State Standards and the federal mandate, the No Child Left Behind Act. Specifically, the first developmental level (PreK-2) germane to this study had three benchmarks for writing. Therefore, upon the completion of grade 2, pupils were expected to be able to: (1) make a plan for writing that include[d] a central id ea that express[ed] ideas clearly; and related ideas (LA. B. 1.1.1.); (2) draft and revise simple sentences and passages, stories, letters, and simple explanations that express[ed] ideas clearly; show[ed] an awareness of topic and
181 audience; [had] a beginning, middle, and ending; effectively use[d]common words; [had] supporting detail, and [were] in legible printing; and(LA. B. 1.1.2); (3) produce final simple documents that [were] edited for correct spelling, appropriate end punctu ation; correct capitalization of initial words, I, and names of people; correct sentence structure; and correct usage of ageappropriate subject/verb and noun pronoun agreements (LA. B. 1.1.3) ( Sunshine State Standards Benchmarks: Language Arts, 1996, pp.53-54). Since there were only five (5) third graders in the study, the researcher chose to use for the discussion all of their written responses transcripts for Thank You Mam to illustrate that childrens literary habits for academic performan ce were formed during their first developmental level (JCCI, 1992). Consequentl y, the researcher made assump tions about the participants developmental levels and their proficiencies in language arts prior to analyzing their cognitive activities and strate gies for reader responses to childrens literature. Langston Hughess (2004) culturally specific story (Bishop, 1997; Cai, 2002, 2003) Thank You Mam was found in the Great Books Elementary Schools (2004) series. As the story was read aloud, each boy followed along with his book. Immediately after the reading, the Director reviewed the plot and entertained questions to ensure they comprehended the plot. As a culturally specific multicultural story (Bishop, 1997; Cai, 2003) the characters language and cultural behaviors, along with the authors cult ural imagery, collectively gave a panoramic view of life in an African American ghetto, although their racial id entities were not stated. It was assumed that the boys had a prior knowledge of the setting and the dynamics of the story. There were only two characters in Thank You Mam a mature woman who lived alone and an undisciplined young boy. In brief, one ni ght Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones was walking alone from work. Suddenly, Roger snat ched her pocketbook. When the strap broke, he fell. While he was on the ground, she kicked hi s buttocks before picking him up and shaking him roughly. As Mrs. Jones held Roger with one hand, she made him pick up her pocketbook.
182 Holding the boy firmly, she conti nued walking home. Then, she asked him why he tried to take her pocketbook, and why his face was so dirty. R oger explained that there was no one at his house to give him ten dollars to buy a pair of blue suede shoes that he wanted or to give him something to eat. Still holding Roger firmly un til she arrived home, Mrs. Jones took him inside and made him wash his face before fixing dinne r for both of them. While eating, Mrs. Jones convinced Roger that they had something in common because when she was young she also wanted things that she could not afford to buy. After they finished dinner, she gave Roger the money to buy the shoes he wanted after explai ning that stealing was the wrong way to fulfill desires. Then, she led him to th e door of her apartment. Her react ions to his behavior were so unexpected that when Roger tried to say Thank you Mam his lips moved but the words were inaudible. As he walked to the street, Mrs. Jones closed her door ( Great Books Elementary Schools, 2004). Each boy wrote on provided, lined notebook pa per a reader response to the question, What do you think about this story ? (Kaston, Kristo, & McClure, 2005, p. 77). Whenever the third grader began a new line, th e copied version of the reader responses transcript below also began on a new line. All other conventions from the originals were also followed. Although the third graders age was identified, an assigne d pseudonym was used in the discussion. The underlined portion of the pupils text indicated a surface or deep structure. Essay 1 : Surface structure within a compound-complex sentence What I think about is that the story was great and I am so glad that wasnt me because I dont steal, I never did I never will not in my hole life (Mark, age 8, 2005). Since Mark took twenty (20) minutes to pl ace seven ideas into two sentences about a story he enjoyed, he probably thought about many unpleasant experiences in his life connected with persons caught stealing because he said that he was glad he was not Roger, while
183 sympathizing with him. However, he did not sh are the details to let the reader know why he would not make a choice similar to Rogers. Since Mark chose to justify his reason with a general, negative statement, his reader response did not reveal the details of his rationale. Therefore, the idea was a surface representation of his thoughts. According to Bandler and Grinders (1975) criteria Marks essay was a surface structure Essay 2 : No surface or deep structure I like is Book Because That man like to right and I like to right He is ProBoy. smart He is ProBoy. A vaey thanfol man He is a ProBoy a good Drowr (Joseph, age 8, 2005). Unlike his other classmates, Joseph was unable to wr ite his five ideas in sentences. His ideas, however, were (1) I enjoyed the story; (2) Langston Hughes liked to write; (3) I also liked to write; (4) the charac ter Roger was poor; and, (5) th e illustrations in the st ory were excellent that was expressed with his invented spelling dowr for drawer (one who draws). At the bottom of his paper, Joseph drew an abstract of a human face, which illustrated his artistic abilities. In spite of his artwork, he did not write his experiences clearly in sentences. Obviously, the characters economic conditions in the story ma de impressions upon Joseph, for he repeated: He is ProBoy for He is a poor boy. Like Mark, his cognitive developmental level for writing ( Sunshine State Standards Benchmarks 1996) was below all of his classmates. Essay 3 : Deep structures within complex sentences I think the story was a go od story because the women tough good maners. What I like about the story was when she fed the boy who tryed to still her pers but she had everything in her pers sept for two items but he fel down. Why I like the story because the woman had kindness in her heart (John, age 9, 2005).
184 As a writer, John knew that he should have a main idea w ith supporting ideas ( Sunshine State Standards Benchmarks 1996). However, John gave only a glimpse into his thinking process to conclude about the mo ral character of Mrs. Jones kindness although he initially said in his opening statement that he admired the manners and strength of women. However, only Mrs. Jones moral character was developed in the story. The generalization was beyond the story or the expressed thoughts in the r eader response. Consequently, Johns deep structure (Bandler & Grinder, 1975) expressed one reason for appreciating the story. Essay 4 : Two deep structures within complex sentences I licked it because it had graet detailes for example like when the author was describeing the big large women with the large purses. The reasons why I feel this way is because he makes very very good detailes. I dont like when he rote the woman took the boy inside Because he already tryed to still the womans purse so he might try to still some thing else. Thats what I think (Harry, age 9, 2005). Harrys reader response had two deep stru ctures (Bandler & Gr inder, 1975). His appreciation of Langston Hughes descriptive wr iting tended to suggest he was familiar with responding to literature. However, he ignored standard conventi ons that were prescribed for second graders to master and did not edit his work ( Sunshine State Standards Benchmarks 1996). Essay 5 : Deep structures I think the story was true I think the old woman once upon a time was a mom Because she did not ask, Why are you out this late? She jus knew he was a bad boy and had no maners. So she toll him to be a good boy and gave him the money after he ate
185 dinner. That is what I think (Tim, age 9, 2005). Tim probably learned to write paragraphs using the 5-senten ces format often preferred by the FCAT ( Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test ) for one of its requirements for being promoted to the fourth grade. In addition, Ti m probably had a literary appreciation of Hughes craft because of his once upon a time statement to describe his rationale for thinking the story actually happened in the authors life. The rese archer also assumed that Tim was familiar with stories with the phrase, once upon a time. Therefore, when th e Director read the story aloud the thought (once upon a time) surfaced in his written statement. Hence, the reader response had an evaluative, deep structure (Bandler & Grinder, 1997). Th e paragraph was well-developed with few conventions errors ( Sunshine State Standards Benchmarks 1996). In summary, the boys had three (3) other writing samples: evaluating writing for the Two Wise Children directed notes for A Game of Catch, and creative writing for The Fisherman and His Wife ). Their writing samples reflected simila r findings. Consequently, the researchers interpretation of the boys transcripts using Ri chard Bandler and John Gr inders (1975) MetaModel for surface and deep structures provided the analyses for th e written responses to the culturally specific story (Bishop, 1997; Cai, 2002, 2003), Thank You Mam The results of the boys data provided an insight into their language arts prof iciency, information processing capabilities, as well as their th inking process for generating the r eader response from the contents of the short story. All of their boys writings we re analyzed using Bandler and Grinders MetaModel theory of surface and deep structures. The data were most helpful in making assumptions about their oral reader responses as discussed in the next section. Data Analysis: Oral Reader Response The boys written reader responses w ere used as concrete evidence for making assumptions about information processing while the oral r eader responses were more introspective and
186 speculative. Therefore, the researcher relied on the other researchers views about cognition strategies used in information processing. For example, as early as 1933, John Dewey wrote How to Think acknowledged the essence of what Loui se Rosenblatts studied for a doctoral dissertation in 1938 about the role of the reader in making sense of literature (Rosenblatt, 1968, 1995, 1980, 2003). She acknowledged Deweys thinking in her work. But, Johnathan Culler (2000) called the interpretati ve process reader-oriented criticism (p. 59) without acknowledging Rosenblatts c ontribution of reader response and literary criticism theory in the 1930s and 1940s even though it compet ed with the New Criticism approach that focused attention on the unity or integration of literary works (Culler, 2000, p. 118). The confluence of exploring the thoughts of the reader with understanding how the reader generated thoughts for the response became of further in terest to scholars in a variety of disciplines (i. e. psychology, cognitive psychology, biological science, medicine anthropology, neuroscience, etc.) other than just literature classes at the university. Like John Dewey (1933), Jerome Bruner ( 1956) was interested in understanding how humans generated thought when he wrote A Study of Thinking. However, as a psychologist, Bruners work focused on the p sychological understanding of hu mankind: social, experimental, physiological comparative; clinical, [and] developmental (Miller 1980, p. vii). Consequently, when Allen Newell (1994) and his colleagues created artificial intelligence for word-processing with the computer, as discussed in Chapter 2, Review of Literatu re Bruners work was considered. His interests and efforts also helped to develop the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard University and served as its co-director. In the same vein, Frank Smith (1990) at Harv ard University studied and worked at the Center for Cognitive Studies. Later, he wrote To Think. While he used the reading process to
187 explore cognitive activity in To Think Bruner used language to e xplore how children acquired language in Childs Talk (1983) and Actual Minds, Possible Worlds (1986). Since Bruners (1990) career in cognitive psychology spanned more than four decades, Claire Weinsteins (2003) research about cognition st rategies included Smiths and Bruners theories. However, Weinstein advanced the application of sixteen (16) c ognitive activities in Ta ble 2-4, in order to help students to achieve academically. Smith, Br uner, and Weinsteins theories, along with her application were discussed in detailed in Chapter 2, Review of Literature. Robert Sternberg (1988) also was interested in using cogni tive research to increase academic achievement. His research incorporated prior cognitive psychologists theories in addition to Shirley Heaths ( 1983) anthropological work to an alyze the components of human ability and to explain how schools value certain childrens literacy skil ls. Sternberg (1977, 1984) advanced the theory of how information proces sing was the major skill for increasing analogical reasoning and academic success, primarily because one-half of the intell igence test required a proficiency in it. Therefore, he believed that students should be taught the various activities for developing the cognitive skills a nd strategies. In agreement w ith Sternberg, Claire Weinstein (2003) was one of the leading educational psycho logists to teach cogniti ve strategies and studyskills to underperforming college freshme n, while Cai (2002, 2003) related cognitive development to multicultural childrens literature and reader response. In contrast, Michael Pressley (1993) and Gerald Duffy (2003) spent more than three decades researching how reading teachers used cognitive strategies in their langua ge arts programs. In addition, Kasten, Kristo, and McClures (2005) research demonstrated how to use childrens literature to support reading and language arts in the elemen tary classroom. With Kaste n, Kristo, and McClures (2005) suggested activities, teachers solicited reader response for immediate feedback to discover how
188 information was processed mentally. All of thes e advocates works were discussed in Chapter 2, Review of Literature. Using Kasten, Kristo, and Mc Clures (2005) aesthetic stan ce questions for reader response, data was collected and later analyzed according to the three ma jor cognitive strategies categories and their activities commonly used for information processing. Weinstein, Woodruff, and Await (2004) maintained that p upils needed to acquire study skil ls to understand when to use appropriately active rehearsal st rategies for processing inform ation into their short-term memories as opposed to triggering their longe r-term memories by using organizational and elaboration strategies. However in order to perform well on psychometric tests (SAT, MSAT, LSAT, GRE, etc.), pupils lear ned during their schooling proc ess how to use elaboration strategies to retrieve information from thei r longer-term memories for correct answers on multiple-choice tests (Sternberg, 1984; Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). In summary, Claire Weinstei n (2003) advanced the theoreti cal views of Dewey, Bruner, Smith, Sternberg, Pressley, and Duffy by creating an assessment tool to help teachers to teach study skills conducive for academic learni ng. The assessment tool was called the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) was used in the Pilot Stu dy (Welch, Bowie, St. Juste, 2004) to determine some rural high school Afri can American boys academic strengths and weaknesses. However, the activities listed in the Learning and Study Strategies Module s (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) Infor mation Processing sec tions of the selfimprovement instrument for college students we re used, along with the benchmarks from the Florida Curriculum Framework (1996), as indicators for the analyses of the boys oral reader responses, because the Pilot Study reveal ed that information processing was a weakness for some rural high school African American boys.
189 Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) identified the strengths and weaknesses while the Learning and Study St rategies Module (Weinstein, Woodruff & Await, 2004) instructed how to overcome certa in weaknesses with various activ ities. LASSI inventoried the complex, mental actions of how humans generated a response to information. Weinstein called the complex thought-process information processi ng and divided 16 activities into three categories: (1) active rehearsal strategies, (2) elaboration strategies, and (3) organizational strategies. The categories were illustrated in Figure 3. 1 as a Venn diagram illustrated in Table 2-4. Although Weinstein, Woodruff, and Awaits (20 04) three (3) major cognitive strategies categories from LASSI were isolated for identif ying and developing 16 ac tivities for processing information, all of the skills were not applicable for reading literature (Duffy, 2003) and reader response (Cai, 2002). The applicable cognitive skills pertinent to oral reader response data from various stories were discu ssed in the next sections. Use of active rehearsal strategies The nam e active rehearsal referred to re peating certain information several times during concentrated study for short-term memory recall. Only two (2) of Weinstein, Woodruff, and Awaits (2004) five (5) active rehearsal activities we re applicable to the reader response data: (1) retelling of the story in a summary and (2) linking details of the story with a theme to recall details. In the written reader response discussed above, Joseph had difficulty in writing what he thought about Langston Hughes story Thank You Mam but he had no difficulty in discussing it or the other storie s throughout the study. For example, when he was asked to summarize orally Thank You Mam, Joseph (age 8, third grade) replied promptly: Joseph: This ole lady was minding her own business when she was goin home, and this punk snatched her pocketbook. He wuz lucky he wunt shot. But, she took him home and taught him that stealin was wrong. When
190 she gave him the money to buy the sn eakers he wanted and put him out of her house, he didnt know what to say cause he didnt expect her to treat him nice (2005). In addition, Joseph had no difficulty in pa rticipating in the oral discussion. Researcher : Joseph, what did you th ink about the story? (Kasten, Kristo, & McClure, p. 77). Joseph, age 8 : I liked the story (He drew the char acters and wrote the title of the story, A Game of Catch under the picture, and gave it to the researcher). But it wus jus too short. David, age12: Yah, but it was t oo short, jus as Joseph said. Gerald, age 11: Uh, huh. Yah, Monk and Gle nnie were catching balls when Scho came up to watch. I wanted to know a little more about their game you know Tony, age 11: He wanted to catch with th em, but he didnt have a glove or nothing. Researcher: Well, does that remind you of anything in your own experience? (Kasten, Kristo, & McClure, p. 77). David: Glennie and Monk were in the 7th grade, but what about Scho? How old was Scho? Researcher: The author did not tell us those facts. Perhaps, the story was trying to emphasize something else. Could you use this story to teach a young child the theme of the story? (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) David: Naw, not me. Tony: Monk started throwing the ball to Sc ho, but then he threw him a bad ball on purpose. Gerald: Uh, huh. He wanted Scho to miss the ball, but then Scho made a bad throw to Glennie. For some r eason, Monk stopped throwing to Scho. Researcher: Why do you think Scho climbed to the very top of the tree, David? David: I dunno. The story dont say. Tony: Monk said that maybe Scho didnt want to play catch no more.
191 David: But, Glennie told Scho to come out of the tree and play catch for a few minutes. But Scho started his trash talking about how he controlled them. When Scho fell out the tree, they went home. Gerald: Man, when he fell, I thought he had broken his arm or something serious. When the researcher attempted to give the viewpoi nt of Schos feelings of rejection to broaden the discussion with the third and fourth grade boys, the discussion continued about the details of the plot. The fifth grade boys accepted the id ea of rejection without additional comments, while the other boys just ignored the idea. Since A Game of Catch was a story recommended for the second semester of the fifth grade which wa s the status of Gerald, Tony, and David, the researcher wanted to know how well the three boys made literary connections using elaboration strategies on their grade leve l. Instead, they used only an active rehearsal activity. Use of organizational strategies The organizational strategies from the longe r-term memory in Table 2-4 (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) involved activities that successful academic students used to arrange information into familiar and/or personalized chunks to aid longer-term memory, especially when they studied texts for standardized tests. Weinstein, Woodruff, and Await (2004) identified four activities for acquiring academic study strategies for longer-term recall helpful for procedural or formative assessments. Theref ore, successful academic students (1) arranged information into three meaningful parts (beginnin g, middle, and end) to highlight the essence of a text, (2) identified the re-arranged hierarchi cal relationships to em phasize the meaning of a text, (3) created charts, diagrams, or figures to explain the essence of the text, and (4) categorized or classified the material into meaningful parts for application of the information in new situations. Depending on the maturity of a reader, al l of these four strategies were applicable to reader response and information processing of literature.
192 Two stories, The Brave Little Tailor (Grimm & Manheim, 2004) and The Fisherman and His Wife (Grimm & Crane, 2004) were used to collect data to discover how the boys processed information using organizational strategies that some successful students used. In both of the stories, the main characters repeated actions were told in a hierarchical manner with distinct details that were essentia l to the protagonists outcomes. For example, in The Brave Little Tailor (Grimm & Manheim, 2004) a series of misundersta ndings and fear enabled a cunning tailor to use his bravery and wit to become a king. In contrast, in The Fisherman and His Wife (Grimm & Crane, 2004) the fisherman and his wife lived by th e seashore in a hut the wife hated. When the fisherman caught an enchanted prince living as a fish, he threw it back into the sea because the fish asked him to do so. In order to be happy, his wife used the generosity of the enchanted princes power to grant wishes to upgrade her livi ng conditions. Althoug h the fisherman was content, his wife Alice was not and ordered him to ask the enchan ted prince for more and more. The enchanted prince granted five wishes, but when there was a sixth wish, they lost everything. Although the repeated behavior of the characters in both stories we re predictable, the series of details in the stories made the plots full of unpr edictable actions, therefor e careful readers paid attention to the hierarchical details. However, the boys enjoyed The Brave Little Tailor (Grimm & Manheim, 2004). The story was chosen from the first semester, series 3 book in or der to determine how carefully the boys read it and organized the details to c onstruct meaning. The researcher, therefore, encouraged reader response from the fourth grade boys in the group fi rst to make additional assumptions about the use of organizational st rategies they learned in the third grade. Dwayne, age 10: You know, its hard to kill one fly, but it doesnt take a lot of strength to kill seven flies with a towel. So, I dont think the tailor was all that strong.
193 Brian, age 12: But, in his mind he thought it was a big deal. So, he made a belt to brag about his strength. Andy, age 10: Uh, huh. But, the people he met misunderstood his belt, and he didnt try to correct them. Researcher: Andy, what people? What suppor ting ideas can you cite to explain why some characters misunderstood the tailors action? (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) Andy: The soldiers in the palace (interrupted by Brian) Brian, age 12: Thats near the end of the story. What about the beginning? You know, the giant thought he had killed seven men, when the tailor had only killed flies. I believe the tailor wanted to be misunderstood because when the giant challenged him by squeezing water from a stone, the tailor picked up cheese and squeezed it. Then, he pr etended to throw stones far away, when it really was a bird that he turn ed loose. Yep, he tricked the giant. Jerome, age 10: Why did the giant want to kill the tailor? Brian: I dunno. Maybe, he was afraid of the tailor. But, the giant invited him to spend the night in his cave. Somehow the tailor saw when the giant was going to hit him with the lead pi pe during the night and escaped by running. Dwayne: Now, Andy I think thats when th e tailor tried to join the army. He impressed the soldiers too much. They were afraid of him and left the army. Andy: But, they shouldve welc omed someone like the tailor. Jerome, age 10: Uh, huh. Yah, but they were thinking about themselves, not about helping the king. Donald, age 10: Everybody was only thinking about their own skin, and the tailor was the ring leader. Being in the army would have been the best place for the tailor. Researcher: Donald, you just made a moral st atement about the tailor. What clues did you gather from the list of details or meaningful parts of the story that gave you that idea? (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) Donald, age 10: Well, as a tailor he worked by himself. I thought by being in the army he would be around more people to understand what people actually do to be considered strong.
194 Frank, age 10: That was only the first part of the story. He was just lucky to do some of the things in the middle and end of the story. Researcher: Can you list those things? Frank: Naw, not without looking in the book. Researcher: Peter, Cory, Barry, can you shar e with us your mental pictures of the details of the rising action, climax, and falling action of the story? Peter, age 11: Whats uh.. rising action? Researcher: At the beginning of the story, th e author creates actions or situations for the main character to live through. Then, when the character meets the greatest obstacle, it usually is the highest point of the story. We call that moment the climax. The author afte rwards solves the created problem(s) in the falling action before ending the story. Peter: Naw, because the tailor went through so much. It seems like the he went from problem to problem. I cant say where the climax was. Barry, age 11: Well, when the tailor saved his own life by bragging to frighten the men that his wifes father.. you know th e old king had sent to kill him . (he reads from the book), I killed seven in one go and I have killed two giants, a unicorn, and a wild boar, so why should I be afraid of the men hiding behind the door? So, that was the falling action. After that, he lived with his wife in his part of the kingdom as a young king. Look at the picture, (points to the illustration in the book). They had a child, and they look like they lived happily ever after. But, in the story, there was no child (laughter). Cory, age 11: I wanted to say that the climax was the killing of th e unicorn with an axe after he ducked behind the tree, and the unicorns horn became stuck in the tree. At least, he actually used his strength. All of the other times, he just tricked em or was lucky. When the conversation continued with the other boys, the discussion focused primarily about the major ideas of the plot already di scussed in the above transcript with no mention of the tailors bravery as suggested in the title of the story. The analysis of the fourth grade boys transcript did not in clude the hierarchical details that created differences between each challenge the tailor endured. Therefore, they overlooked
195 how brave and persistent the tailor was to accep t each challenge to accomp lish his goal, while all the other characters expressed fear For example, the king promis ed to let the tailor marry his daughter and to give him one-hal f of the kingdom, if he would kill the two menacing giants. Although the tailor instigated a fight between the giants which resulted in their own deaths, he took the credit for killing them. But, the king fear ed losing his daughter and his land, so he did not keep his promise. Instead, he gave the ta ilor the challenge of killing a unicorn. When the tailor did so, the king still did not reward him. Then, the king told the tailor to destroy the wild boar that was devastating the forest. The tailor accepted the challenge and trapped the boar in the chapel. Knowing that he was defeated, th e king honored his promise. During the discussion, the boys did not mention the details of the tailors feats and his persistence to marry the kings daughter and become a new king. Instead, one of the boys merely mentioned that the tailor moved from problem to problem. Another series 3 first semester story, The Fisherman and His Wife (Grimm & Crane, 2004), with fewer hierarchical details was used to s ee if the boys would use organizational strategies to generate reader responses. Yet, the boys transcript below did not focus on the hierarchical details significance to the main characters actions and outcomes. Researcher: What did you think about the story? (Kristen, Kristo, & McClure, 2005). Andy, age 10: The wife got on my last nerve because (interruption by several speakers). Wait a minute, let me explain. Joseph, age 8: But, I enjoyed the story (chorus of agreement talking at once). Researcher: Let Andy finish. Andy: The fisherman caught.. you know.. the bi g fish. But it asked to be thrown back into the water because it was really a prince. I mean, the prince wanted to continue living as a fish. The fisherman was good, so he threw him back into the sea. But, Alice his wife was bossy and greedy, and I didnt like her.
196 Joseph: Well yeah, but the fishermans wife wanted to live in a better home, and she reminded her husband that he forgot to ask the enchanted prince for a favor. I like the prince because he was cool and happy that he could swim in the sea all day and yet create anything. So, he gave the fisherman the wishes. David, age 12: I liked the story, but in a wa y I agreed with Andy. The wife was greedy. You know, maybe she didnt know how or she didnt know what happiness was. She thought if she lived in a cottage instead of a hut everything would be okay. Brian, age 12: Uh, huh. The fisherman was happy too, but he didnt try to explain to his wife how to be uh conten t like the story kept saying over and over. Cory, age 11: Yeah, but thats no excuse. Sh e should have known better than to keep on asking for bigger and bigger houses. There were only two of them, nobody else. Why did she need to have a stone castle? Andy: Thats why I thought she was gr eedy. The fisherman didnt like asking the prince for things. He was henpecked! Donald, age 10: You know, you are right. She never thought about how he felt begging for stuff. She didnt appreciate what he did for her. But, he just kept on going along with her crap. Gerald, age 11: He was just trying to keep her happy. When she want ed both of them to be king, he said, no. Then, she want ed to be a king; I just tripped out laughing because girls become queens. But, she wanted to be a king. Men only become kings. Donald: And, the fisherman asked the prince to make her a king. Now, that was silly because he didnt try to explain to Alice that the wish was out of line. How, could he be married to a king that was a girl? Shucks. Dwayne, age 10: Well, the fish was stupid too. Because he gave her the wish including all of the trimmings like a great big palace, soldiers, a throne of gold (laughter from several boys). Researcher: Why did the aut hor create a woman king? John, age 11: To show that she was out of c ontrol wanting stuff that had nothing to do with living comfortably. She could have been a queen with the same power of a king, so I really dont know if she knew the difference.
197 Mark, age 8: When she got tired of being king, she wanted something else be an emperor. I guess he had more power than a king. So, she was not getting stuff to make herself happy. She was after power. Thats what the story said. Brian: The poor fisherman tired to say n o; and she told him she was king so he had to obey her. Yep, she ordered h im to go back to the fish. Some women are just like that with their hu sbands. She made him go back to the enchanted prince (laughs). Harry, age 8: Naw, he only thought about how silly his wife was. He didnt stand up to her and tell her that she didnt know what she wanted. He kept agreeing with her because he didnt speak up. David: Uh, huh. After so many wishes, sh e switched to wanting power. I figured she wanted to be God because she wanted to control the sun and moon. Andy: Thats what I said earlier; she was too greedy and bossy. Why would she want to control the sun and moon? She ordered her husband around, but now she wants to boss the world. Something was wrong with her (several boys laugh)! An analysis of Josephs comments in the transcript above about The Fishermans Wife Grimm & Crane, 2004) also indicated he was cognitively ca pable to read and comprehend the story, even though his writing ability was belo w that of the other particip ants in the study. His oral comments about the story containe d both surface and deep structures (Bandler & Grinder, 1975) although he did not write them in his thoughts about Langston Hughes Thank You Mam. Additional transcripts from The Fishermans Wife (Grimm & Crane, 2004) was not excerpted here because it did not involve organiza tional strategies. In stead, the boys discussion involved a variety of spiritual reasons why the fi sh could not honor the fish ermans wife wish of controlling the sun and the moon. However, the religious overtones to explain the enchanted princes behavior were beyond the cope of the plot In contrast, during th e discussion the wifes wishes were not enumerated with a reference to the hierarchical details that determined the couples outcome of losing everything because the enchanted prince merely told the fisherman to go home to his hut after the sixth wish w ithout giving an explanat ion about his decision.
198 Use of elaboration strategies The elaboration strategies found in Table 24 involved recalling inform ation from longer-term memory as discussed in Chapter 2, T he Review of Literatu re. When studying new information, most successful students used seven (7) cognitive elaboration activities in Table 2-4 which not only helped them to understand the in formation processed but also assisted in the storage of details in their longer-term memori es (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Those study skills involved the following activities: (1) association of prior knowledge or experience(s) with the new information, (2) mental pictures that were personalized for instant recall of the texts meaning, (3) summaries and paraphrases of the new information, (4) analogies of prior knowledge using new information, (5) questions cr eated about the new information with their answers to re-emphasize an understanding of the text, (6) usage of the texts meaning in new situations, and (7) instruction of the new information to someone else (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Using elaboration activities as st udy skills for learning new information also applied to cognitive strategies for generating reader response to literature (Cai, 2002). Four multicultural stories not included in the Junior Great Books for Elementary School Series (2004-2005) were read for the et hnographic study. They were (1) Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly (Myers, 2000), (2) Night Golf (Miller, 1999), and (3) Portraits of AfricanAmerican Heroes (Martin Luther King, Jr., Joe Louis, and Malcolm X) (Bolden, 2003), and (4) Langston Hughes: American Poet (Walker, 2002). All of these stories involve d social issues that shaped the lives of African Americans in the Unite d States. Therefore, the transcripts from these stories were analyzed for ma king assumptions about the social effects on learning because African Americans were once denied a formal e ducation and full citizenship as discussed in Chapter 2, Review of Literature.
199 Of the four (4) multicultura l stories read for the study that were not a part of the Junior Great Books for Elementary School Series (2004-2005), Night Golf (Miller, 1999) was the boys favorite. Although their comments about the story did not reveal a transcript beyond a discussion of the plot using active rehearsa l strategies, the story evoked more background questions about the skills required for the game of golf, not about race and racism, in spite of the authors notes that explained how African Amer icans were excluded from most golf courses in the United States. However, to satisfy the que stions about th e skills needed for golf, the researcher read aloud to the group excerpts from Earl Woods (1997) Training a Tiger and its Foreword by Tiger Woods. Since the Tournament Players Championship (TPC) golf games were played in the area during the ethnogra phic study, the presence of Tiger Woods in the community, and the details about his accomplishmen ts in the local newspapers and electronic media helped also to explain the skills of the game. In addition Vijay Singh, originally from a Pacific Island in Fiji, lived in one of the exur bs where the study took place. Singh also was a dominant figure in the local news because he ranked second to Tiger Woods who ranked number #1 for that year. Consequently, there were numerous TV clips viewed for background information of the two men playing the game. Although both players were of African descent, the boys still did not discuss race or how soci al obstacles challenged African Americans opportunities to acquire skills for the game even af ter being exposed to what was required to be included in the sport as a professional. In contrast, Walter Dean Myers (2000) Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly evoked discussion about the social effects on learning and one boy (Tim) us ed elaboration strategies for generating his reader response. His seven comments were numbered as notations in parenthesis
200 in the transcript below for analytical discussi on. Before opening the disc ussion with the regular question about their thoughts a bout the story, Tim, the thir d grader, spoke decisively: Tim, age 9: The life of Malcolm X is new to me. (1) David, age 12: I saw the movie with Den zel Washington playing Malcolm X. But, today I learned from the st ory more about him as a young person. Researcher: Maybe we can also read another story about Malcolms life (handclapping in the background). Dwayne, age 10: What about the movie, we could rent it from Blockbuster? Researcher: The movie is out; but when we finish with the discussion we can read a very short version of his life by another author. Tim: While reading the story, I re alized that Malcolm X and Martin (2) Luther King, Jr., both were 39 years ol d when they were killed. They both had the same goal also. Joseph, age 8: Are you sure? Cory, age 11: I need to read a s hort version of Martin Luther Kings, Jr., life also because I didnt think about him at all. John, age 9: The two men were so different. Even though their fathers were preachers, their family-lives were so differe nt. Malcolm didnt go to school like Martin. Tony, age 11: If he had not listened to his junior high English teacher, maybe he would have finished high school. Peter, age 11: Naw, you cant put it all on hi s teacher. But, the teacher was wrong to tell Malcolm that he should not become a lawyer because he was black. Even during the olden days, there were successful black lawyers. So, in a way, I blame Malcolm too for not tr ying to do what he wanted. Tim: My Mom told me to never list en to what other people say when (3) they try to put you down. She even told me a high school counselor once told her not to waste her time and money trying to become a professional. She said it hurt her very bad because she went to a school where most of the students were white. Peter: You see thats what I mean. Your Mom didnt listen. And, she went on to finish high school, college, and stuff.
201 Brian, age 12: But, everybody is different. The comment came from his favorite teacher who was white. And, Malcolm believed that white people killed his father. So, he just went to the stre ets after his Mother lost her mind and had to go to a hospital because of it. Researcher: Tim mentioned th at Malcolm and Martin both had the same goal. What ideas or concepts in the story that can be cited to support a theme of the plot or Malcolms personal goal (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004)? Mark, age 8: Malcolm became a preacher like his Dad who wanted black people to be successful in life. Peter: He blamed white people for keep ing black people from being successful, after he joined the Nation of Islam. Andy, age 10: Yeah, he hated white people b ecause that was all he knew. He thought some white people killed his father b ecause he preached about equality for black people, and his favorite teacher put him down. So, he accepted what the Nation of Islam taught him about them. Researcher: Tim, what concepts or ideas you had in mind when you mentioned Malcolm and Martins goal were the same (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004)? Tim: The story said when Malcolm returned from Mecca, he started a (4) new organization to fight for civil ri ghts. Thats what made me think about Martin Luther King, Jr. Researcher: We have time to read the shorten autobiography of Malcolm X by the other author. Maybe you can get some additional ideas about the theme. (Boldens three-page version of Malcolms autobiography was read.) What do you think about the second story about Malcolm X (Kristen, Kristo, McClure, 2005)? Frank, age 10: The story was shorter, but I got a better idea why Malcolm moved a lot. Researcher: Which ideas or concepts shaped your overall impressions about Malcolms moral character (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004)? Frank: Well, before he was three years old in Omaha, NE the KKK burned them out, and they went to live on the outsk irts of East Lansing, MI. The first story didnt tell us about the KKKs burning. Tim: Uh, huh. Each time Malcolm moved he changed as a person. As a
202 (5) young boy he fished, hunted rabbits, and boxed to help support the family when they lived in East Lansing. In Boston, he ran numbers, pimped, dealt dope, and robbed people trying to make money. The first story didnt tell that either. Researcher: Tim, did these ideas change your theme of Malcolm being a Civil Rights leader (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Awai, 2004)? Tim: Naw, because when he changed after going to prison he tried to (6) help other black people to learn more about what his father believed. Then when he went to Mecca, he wanted to help white people also through Islam, a religion. He just did it di fferent from Martin Luther King, Jr. David: You know, the movie didnt tell ab out what Malcolm did in prison to learn-like uh a correspondence course and copying pages from the dictionary. The first stor y said he read a lot of books, but this story told five or six different categories for the books. Heck, its like different subjects in college. From the m ovie and the two stories, I learned something different. Tim: Thats what I meant about his movements. Going to prison caused (7) Malcolm to change. Each time he moved, he became a different person. Brian: Yeah, he even changed his name af ter the major changes in his life. As a hustler he was Big Red. In the Nation of Islam, he was Malcolm X. Then, as a Sunni Muslim he became Malik El-Shabazz. Martin Luther King, Jr. didnt have to go through all of these ch anges. When I read the stories, I just didnt think about Ki ng at all. So, like Cory I guess I need to read a shorten version of Kings life too. Tony: The second story gave the name of Malcolms junior high English teacher and even told what he said to Malcolm that hurt him so bad. The teacher actually used the N word when he told Malcolm that he shouldnt want to become a lawyer. To be called a Nigger by your favorite teacher was tough. I see why he didnt want to go back to school. I dont blame him. After reading the shorten versi ons of Martin Luther Kings, Jr. and Joe Louis biography by Bolden (2003), the boys continue d to discuss the plots of the stories (the two versions of Malcolm X, Martin King Jr., and Joe Louis) without additional usag e of the elaboration activities.
203 An analysis of the transcri pt above about Malcolm Xs biogr aphy revealed that Tim used elaboration activities in a vari ety of ways: (1) association of prior knowledge with the new information, (2) creation of an analogy, (3) app lication of new texts essence with a prior experience, (4) summation of text to explain analogy, (5) statemen t of facts from two texts to complete a mental image of a character, (6) us age of new information to teach his peers about civil rights activity according to a different social context, and (7) usage of the texts essence to explain his point-of-view to a group of liste ners (Weinstein, Woodr uff, & Await, 2004). Collectively, Tim made seven co mments that were sequentially numbered in the transcript above, each of which was an elaboration activity. First of all, he was excited about reading for the first time about Malcolm X because he interrup ted the normal routine of waiting for the first question: What do you think about the story? (Kristen, Kristo, McClure, 2005, p. 77) and admitted that the information was new to him. In contrast, David who was older and in the fifth grade had background knowledge (Hirsch, Jr., 2006) of the information from seeing th e movie, Malcolm X. Yet, he did not use elaboration activities in his read er response. Instead, Tims sec ond response revealed that he associated Malcolms assassination with Martin Luther Kings Jr., although the group had not read his biography prior. In this third comme nt, Tim also made an analogy of Malcolms experience of having his aspirations of being a lawyer thwarted by a white teacher with his Mothers experience of being humiliated by a counselors racist academic advisement while attending a white high school. The use of the longer-term memories expe riences was generated in Tims first three comments from his ow n reading comprehension of two biographies. When Tim made the analogy, both Brian and T ony agreed with Malcolms reactions of leaving school. Brian remarked that Malcolm went to the streets because of the racist remark
204 only when Tim shared how his mother warned him about reacting to racist remarks and rejections. However, when the second story about Malcolm revealed that the racist teacher used the N word, Tony then agreed also with Malcol ms behavior. In contrast, Peter voiced that Malcolm still should have tried to become a lawyer in spite of what the teacher said. These boys comments revealed how some African Am ericans withdrew from positive learning experiences because of racism while others ignor ed it and succeeded, as discussed in Chapter 2, Review of Literature. These mixed reactions indicated that ra cism affected some individuals learning abilities in academic settings, while others ignored the non-supported learning environment. Tims usage of the summaries and paraphrases as cognitive activities (Weinstein Woodruff, & Await, 2004) were obvious in his fifth and sixth comme nts about the second Malcolm X biography (Bolden, 2003) Tim used them to try to explain Boldens (2003) viewpoint of Malcolm as a black nationalist by poin ting out the different details of the story that were not in Myers (2000) rendi tion. Consequently, it was assu med that in Tims mind, he did not separate the character traits of Malcolm as a black nationalis t while Martin Luther King, Jr. was an integrationist. In fact, Tim ignored that Bolden wrote: Integration was not the way, Malcolm proclaimed (p.65). Therefore, Boldens viewpoint gave detail s about the causes and effects of the Black Nationalist life-style, whil e giving few details about Malcolms life after returning from Mecca. The change of character, however, was obvious in Myers biography of Malcolm. As a nine-year old third grader, Ti m was unable to make such a critique through critical literacy, but he used the texts meaning in a new situation (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) with his sixth comment when he ex plained that Malcolm an d Martin Luther King,
205 Jr. wanted the same social outcomes for people w ho were discriminated against and denied their human and civil rights, but thei r tactics were just different. For a student at Tims third grade level and age, his reader response was worthy of note for none of the fifth grade boys used seven (7) cognitive activities commonly used for processing information that successful students often used in their study skills and learning repertoire in Table 2-4 (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Even after r eading Boldens (2003) biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. dur ing the ethnographic study as some of the other boys suggested, they did not use elaboration strate gies in their reader responses. Tim explained that for a Black History Month project he studied the life of Ma rtin Luther King, Jr., and he found it interesting, as he read the Myers biography in the after-school pr ogram for the study, that the two men were assassinated when they were 39 years old. Tims experience of using new information to make a connection with vicarious experi ences in the longer-term memory through reading for pleasure (Cai, 2002, 2003; Rosenblatt, 1968) al so was discussed and corroborated in Chapter 2, Review of Literature as positive learning ex periences for cognitive development. Data Analysis: Eye Movement Assumptions While Tim s experience of demonstrating the use of elaboration strategies, the highest cognitive strategy level, in his reader response about the biography of Malcolm X, three boys experiences were in the lower stra ta of information processing (Levine, 2007). Since two of the boys written and oral responses yielded, at best, the lower rung of active rehearsal strategies activities involving rote memory (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Awa it, 2004), the resear cher used the observation of all three boys eye movements (Payne, 2001) in an one-on-one interview to collect more data for analysis in order to make additional assumptions about their cognitive strategies (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004).
206 Of the three one-on-one interviews, Jose ph, the eight year-old artist, was of special interest because his written responses revealed the inability to write his thoughts in complete sentences. Yet, his oral reader responses were well constructed in complete thoughts. In addition, he often drew cartoons, abstracts, still life pictures, a nd portraits about the story as reader responses to the literatur e without being instructed to do so. The other two boys written and oral reader responses demonstrated their co gnitive activities were borderline cases between active rehearsal and organizational strategies. Th erefore, the observations of the three boys eye movements were used to make the final assu mptions about their cogn itive strategies for processing information to generate their reader responses to children literature. Sitting across from each boy at the table duri ng the one-on-one interview, the researcher drew arrows of his eye movements on unlined pape r that rested in her la p under the table as the boy responded to the literature or ally and made eye contacts with the researcher (Payne, 2001). At the end of the one-on-one interview, the results of the drawn arrows that indicated positions for the eye movements, while resp onding to the literature, were tallied for analysis. As the boy spoke, the arrows pointing to the left as if they were pointi ng to the 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11(11:55) positions on the face of an analog clock were indications, in general, that the boy constructed ideas about the story to generate the oral response (Payne, 2001). However, if some of the arrows pointed upward starting with the 10:50 (10) position and ending with the noon (12) position while the boy spoke the information was visually constructed. A majority of the arrows pointing to the constructed side (the left side of the face while speaking) indicated the boy was creating his feelings thro ugh the filter of a real or vicarious experience that a detail in the story caused the brain to retrieve a nd connect certain neurons for th e reader response (Restak, 2006; Willis, 2007c). In contrast, if the majority of the arrows pointed toward the right to the numbers
207 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 positions on the face of the analog clock while the boy spoke, he remembered the details of the story (Payne (2001). The re membered details, however, came either from his reading or listening to the oral responses of others. As Restak s (2006) research pointed out, there was no way that observation of the eyes would indicate how the information was first obtained or the veracity of what was expr essed. Therefore, assumptions based on eye movements evidence were introspective at be st (Chopra, 2001, 2004; Skinner, 1990). Deepak Chopra (2004) further explained on ce the information was stored in the memory centers of the brain, no one ever proved that memor y...[was] there. We assume[d] it [was], but how?(p. 213). In other words, there were no instruments to document through empirical, laboratory the evidence to prove memory existe d. Yet, oral and writ ten language communicated past thoughts and experi ences (Chopra, 2001, 2004). Judy Willis (2006, 2007c) agreed with Restak (2006) that information was ingested through the five senses into the limbic system in the temporal lobes, sometimes without the individual being aware. However, before the in formation was stored in the memory circuits, it went through the amygdala (Willis, 2006). Once the information was stored and then retrieved as a thought, the neurologists discussions ceas ed. Because thoughts were not observable with instruments like the positron emission tomography (PET scans), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and quantita tive electroencephalography br ain wave monitoring (qEEG) (Willis, 2006), the neurologists accepted the phenomena that the mind and thoughts were different from the brain (Chopra, 2004). Until in struments were capable of analyzing thoughts and thought patterns, the observable eye movements us ed as laser beams to a particular part of the brain to activate neuronal circuits would also be a techniques for parents, classroom teachers, and scientists to use for making assumptions based on introspective analyses (Chopra, 2004;
208 Restak, 2006; Willis, 2006). In fact without usin g machinery, the eyes were only the observable extensions of the brain (Restak, 2006). However, the opposite of the visually constructed thoughts, when the eye movements shifted from the l0:50 (10) to noon (12) positions like those on an analog clock while speaking, was the visually remembered ideas (Payne, 2001). When the boys eye movements vacillated as they generated reader responses between the noon (12) and 2:10 (2) similar to those on the analog clock, he visually remembered the details of the story or was describing a previous experience from an imagined or real picture triggered by a detail of the story (Payne, 2001). As expected, the arrows drawn to denote Josephs (the artist) eye movements during the 35 minutes one-on-one interview yielded upwar d left and right arrows that indicated movements for both the visually remembered and visually constructed details to generate oral re ader responses. Yet, he did not write his thoughts in complete sentences with surface or deep structures (Bandler & Grinder, 1975). Apparently, he had not yet deve loped the skill to constr uct written compositions (Comer & Ben-Avie, 2004). Because of his accur acy of drawing portraits, it indicated that he processed information through his visual memor y, the occipital lobes (Willis, 2006). Therefore, it was further assumed that he could use his vi sual memory to learn a spelling vocabulary for writing (Chall, 1996; Duffy, & Roeh ler, 1993). In addition, his abil ity to draw scenes from the story based on his interpretations of the plot also indicated that he used elaboration strategies, the highest form of information processing (Willis, 2006). Therefore, it was further assumed that Joseph could correct the imbalance with the prop er reading interventions (Comer & Ben-Avie, 2004). However, Judy Willis (2006) remarked, Age 10 [was] much too young to determine anyones academic potential (p. 93). Willis furt her maintained that children between
209 the ages of 6 and 12 [grew] more syna pses (p. 3) in abundance. The new synapses then made additional pathways to the neurona l circuits for learning additional information (Willis, 2006). Because Joseph was only eight years old in the third grade, it was also assumed that he was mentally capable to acquire th e Dolch 1000 spelling vocabulary to construct his thoughts in simple sentences, at least, before moving to the fo urth grade (Chall, 1996). Nevertheless, if the imbalance of his writing ski lls was not corrected, Joseph would be placed in special education (Mercer & Mercer, 2001) since the Florida Comprehension Assessment Test (FCAT) academic assessment in writing and reading demanded a proficiency in both for promotion to the next grade. Unlike his classm ate Mark, who was also eight years old in the third grade, wrote a compound-complex sentence with a surface structure (Bandler & Grinder, 1975) and often used organizational cognitive activiti es in his oral responses. Tim was one year older in the third grade and he demonstrated th e ability to use elaborat ion strategies in his discussion of Malcolm Xs biogr aphy and wrote his thoughts in deep structures while using simple, complex, and compound-complex sentences (Bandler & Grinder, 1975). Instead, Josephs cognitive activities were borderline active rehearsal and organizational cognitive activities exhibited only in his or al reader responses, while his ar t indicated he used elaboration activities to process information. The final deci sion was made to declare that he commonly used organizational cognitive activities without establishing cognitive st rategies for reader responses because of his low Level 2 on the FCAT reading group for discussing the findings in Chapter 4. The other two boys were 11 years old in th e fourth grade with a FCAT Level 1 in reading. Their one-on-one interviews were 45 minutes sections. The arrows of both boys eye movements pointed right to the 3, 4, 5, and 6 numbers like those on the analog clock. It was assumed that these positions indicated they were processing information based on their feelings
210 and internal dialogue about the de tails of the story that they re membered from hearing the story rather than from their own reading comprehens ion and interpretations (Payne, 2001). A few of their eye movements were to the left in the dow nward positions to the 7 and 8 numbers like those on the analog clock, while occasionally they looked straight ahead before the eyes shifted to 3 position before moving rapidly to the 9 position. Quickly from the 9 position, they shifted their eyes downward again to the left to the 7 and 8 numbers positions; it was therefore assumed that they were constructing their thoughts from what they heard. The general assumptions about the data from these boys were that they audibly constructed and audibly remembered the details for generating their reader responses (Payne, 2001). Since the majority of their arrows pointed downward, it was further assumed that these boy s were poor readers a nd relied on the oral reading of the story and on hearing their classmates ideas to ge nerate their reader responses because of their cognitive incapacity to pro cess the information from their own reading comprehension. Finally, it was also assumed that they relied on rote memory, active rehearsal activities, for learning. Consequently, these assumptions indicated th at both boys needed intensive interventions and individu alized instruction in reading in order to develop the skills for processing information from their own readi ng comprehension (Duffy, Sherman, & Roehler, 1997). They were excellent listene rs with sharp memories because their oral responses revealed that they were using borderline organizational skills. However, the eye movements data was more precise for making final assumptions abou t their cognitive activit ies of using active rehearsal skills (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). After making final assumptions about these three boys cognitive activities, the results were placed into the a ppropriate group for the discussion of the findings according to FCAT reading levels.
211 Collectively, the findings of the cognitive strategies from the analysis of all of the boys written and oral reader responses were discussed in the Chapter 4, Findings that followed the summary of the study. Summary: The Study Although this qualitative research had multiple characteristics of ethnography and grounded theory involving social history, soci al anthropology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, neurology, cognitive neuroscience, literacy, and pedagogy, the theoretical framework with postmodern, post structuralist s epistemology used was Lev Vygotskys (1962, 1978) social developmental theory of intellect ual ability and Robert Steinbergs (1977b, 1984, 1988) triarchic theory of multiple forms of intelligence. Vygotskys and Sternbergs research illustrated that both thought and language were embedded in the culture and that they equally influenced cognitive development. Recognizing thought and language as the major medium for learning, Vygotskys research illustrated how a less experienced individual learned from the more experienced person through scaffolding. In contrast, Sternbergs (1977b, 1984, 1988) research explained th at childrens success in school was determined by how they processed information. Drawing upon Shirley Heaths (1983) research, Sternberg further noted that intelligence for schooling was based on three things: vocabulary, analogical reasoning, and crea tive ability, according to standards recognized by the dominant culture rather than the subcul ture. Therefore, both Sternberg and Vygotsky believed that cognitive development was enhanced by the quality of the learning experience. To discover how to best address the quality of the introspective learning experience for some underperforming African Americans high sc hool boys in an after-school program for a rural high school, a pilot study (Welch, Bowie, St Juste, 2004) was conducted to determine the nature of their academic deficiencies, according to the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory-
212 High School Version (LASSI-HS) (Weinstein & Palmer, 2002). The result of the pilot study indicated that information processing was the African American high school boys greatest academic weakness. In 2004, there was not a LA SSI for elementary pupils to measure their inner experiences (Gall & Gall, 1993), or a teaching module to correct their cognitive development. Therefore, this ethnographi c case study of seventeen (17) underperforming African American boys in grades 3, 4, and 5 was conducted to determine which cognitive activities were used most for a dopting the cognitive st rategies categories that Claire Weinstein and her associates (2004) identified as being useful for performing successfully in academic settings and on psychometrically constructed test s. As the boys processed information to generate reader responses to childrens literature in a relaxed sett ing, the researcher collected oral and written reader responses for analysis (Willis, 2006). Since students in the pilot study lived and attended schools in a rural ar ea within a small school distri ct, the ethnographic study was conducted in a large urban school district. The adva ntage for doing so was that the school district had an established, supportive administrative stru cture and administrators for students living in low income neighborhoods, the physi cal facilities, instru ctional media equipment and materials, along with the appropriate reading selections and compatible teaching aids that were conducive for the cross-culture and interdisciplinary, introspective research. The postmodern, epistemological paradigm for post structuralism (Moon, 1999) framed the study, which was ground in Lev Vygotskys (1978) and Robert Sternber gs (1988) theories. In fact, these theories were analogous to the researchers perspectiv e of post structuralism (Moon, 1999), because they were learned and adopt ed from personal experiences while teaching successfully language arts for more than a decade to African American pupils an impoverished junior high school in an urban city in Florida. Although the predominately African American
213 school was populated with pupils from low-inco me families and economically impoverished, they increased their test scor es on psychometrically construc ted tests in language arts. Therefore, the researchers perspective was co mpatible with Vygotsky and Sternbergs (Neisser et al., 1996) learning theories and with Claire Weinsteins (2003, 2004) and her associates research that identified the cognitive strategi es for information processing. Consequently, the researchers introspectiv e, qualitative design drew heavily u pon Claire Weinsteins research as illustrated in Figures 3-1 and 3-2 for an ethnogr aphic case study that was ground in Vygotskys and Sternbergs theories while using the epistemo logical paradigm for post structuralism for field research in a predominately African American elementary school in Northeast Florida. The introspective qualitative research, desi gn Figure 3-1, also incorporated Mingshui Cais (2002) idea of using the Venn diagram for researching the c ognitive-developmental dimension of reader response to multicultural literature. However, the contents of the design models components were based on two strands of pedagogical research. They were Claire Weinstein, A. L. Woodruff, and C. Awaits (2004) instructional information processing section of the Learning and Study Strategi es Instructional Module and Wendy Kasten, Janice Kristo, and Amy McClures (2005) adaptations of L ouise Rosenblatts (1980) reader response transactions for an elementary school language arts program. Collectively, these authors research was analogous to Lev Vygotskys ( 1962, 1978) and Robert Sternbergs (1977b, 1984, 1988) earlier works. Since the pilot study for the ethnographic cas e study involved pupils attending rural schools, special attention was given to the rese archs methods and procedures. These included the selection of the urban population, setting, pa rticipants, as well read ing selections that appealed to the targeted groups interests. The procedures for the study included data collection
214 of oral and written reader respon ses, eye movement drawings, and data analyses from all of the collected transcripts. The adherence followed thr ee basic researchers tenets: (1) the rigor of Gordon Willis (2005) cognitive interviewing questi ons, (2) Jaber Gubrium and James Holsteins (2002, 2003) post structural interviewing standards, and (3) Brian Moons (1999) theory for the deconstruction of cultural factors and their consequences, such as stereotypic beliefs about the intellectual abilities of African Americans (Comer & Pouissant, 1992; Myrdal, 1996). In addition, a civic, community-based research group had studied and documented how hostile racial attitudes, Southern traditions of racism, as discussed in Chapter 2, Review of Literature, affected African Americans learning negatively when they integrated the public schools. Collectively, the overt social conditions of th e schooling process not only influenced negatively some African American boys academic success but ultimately the social conditions affected the achievement of success in their lives as well (JCCI, 1992, 2003, 2004). Therefore, the 19th largest school district in the United States was addressing the negative social effects on learning through the Title 1 Parent and Counseling Resource Center as a part of its overall school reform to upgrade low performing schools. Because of th e Districts infrastructure, the Center was conducive and highly cooperative for the ethnographic case study. The Director of the Title 1 Parent and Counseling Resource Center chose the seven reading selections for the study from the Great Books Elementary Series Twelve additional writings were chosen to enhance the understanding of th e main reading select ions, as well as to include some culturally conscious books for the extended reading. All nineteen readings were considered in making assumptions about the boy s levels of academic proficiency and the cognitive activities and strategies that were used for reader responses. However, the data collected from the eye movements during one-o none interviews of three of boys were
215 considered to clarify their bor derline cognitive processing stat us. For example, one boy was a gifted artist with few writing sk ills, while two of the boys oral reader responses indicated borderline active rehearsal and organizational cognitive activities skills. Ultimately, the boy artists data were placed with the organizational activities gro up in Chapter 4, The Findings. The other two boys were assumed to be using th e lowest level of information processing for remembering details, the active rehearsal strategi es using short-term memory from listening to their peers comments. Although the technique was introspective (Chopra, 2004; Skinner, 1990), the eye movements data were considered in making analytical assumptions for the three borderline cases. Their results, therefore, we re useful for placement in one of the groups discussed in Chapter 4, The Findings.
216 Figure 3-1: A module of the Rese arch Design: Discovery of St rategies for Processing Texts
217 Figure 3-2: Levels of Cognitive Thinking for Academic Learning Information Processing Cognitive Strategies Cognitive Strategies For Academic Learning
218 CHAPTER 4 THE FINDINGS There are significant co rrelations between m easures of information-processing speed and psychometric intelligence, but the overall patter n of these findings yield no easy theoretical interpretation (Neisse r et al., 1996, p. 97). Introduction: The Challenge Since acad emic research from institutions of higher learning in the United States was specialized according to various di sciplines, the scarcity of lite rature from the colleges and schools of education about cognitiv e strategies used for proce ssing information for studying and learning posed a challenge. Therefore, the re searcher embarked on a cross-cultured and interdisciplinary exploration of academic and prof essional disciplines to cite documentation to explain how 17 underperforming African American elementary school boys processed information to create reader responses to chil drens literature Additional understanding about potential, school dropouts usage of cognitive skills to generate reader re sponses during an afterschool reading program would help parents and teachers in choosing the appropriate intervention programs (Feurstein, 1980) to corr ect similar pupils under development (Comer & Ben-Avie, 2004). Mel Levine (2007) aptly sugg ested that all pupils needed the essential cognitive backpack for academic success. Although the challenge of teaching Af rican American boys with academic underdevelopment and less stellar performance on standardized tests rested with teachers and their pedagogical methods, the solution to academic achievement problems, however, first began in the pupils minds (Strickland, 1969; West, 1999b; Williams, 2006). Since the majority of the social institutions denied and discouraged research to identify the racially motivated pathological behaviors and negative social e ffects toward African Americans, in particular, and other nonWestern Europeans, in general (Myrdal, 1996; Ta kaki, 1993), it was a challenge to document the
219 point-of-view how underperforming African Amer icans boys could imitate the Talented Tenth that excelled in spite of the odds (Williams, 2006). Their accomplishments, according to the literature, were the results of their cogn itive strengths (Woodson, 1990), even though African Americans were believed, by some people, to be intellectually inferior. The researcher, therefore, explored the medical literature in psychiatry, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and neurology (Weinstein, 2003; Restak, 2004; Willis 2006, 2007b, 2007c) in addition to the field of education. The exploration gave a better understanding of how the human brain processed information to learn ( Jensen, 2005). This a pproach was necessary in order to accept the psychologists and psychiatrists points-of-view to deconstruct th e pathology of racism in the United States (Myrdal, 1996) and its negative social effects on le arning in a school environment. In spite of the documented ne gative effects on learning from the historical and cultural influences that affected African American boys less stellar academic performance in the classroom and on standardized test s, some African Americans achie ved academically in spite of the social obstacles and were id entified by W. E. B. Du Bois as the Talented Tenth (Lewis, 1993; Franklin, 2005). Yet, educational and sociol ogical researchers before the 1980s failed to document why they achieved academically, even in spite of an unevenly designed schooling process (John-Steiner, 1997; Sternberg, 1988; Weinstein, Woodar d, Await, & 2004). In contrast, the scientific literature revealed that humans were cognitively more alike than the social institutions wanted to admit and accept (Balte r, 2005; Bamshad & Olson, 2003; Cheng et al., 2005; Graves, 2004). It was documen ted from the social scientists literature, however, that the psychological, political, and economic self-interests were created to rationalize discriminatory social policy (Fish, 2002; JCCI, 2004). Therefore, there was no national in terest to correct the pathological dilemma that Gunnar Myrdal (1996) outlined in 1944 in An American Dilemma In
220 most educational and legal circles, the work was simply ignored until Mamie and Kenneth Clarks research was used in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 that demonstrated the negative psychological effects of racism on young children. However, re search regarding why some individuals achieved in spite of the pathological dilemma still remained dormant. In 1983, Claire Weinstein and her associates however, searched the literature and identified the cognitive strategies for parents to use to help their young children acquire effective study skills and strategies for learning and achieving in school (Weinstein, Wittrock, Underwood, & Schulte, 1983). In addition, some psyc hiatrists and psychologists worked within their professional societies to acknowledge how raci sm affected the society at large. Such an acknowledgement by the creators of discriminato ry social policy would have aided in the eradication of racism through federally sponsored research (Poussaint, 2002). Unfortunately, politicians ignored James Comers response to the Kerner Report in the seminal article White Racism: Its Root, Form, and Func tion that was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The article explained that African Americans were reacting to white racism; therefore, it undergirded the cause of the riots in the 1960s in several urban cities heavily populated by blacks. However in 2002, the psychi atric literature reveal ed that the idea of acknowledging extreme racism as a ment al illness was still debated in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the official journal of the Ps ychiatric Association, and the Western Journal of Medicine. In the same vein, five decades after th e Supreme Court accepted the Clarks research for Brown v. Board of Education to outlaw racial segregation and the effects of racism on young children, the psychological literature in 2004 revealed that the Am erican Psychological Association (APA) had not officia lly adopted the social science that the Clarks used for the Courts ruling in 1954 (Clark, Chein, & Cook, 2004; Fine, 2004).
221 In spite of the academic and professional de bates about the effect s of racism, Claire Weinstein and her associates crea ted the Learning and Study Strate gies Inventory (LASSI) in the 1990s for college students to discover their a cademic strengths and weaknesses for studying and learning. By 2004, they also created through H & H Publishing Company a module for college students to teach themselves the cognitive skills needed to achieve in higher education (Levine, 2007). Utilizing Weinsteins ( 2003) research along with the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) for some high school students, the re sult of a pilot study revealed that the African American boys greatest weakness in rural Alachua C ounty schools in the high school was information processing (Welch, Bowie, & St Juste, 2004). Since in 2004, there was no LASSI for elementary school pupils, this qualitativ e research engaged in the quest to understand how some young underperforming African American boys in an urban elementary school used cognitive strategies to process information. By discovering their weaknesse s and strengths at an early age, these potential dropouts could be taught how to study a nd learn for academic settings and thereby correct their own cognitive behavior to acquire th e skills for academic achievement, of course, with the help of a more experi enced learner (S teinberg, 1988; Vygotsky, 1978). Consequently, the researcher used Lev Vygots kys and Robert Steinbergs research as the theoretical framework for the qualitative study and met the docu mentation challenge by drawing from scientific research regarding how the brain processed information, as well as applicable cross-cultural, literacy, and pedagogical research. Findings Grouped by Reading Levels Although th e multiage group had various reading levels, the boys socio-economic levels and reading interests were simila r. In addition, the 17 African Am erican boys in grades 3, 4, and 5 in an urban school were considered to be underperformers in their language arts classes, according to their teachers, a guidance counselor, and the Director of the Title 1 Parent and
222 Counseling Resource Center. Since reading wa s a major requirement for success in school (Duffy, 2003), the data were grouped according to their Florida Comprehension Assessment Test (FCAT) reading levels scores after the study ende d. Then, the oral and wr itten reader responses were analyzed. Only three boys eye move ments, however, were analyzed for making assumptions about their reading levels. The researcher did not know the boys FCAT reading levels prior or during the st udy. These additional precaution s were taken to avoid the researchers bias. After there was no further contact with the boys or their parents, a conference was held with the guidance counselor who screened the boys academic profiles before contacting the parents about the after-s chool reading program and the study. Before signing permission slips for participation in the after-school reading program and their obligati ons for transportation home after each session, the pa rents were again reminded of th e nature of the study even though the request was for African American boys with FCAT Reading Level 1 or 2s. The screening procedures further confirmed the language arts teachers assessment about the childs academic performance and the parents we re informed of the same. The researcher also chose to use the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) reading levels scores for grouping the datas findings for the discussion because of the State of Floridas reading requirements for promotion to the next grade and gr aduation (Florida DOE, 2003) and the local school districts at-risk for retention policy (DCPSD, 2007). In addition, teachers tended to use these indicators for instructional purposes. Frank Smith (1997) maintained that reading was an individualized cognitive act. Consequently, pupils did not always acquire their reading skills at the same time or rate as their peers (Allington, 2006). Therefore, the findings were presented as a composite, cons ensus of the cognitive strategies used for
223 generating the reader responses according to the data analyses rather than by ages or grade levels. In addition, parents and teachers could make further assumptions about the cognitive characteristics of others with similar FCAT reading levels for choosing an appropriate intervention program for individualized correct ion of the cognitive underdevelopment (Comer & Ben-Avie, 2004). Although the FCAT had five reading levels, the findings for the 17 underperforming African American boys indicated a need for only Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 as discussed in the next sections. FCAT Reading Level 1 Seven or 41% of the 17 underperforming Afri can American boys data in the study were placed in the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Reading Level 1, the lowest reading score group. Five (71%) of the seven boys data in the lowest group involved the story method cognitive strategy (Weinstein, Woodru ff, & Await, 2004). For example, in many instances, they simply retold the pl ot of the story. One of the five boys merely reread portions of the story aloud as a reader res ponse. These activities indicated they used the cognitive strategy of creating a brief story, one of the active rehearsal categorys activitie s for processing information that relied on their short-term memories (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). In contrast, only two (29%) of the seven boys in th e lowest group occasionally used organizational strategies that used longer-term memory. As border-line cases between active rehearsal and organizational strategies users, however, the data from the observation of their eye movements revealed that they depended heavily on their a uditory memories for generating their responses. Therefore, it was assumed that they were excellent listene rs, in spite of being poor readers, to be able to process information from hearing their peers organizational st rategies and then to generate their own reader respons es. Based on these assumptions, th eir data were place with the FCAT Reading Level 1 group.
224 Nevertheless as a group, the boys with the FCAT Reading Level 1 processed information using active rehearsal strategies by repeating the plot of the story from their own reading comprehension or from hearing the comments of others. Conse quently, it was assumed that the majority of that information was stored in their short-term memory circuits (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004; Willis, 2006). Therefor e, the details of the stories would soon be forgotten (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). FCAT Reading Level 2 Five or 29% of the 17 underperforming Afri can American boys data in the study were placed in the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Reading Level 2 group for discussion. Like their peers with FCAT Reading Level 1, four (80%) of the five boys processed information to reduce the story to a paragraph (Weinstein, Woodr uff, & Await), but they usually did so as prologue to discuss a general point-ofview. For example, the oral reader responses revealed the hierarchical relati ons among characters in the story to point ou t injustice, without using the technique in their writ ten reader responses. Neverthe less, the hierarchical relations discussions indicated they used their longerterm memories to process information, an organizational strategy activity commonly used in a literary discussion. One boy (20%), however, did not use the story method as a prologue for further discussion of injustice. Instead, he dissected the plot and chose one vital element in the plot to explain a moral. The use of the two organizational strategies activities, as c ognitive strategies (Weinstein, Woodward, & Await, 20 04), to create reader responses were demonstrated in his written compositions deep structures (Bandler & Grinder, 1975; 1982) These usages indicated that he had acquired more experience with the cognitive activity than his peers in FCAT Reading Level 2 group.
225 The reason why the majority of the boys in the FCAT Level 2 group preferred to use one organizational strategy activity (Weinstein, Woodr uff, & Await, 2004), in a limited fashion, for processing information about injustice was unclear For example, often times their opinions were vague without the usage of el aboration strategies to substant iate firmly their points-of-view or to separate their opinions from the facts of the story. Consequently, it was assumed that because their reading comprehension skills were w eak, they did not grasp the essential details of the plot firmly enough to process the informati on on a higher cognitive le vel to support their points-of-view. As a group, however, the FCAT Reading Le vel 2s data relied too much on the one active rehearsal strategys activity for processing information with limited usage of cognitive organizational strategies to create oral reader responses, while th ey avoided using the elaboration strategies activities involving their long-term memories (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) in their compositions. Although 19 readings were used in the study, there were only four opportunities for written reader responses. Nevertheless, only one pupil used two organizational strategies activities in one written composition that contained deep structures (Bandler & Grinder, 1975, 1982). In contrast, f our of the boys written reader responses confirmed that they preferred writing the plot of the story in a paragraph, an active rehearsal strategies activities that required the short-term memory (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). FCAT Reading Level 3 Four or 24% of the 17 underperform ing African American boys data in the study were placed in the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Reading Level 3 group for discussion of the findings. This groups score re presented an average reading level achievement for the FCAT. Three (75%) of the four boys da ta in this group brie fly summarized the plot ( active rehearsal strategys activity) using deep structures (Bandler & Grinder, 1975, 1982) in
226 oral and written reader responses before sta ting a moral for the stor y or making a critical hierarchical comment about the characters behavior (organizational strategys activity) (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). The same three boys wrote their compositions in fivesentence paragraphs using a variety of simple, compound, complex, and compoundcomplex sentences, without editing them for standard conventions ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996). In contrast, one (25%) boy with a FCAT R eading Level 3 used his active rehearsal and organizational strategies activities (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) differently from his peers. Rather than creating a brief story para graph, in his compositions, he used a sentence to recall the plot in a carefully crafted precise (two active rehearsal strategies activities) (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Then, he used supporting sentences to explain his ideas while using simple and compound sentences that often contained deep st ructures (Bandler & Grinder, 1975, 1982). In his written summaries he repeated the essence of his introductory statement and identified or classified the mate rial or the character(s) depending on his point-ofview, in the opening statement (two organizational strategies activities) (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). The usage of slang and dial ect without using the normal conventions for dialogue, however, diminished the overall quali ty of his compositions (Florida Curriculum Framework, 1996). Unfortunately, the boy that used active rehearsal and organization strategies activities differently from his peers did not craft his oral reader responses well, even though he rarely initiated any discussion about a particular pointof-view. Instead, his oral comments supported or rejected ideas during the discussion (organiz ational strategys activit y). Therefore, it was assumed that he often reserved his opinions and carefully listened to others before speaking. It
227 was also assumed that this boy was unaware that he was using slang and dialect as if it were Standard English ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996) in his surface and deep structures (Bandler & Grinder, 1975, 1982) that reduced the quality of his carefully structured compositions and his reserved oral respons es (Florida Curriculum Framework, 1996). In summary, this groups data indicated th ey performed as average readers using both active rehearsal and organizational strategies activities (Weinstein, W oodruff, & Await, 2004) to create oral and written reader responses. One boy demonstrated strong cognitive skills in reading comprehension (Duffy, 2003 ) while using active and organi zational cognitive strategies. Three of the boys data indicated that they did no t edit their written work for violations of the basic conventions, like spelling, punct uation marks, and capitalizations (Florida Curriculum Framework 1996). On the other hand, one boy with strong cognitive skills was apparently unaware, unfortunately, that he often used dialect and slang in both oral and written reader responses in a way that overall diminished his language usages proficiency (Florida Curriculum Framework 1996). FCAT Reading Level 4 One or .05% of the 17 underperform ing African American boys data in the study went into the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test ( FCAT) Reading Level 4 group for discussion of the findings. The boys data confirmed his above average reading level because he formed an analogy based on his prior knowledge about a biogra phy he previously read while processing the new information he received from reading a st ory during the study. By doing so for an oral reader response, he demonstrated using an elaboration strategys activity (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004), one of the highest cognitive strategies activities for processing new information. When he made the analogy, th e group found the comment interesting and suggested reading additional works to learn mo re factual details a bout his comment. The
228 researcher obliged and added two additional childrens books to the study. One was another authors version of the historic al figures biography originally chosen for the study, while the other book was a short biography about the person that the boy previously read. With the reading of three biographies, the group was exposed with info rmation to understand the analogy that was introduced in the discussion. The additional information from the exte nded readings provided all of the boys an opportunity for using more elabor ation strategies activ ities, such as cross references, other analogies, or new mental images from associat ing the additional biogra phies with other prior readings or personal experien ces (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). However, no other elaboration strategies ac tivities occurred in their oral res ponses about the th ree works or any additional discussion about the an alogys point-of-view that prom pted the additional readings. Instead, the groups data revealed that the oral reader responses consisted of more of the same active rehearsal strategies activity for retelling the story (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). The data also revealed th at the two biographies plots were compared and/or contrasted in their discussions ( organizational strategys activity ) without creating new images based on their personal experiences or pr ior knowledge from reading addi tional works to elucidate their points-of-view ( elaboration strategies activities). Although the one boys data revealed an accurate analogy in an oral reader response, the elaboration strategys activity using other literature was abse nt in his written compositions. In contrast, his written data reveal ed he had strong skills in using the story method to create a plot (an active rehearsal strategys activity), create compositions with an in troduction, two or more supporting sentences, and a wellconstructed summary, while his oral reader responses often dissected the storys plot to create a moral afte r discussing the hierarch ical relationships among
229 characters to identify injustices (three organi zational strategies activiti es) (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). In addition, surface structures were rarely used in his written and oral reader responses; instead, he often used a variety of sent ences with deep structur es (Bandler & Grinder, 1975, 1982). Like the other 17 boys in the study, however, he did not edit his written compositions to correct standard conventions errors ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996). The FCAT Reading Level 4 data were withou t peers because there was only one individual to score on that level. From the datas findi ngs, the researcher assumed that the pupil was capable of developing the techni que of creating analogies more frequently, especially in his writings, as well as using additional elaboration strategies activities if he were made aware of the skill because he demonstrated strong read ing comprehension capabilities (Duffy, 2003). These cognitive traits did not su rface in the findings in the other boys data in the study. Findings Grouped by Cognitive Activities Claire Weinstein and her asso ciates (2004) created a module for college students to teach themselves 16 cognitive activities in Table 2-4 for processing information useful for engaging successfully in an academic setting with the ai d of an experienced le arner (Steinberg, 1988; Vygotsky, 1962, 1978) in higher education, such as a guidance counselor and/or classroom teacher during the learning process. In th e module for college students, the 16 cognitive activities as illustrated 2-4 for processing information were divided into three categories: (1) five activities for active rehearsal strategies that used only the students short-term memory, (2) four activities for organizational strategies that used the longer-term me mory, and (3) seven activities for elaboration strategies that used even longer-term memori es (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). The activities for each cognitive strategys category were listed in Table 2. 4 discussed in Chapter 2, Review of Literature, and illustrated in Table 2-4. and placed in italics in the discussions.
230 Although some of the activitie s taught the college stude nts how to study and learn information for various academic disciples, there were specific activities conducive for strengthening language arts skill s in reading comprehension and responding to literary works and analysis in the elementary school classroom ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996). The cognitive activities applicable to oral and written responses for lite rary works for pupils in grades 3, 4, and 5 were identified and used as indicator s for the discussion of the findings since pupils began acquiring reading comprehension skills during their language arts classes in elementary school (Duffy, 2003). Students then learned how to use the reading comprehension skills for literary analysis in middle and high schools English language, literature, and composition classes and other subjects to learn ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996). In a balanced language arts program, however, elementary school pupils learned certain thinking skills in an integrated manner ( Florida Curriculum frameworks, 1996; Kasten, Kristo, & McClure, 2005). For example, pupils that were exposed to the Florida Curriculum Framework (1996) suggested activities acquired a matrix of thinking skills that were prescribed for certain grade levels. However in grades K-2, pupils were expect ed to acquire from read ing texts certain skills in observing, comparing, sorti ng (classifying), ordering (seque ncing), and predicting. In contrast, in grades 3-6 pupils were expected to acquire from a wider variety of activities and skills in classifying, sequencing, summarizing, decision making, problem solving, hypothesizing, drawing conclusions, identifying facts and value claims, identifying relevant information for citation, determining the accuracy of a claim, and identifying reliable sources and human resources for documenting written compos itions. Having mastered this matrix of thinking skills, pupils in elementary school were prepared cognitively for a variety of academic subjects to be studied in grades 7-12 ( Florida Curriculum Frameworks 1996). In other words, pupils in
231 elementary school first learned how to read (C hall, 1996), after which they were expected to acquire cognitive skills to learn from thei r reading comprehension (Allington, 2006; Duffy, 2003) how to study effectively to accomplish each disciplines learning outcomes from their reading inand outof the classroom, as well as to perform well on sta ndardized tests (Hirsch, Jr., 2006). Since the ethnographic study included boys in grades 3, 4, and 5, no attempt was made to include the findings for each boys strengths or weakness for a matrix of thinking skills. Instead, the findings were the resu lts of analyzing the boys oral reader responses according to the Learning and Study Strategies (LASSI Modules cognitive strategies and activities listed in Table, 2-4 (Weinstein, Woodruf f, & Await, 2004) for processing information. Based on the interpretation of the contents of the transcript s from the boys oral and written reader responses, the researcher determined if they us ed certain cognitive activities in the active rehearsal, organizational, or elaboration strategies categories by matching thei r reader responses to the activities listed in Table 2-4 (Weinstein, W oodruff, & Await, 2004). From the matching, the researcher made assumptions about the boys mental activities to create the reader responses. Therefore, matched activities for each boy yield a finding. Then, the frequency of each of the three cognitive activities categorie s of information processing usag e was tallied according to the cognitive category to determine if the boy had co llected enough of the activities during in the study to indicate that he had developed a cogniti ve strategy for reader responses to childrens literature. Finally, the data were separated into the cognitive strategies cat egories of activities ( active rehearsal, organizational and elaboration strategies in Table 2-4 for a discussion of the groups usage that were applicable to one of the stories that were read for the study. Therefore,
232 the findings of the cognitive ac tivities were grouped for discussion according to the following subtopics: (1) Findings of Active Rehearsal Ac tivities, (2) Findings of Organizational Activities, (3) Findings of Elaboration Activities (4)Findings from Wr itten Responses, (5) Findings from Written Responses, and (6)Findi ngs from Eye Movement Drawings with a (7) Summary. The first subtopic Findings of Active Rehearsal Activities were discussed first in the next section. Findings of Active Re hearsal Activities Of the five activ ities that were used to create active rehearsal strategies (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) for processing informati on, two of them were applicable for reading comprehension and reader respons es to literature (Duffy, 2003; Florida Curriculum Framework 1996) in elementary school language arts programs, while the other three were more suitable for studying other academic disciplines or for memorizing information as a rote-memory technique (Willis, 2006). The two active rehearsal activities applicable to literature listed in Table 2-4, Appendix D were (1) the retelling of the story in a summary and (2) th e linking of essential details in the story with a theme to recall expository and descriptiv e details (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Of th ese two activities, the findings revealed the underperforming African American boys used the story method of summarizing the details of the plot for every literary selection. When the background of the sett ing and/or the persona of the characters were less known, the simple retelling of the plot was more prevalent. For example, the data from The Brave Little Tailor a series 3 tale from the Junior Great Books for Elementary School Series (2004-2005), revealed that the story method was used more so than any of the other cogniti ve activities to process information to create reader responses. Although the boys recognized and pronounced certai n words like garden, tailor, boar, unicorn, and brave, they did not conceptualiz e how their British meanings related to the plot
233 or the characters behaviors. Since the setti ng of the tale involved a fictionalized British countryside, the boys had a limited concept of the word garden to mean a territory of well manicured shrubs, trees, and other ornamental greenery and beautiful flowers. With the illustration of an English garden in the story, the concept was better understood that the setting and the meanings of certain word s referred to British English. In addition, the boys had little background knowledge of a tail ors job description. They had no experience of visiting a tailor or of knowing anyone in their neighborhood that was a tailor. Consequently, much of their data reveal ed explanations about the British tailors behavior in the beginning of the story when he crafted and wore a belt with the number 7 on it. Although the number 7 represented that the ta ilor killed seven flie s in one blow, it was mistaken by other characters in the story that he was a brave warrior, an implied action that helped to suggest the fictionalized settings tim eframe and soldiers behaviors. In the same vein, the explanation of the uni corn and the significance of the tailors feat of killing it were also difficult, even with the aid of the storys illustration. After the explanations of certain words common to British culture were understood, the boys tended to retell the story regardless of the questions asked. Therefore, a discussion of why the tailo r was considered brave, a very obvious detail suggested in the title of the stor y, was overlooked. The boys also overlooked the series of hierarchical details that the tailor repeated in order to marry the Kings daughter. In the same vein, the hierarchical rela tionships between the Kings fear, as a royal, and the tailors eagerness, as a commoner, to accept more and more difficult challenges were also overlooked. The mere mention of how several of the minor characters in the story, The Brave Little Tailor (Grimm & Manheim, 2004), repeated behaviors in a series would have indicated that the boys recognized the cataloguing of serial actions. Even basi c recognition of the authors
234 technique in an elementary way would have furt her indicated a form of organizational thinking that occurred for processing the information in the story. However, a discussion of any of the hierarchical details was avoided even though The Brave Little Tailor was chosen to collect data to discover how the boys processed information using organizational strategies. Hence, it was assumed that the story was too complicated fo r the pupils level of reading comprehension because they did not understand the British culture implied in the plot. In summary, because of the boys limited background knowledge to respond to the story on a higher level (Hirsch, Jr., 2006), they used the active rehe arsal activity of rete lling the story in bits-and-pieces while making meaning of the British tale (Duff y, 2003; Kasten, Kristo, & McClure, 2005). In contrast, the boys understood the vocabulary and culture in A Game of Catch (Wilbur, 2004), a series 5, second semester story from the Junior Great Books for Elementary School Series (2004-2005). Yet, the reader responses data to the stor y revealed the second highest usage of the story method, an active rehearsal activity. When the researcher encouraged the discussion about the younger boys feelings of re jection in the story, th e discussion continued with the retelling of the plot, even though A Game of Catch was chosen to discover if the fifth graders in the study would use elab oration activities on grade level ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996) in their reader respons es. Nevertheless, all of th e readers in the study failed to associate a personal experien ce with the two characters in the story that created an organizational pattern of rejecti on toward the young boy who wanted to play with them. In the story, rather than the young boy asking the two bo ys seventh grade boys to include him in their game, the young boy climbed dangerously high into a big tree to distract them verbally from their game of catch. The researcher predicted th at one of the two boys act s of rejection or the young boys action of deflection of their rejections by trash talking in the tree would be
235 associated, at least by the fi fth grade boys in the study, with a personal experience for an elaboration activ ity using an organizational activity or elaboration strategy Instead, the data revealed that all of the boys in the discussion co ncentrated on the sequence of events in the plot and failed to understand why the characters were acting in a ce rtain manner. Therefore, it was assumed that because of their le vel of reading comprehension, they failed to use a higher level of information processing to create an analogy from their own experience. Consequently, when the researcher ques tioned about the theme of the story that explained the organized behaviors of the two boys that were play ing catch together before the younger boy arrived, the question was ignored wit hout inquiring what a theme was or showing an interest in trying to understand why the young boy continued dangerously climbing to the very top of the tree. Therefore, it was furthe r assumed that the readers had limited experience in understanding how to link expository and descriptive details of a story with a theme to recall essential actions of a plot. The boys did not engage in the more involved, higher-order information processing technique utilizing the sh ort-term memorys active rehearsal activity for analyzing a literary text ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996; Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Not knowing when to use organizational and elaboration strategies the boys data in the study revealed an over-use of the story method, an active rehearsa l activity to generate reader responses from the short-term memory (Cai, 2002) In summary, the findings further revealed that the story method was used most when the boys lacked the cultural background to comprehend the expository and descri ptive details or the behavior of the character(s) (Hirsch, Jr., 2006). In other words, the boys used the activ e rehearsal cognitive strategy to making meaning of the story by using the short-term memory for information processing ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996; Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004).
236 Findings of Organizational Activities The four activities us ed to cr eate organizational strategies (Weinstein, Woodruff, Await, 2004) involved longer-term memory. Therefore, successful academic students knew how and when to use these activities to perform well on psychometrically constructed tests (Sternberg, 1996). Three of the four organizational strategies activities in Table 2-4 were applicable for reading comprehension and oral reader responses to texts. The three applicable organizational activities were (1) dividing the ma terial into meaningful parts or vital beginning, middle, and end sections and categories that reflected the essen ce of the whole text; (2) identifying hierarchical relationships within the material; and, (3) classi fying or categorizing th e material (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). On the other hand, the fourth organizati onal activity was more conducive to written reader responses to texts because it involved diagramming and/or outlining the texts information using charts, tables, and figures (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Collectively, these organizational activities co nstituted the essential skills for studying and learning (Levine, 2007). Claire Weinstein and her associates ( 2004) called the f our activities the organizational strategies activities for longer-term memory. Two stories, The Brave Little Tailor (Grimm & Manheim, 2004) and The Fisherman and His Wife (Grimm & Crane, 2004) were chosen to colle ct data to discover how the boys in the study processed information using organizational st rategies. Neither of the two stories produced the predicted findings, although both were seri es 3, first semester stories from the Junior Great Books for Elementary Schools Series (2004-2005). Unexpectedly, th e story method was used most with The Brave Little Tailor to generate reader responses. The Fisherman and His Wifes oral and written reader respons es, however, yielded a basic el ementary organizational activity, while the story method was used only twice.
237 For example, the other boys recognized the hi erarchical relationship between the sexes and discussed it as a form of injust ice. They discussed, citing deta ils from the story, how the wife continuously coerced her husband to ask favors from a fish that he taught one day but returned it to the ocean because it was an enchanted prince. Since the fish had magical powers to grant wishes, the fishermans wife told him to ask for a better house because she was unhappy living in a tiny hut. Reluctantly, the husba nd obliged. But when the wish was granted, the wife was still unhappy and wanted a palace with the entire splendor After receiving the place, she wanted to become a king over the territory. Every day the wife wanted he r husband to ask the fish for something else because she was unhappy. In cont rast, the husband was happy without all of the material wealth of the palace. Therefore, he did not want to ask the fish fo r favors, but he wanted to make his wife happy. So, he asked the fish to make her a king. However, when she wanted the enchanted prince to give her control over the elements her hus band tried to convince her that the request was unreasonable. But, she told hi m he could not refuse a kings request. The husband obeyed her, but she lost everything th at she had previously gained. The boys understood the uneven hierarchical relationship of dominance between the husband and wife which was a basic organizational activity for processing the detailed information in the plot of the story. On another level, the boys used crit ical literacy to point out how the wife became king, not a queen, and used her power to contro l her husband. The boys clearly understood the gender dynamics between the sexes clearly. Like The Brave Little Tailor, the plot of The Fisherman and His Wife also had serial details of challenges that progressively got bigger and bi gger. For example, the tailors challenges to win the honor of marrying in the Kings da ughter became more and more difficult in The Brave Little Tailor while the wifes wishes for symbols of w ealth and power became larger and larger
238 and more of a task for the husband to go agains t his better judgment to ask for unreasonable favors from the enchanted prince in The Fisherman and His Wife. Even though there were fewer serial details in The Fisherman and His Wife s plot, the boys ignored the hierarchical nature of the ascending order of the serial challenges in both stories. The progression of the challenges in both stories, however, was essential to the behavior of the characters. It was assumed, however, that the boys lo wer-level of reading comprehension caused them to overlook the serial challenges effects an d influences on the charac ters in both stories. Therefore, they were incapable of understandi ng why the characters were behaving in a certain manner. Hence, the boys oral and written reader responses in The Fisherman and His Wife discussed the hierarchical re lationship between the husband a nd the wife as being one of injustice rather than the characte rs moral flaws. Consequently, it was further assumed that the boys had little experience using an organizationa l activity to process detailed information given in a literary text and applying the essence of those details to expl ain or describe the characters behaviors in the story. Therefore, in summary, it was ultimately assumed that the boys used the basic, elementary information processing skills in using the organiza tional activity to make meaning of the story, but they did not know what to do with that informati on for a more in-depth reader response on their grade level ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996). Since the hierarchal relations was printed in the text of the story, from their l ong-term memories, they drew upon their background knowledge to recognize th e wifes series of behavior. However, the frequency of using organizational activities with the other stories indicated that they had not developed the technique of using organizational strategies Findings of Elabor ation Activities Of the seven activities that were used to create elaboration strategies (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) for processing informati on, all of them, were applicable for reading
239 comprehension and reader respons es to literature (Duffy, 2003; Florida Curriculum Framework, 1996) in elementary school language arts programs, as discussed in Chapters 2 and 3. In order to perform, at least, the basic, elaboration activ ities successfully, however, the reader needed to perform two of the five active re hearsal activities, such as (1) reducing information to recall the essence of a text and (2) linking facts, events and persons for recognizing patterns and/or a literary theme/moral. Along with basic, active rehe arsal activities, in the same vein, the reader also needed to be able to perform three of the four organizational activities for academic settings, like: (1) dividing the material into meaningful pa rts (beginning, middle, a nd end) to reflect the essence of a text, (2) outlining th e pertinent facts of the text to highlight its essence, and (3) classifying or categorizing the essence of a text. In addition to being able to perform the above five tasks, the pupil most of all needed to know when to apply the skills to execute an elaboration activity. Therefore, to perfor m elaboration activities, the pup ils longer-term memories and higher-order thinking skills were essential. Consequently, the researcher assumed that the majority of the boys in the study lacked practic ed in reading and discussing stories enough to learn how to use elaboration strategies activities for processing in formation involved higherorder cognition (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2000) It was further assumed that they had not acquired the metacognitive skills from practicing the matrix of thinking skills through their language arts program enough to use highe r-order elaboration thinking skills ( Florida Curriculum Framework 1996). In fact the data revealed only one boys usage of elaboration activities conducive for academic settings (Florida Curriculum Framework 1996; Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Tim (age 9, third grade) associated facts from the new reading material with knowledge gained from his prior study of a biography about Martin Luther King, Jr. For example, Tims
240 dialogue presented in Chapter 3, The Study, reveal ed that he used six of the seven elaboration activities (Weinstein, Woodr uff, & Await, 2004). First, he rec ognized that the life of Malcolm X was new to him, but he instantly compared Malcolms biography with anot her civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. In order to make th e comparison, he mentally formed a comparative image of a civil rights leader from his own reading inference, which was the second elaboration activity. Third, he chose the death of the two mens ages to create an analogy. Fourth, he paraphrased sections of the new reading material to explain to the gr oup his analogy. Fifth, he used facts from the new information to convince his peers of a point-of-view gained from his prior reading knowledge. Then, he applied the new knowledge to make a value judgment about the choices that Malcolm X made in his life with what his mother told him that happened to her in a predominately white high school. The usage of six elaboration activi ties indicated that Tim used the cognitive elaboration strategy (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004) for his reader responses to Walter Dean Myers (2000) Malcolm X : A Fire Burning Brightly. Although Tims Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) reading score indicat ed that he was slightly above average, he was not consistent in using the elaboration strategy for reader responses with the other stories. Consequentl y, the low frequency of using the elaboration strategy with only one story out of nineteen (19) readings was no indication that he understood the thinking process enough to adopt it as a valuable cognitive strategy to perform successfully in other academic settings. Findings from Written Responses Although there were four written reader respon ses out of the nineteen readings, the boys preferred the oral discussions. They m ade it known to the resear cher that when they responded in writing, the activity was too much like the normal school days work. In addition, they explained that they wanted to know immediately what their peers thought about the story. This
241 stated preference was an indicati on that they enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of using literature circles (Daniels, 2004) a nd large group discussions in an after-school reading program. On another level, the finding indicated that the boy s viewed the after-schoo l reading program as a social extension of play (Brune r, 1976), not school work and th at some boys enjoyed discussing stories aesthetically. Since thes e African American boys did not c onsider literature circles and open, large group discussions as normal classr oom work, perhaps the activities were most appropriate as teachable moments for similar pupils to build rela tional memories to learn higherorder thinking skills to enhance their reading comprehension (Willis, 2007c). In fact, it was Jerome Bruner (1976) that reminded parents and teachers that children learned best from play. Judy Willis (2006) confirmed scientifically Brun ers theory. She explained that when the amygdala was relaxed, experiences passed through th e circuits easily into the long-term memory brain cells. The thoughts remained in the brains long-term memo ry cell as background knowledge. However, when the environment was stressful these phenomena ceased. In the study, the researcher had the pupils to write, their reader responses to Langston Hughes Thank You Mam as the first activity before the oral discussion of the story. This was done to avoid bias. The researcher wanted to document how well the boys mastered the language arts proficiencies pres cribed by grade-levels in the Florida Curriculum Framework (1996). Using the written response as a simulated standardized test, the researcher assessed their total educational outcomes for language arts. By doing this first, the written response provided a guide for the entire study. The researcher al so used the first writt en responses finding to determine if the boys were underperformers in la nguage arts, since thei r teachers, a guidance counselor, and the Director of Title 1 Parent and Counseli ng Resource Center chose the population for the study. The technique was suc cessful because the findings from the first
242 written response indicated that a ll of the boys were indeed underperformers in language arts. The other three written responses occurred, however, after the la rge and small group discussions that were recorded and prescribed (Fang, Fu & Lamme, 2003). Yet, the boys preferred to discuss the stories only. Transcripts were collected and analyzed. Afte r the analyses, the transcripts were grouped after the study ended according to the boys Florida Comprehension Assessment Test (FCAT) reading levels because they were often analogous to the information processing skills (Duffy, 2003; Pressley, 1993). Second, the findings were grouped by the three cognitive strategies activities listed in Table 2-4. Each boys reader response was then compared with the appropriate cognitive activity fo r a tallied finding. Third, the written responses were further analyzed for surface and deep structures using the Meta-Model (B andler & Grinder, 1975) presented in Tables 4-1, 4-2, and 4-3 to support the findings from oral reader response findings. The data presented in Tables 4. 1, 4-2, and 4. 3 were gathered from three written reader responses from A Game of Catch, The Fisherman and His Wife and Two Wise Children Each writings occurred after the open-forum, large gr oup discussions. Although the boys indicated a preference for oral reader res ponses, the problem of writers bl ock never occurred during the study. This finding indicated that oral discussion of the stories helped to stimulate ideas for written compositions. Table 4-1 revealed that Joseph, the artist, coul d not express himself in written sentences. His artwork, however, tended to suggest he had the mental ability to think using elaboration strategies. Yet, he failed to learn how to write hi s thoughts in sentences rather than drawing them.
243 Table 4-2 revealed a different perspective or the fourth grade boys. Dwaynes, Barrys, and Davids writings were rather balanced for expressing thought in deep and surface structure, while David in Table 4-3 also presented a similar balance. Collectively, the 4th and 5th grade boys produced a small sample of writings for three st ories. Therefore, it was assumed that they spent more time thinking about the stories rather than writing about them. Richard Bandler and John Grinders (1975) Meta-Model criteria for analyzing the language of the boys writings were helpful fo r making assumptions about cognitive functions influenced by personal emotions and experien ces. The method based on linguists and language usage analysis for transformational grammar. However, sometimes the vague or ambiguous statements that were surface structure were often highly creative African American cultural expressions. Although the deep structures that were explicitly stated ideas, according to Bandler and Grinder, they often tended not to expre ss the African American cultural idea well. However, after the analyses for deep and su rface structure, the indi viduals tallies were compared with the language arts standa rds and benchmarks for writing in the Florida Curriculum Frameworks (1996). From the comparison, the fi ndings indicated that the majority of the boys were writing below proficiency levels. Findings from the Eye Movement The observations of the eye m ovement (Payne 2001) drawings were few. Only three boys were observed as they talked to the res earcher. The technique of observing non-verbal clues and cognitive processing involved eye movements to four basic zones: (1) visual, (2) auditory, (3) feeling/kinesthetic, and (4) vi sual construct. Since the eyes were the only visual extension of the brain the eyes acted as laser beams to retrieve stored information in cer tain parts of the brain (Restak, 2006).
244 With unlined paper in the re searchers lap, arrows drawn left indicated that ideas were being constructed through f eelings, while arrows drawn righ t indicated ideas were remembered. When the arrows pointed upward right the information was visually remembered. In contrast, when the arrows pointed upward left the information was auditory constructed. These nonverbal cues helped the researcher Joseph, the artist, was of special interest to the researcher because he had not learned how to write. As expected his drawings indicated th at he visually remembered information. The two other boys drawings indicate that they auditorily remembered the classmates discussions of the story. Summary It was a challenge to docum ent from literature in the field of education how some African Americans learning outcomes were successful acad emically in spite of the negative social effects on their learning so that others in similar circumstance s could imitate them (Du Bois, 1975). In contrast, the scientific literature revealed that humans were cognitively more alike than social institutions wanted to admit or accept (B alter, 2005; Cheng et al., 2005; Graves, 2004). However, children had no control over negative social policies in the society. Hence, the researcher drew upon medical literature in psyc hiatry (Comer & Poussaint, 1992) and neurology (Restak 2006; Willis, 2006) that complemented the pedagogical approaches of Lev Vygotsky (1962, 1978) and Robert Sternberg (1988) for a theoretical framework conducive epistemologically for a postmodern, post structural paradigm that parents and teachers might use to help underperforming pupils to overcome their shortcomings. In addition, Claire Weinsteins (2003) rese arch, utilizing cognitive psychology theory, involved teaching post secondary education students in a sout hwestern university how to overcome their academic deficiencies by learni ng certain study strategi es to enhance their
245 learning outcomes. For example, college and high school students would take the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) to discover their strengths and weaknesses. Then with an experienced reader as a periodic re source guide, the students would use the LASSI Instructional Module on the computer for individualized instru ction to acquire the necessary skills to overcome deficiencies pointed out in the LASSIs ten (10) sub-scales. Information Processing was one of the sub-scales that the rural high sc hools African American boys needed to become cognitively proficient in order to finish high school and to pursue a post secondary education according to the finding from the Pilot Study (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). Since academic learning outcomes depended heavily on the mastery of the Information Processing section of the LASSI Instructional Module the modules authors expl ained that it was the most important sub-scale to master in order to develop study st rategies and skills for academic success (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). The Florida Curriculum Framework (1996) was equally designed to give elem entary pupils a matrix of thinking skills by a ppropriate grade level to acquire information processing found in the cognitive strategies categories listed in Table 2-4. Therefore, the transcripts of the pupils oral r eader responses were first group by FCAT Reading Levels scores for analyses. Based on the inte rpretation of the contents of the oral reader responses, the researcher determined if the boys used cognitive stra tegies activities for processing the information to create the read er responses listed in Table 2-4. Cognitive strategies used for processing information were the foci because they were vital for academic success (Levine, 2007). The reader responses grouped in the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Reading Level 1 revealed an abundance of the active rehearsal activities utilizing the shortterm memory for retelling the story. In additi on, some boys retold the story by relying on the
246 comments of others in the group. Such findings also revealed th at they needed more practice acquiring a matrix of thinking skills often acquired through reading co mprehension skills (Duffy, 2003b). However, the majority of the reader responses grouped in the FCAT Reading Level 2 also relied heavily on the story method. Usually they reduced the story to a paragraph before discussing a general point-of-view. The boys also commonly rev ealed the hierarchical relations among characters to point out gender injustices. These in cidents revealed that frequent usage of organizational strategy activity that involved using lo nger-term memories were used only in their oral reader responses Therefore, the frequency of the longer-term memory was not consistent enough to demonstrate having acquired on organizational strategy Likewise, the findings in the FCAT Reading Level 3 used the story method by briefly summarizing the plot (active rehearsal strategies activities). But, their usage was different from those in FCAT Reading Levels 1 and 2. Although they stated the hierarchical comments about the characters behavior, the response contained a moral. In add ition, the same lower-level thinking skills traits were found in their writings as they used surface and deep structures illustrated in Table 2.6. Finally, FCAT Reading Level 4s data cons isted of only one boys responses. Although his reading level was slightly above average, he only used the higher-order thinking skills once in the comparison of two biographies about Mart in Luther King. His low frequency usage of elaboration strategies activ ities was not sufficient enough to declare he used the elaboration strategy effectively in response to ch ildrens literature. Conseque ntly, all of the boys in the studys findings indicated that they needed practice with an in tervention program in higher order thinking because their cognitive strategy was the active rehearsal method from the shortterm memory.
247 According to the literature, information pro cessing of this kind for reading in other academic disciplines would be forgotten, just as most of the details from making meaning of the stories through the story method. Details of this kind often did filter through the mygdala to reach the long-term memory cells even in a relaxed state (Willis, 2006). Instead, special attention must be given to the information by mani pulating it into other forms in order to embed the information to long-term memory cells. Me l Levine (2002b) aptly described the special attention (organizational and elaboration activitie s) putting information in to the hard drive of the human mind. The frequency tally of the surface structures in Table 4-1 the boys individual findings from all of the written responses confirmed the us age of the findings for the oral reader responses created from their short-term memo ries. From their sentence struct ures, it seemed that they often thought about the plot, but it was assumed that thei r inner thoughts were not equally shared with the reader. Consequently, from what they wrote, the researcher interpreted thei r thoughts based on the clues given in the surface sentences. In contrast, deep structures were few. However, the boys with higher Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) reading level score used more deep structures. For boys that wrote more than others, the researcher had more opportunities to analyze their simple, compound, comple x, or complex-compound sentences for surface and deep structures. The observation of the eye movements (Payne, 2001) drawings of three boys were few to clarify finally decisions as to where their da ta should be grouped for further analyses. In conclusion, the findings identified that the boys had one well-developed cognitive strategy, the story method in response to childrens literature. This method was best described as the active rehearsal cogn itive strategy that involved using th e short-term memory to create a
248 story or sentence to recall facts. The findings also revealed that although some of the boys were FCAT Reading 3 and 4 they still primarily used the story method to process information. The FCAT Reading Levels 1 and 2, relied on thei r good listening skills to compensate for poor reading comprehension skills. Good listening sk ills, however, were also applicable and transferable skills for most academic settings.
249 Table 4-1: Tally of Surface and Deep Structures in Written Reader Responses for Grade 3 Name Age Deep Structures Surface Structures Joseph 8 0 0 Mark 6 12 6 John 9 15 6 Harry 9 13 16 Tim 9 30 3 Table 4-2: Tally of Surface and Deep Structures in Written Reader Responses in Written Reader Responses for Grade 4 Name Age Deep Structures Surface Structures Dwayne 10 12 14 Brian 12 11 18 Andy 10 9 16 Jerome 10 10 19 Donald 10 7 15 Frank 10 5 20 Peter 11 8 21 Barry 10 13 17 Cory 11 4 18 Tony 3 3 14 Table 4-3: Tally of Surface and Deep Structures in Written Reader Responses in Written Reader Responses for Grade 5 Name Age Deep Structures Surface Structures Tony 11 3 14 Gerald 11 6 18 David 12 10 13
250 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS When teach ers understand learners, that is when teachers understand developmental processes for literacy proficie ncy common to all learners and how environmental features and learning styles, varied and diverse, affect learning, then they are better able to design and deliver effective instruction (Empric, Spanier-Evers, & Hudak, et al., 2001, p. 21). Neither heredity nor culture is adequate to expl ain the disparity in cogn itive test scores of Black and White Americans (Ogbu & Stern, 2001, p. 32). Introduction The thesis of this study was guided by the desire to understand how to achieve educational outcomes for young children that may be experiencing difficulty performing well on psychometric tests. In looking for an answer, the researcher chose the title for the study from the footnote of Supreme Court Jus tice Clarence Thomas opinion in Gratz v. Bollinger. In order to do so, the researcher studied the African American culture as a subculture in the United States and the dominant culture that created it. To acco mplish this feat, the researcher chose to study a portion of a population, underperfo rming African American boys, which performed less well than other test takers. First, in 2003 a P ilot Study was conducted to determine the major academic problem that hindered high school boys from completing their post secondary education. The finding of the P ilot Study indicated that informa tion processing was their major academic weakness. Then, an ethnographic field research was conducted in an urban elementary school in one of the larger sc hool districts in Florida for a case study with 17 underperforming African American boys in grades 3, 4, and 5 in 2005. Conclusions The Social Effects on Learning Fear, stress, and anxiety were part of the hum an condition. However, when children were subjected to it for whatever reason whether it was racism, gender inequities, homophobia,
251 poverty, or class, it affected the amygdala in th e brains cognitive cente r and thwarted learning (Willis, 2006). It was well documented in the li terature that individuals responded to hostile social effects in different ways (Woodson, 1990). Some internalized the stressors as personal failures, while others did not. In that vein, African American boys were capable of learning what other children learned, if they were taught and socialized to do so (Dyson, 2005). However to achieve education outcomes, childre n needed to be nurtured in ac ademic settings that supported their learning styles and valu ed them like people of the dom inant culture (Richardson, 1990). During the course of the study, it was noted that the boys needed more reading materials about other young, contemporary African Americans. For example, they prolonged the reading and discussion of Night Golf. In additional to the history of how African Americans were denied the right to play golf, they were amazed how Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh had achieved in the sport. On a personal level, they also discusse d how they dressed ofte n discussing the polo, which was the red sport shirt that Tiger W oods sometimes wore. Although Vijay Singh homeland was Fiji, the boys considered him African American because of the color of his skin. They admired the men and talked about them long after the duration of th e after-school reading program. The researcher conc luded that a story such as Night Golf highly enjoyed; however, the boys were very interested in th e personalities of the players as young men that they admired and wanted to imitate. Being exposed to books of this kind would have a profound, positive social effect on the boys learning about life. Cognitive Processes for Learning The children had no control over how standard ized tests were often used to support and/or rationalize social policie s undergirded with white racism for white privileges (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). Since the parents were the firs t teachers, they must stop inadvertently teaching
252 their children how to be docile and in order to honor the social etique tte of white supremacy (Comer & Poussaint, 1992). The literature, instruments, and the cognitiv e development theories and practices existed for more than 20 years about how to develop chil dren cognitively. Howe ver, poor white children in rural areas were equally denied the tools for cognitive development (Kozol, 1991). Jonathan Kozol aptly described the Lower Price Hill in Ci ncinnati, Ohio that aptly personified the class structure in America. At the bottom of the hill was the poorest area. The middle of the hill was occupied by working families that were somewhat better off. Farther up the hill were the top, upper income areas. Poor whites were also vict ims of savage inequaliti es created by the ruling class that created failing schools. Kozol remi nded us that it was the ruling class that was accountable for failing schools as indicat ed by the Supreme Court decision in Rodriquez v. San Texas. Little was done, however, to remedy the s ituation. Social condi tions of living under stress, fear, and anxiety caused th e amygdala in the brain to react to such conditions and blocked out long-term memory for learning (Willis, 2006). During the spring the boys took the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), although there were no reading ma terials about testing and asse ssment, over their snack-time they discussed among themselves the thought of not passing the FCAT, in fear of not getting promoted. Some of the boys, however, admitted howev er, they wanted to participate in the afterschool reading program in order to strengthen th eir reading skills. The test was state mandated therefore it was required. However, some of the boys made the connections between the importances of their practicing reading for pleasure. Although it was a stressful time for some underperforming African American boys, they valued the opportunity to pa rticipate in the study. Unfortunately, the permanent afterschool re ading program was for only the girls. The
253 researcher concluded that the FCAT should be used as a diagnostic tests to assess pupils cognitive processes for learning, rather than making it a high-stakes test. Reading for Cognitive Development Gerald Duffy (2003) studied with Michael Pressley for more than twenty years how to teach reading for cognitive development. In spite of past injustices of denying a subculture to become literate in a highly literate society should no longer be tolerated (Kozol, 2005). In fact, Eric Donald Hirsch, Jr., (2006) e xplained that reading tests were unfair to certa in populations because they actually tested background knowledge of culture from which some pupils were denied. For example, to read a passage on a standardized test about a culture that children never experienced or knew a nything about automatically caus ed the readers to lower their reading rate to figure out wh at the passage was saying. In order for the brain to process information with speed on a psychometric test, it must have a frame of reference (Willis, 2006). In that vein, the reading comprehension skill s were analogous to the information processing skills needed for completing a post secondary education (Levine, 2002). The researcher concluded that pupils like th e boys who participated in the study needed to be exposed to as many cultural experiences th rough field trips and other vicarious experiences. Unfortunately, they were denied one opportunity to experience a cu ltural event that was included in the girls after-school readi ng program as a culminating activity because of their perceived misconduct. However, the boys also must be exposed to many extended-reading activities possible, in order to associate the information from the printed page to reality. These experiences not only encouraged pupils to read more, but making connections with the real cultural event would have been a positive cogn itive reading development skill-builder. The process would have strengthened their ability to process information for reading and thinking.
254 Educational Implications Policy Makers The Florida Curriculum Frameworks (1996) and the Sunshine State S tandards were created to overcome inequities of a dual sc hool system, one for whites and one for blacks. However, in some low performing schools all of th eir academic efforts were spent trying to raise FCAT scores to avoid the disdain of being la beled. For example, the protocol for this ethnographic case study was designed to study the cognitive strategi es of African American boys that scored FCAT Reading Levels 1 or 2s. The boys language arts teacher, a guidance counselor, and the Director of Title 1 Parent and Counseli ng Resource Center chose the participants. On the last day of the study, the re searcher went to the guidance counselors office for the test scores. The researcher discovered th at there were a range of scores, FCAT Reading Levels 1 through 4. In fact, ther e were only seven boys that had th e low scores. However, all of the boys in the study were underperformers. Not surprisingly, the teachers insights were better than the FCATs indicators. Because of this finding, the researcher questioned the wisdom of spending so much time, effort, and fina ncial resources for high-stakes testing. The researcher concluded that financial re sources would be better spent on providing funds to the State of Florida re search universities Colleges of Education and their professional development programs to solve the plethora of problems involving years of neglect in some schools. Teachers do not have the time to do the re search for best practice s. Researchers could assist in these efforts and share their findings through professional development programs. Teachers and Teacher Educators Children f rom low literacy environments would benefit from learning how to develop study strategies because they were the mental processes they must use for reading to learn. Since the African American boys in the study used the story method, the oral tradition, they were
255 using their short-term memories. Instead, they needed to be taught how to process information into their long-term memories Teaching reading across the cu rriculum, placing emphasis upon using the organizational and elaboration strate gies listed in Table 2-4, Cognitive Strategies Commonly Used for Information Processing also would benefit all pupils with similar problems of underutilizing long-term memo ries for studying and learning. Specific culturally conscious books to learn cognitive strategies to perform well in academic settings would be insignificant. Duffy (2003) admitted that teaching cognitive strategies was difficult, but it would be helpful to pupils if the technique was incorpor ated into the reading curriculum. The researcher concluded that teachers and teacher educators must become more sensitive the social effect that effect childrens lear ning negatively, especially those pupils from high crime neighborhoods. Since stress thwarted all childre n learning, extra care must taken to assure the classroom remained stress free. Since the research revealed that pleasant, safe environments were more conducive, educators mu st also teach the children how to minimized stress in their personal lives as well. Parents The researcher concluded that parents would be helpful in deve loping their positive childrens self-esteem as indicated in Table 2-5. The psychi atrists James Comer and Alvin Poussaint suggested for parents to love their children and give them the attention that they needed. Books written about people, places, an d things that caused stress in their lives (homophobia, poverty, sexism, racism, etc.) would be of interest to African American boys, if they were about their lived experiences. Readi ng them for a parent/child dialogue would also be quite helpful for scaffolding how to develop a hea lthy, mature self-esteem indicated in Table 2-5. Reading a variety of books would be most benefi cial for reinforcing the reading, studying, and learning strategies that were taught in the languag e arts classroom and othe r classes at school.
256 The researcher further concluded that parents were the first teachers, and children learned positive as well as negative traits at home; theref ore, teachers at schools can only hope to build upon the positive behaviors and try to correct the negative ones. However, why burden the teacher with such non-productive social effects th at would ultimately hindered the child from learning? Therefore, parents mu st be mindful of negative envir onment that effect the childs learning capacities. Conclusion of the Study The review of the literature in Chapter 2 for the m ajor stands, Social Effects on Learning, Cognitive Processes for Learning, and Reading for Cognitive Development clearly provided ample discussion of how the unde rperforming boys in the study were more than likely affected by stress in the cu ltural environment common to Af rican Americans, in general, and African boys in particul ar boys living in an inner city neighborhood in Northwest Jacksonville. These social conditions aided the process of hindering the pupils academic learning because of the stress.. In addition to being exposed to a stressful negative external nei ghborhood, the researcher observed some potential negative gender socialization patterns within the school where the study occurred common to the cultural rev ealed in the review of the lite rature. For example, there was an established after-school read ing established for girls prior to the study. In the after-school reading program, the girls r ead an abridged version of Alice in Wonderland, after which their culminating activities included making decorative invitations for a tea party, learning how to set a table, and practicing how to use appropriate silv erware. They were also taught the appropriate wearing apparel for formal and informal teas along with the role of a hostess. Since the boys reading program was created for the study, based on the existing after-school reading program, the researcher asked if the boys in the study coul d participate in one of the girls culminating
257 activities. Unfortunately, the idea was rejected because it was explai ned that the boys would create discipline problems. It was further explained that all of the girls culminating activities were carefully chosen to expose them to cultural events that they might encounter as women. Little thought, however, was given to the fact that mothers also reared boys that needed to be exposed to social ideas expressed on the printe d page by foreign and domestic writers. Even Alices guests at the tea party in Alice n Wonderland were both male and female! Although some of the reading selections for the boys in the study provided the opport unity for a field trip as a culminating activity, no additional attempt wa s made for exposing them to additional events outside of the classroom. Since there was only one permanent afterschool reading program, it should have been opened to boys and girls. However, just as Kenneth Kidds (2004) Making American Boys was carefully researched and aptly exposed how young boys were sociali zed in a summer camp setting to become men, the female counterpart to his book also would be helpful to make parents and educators more aware of how stereotypic gender roles were ta ught, even though they caused some children unnecessary stress. Since the researcher did not observe the participants of the study in their natural classrooms, only a few outside observati ons and assumptions about the setting of the boys learning environment were used to base definitive conclusions about the amount stress that they were expressing in their daily routine from their teachers or the other pupils. However, just as the Alice in Wonderland experience was observed, one other potentially stressful infraction was noted. For example, the participants school was a magnet school specializing in foreign languages. However, the composition of the foreign language classes were primarily comprised of European American girls. Consequently, on paper the inner-city school appeared to be integrated when it was still actually segregated according to race and
258 gender. Since the school district chose to des egregate rather than i ntegrate, the foreign language classes enrollment satisfied the legal requirements of desegregation. However, the presence of pupils at a school with little or no ot her interactions with th e general population was not wholesome for either group, for it extended the idea of racial segr egation (Kozol, 2005). Consequently, the magnet school con cept did little to destroy racial stereotypic behavior of white supremacy among the majority of the pupil attend ing the school (Kozol, 2006). Children have no control over the existing condi tions described here, however, they were more than likely observed the situation and discussed the sa me among themselves outside of the school environment. However, the researcher conclude d that uneven treatment of children often bred contempt and repressed angry for years to come adding more stressful conditions in their lives because of adults racial attitudes to maintain the status quo and gender bias. Finally, the researcher further concluded that perhaps the most intriguing finding of this study was Joseph, the eight year old artist. It wa s obvious that he had the capacity to process information visually on a higher-order than all of his classmates; yet he did not express his thoughts in written sentences. In fact, his best reader response was with art using elaboration strategies. Art was a valid read er response; however, drawings were not applicable for most standardized test or all academic settings. Perhap s it was time to bring th e neurosciences brain research into the classroom. From neuro-im aging and neuroscience, teachers must understand how to activate pupils cognitive cen ters of their brains for ef fective learning in academic settings.
259 APPENDIX A A PILOT STUDY TO IDENTIFY SOME AF RI CAN AMERICANS BOYS ACADEMIC STRENGTHS AND WEAKNE SSES: A DESCRIPTION In an attempt to increase the number of students to graduate from high school with the prospects of enrolling into post secondary education, the Un iversity of Floridas College Reach-Out Program (CROP) targeted the rural high schools in Alachua C ounty, Florida with an after-school program through the Recruitment, Retention, and Multicultural Affairs Office in the College of Education in order to motivate low-income and educationally disadvantaged students in grades 6-12 (Welch, Bowie, St. Juste, 2004). During the 2002-2003 semesters, the CROP participants learning and study strategies for academic settings were observed as a component of a pilot study to determine their academic strengths and weaknesses (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). At the end of the school year, the CROP participants were given the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory-High School Version (LASSI-HS) computer version as the first component of the pilot study, since the computer version gave the student the results of each of the ten (10) subscales. The second component of the pilot st udy was to determine the groups academic strengths and weaknesses according to ten sub-scales ( attitudes, motivation, time management, anxiety, concentration, information processing, se lecting main ideas, st udy aids, self testing, and test strategies ). Of special interest were the Afri can American boys academic weaknesses, since historically their enrollment into the University was less than the African American girls. In addition, the after-schools program director also needed to know which skills the group needed to strengthen in order for all of the CROP participants to finish high school. The Inventorys findings were helpful for the director to design indivi dualized intervention programs (Welch, Bowie, St. Juste, 2004). Therefore, the inventorys results were analyzed to determine the groups strengths and weaknesses.
260 The African Americans scores (eleven males and nine females) were further isolated for analysis by gender (Welch, Bowie, St. Just, 2004 ). Significantly, the findings of the scorepatterns by gender were different. The Afri can American girls strengths were in self-testing and test strategies while their weaknesses were on the anxiety and attitude subscales. In contrast, the African American boys strengths were in three areas: concentration study aids and time management with test strategies and information processing as their weaknesses. Of the two academic weaknesses, information processing was greater for the African American males. When the information processing scores were compared with the females, the males information processing scores were lower (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). For example, if students scored below 50% on any of the LASSI-HS subscales, they needed to improve their skills for that subscale to avoid problems succeed ing with academic work (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004). Significantly, the African Americans scor e-patterns indicated that they needed instructional intervention in information processing because it was a crucia l skill for completing high school successfully with a diploma in genera l and for performing well on standardized tests in particular (Weinstein, Woodr uff, & Await, 2004). Thus, the second component of the pilot study yielded empirical data to support the idea that some Afri can American boys in high school needed instructional invention to help them to acquire skills in information processing (Welch, Bowie, & St. Juste, 2004). The third component of the p ilot study involved reviewing th e ten instructional modules that were designed to complement each of th e subscales of the LASSI-HS, after which the information processing module was analyzed to determine the skills that underperforming African American boys needed to acquire (W elch, Bowie, & St. Just, 2004). Since the
261 information processing subscale assessed how we ll students used imagery, verbal elaboration, organization strategies, and reasoning skills as learning strategies to help build bridges between what they already knew and what they were trying to learn and remember (Weinstein, Woodruff, & Await, 2004), the instructional module emphasi zed how to develop cognitive skills and study strategies that were also an alogous with reading comprehensi on skills (Duffy, 2003; Pressely, 1993). Hence, the third component of the pilo t study revealed that students could acquire information-processing skills and study strategi es from learning reading comprehension skills (Duffy, 2003; Pressley, 1993), if they read well to learn (Chall, 1996). Since the National Assessment Educational Progress (NAEP), tested elementary school childrens reading comprehension at grade 4, the teaching of information-processing skills in an early intervention program would be most eff ective for some African American elementary school boys (Feuerstein, 1980, 1988; Duffy, 2003). Thus, the pilo t studys findings confirmed one of Christopher Jencks and Meredith Phillip s (1998) assumptions that lack of cognitive skills and strategies was an academic weakne ss in pre-K-3 grades. This acknowledgement encouraged the researcher to focus on one cognitive deficiency, information processing for further study. By analyzing reader responses transcripts of childrens literature from African American boys in grades 3, 4, and 5, the res earcher determined which of the informationprocessing skills that manifested in their cognitive strategies activities repertoire were being used to generate reader responses. De pending on the boys frequency of the cognitive strategies activities indicated a developed cognitive strategy for processing information from text, a vital skill in academic settings for reading to learn (Chall, 1996).
262 APPENDIX B AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIAT ION TASK FORCES REPORT ON INTELLIGENCE KNOWN FACTS AND UNK NOWN ISSUES FROM THE SEVEN CONCLUSI ON STATEMENTS The parsing of the Task Forces seven (7) concluding statements yielded twelve (12) known facts with a combination of nine (9) unknown issues that were unresolved and/or unanswered about intelligence. The list of known findings was based on a near-century of research [that used] psychometric methods (Neisser et al., 1996, p. 97). Known Facts The following were the known facts embe dded within the seven (7) conclusion statements: 1. Genetic endowment contri buted to individual differen ces in psychometric intelligence. 2. Environmental factors contributed substantially to the development of intelligence. 3. School attendance and the quality of instruction were important for the development of intelligence. 4. Even though the role of nutrition remained obscure, severe childhood malnutrition had clear negative effect s on the development of intelligence. 5. Significant correlations existed between the measures of informationprocessing speed and psychometric intelligence. 6. Mean scores differentials on inte lligence tests of Blacks and Whites was about one standard deviation (15 points). 7. Mean scores on intelligence tests rose 15 points in the last 50 years. 8. The differential between the mean inte lligence test scores of Blacks and Whites did not result from any obvious biases in test construction and administration. 9. The differential between the mean inte lligence test scores of Blacks and Whites did not simply reflec t differences in socioeconomic status. 10. Little direct empirical re search existed to support f actors based on caste and culture, although they may be appropriate, to cause the differential between
263 the mean intelligence test scores of Blacks and Whites. 11. No genetic interpretation existed to explain the differential between the mean intelligence test scores of Blacks and Whites. 12. Standardized tests did not sample all forms of intell igence (creativity, wisdom, practical sense, and social sens itivity) (Neisser et al., 1996). Unknown Issues The American Psychological Associations (APA) Task Force debate on Intelligence reported the following unknown issues stated wi thin its seven conclusion statements: 1. the pathway by which genes produced their effects on individual differences in psychometric intelligence test; 2. why the impact of genetic diffe rences appeared increased with age; 3. a clear understanding of how environmental factors affect ed the development of intelligence; 4. a convincingly demonstrated hypothesis to prove that particular micronutrients affected intelligence in adequately-fed populations; 5. an easy, theoretical interpretation for the ove rall pattern of the significant correlations between measures of information-processing speed and psychometric intelligence; 6. why the mean scores on intelligence te sts increased 15 points ove r the last 50 years; 7. what caused the differential between the mean intelligence test scores of Blacks and Whites; 8. how the other forms of intelligence were developed, what factors influenced their development, and how they were related to the mean scores on intelligence tests; and, 9. what aspects of schooling were critical to the development of intelligences (Neisser et al., 1996). The Task Force also predicted that the neural and biological bases of intelligence would be further expanded with the advances in research me thods with brain imaging instruments, so that
264 some aspects of [the] test performance relate d to [a] specific characteristics of the brain [s] function (Neisser et al., 1996, p. 80) would help to clarify and/or answer the unknown and unresolved issues.
265 APPENDIX C INTERVIEW GUIDE FOR THREE COGN ITIVE LENSES IN FIGURE 3-1 Active Rehe arsal Strategies: Short-term Memory 1. Thought Processes a. As you were reading, what were you thinking? b. As you were reading, how did you feel about certain parts of the story? c. While you were reading, did any parts of the story remind you of something in the past? d. What part of the story did you like? Why? 2. Memory of the details a. As you were reading, what part of the story did you remember most? b. While you were reading, did the characters do something or say somethi ng that was a new experience for you? c. What did you have in mind to make you remember; the events of the story? 3. Memory of the details a. Did you like this story? Why? b. What would you like to remember most about this story? What impressed you most? c. If you were asked to explain next week to tell this story to the class how would you do it? d. Without using the book itself, what would you use to help to explain the story? 4. Organizational Strategies: Longer-Term Memory a. What would youdo as a visual aid to explain the story? Give me an example by using your favorite story? b. Could you outline the events of the charac ters actions for teaching it to a younger child? c. If you wanted to study the details of the story yo u just read without read ing it again what would you do?
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307 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH The resea rchers personal biography may be referenced in Marquis Whos Who in American @marquiswhoswho.com. However, this biographical sketch was presente d to explain the influence of the study and research at the University of Florida. When the late Governor Lawton Chiles wanted educational reform, State Senator Betty Holzendorf was Chair of Education Committee in the Senate, and Willye Dennis was Chair of Education in the House of Representatives. The Jacksonville elected officials were the researchers el ected representatives. Gov. Childs wanted the three of them to have townhouse meetings throughout the state to inform the public of his plan for educational reform. For the first townhouse meeting in Jacks onville, FL, the research er supplied Dennis with some basic research for the televised meeting. Feedback from the town hall meetings, however, indicated that the State of Florida had a variety of problems and that to solve them would require more than a series of meetings. Since the researcher had a background in Liberal Arts and Sciences, she began to wonder how educators an d teacher-educators would solve some of the issues. While working for Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in 1998-99 as a State DOE grants technical assistant for helping sc hool districts in 13 counties to align their curricula with the Florida Curriculum Framework (1996), the field office at Bet hune Cookman College discovered that high-stakes testing was going to be mandated; therefore, th e Volusia County School District was going to become a Charter School District. It was also predicted that Jacksonville would have the largest number of low performing school s and that the research er should go to the University of Florida, the research institution, to discover a possible solution. In the summer of 2000, the resear cher enrolled as a non-de gree seeking student. The School of Teaching and Learning Department Chair told the researcher that she could no longer
308 register as a non-degree seeki ng student even though she had a Bachelor of Arts in English, Master of Art in English, and the Doctor of Philosophy in African Studie s. Without hesitation, the researcher complied and declared in the Coll ege of Education in the School of Teaching and Learning as a major, Curriculum of Instruc tion, in order to continue the research. The results of her research from 2000 to 2007 were written as a doctoral dissertation entitled Cognitive Strategies of Underperforming African American Boys in Response to Children's Literature" with Drs. Linda Lamme, Chair and Ruth Lowery, Co-chair. The Committee members included Drs. Danling Fu a nd Kenneth Kidd, the English professor from the College of Liberal Arts of Sciences. At th e end of the Pilot Study in 2003, Dr. Kidd and the researcher agreed that the findings of the Pilot Study be written as a dissertation. He agreed that was enough! However, during the qualification ex am to become a Doctoral Candidate, the plan was not to be. Drs. Fu and Lowery both agre ed that race and racism should not be overlooked, as a minor social problem, but as a major one. Th erefore, it must go first in the outline; hence I combined their ideas and comments from the qualif ying examination which prolonged the study. The researcher saw the connection from a str ange place. The writ ings of Dr. Kenneth Kidd and the background information that Dr. Rose Pringle about cognitive psychology was used to learn from the resident doctors at the Univer sity of Shands in Jacksonville about the brain, memory, and learning. After having looked for th e literacy connection with multiculturalism, the researcher worked through the problem of literacy and discovered the science of learning was neuroscience, while teaching was an art. Draw ing heavily on the neurologists and classroom teacher Judy Willis research, it was documente d how stress affected the memory for studying and learning. Hence, this document became the culmination of seven years of study.