Reframing Discipline


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Reframing Discipline Case Studies of Effective Teachers in High-Poverty Settings
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1 online resource (205 p.)
Hambacher, Elyse Lee
University of Florida
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
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University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching and Learning
Committee Chair:
Bondy, Elizabeth
Committee Members:
Adams, Alyson Joyce
Ross, Dorene D
Snyder, Patricia


Subjects / Keywords:
discipline -- effective -- urban
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Curriculum and Instruction thesis, Ph.D.
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theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
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Research related to school discipline consistently reveals that students of color are vulnerable to differential and disproportionate rates of punitive school disciplinary sanctions. Studies highlight Black youth in particular, who experience more punitive disciplinary sanctions than any other racial group, ranging from office referrals to more severe punishments such as corporal punishment, suspension, and expulsion. These sanctions are typical ways schools respond to challenging behavior, despite the fact that they contribute to lost instructional time, student disengagement, and dropping out of school. Furthermore, racial bias in school discipline is part of a broader discourse concerning institutional racism. Given the concerns related to school discipline, the purpose of the present study is to understand effective teachers’ perspectives and practices related to student behavior that they believe violates classroom norms. Guided by culturally responsive classroom management (CRCM) and culturally relevant critical teacher care (CRCTC) frameworks, this research was guided by one main question: How do effective teachers think about and work to transform behavior they view as challenging? Ethnographic research methods included interview and observation data with two effective teachers of Black students during two months of the 2012-2013 school year. Constructivist grounded theory methods were used to develop in-depth case studies and models that centered on each teacher’s sense making and practice related to what they perceived to be challenging behavior. Findings revealed that the teachers did not view students’ behavior as challenging. Their interactions with their Black students went beyond behavioral and academic learning. The teachers held similar commitments to seeing their students become successful in life and enacted their teaching stances through several principles of practice. In addition, the teachers created conditions that enabled their Black students to learn in a culture of success. The findings reveal models of teachers who act with political clarity to facilitate the development of their students as self-determining and resilient people. The study adds to the research literature regarding the perspectives and practices of effective teachers who are committed to educating their students for their lives in and out of school. In addition, implications for practitioners and researchers are shared.
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by Elyse Lee Hambacher.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Adviser: Bondy, Elizabeth.
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2 2013 Elyse Lee Hambacher


3 For my mother, who taught me persistence, humility, and courage. I know no greater love than yours.


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS My journey to complete my doctoral studies would not have been possible without the help and support of those around me, which I give particular mention to here. First and foremost, I thank my parents Mark and Lily for their unwavering support throughout all these years. They have always pushed my sister and me to be the very best we could be proud. I would like to acknowledge my dissertation chair, Buffy, whom I also refer to as provided me wi th the support and mentoring throughout my doctoral program. She has sure I believed in myself. I am also thankful for my committee members: Dorene, Alyson, and Pat. They ha ve provided invaluable guidance as I think about the work that I do. I am also forever thankful to the two teachers who participated in this dissertation. They let me into their classrooms and their personal lives, sharing their work with me in ways that h elp me understand why I persevere. They give me hope for the future. And finally, I would like to acknowledge the wonderful friends and family members who have helped me along the way. Brittany, thank you for listening to my late night ramblings about my r Minika, thank you for your long distance encouragement and for providing me a place to


5 Tanya, thank you for being my safe place to laugh and cry, and for shaping me to be the woman I am today I love you.


6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 10 LIST OF TERMS ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 11 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 12 CHAPTER 1 OVERVIEW ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 14 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ....................... 14 Purpose of the Study and Research Question ................................ ........................ 20 Significance ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 22 Organization of the Study ................................ ................................ ....................... 23 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ............ 25 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 25 Culturally Responsive Classroom Management ................................ ..................... 25 Components of CRCM ................................ ................................ ..................... 28 ................................ ..... 28 ................................ ................. 29 Understanding the Broader Social, Economic, and Political Context ............... 31 A Willingness to Use CRCM Strategies ................................ ............................ 33 Commitment to Building Caring Classroom Communities ................................ 34 C ulturally Relevant Critical Teacher Care ................................ ............................... 35 Care Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 36 Critical Race Theory ................................ ................................ ......................... 37 Black Teacher Pedagogy ................................ ................................ ................. 39 Empirical Studies ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 41 Deficit Based Perspectives and Lowered Expectations ................................ ... 42 Culturally Responsive Classroom Management ................................ ............... 48 Warm Demanding ................................ ................................ ............................ 50 Closing the Discipline Gap ................................ ................................ ............... 56 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 58 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ............... 61 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 61 Research Perspective ................................ ................................ ............................. 61


7 Research Setting ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 63 Site Selection ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 63 Participant Selection ................................ ................................ ............................... 66 Mrs. Geller ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 68 Mrs. Pearl ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 68 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 69 Interviews ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 69 Observations ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 72 Field Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 75 Archival Data ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 76 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 76 Initial Coding ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 77 Focused Coding ................................ ................................ ............................... 79 Memo Writing and Conceptualizing Larger Categories ................................ .... 79 Conventions of the Language ................................ ................................ ................. 80 Role of the Researcher ................................ ................................ ........................... 81 Establishing Trustworthiness ................................ ................................ .................. 83 Study Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 86 4 MRS. GELLER: THE LIFE COACH ................................ ................................ ........ 88 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 88 Who is Mrs. Geller? ................................ ................................ ................................ 89 ................................ ................................ ............ 94 A Model of Mrs. Gelle ................................ ................................ .......... 95 ................................ ................................ ...... 96 ................................ ................................ ....... 101 Knowing Students and Caring for Them ................................ ......................... 101 Facilitating Stud ent Engagement ................................ ................................ .... 105 Differentiating Instruction ................................ ................................ ................ 108 Assisting Students to Achieve High Expectations ................................ .......... 111 Empowering Students as Collaborators in Teaching and Learning ................ 114 Conditions that Support Learning for Life ................................ .............................. 117 Respect ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 117 Perseverance ................................ ................................ ................................ 120 Comfort ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 122 Urgency ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 124 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 125 5 MRS. PEARL: THE LIBERATOR ................................ ................................ .......... 128 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 128 Who is Mrs. Pearl? ................................ ................................ ............................... 129 ................................ ................................ ......... 134 ................................ ......................... 134 ................................ ................................ ........ 139 Transforming Student Identity ................................ ................................ ........ 139


8 Othermothering ................................ ................................ .............................. 142 Facilitating Student Engagement ................................ ................................ .... 145 Conditions that Support Learning for Liberation ................................ .................... 151 Comfort ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 152 Intensity ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 155 Modeling ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 156 Urgency ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 158 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 159 6 DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS ................................ ................................ ..... 161 Overview of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................... 161 Discussion of Findings ................................ ................................ .......................... 163 ................................ ..................... 164 Practices Grounded in CRCM ................................ ................................ ........ 166 A Particular Kind of Care ................................ ................................ ................ 167 Acquiring Cultural Capital For What ? ................................ ............................. 170 Reframing Discipline ................................ ................................ ...................... 172 Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 173 Implications for Practice ................................ ................................ ................. 173 Implications for Future Research ................................ ................................ .... 177 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 179 APPENDIX A INTERVIEW SUMMARY ................................ ................................ ....................... 181 B OBSERVATION SCHEDULE ................................ ................................ ............... 182 C INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS ................................ ................................ .................. 184 D CODE REPRESENTATION ................................ ................................ .................. 191 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 192 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 205


9 LIST OF TABLES Table page A 1 Length of interviews ................................ ................................ .......................... 181


10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4 1 ................................ ............ 127 5 1 ................................ .... 160


11 LIST OF TERMS B LACK African descent and any Black Americans who do not identify as being of African descent, as well as Black Americans who are of Caribbean or Hispanic descent (Boyk in & Noguera, 2011). I use this term because students in the study are Black Americans of African descent or of Haitian descent. C HALLENGING B EHAVIOR Given that this study is grounded in the constructivist research ptions about challenging behavior, I will ask the participants to define what it means to them. Therefore, definitions may vary. E FFECTIVE T EACHER For the purpose s of this study, an effective teacher is defined as one who has been nominated by the princi pal as obtaining repeated measures of high academic student performance, holding high expectations of students, and demonstrating successful approaches to working with student behavior. In conjunction with nominations, effective teachers have a low number of student office discipline referrals, suggesting that they are teachers who rarely refer students to the office for behavior issues. H IGH P OVERTY S CHOOL A school designated as high poverty is one that receives federal Title I funding to provide student s with additional materials and programs. At least 40% of students attending these schools come from low income families. Low income is defined by the receipt of free or reduced cost lunch ( For this stud y, a high poverty school is one in which at least 70% of the students receive free or reduced cost lunch. S CHOOL D ISCIPLINE student needs through broad prevention, targeted intervention, and development of self discipline is viewed by some education scholars as having two distinct goals: (1) to create and maintain a safe, conducive, and positive learning environment, which often requires sc hools to address challenging behavior; and (2) to teach and promote self discipline (Bear, 2008). U RBAN based characteristic whereby the essential characteristic is that the area is nonagricultural. Urban pertains to populatio n density, space (land size), population density, and social and economic organization (Weeks, 2010). W HITE Hispanic (Boykin & Noguera, 2011).


12 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Gr aduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy REFRAMING DISCIPLINE: CASE STUDIES OF EFFECTIVE TEACHERS IN HIGH POVERTY SETTINGS By Elyse Lee Hambacher August 2 013 Chair: Elizabeth Bondy Major: Curriculum and Instruction Research related to school discipline consistently reveals that students of color are vulnerable to differential and disproportionate rates of punitive school disciplinary sanctions. Studies hi ghlight Black youth in particular, who experience more punitive disciplinary sanctions than any other racial group, ranging from office referrals to more severe punishments such as corporal punishment, suspension, and expulsion. These sanctions are typical ways school s respond to challenging behavior, despite the fact that they contribute to lost instructional t ime, student disengagement, and dropping out of school Furthermore, racial bias in school discipline is part of a broader discourse concer ning inst itutional racism Given the concerns related to school discipline, the purpose of the present study practices related to student behavior that they believe violates classroom norms. Guided by culturally responsive classroom management (CRCM) and culturally relevant critical teacher care (CRCTC) frameworks, this research was guided by one main question: How do effective teachers think about and work to transform behavior they view as challenging? Ethnogra phic research methods included interview and observation data with two effective teachers of Black students during two months of the


13 2012 2013 school year. Constructivist grounded theory methods were used to develop in depth case studies and models that ce practice related to what they perceived to be challenging behavior. Their interactions with their Black students went beyond behav ioral and academic learning. The teachers held similar commitments to seeing their students become successful in life and enacted their teaching stances through several principles of practice. In addition, the teachers created conditions that enabled their Black students to learn in a culture of success. The findings reveal models of teachers who act with political clarity to facilitate the development of their students as self determining and resilient people. The study adds to the research literature rega rding the perspectives and practices of effective teachers who are committed to educating their students for their lives in and out of school. In addition, implications for practitioners and researchers are shared.


14 CHAPTER 1 O VERVIEW Statement of the Prob lem In addition to stark racial disparities in school achievement, research has consistently revealed that Black Hispanic and American Indian youth throughout schools in the United States are vulnerable to differential and disproportionate rates of punit ive school disciplinary sanctions (Arcia, 2006; Bowditch, 1993; Costenbader & Markson, 1994; McCarthy & Hoge, 1987; Skiba et al., 2011; Skiba, Michael, Nardo, & Peterson, 2000; Wallace, Goodkind, Wallace, & Bachman, 2008). The se studies highlight Black stu dents in particular, who experience more punitive disciplinary sanctions than any other racial group, ranging from office referrals to more severe punishments such as suspension and expulsion. Suspension and expulsion are common disciplinary responses to c hallenging behavior, despite the fact that they contribute to lost instructional time, student disengagement, and dropping out of school (Gregory, Skiba, & Noguera, 2010). A significant body of literature documents the disproportionate disciplinary sancti ons for Black students. Using public school enrollment data from across the U.S., und (1975) first exposed the racial discipline gap, showing that Black children were two to three times more likely to be suspended than their White p eers 1 Another repo rt highlighted similar gaps more than 35 years later, indicating that a lthough Black children make up 17% of the public school population, they represented roughly 37% of children who were suspended and 38% of all students expelled 1


15 (Chil small scale studies have replicated these findings. For instance, KewelRamani, Gilbertson, Fox, and Provasnik (2007) used nationally representative data and found that abou t one in five Black students are suspended, compa red with fewer than one in 10 White students. Black males in particular are at highest risk for overrepresentation in disciplinary sanctions (Gregory, 1995; Skiba & Rausch, 2006; Taylor & Foster, 1986) A c Rights (2012), Black students represented 18% of the students in the sample, but they accounted for 35% of students suspended once, 46% of those suspended more than once, and 39% of those who were expelled. The literature on the overrepresentation of Black students in punitive school disciplinary sanctions is overwhelmingly consistent. A smaller and less consistent research base shows disproportionate punitive discipline pa tterns for Hispanic and American Indian students. Parent surveys reveal ed that 20% of Hispanic students in grades seven through 12 had been suspended or expelle d at least once, a higher ra te than for White students (15%) (U.S. Department of Education, Nati onal Center for Education Statistics, 2003). In contrast, Krezmien, Leone, and Achilles (2006) analyzed nine years of statewide suspension data and found that Hispanic students had similar to lower odd s of being suspended compared with White students. An i nitial analysis of American Indian students concluded that they were less likely to be suspended than any other racial group except Asians. Their later analysis showed the opposite, as the student to suspension ratio for American Indian students was larger than for any racial group except for Black students. Given these


16 findings, scholarship related to school discipline is needed if schools are to build inclusive communities to close gaps in both discipline and achievement. Although school discipline is wid ely viewed as synonymous wi th harsh and punitive practices it can be thought of as having two distinct goals: (1) to create and maintain a safe, and positive environment conducive to learning which often requires teachers and schools to address challengi ng behavior; and (2) to teach and promote self discipline (Bear, 2008). The first goal is commonly viewed as immediate (to stop misbehavior or prevent misbehavior from occurring) whereas the second goal refers to the development of self regulation and au tonomy. The goals complement each other in that when schools work to address challenging behavior and promote self discipline, they are likely to prevent future behavior issues. School wide approaches to maintain these goals vary. Some schools advocate a pr oactive approach that fosters self discipline, teaches students how to successfully participate in the classroom community, and focuses on prevention, so that the need for reactive teacher remediation is less frequent (Fenning & Rose, 2007; Osher, Bear, Sp rague, & Doyle, 2010). One suc h widespread approach is Schoolw ide Positive Behavior Supports (SWPBS), which are school wide systems that communicate and teach rules and expected student behaviors to create supportive learning environments ( Center on Positiv e Behavioral Interventions and Supports, 2004 ). Social emotional learning (SEL) approaches are also proactive in nature as they emphasize self regulation, social awareness, and responsible decision making, and they build student teacher connectedness ( Coll aborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, 2003; Osher et al., 2008 ). Proactive discipline approaches focus on the prevention of


17 challenging behavior ; emphasize positive strategies over punitive strategies; recognize the importance of academic and behavioral learning; establish positive relationships with students; and seek involvement from various education stakeholders (Osher et al., 2010). Too often, schools respond to challenging behavior and school safety with reactive discipline approache s (Arcia, 2006; Osher et al., 2010). Reactive practices are punitive in nature, do not explicitly teach alternative behaviors, and are typically exclusionary (Fenning & Rose, 2007). Zero tolerance policies are a prime example of reactive discipline practic e. Initially designed for serious offenses, zero tolerance policies have become normative in U.S. schools, resulting in harsh punishment for minor offenses (Skiba, 2000). In Pe nsacola, FL for example, a zero tolerance policy for weapons resu lted in a high day suspension for bringing a nail clipper w ith an attached nail file. Her principal commented tolerance policies argue that they create tunnel vision for teachers and administrators, convert schools into prison like settings, and may actually discourage people from reporting criminal and illegal offenses for fear of losing relationships or retaliation. The same students are re peatedly punished for zero tolerance violations, suggesting that the policies are ineffective deterrents (Suarez, 1992). While no evidence shows sustained effectiveness of zero tolerance policies in reducing infractions, they continue to be prevalent in sc hools to the detriment of all students, especially Black students, who are most likel y to suffer from their negative consequences (Skiba, 2000; Verdugo,


18 2002). These findings have led researchers to look more deeply into factors that contribute to the disc ipline gap. R esearchers have uncovered teacher stereotyping and differential treatment of students as explanations for racial disproportionality in discipline (e.g. Bowditch, 1993; Ferguson, 2000; Skiba, et al., 2000; Vavrus & Cole, 2002; Wallace et al., 2 008). In their large scale study, Skiba and colleagues (2000) explo red disciplinary records of more than 11,000 students in 19 middle schools and found that Black students were subject to a higher number of office referrals from their teachers, and they we re referred for fi ndings also revealed that Black students were disciplined more severely than their hnographic study on school discipline in one elementary s chool revealed that teachers dre w on stereotypes and fear, which fueled their interpretations of Black expressions as defiant or disruptive. When teachers who operate within do minant classroom codes (Ferguson, 2000; Vavrus & Cole, 2002), their expectations for behavior may influence whether students are selected for discipline in the fi rst place. Negative, implicit teacher beliefs, biases, and expectations may contribute to the over sanctioning of Black Hispanic and A merican Indian children. Some research efforts have been made to understand how education stakeholders work to reduce t he discipline gap. Freiberg and Lapointe (2006) examined 4 0 school based programs aimed at reducing behavior problems in schools. Twenty nine of the programs served


19 low income, urban 2 students of color and showed some evidence of success in ameliorating pr responsible decision making. Similarities across successful school programs included moving beyond punitive discipline to promote student learning and self regulation, and caring relations hips between teachers and students. At the classroom level, studies affirm that teachers differ from one another in their ability to elicit cooperation and defuse behavior issues before they escalate, even with their most challenging students. Research has found that the combination of teacher structure and support leads to increases in achievement, particularly for students from high poverty backgrounds (Gregory & Weinstein, 2004). In a later study, Gregory and Weinstein (2008) revealed that an authoritati ve teaching style, characterized by both care and high expectations, predicted student trust in teacher authority for persistently disciplined students. Chapter 2 delves further into this literature. Research has also revealed that Black and Hispanic chil dren view teacher student relationships as the most important dimension of school climate (Slaughter Defoe & views of student behavior, often guided by dominant White cul tural norms, influence when, if, and how teachers take punitive disciplinary action. When teachers interpret student behaviors through dominant sociocultural norms, what is viewed as culturally normal to the student of color may be inappropriate to the Whi te teacher (Weinstein, Curran, & Tomlinson Clarke, 2003 ; Weinstein, Tomlinson Clarke, & Curran, 2004 ). This 2 Latino p present study.


20 student as a behavior problem. That is what is perceived to be challenging behavior by perspectives about and responses to challenging behavior. Purpose of the Study and Research Question The overrepresentation of students of color in punitive school disciplinary actions has significant implications for academic performance. Perhaps one of the most consistent findings in quantitative research is a strong positive relationship between time spent engaged in academic learning and stude nt achievement ( Brophy, 1988 a ; Greenwood, Horton, & Utley, 2002 ). The accumulation of missed instructional time from punitive disciplinary sanctions exacerbates a trajectory of academic failure and thwarts a caring learning community. An escalation of rule breaking ensues, where the same students are repeatedly disciplined. The cyclical nature of this phenomenon engenders negative trajectories in both social and academic development, as persistently disciplined students become less invested in school rules and disengaged from learning because they feel disconnected from the very institutions that are responsible for bolstering their academic and social success. Research on the perspectives and practices of effective teachers related to school discipline will be informative for all education stakeholders attempting to reduce the discipline gap. Currently, a number of studies focus almost exclusively on school discipline at the secondary level (e.g. Arcia, 2006; Gregory & Weinstein, 2008; Monroe, 2009; Vavrus & Cole, 2002). As revealing as they are, these studies overlook a significant aspect of school discipline in that they do not examine the ways in which teachers res pond to student behavior during the eleme ntary grades. The identification


21 of a student as a b eha Moreover, the dearth of litera with their Black students related to student discipline is alarming. Qualitative research on the topic too often emphasizes portraits of ineffective practice (e.g., Bowditch, 1993; Ferguson 2000; will provide portraits of how t eachers work to transform challenging behavior and create environments of success for their Black students S cholars have called for investigation of issues related to school discipline, using observational studies of classroom interactions and teacher in terviews (Butler, Lewis, Moore, & Scott, 2012; Fenning & Rose, 2007; Gregory, Skiba, & Noguera, 2010). Although students of color experience overrepresentation in punitive school discipline, I focus the study on Black students for two reasons. One, Black c hildren are sanctioned more frequently and severely than any other racial group. Two, they are a racial group that has historically been oppressed in the U.S denied equitable opportunities in a society that claims it is a democracy The pu rpose of the pre sent study is to understand believe violates classroom norms in one high poverty elementary school 3 Specifically, the study will use ethnographic methods including in de pth interviews and observations to answer the following research question: How do effective teachers think about and work to transform student behavior they view as challenging? 3 come from low socioeconomic background an expansive definition.


22 Significance This dissertation study is significant for several reasons. T he r esearch findings are clear that most disciplinary referrals originate in the classroom and the referrals are disproportionally given to Black students and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Findings will add to the scant research on how effecti ve teachers in urban schools view and work to transform challenging behavior in elementary classrooms. While the findings of this study may not be generalizable to a ll classroom settings, they may help confirm principles and practices emanating from proact ive frameworks This study has significance for teachers in particular, as they consistently cite discipline issues as a leading cause of stress and burnout (Lewis, Romi, Qui, & Katz, 2005). Both novice and veteran teachers recognize that the way teachers and schools address and attitudes toward children and learning (Ayers, 2004). Examining ef perspectives about student behavior is important because they can help us understand how to narrow the discipline gap. Given that racial disproportionality in exclusionary discipline is on the rise (Wallace et al., 2008), e perspectives about and approaches to challenging student behavior is timely and necessary. Furthermore, racial bias in punitive school discipline is part of a broader discourse concerning the presence of institutional racism ; that is, any system of institutionalized policies and practices that provide u nearned advantages and disadvantages b ased on race (Tatum, 1997). S tudies confirm that punitive school discipline increases high school dropout rates and delayed graduations (Bowditch, 1993; Hondo, Gardiner, & Sapien, 2008; Raffaele Mendez, 2003 ), and rese archers argue that children of color are


23 not dropping out of school. R school to prison p ipeline that criminalizes them Black males in particular and sets them up for incarceration ( Ferguson 2000 ; Wald & Losen, 2006 ). Systemic inequities in the U.S. have manifested themselves in a variety of ways, for example, racial profiling and restrictive housing contracts for Black people In schools, practices such as academic tracking, unequal funding, and the ove rrepresentation of Black children in punitive discipline contribute to the maintenance of structural racial inequality and social reproduction. While largely obscure to the public, the over sanctioning of Black children in punitive discipline is fueling th e school to prison pipeline by interpreting their behavior as inappropriate or deviant Understanding how effective teachers think about and work to transform challenging behavior is necessary then to dismantle the school to prison pipeline. The study focu ses on Black students because of the historical subjugation they have experienced in the U.S which is significant for a nation that prides itself on democratic principles and equality for all Yet, reports continue to document the large disparities in Bla enrollment in higher education (The National Center for Education Statistics, 2011). This dissertation study aims to reveal how effective teachers view and work with challenging behavior to suppor t Black These insights are likely to enable educators to approach challenging student behavior in more informed and intentional ways. Organization of the Study Chapter 1 of t his dissertation introduced an overview and significance of the problem. Chapter 2 synthesizes the relevant scholarly lit erature that situates the study The methodology of the study is discussed in detail in Chapter 3. In that chapter, the


24 research perspective, selection of the school and pa rt icipants, data collection, data analysis procedures, and trustworthiness of the data are further explained. Chapters 4 themes that emerged from their data. Chapter 6 provides a dis cussio and its implications for future practice and research.


25 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction The goal of this chapter is to review literature related to how effective teachers think about and work to transform student behavior they view as c hallenging. Chapter 1 described Punitive and p ersistent disciplinary practices for marginalized students of color may engender feelings of distrust or lack of care. For Black c hildren, who are punished more frequently and severely than any other racial group, this suggests that a particular kind of care from their teachers is needed For these reasons, the literature review is situated within the conceptual frameworks of cultura lly responsive classroom management (CRCM) and culturally relevant critical teacher care (CRCTC). The chapter begins with a synthesis of these frameworks and follows with a review of related empirical pieces. The review describes and critiques existing lit erature related to challenging student behavior and situates and establishes a need for the current study. Culturally Responsive Classroom Management Situated in the seminal work of Emmer, Evertson and Anderson original classroom management literature co nsistently reveals the importance of clearly establishing rules for behavior ( Emmer, Evertson, & Anderson, 1980; Evertson & Anderson, 1979), and consistent consequences (Emmer et al., 1980). Brophy (1988 b ) extended the definition of classroom management as being far more than controlling challenging behavior. Instead, he viewed it as a system aimed at increasing student engagement and learning: Good classroom management implies not only that the teacher has elicited the cooperation of students in minimizi ng misconduct and can intervene


26 effectively when misconduct occurs, but also that worthwhile academic activities are occurring more or less continuously and that the classroom management system as a whole (which includes, but is not limited to the teacher' s disciplinary interventions) is designed to maximize student engagement in those activities, not merely to minimize misconduct. (p. 3 ) Despite the research, classroom management continues to be cited as a major concern amon g all teachers, particularly nov i ces (Melnick & Meister, 2008 ; Weiner 2003) and teachers in urban classrooms (Howard, 2003 ) Student discipline research continues to document the differential and disproportionate rates of punitive disciplinary practices for students of color (e.g. Arcia, 2006; Bowditch, 1993; Costenbader & Markson, 1994; Gregory & Weinstein, 2008; Skiba et al., 2011; Skiba, Michael, Nardo, & Peterson, 2000; Walla ce et al. 2008 ), specifically in urban areas. It is clear that education stakeholders must look beyond the orig inal classroom management literature fo r reducing the persistent discipline gap. Ladson Billings (1994), Gay (2000, 2010), and others (e.g. Castagno & Brayboy, 2008) discuss effective teachers of non White ethnically diverse students. In the literature th are often used interchangeably. However, culturally relevant teaching was coined to describe teaching that was respectful of and authentic for Black youth (Ladson Billings, 1994) w hile culturally responsive teaching (Gay, 2010) was defined more broadly for students of diverse cultures. Ladson Billings (1994) described culturally relevant intellectually, socially emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart p. 17 18). CRT is premised on a deep valuing of and respect for knowledge and backgrounds as well as a commitment to uplifting the Black c ommunity CRT


27 advocates a whole child orientation; that is, teaching that cultivates academic, social, emotional, political, and ethical development for each child. The goal of teaching the whole child is to help the child live more consciously in the worl d. An aspect of the whole child orientation includes consciousness, empowering students to chal lenge the status quo that relegates certain groups to the margins of society while advantaging others (Ladson Billing s, 2002). Building on the two frameworks culturally responsive classroom management (CRCM) brings culture and diversity to the forefront in creating classroom community teachers t o develop the knowledge, skills, and predispositions to teach children from p. 56). Weinstein and colleagues distinguished classroom management from student disciplin e where the former focuses on ways of creating a caring, respectful environment that supports student learning and the latter focuses on way s of responding to disruptive behavior. The aim of CRCM is for teachers to create classroom environments in which students feel a sense of personal responsibility as they i nteract with others (Weinstein et al., 2004). Seeking to create classrooms where students are engaged and motivated to learn, their view of classroom management and student discipline is not restric ted to it encompasses the academic, social, and political wellbeing of students. I describe the CRCM framework in greater detail below and will address research based on the framework later in the chapter.


28 Components of CRCM To practice CRCM, Weinstein et al. (2004) insist ed that teachers develop the following: understanding of the broader social, economic, and political context of ou r educational system; ability and willingness to use culturally appropriate classroom management strategies; and commitment to building caring classroom communities. (p. 27) In order to enact CRCM, Weinstein et al. (2003) also noted the significance of est ablishing clear expectations for student behavior, building partnerships with families, and communicating with students in culturally appropriate ways. s an assessment of instein et al., 2004) warns : While most teachers are not blatant racists, many are probably cultural hegemonists. They expect all students to behave according to the school cultural standards of normality. When students of color fail to comply, the teachers find them unlovable, problematic, and difficult to honor or embrace without equivocation. (p. 56) ral hegemony is signific ant in the discussion of ethnocentrism Gramsci explained that domination of one social class can manipulate societal culture to reflect the norms of that group. In this way, the beliefs, perceptions, and values of the dominant class are imposed and percei ved to be eachers who interpret student behavior


29 using dominant hegemonic ideologies fail to recognize that behavior is culturally influenced, and they may punish students who do not follow dominant cultural norm s (i.e., White and middle class). Understanding that definitions of appropriate behavior are socially constructed helps to shed light on teaching practices that marginalize some students whi taken for granted a ssumptions and cultural biases exposes them to the surface, and enables teachers to understand the ideological influences that have shaped their classroom practices. Hinchey (1998) further argued that educators must be more than simply aware of tacit assum ptions; they must engage in critical consciousness. That is, educators must participate in the mental habit of asking themselves what their assumptions are, how these assumptions guide their actions, and who wins and who loses based on the assumptions they endorse (Hinchey, 1998). order to work effectively ( 1986) seminal work that compared African and Euro pean American cultures shows the vast difference between t he two. Boykin characterized Black culture as rhythmic and highly charged in vernacular and feeling. It prioritizes harmony with nature, expressive movement, interconnectedness, affect, and oral com munication. In contrast, Boykin described European American culture as characterized by a linear and often reserved style, mastery over nature, separateness, and print communication In later work, Boykin and colleagues argued that Western European based i ndividualism and competitiveness are dominant ideologies undergirding U.S. classrooms (Boykin, Tyler, & Miller, 2005). This cultural disconnect, or mism atch is what Irvine (1990) called


30 of urban students of color are inconsistent with the pre dominately Eurocentric, middle class norms and values of U.S. schools and teachers. Furthermore, Ladson Billings (2001) pointed to other pressing issues teachers face in urban schools. She noted that not only will teachers in urban classrooms encounter different races but they will also teach students with a range of diversity including students whose parents are incarcerated or drug addicted, whose parents have never held a steady job, whose paren ts are themselves children (at least chronologically), and who are bounced from one foster home to the next. And there are children who have no homes or parents. (p. 14) This also includes students who are learning more than one language and students with disabilities. The complexities that children bring with them to school certainly impact classroom learnin g and management. When teachers understand t hese myriad complexities, they can become better prepared to teach students in urban classrooms. Teachers can develop knowledge of students as cultural beings by getting to know them on a personal level, visiting their homes and religious centers, and attending community events. Teachers who practice CRCM do not rely on a deficit discourse of ves that sees deprivation in communities of color (Ladson Billings, 1994). Instead, culturally re sponsive classroom managers recognize cultural wealth in these communities (Yosso, 2005). They unlock the cultural wealth in these communities by gaining aware ness of student and family assets and viewing families as allies in ensuring student success. Teachers frequently communicate with families not only to bridge classroom expectations between schoo l and home, but also to seek help so that children of color c


31 often assumes that communities of color do not value education and, therefore, are to blame for poor student performance (Weinstein et al., 2003) Understanding the Broader Social, Econo mic, and Political Context This component urges teachers to understand the ways in which schools and other institutions reflect the same inequitable practices that permeate the larger society. The common practice of tracking students is one way in which sc hools institutionalize inequitable practices. Tracking segregates students according into academic ability, which is troublesome because it typically allocates a majority of school resources to the students who already have the greatest academic and econom ic advantages. Ethnog rapher Jonathan Kozol is noted for his work in exposing the social, political, and ignantly argued that children of low stimulat ion, cognitive excitement, and aesthetic provocation by municipal denial of those treasures known to white and middle class Americans for generations to day practices can also marginalize students from non dominant cultural bac kgrounds. For example, teachers who insist that students look them in the eye may perceive disrespect in children from Asian backgrounds, who may avoid eye contact as a sign of respect. CRCM urges schools and teachers to reexamine their current views and p ractices within a larger sociopolitical context so that they do not reinforce institutional discrimination (Weinstein et al., 2004). An essential part of understanding the broader social, political, and economic context is the acknowledgement of and acces ive as sertions compose the culture of power. (1) Issues of power are enacted in classrooms.


32 (2) There are established codes or rules for participation in a culture of power; that is (3) The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of th e rules of those who have power. (4) If one is not a member of the culture of power, being explicitly told the rules of the culture of power makes acquiring powe r easier. (5) Those w ith power are the least aware of, or least willing to acknowledge their power, and those who do not have it are least aware that a culture of power exists. (p. 24 ) For many well intentioned liberal educators, the primary goal for education is for children to become autonomous, to develop fully who they are in the classroom setting without having arbitrary, outside standards forced upon them. This is a very reasonable goal for people whose children are already participants in the culture and power and who ha ve already internalized its codes. (p. 28) Delpit insisted that students of color be explicitly taught the rules and codes of power if they are to have equitable opportunities for success both within and outside the class room walls. Milner (2006) argued t hat failing to teach the culture of power is irresponsible and likely to result in oppositional behavior It is of cri tical importance then that students of color are granted access to the culture of power that governs how one attains success in society. T his is not to suggest that students of color should only be instructed using skills dominant ideologies. Opposing the dichotomy b Del pit (1995) argued that skillful t eachers do not allow their students to be placed in such binaries. Instead, these (Delpit, 1995, p.46). Knowi ng that a culture of power exists, how it operates, and how it


33 can be attained provides students access to the culture of power with the goal of critiquing it. codes that are socially constructed by those who are in power (i.e., teachers, administrators). Moreover, her discussion of the culture of power further supports the matter ement and discipline practices are not culturally neutral. Failure to understand implications of the broader social, econ omic, and political context may inadvertently contribute to social immobility and social reproduction (Hinchey, 1998; Kincheloe, 2004). A Willingness to Use CRCM Strategies The first three components of CRCM build a knowledge base that allows for critical reflection on the ways that classroom management and discipline promote or hinder equal access to learning. Viewing classroom managemen t and discipline through a cultural lens enables teachers to create an environment that supports academic and social learning, establish and maintain behavioral expectations, increase student engagement, partner with families, and use appropriate strategie s to assist students who demonstrate challenging behavior. Weinstein et al. (2004) ask ed teachers to consider three challenges when working with children from diverse cultural backgrounds. First, they urge d educators to reflect on their own behavior. Teach ers are pushed to ask themselves what might be uncomfortable questions such as, Do I encourage some students more than others? Do my reprimands convey threats? Second, they ask ed educato rs to question traditional assumptions of


34 best practices in classroom management and discipline, as a one size fits all approach ed that mutual accommodation is critical when teaching students fr om diverse cultural backgrounds (Nieto, 2000). When teachers mutually accommodate, they embrace and build on within the culture of power. With this in mind, a word o f caution should be noted. Scholars whose work from low socioeconomic backgrounds. They would also deny that the goal is assimi lation into Whiteness Rather, the goal of the culturally responsive classroom manager is to provide all students with equitable learning opportunities, and build a sense of personal and moral responsibility in their students. Commitment to Building Caring Classroom Communities The last component i n developing a CRCM frame of mind is the teacher ability to build a community where care undergirds the classroom environment. From the moment students enter the classroom, they are given multiple directives and asked to meet certain expectations from th eir teacher. Students make conscious decisions about whether to cooperate with or resist the teacher directives. As such, a key factor in student cooperation or resistance depends on whether students perceive an ethos of care from their teacher. Caring t eachers want the best for their students, and they build relationships that promote success Thompson (2004) reminded us that teachers who demonstrate culturally responsive caring:


35 help [students] develop thoughtful responses to both cultural difference a nd see this in a raced and racist society both as they are and as they might be we must care enough to abandon ou r willed ignorance and political blindness. (p. 37) A crucial component of culturally responsive caring is the ability for teachers and students to see society for what it is and to avoid adopting colorblindness. Caring based education has academic, socia l, political, civic, moral, and transformative learning goals and behavioral dimensions (Gay, 2010). The following section expands on the last component of CRCM by taking a closer look at teacher care for Black children The CRCM framework described by Wei nstein et al. (2004) emphas izes the importance of creating safe and affirming classroom communities. The five components of CRCM include ; knowledge of an understanding of t he broader social, economic, and political co ntext; a willingness to use CRCM strategies; and a commitment to building caring classroom communities. Although their framework was constructed with culturally diverse students in mind, it is useful in thinking about how teachers interact with Black students. Culturally Relevant Critical Teacher Care Focusing on Black children, the research qu estion that guides the present study is: How do effective teachers think about and work to transform behavior they view a s challenging? Black students also provided the backdrop for this study. Her phenomenological study of eight secondary Black teachers offers an expanded, culturally specific conception of teacher care for Bla ck students.


36 Roberts proposed a theory of culturally relevant critical teacher care (CRCTC), which acknowledges the prevalence of racism and hegemony that Black children experience in all aspects of life, including school. Guided by the intersection of car e theory, critical race theory, and the pedagogy of Black teachers CRCTC aims to disrupt 2009, p. 29). The next three sections discuss care theory, critical race theory, and B lack teacher pedagogy in greater detail. Care Theory Understood from many perspectives, the definition of care holds various interpretations (e.g. Gilligan, 1982; Noddings, 1984; 1992; 2002; 2006; Siddle Walker, 1993). Leading care theorist Carol Gilligan (1982) discussed that an ethic of care : contains the ideals of human relationship, the vision that the self and the other will be treated as of equal worth, that despite differences in power, things will be fair; the vision that everyone will be responded to and included, that no one will be left alone or hurt (p. 63) classroom and acknowledged that an eth ic of care is relevant to both male and female about someone in order to obtain a greater understanding of the person. Engrossment is a necessary element of care because t he carer ( the one caring) must understand the situation of the per son who is cared for before the carer can determine appropriate action s Engrossment points to the necessity of reciprocal relationships between the carer and the cared for. Noddi later work addressed the challenges of


37 ignifica nt because it highlighted how care and caring interactions are not universal what is perceived as teacher care and the purposes of care differ among cultural groups. Connecting care to the classroom, she acknowledged issues of cultural relevance and stated are roughly in the same situation, but they may need very different forms of care from the need for researchers to understand pe rspectives and practi ces related to effective, caring teachers, and how such teachers work with children from various backgrounds. Critical Race Theory CRCTC is also informed by critical race theory, an academic discipline that diverged from critical legal studies in an effort to directly address race and racism in the U.S. At its essence, critical race theory acknowledges that, racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasi ve in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that critical race theory uses in examining existing power structures. Critical race theory identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates t he marginalization of people of color Legal studies scholars like Derrick Bell, Kimberly Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado have developed the tenets of critical race theory. Gloria Ladson Billings, William Tate, Adrienn e Dixson, and others have applied critical race theory specifically to education. Critical race theory consists of three general tenets. Critical race theory begins with the notion that racism is normal and deeply embedded in American life (Delgado & Stefa ncic, 2001; Ladson Billings, 2012). It affirms that racism is permanent and emphasizes the need to expose how the social order reproduces and reifies racism in


38 society. The second tenet of critical race theory uses storytelling and counternarratives to sha re oppositional accounts based on experiential knowledge, drawn from a shared struggling to transform a world dominated by racial hegemony (Barnes, 1990). The intention is to provide a space for counternarratives that challenge the domi nant discourse about race and p ower (Lopez, 2003). For example, Derrick Faces at the Bottom of the Well contains fantas y elements such as aliens in the fantasy wove n throughout stories sheds light on the power and consequences of racism. The third tenet argues for a critique of liberalism, as the liberal perspective tends to be satisfied with 1334) of social change. Critical race scholars are dissatisfied with s uch small, incremental movement Instead, they argue that racism requires sweeping changes, which curren t liberal legal practices cannot facilitate (Ladson Billings, 1998). Critical race theory in educa tion uses social science scholarship from Black studies, Hispanic studies, Asian American stu dies, gender studies, and feminist studies to explore the myriad ways oppression continue s to perpetuate deficit thinking about the capabilities of learners. Criti f conceptual categories of W hiteness such as school achievement, intelligence, and beauty, whereas basketball players, gangs, and tro ublemakers become salient conceptual categories for Black students (Ladson Billin gs, 1998). From this perspective, the classroom is not a neutral space it is an environment where race plays a factor in the oppression of Black students. Thus, critical race theorists would argue that racism lies at the core of the discipline gap.


39 Black T eacher Pedagogy Research on Black teachers pre and post Brown highlights Black te experience of the injustices the Black community faced engendered concern for Black wellbeing (e.g., Case, 1997; Cholewa, Amatea, West Olatunji, & Wright, 2 012 ; Foster, 1997; Irvine, 2003 ; Ware, 2006). They were concerned with the whole child, not simply their academic development. This contributed to an emancipatory lens that guided the ways Black teachers interacted with their Black students. These teachers viewed themselves as othermothers for the students in their care and their practice was informed by political clarity. The concept of othermothering derived from a West African philosophical orientation, which seeks community and cultural preservation thr ough extended kinships (Collins, 1991; Hilliard, 1995; Nobles, 1985). communal bond and responsibility for nurturing the psychoeducational needs of Black children (Case, 1997; Collins, 1991; Foster, 1997). In this tradition, othermothers feel a sense of shared responsibility, and commit themselves to the social and emotional development of all children in a community (Collins, 1991). They highly value education and use their classrooms as sites for social activism ( Collins, 1991). As othermothers, they take on roles as change agents who promote student empowerment and transformation (Schiele, 1994). The caring of othermothers goes far beyond interpersonal caring it is political in purpose and in practice ( Beauboeuf L aFontant, 2002 ). Othermothers have been known to be guided by political clarity in their interactions with students. I draw on Bartolom first recognizes that teaching is not a politically neutral act Politically clear teachers


40 understand that schools are socializing institutions that unjustly structure the successes values (Bartolom 2009 ). The unequal power rela tions at the societal level are then reproduced in schools and classrooms, however teachers who practice political clarity are committed to obstructing reproduction. Bartolom (2009) points out that: teachers working toward political clarity understand tha t they can either maintain the status quo, or they can work to transform the sociocultural reality at the classroom and school level so that the culture at this micro level does not reflect macro level inequalities, such as asymmetrical power relations tha t relegate certain cultural groups to a subordinate status. (p. 342) inequalities that students experience outside the classroom; but teachers can help their students c ope with the oppression they endure outside the classroom (Bartolom 2009 ). Varied approaches for preparing students to prepare for inequality include explicit discussions with students about their marginalized experiences, to implicit approaches, such as creating learning environments grounded in democratic principles have political clarit resilience and sociopolitical consciousness. The confluence of care theory, critical race theory, and Black teacher pedagogy, or CRCTC, is enacted not only to ensure the educational su ccess of Black students, but also to uplift the Black community at large (Roberts, 2010). Black ide classroom walls demonstrate their commitment to the whole child Central to their practice is a


4 1 teaching approach a stance that insists students can, will, and must succeed (Corbett, Wilson, & Williams, 2002 ) and it is their responsibility to ensure this goal is met. While Black teacher pedagogy in the CRCTC theoretical construct, it is important to note that this does not preclude non Black teachers from caring for their Black students. Examples of White teachers (Be rgeron, 2008; Bondy et al., 2013 ; Cooper, 2003 ; Milner & Tenore, 2010 ) as well as teachers of other cultural backgrounds (Bondy Ross, Gallingane, & Hambacher, 2 007; Ladson Billings, 1994) have demonstrate d cultural relevance and care. The point here is to highlight the role many Black teachers (and some non Black teachers) have pla yed and continue to play to uplift discourse that fallaciously assumes deficits in Black ch ildren. To conclude, CRCTC is a framework informed by the intersection of care theory, critical race theory, and the pedagogy of Black teachers. T he framework maintains that racism is ingrained in American society and that what is perceived as care is cult urally situated Systemic racism has led some to argue that Black children must be cared for udy because it acknowledges race as playing a central role in student discip line. Empirical Studies Empirical research included in this review underwent a criti cal examination according to three criteria: (1) the work was related to student behavior, discipline, and classroom environments; (2) the studies include d children of co lor; (3) the wor k had been vetted as a relevant contribution through publication in a peer reviewed journal. This review is larg ely based on journal articles. H owever, other sources of information


42 such as books have also been included. Search descriptors i teacher relationships. literature search followed the steps outlined in Plano for understanding and conducting literature reviews. Deficit Based Perspectives and Lowered Expectations Richard Valencia (2010) is a leading scholar on deficit thinking, which refers to the idea that students, particular ly low income students and students of color, do poorly in school because they and their families experience deficiencies (e.g. limited intelligence, inadequate home socialization) that interfere with the learning process. This is a widespread ideology tha t assumes low income students and students of color are incapable of performing well because of internal deficits. Deficit thinking blames the victim rather than examining the larger systemic inequities that pervade schools and their students. A destructive force, deficit thinking can prevent positive educational experiences for historically oppressed students. The current section examines studies related to pervasive deficit thinking in schools. Researchers have identified rac about the capabilities of White and Black students. In a research synthesis of 35 studies focused on teacher expectations related to teacher and student race, Irvine (1990) found pectives of Black children were less favorable than the ir perspectives of White children. White teachers, compared with Black teachers, communicated lower expectations of their Black students by providing less encouragement, less attention, less eye contac t, less positive feedback, and more verbal and non verbal criticism. Differential treatment not only impacted Black


43 achievement; it affected their behavior, self worth, and degree of engagement. This is not to say that Black teachers are free of racial bias, but because Eurocentric, middle class norms and values pervade U.S. schools, classroom and behavioral policies tend to reflect these culturally specific perspectives (Weinstein et al., 2003; Monroe, 2005 a ). Consequently, the behaviors of stud ents who do not abide by mainstream norms are often misinterpreted, and therefore penalized by their teachers who make important decisions about discipline. twenty years ago, issues o f race and culture in schools continue to be the focus of long study of 16 experienced W hite teachers in eight suburban Louisiana middle schools examined the acceptance and amount of feedback White and Black seve nth grade child ren received from them Teacher nominations came from highly favorable principal evaluations. Based on student teacher interactions in racially integrated classrooms, White students, males in particular, received the most favorable treatment Conversely, Black students, again, males in particular, were viewed as least favorable by their teachers. Compared to their White classmates, Black students were asked fewer of the more demanding process questions, were provided with less scaffolding whe n answering a question incorrectly, were less frequently praised after providing the correct response, and were encouraged suburban middle schools, the findings are significant because they reveal teacher implicit bias and negative stereotypes of their Black students, even when t hese teachers were regarded as highly favorable by their principals.


44 and academic performance. As a primary data source, this study drew from The National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88), a nationally representative data set of approximately 24,000 eighth grade students. Looking at negative teacher assessme nts, Dee focused specifically on the frequency with which a teacher perceived a student to be disruptive and inattentive. After disaggregation of the data, the study revealed that White teachers perceived Black and Hispanic students more unfavorably, with results more pronounced for children from low income backgrounds. Because the NELS:88 data provide teacher and classroom information directly tied to individual students, Dee was able to examine how two racially different secondary teachers evaluated the s ame student, thus highlighting the subjective nature of misbehavior. rou tine disciplinary practices added credence to the claim that misbehavior is subjectively defined. While n used observation and interview data to under views, expectations, and attitudes about the children they served. Borrowing from labeling theory in criminology, which holds that thos e in positions of power define deviance at the institutional level, Bowditch asserted that schools determine what cons titutes misbehavior and in turn that the school encouraged disciplinarian s to suspend, expel, and transfer students they perceived as troublemakers. In fact, after identifying why a student was sent to the office, disciplinarians asked a series of questions about grades, previous suspensions, attendance, and future plans for em


45 rather than the circumstances that led the student to the office, were of greater violations eased to 63% when considering the percentage of orted infraction. the status quo. When asked whether transferring students to an other school helped, the 04). This case study illuminated the persistent trend that schools punish types of students (i.e., Black students) rather than types of in the socially constructed nature of behavior as well as unequal power relations between school personnel and students that serve to routinely identify troublemakers through punitive disciplinary practice. Unfortunately, this h, 1993, p. 506). Bowditch made an important contribution to the literature by investigating what happens to persistently disciplined students after their teacher has sent them to the office. However, if researchers are to understand the complexities of student behavior, it is necessary to examine th e social constructions and actions of teachers, as they are the first to identify and respond to students.


46 Vavrus and Cole (2002) sought to fill this void in the literature by studying how disciplinary moments ssrooms. Their longitudinal research in one urban high school used ethnographic data collection and discourse analysis approaches which drew from several sources. These sources included classroom observations, videotaped lessons, and interviews with teache rs, students, administrators, and safety personnel. Their findings revealed that most suspensions occurred when students had violated ambiguous rules of classrooms that aimed to achieve student compliance. Suspensions typically transpired within a complex sequence of multiple non violent events, one of which the teachers singled out as a ed that this sing ling out process resulted in a disproportionate representation of Black students. These two high school teachers demon strated the punitive moment by moment interactions between teachers and students in defining and punishing behaviors that the teachers considered disruptive or defiant. In another study of large, urban high schools, Gregory and Mosel y (2004) elicited teach the causes of behavior problems and specifically sought to understand how they considered race and culture as part of the issue. The authors sought to select participants who reflected the racial demographics of the teaching st aff at the school. A total of 19 teachers 14 Whit e, four Black, and one Hispanic were interviewed once, with each interview lasting approximately 40 minutes. Many of the teachers considered poor school organization and culture, the child, and the community as the main sources for behavior problems. While they held multifaceted understandings about factors that led to behavior problems, a majority of the teachers


47 did not mention issues of race, culture, or socioeconomic status as contributors to the visible discipline gap present at the high school. When teachers did mention race, many Black students, families, and their communities. Viewing the Black community as culturally deprived dis regards student and cultural assets, and fails to consider the school role in discipline. Most of the teachers reflected colorblind theories related to the discipline gap. In fact, only two of the nineteen teachers explicitly talked about c ultural mismatch and teacher stereotyping as possible contributors to the discipline gap. While t his research makes a regarding the discipline gap, the research leaves much to be desired. Each teacher was onl t does not describe the analysis method or terms used in the coding scheme. Future practices within the classroom. For the two teachers who acknowledged cultural misma tch and teacher stereotyping, w e re they effective in enlisting cooperation from students who exhibit challenging behavior? Do their classroom environments and discipline practices differ from the other 17 teachers? If so, how? Collectively, these studies ingrained in the perspectives of some teachers that supports dominant norms of behavior and focuses on the deficits rather than the assets of their students of color (Ladson Billings, 1998; Lopez, 2003).


48 contemporary America in the phenomenological sense: the meanings people attach to race and racial differences pervade everyday life, shape social action, and are a (p. xiii). To be sure, the exposure of dysconscious racism through social science research is important, yet perhaps more crucial for the present study is to understand how effective teachers think about and work with students who exhibit what they percei ve as challenging behavior. Culturally Responsive Classroom Management Fortunately, some research reveals that negative teacher student interactions may not occur across all classrooms with children from diverse backgrounds. Brown (2003) interviewed but di d not directly observe helped them develop caring and cooperative learning environments. Choosing 13 teachers from seven urban U.S. cities, Brown interviewed them and found that they reported creating caring comm unities by showing a genuine interest in each student. Teachers were assertive and business like, and explicitly stated their expectations for appropriate student behavior. They engaged in mutual respect with students, and used culturally congruent communi cation styles to connect with them. Cultivating a respectful relationship was a priority for these teachers; however, no observations were conducted In a nother qualitative study, Bondy et al. (2007) described strategies used by three effective novice teachers to establish CRCM. As teachers in predominantly Black, high poverty schools, the researchers found that they communicated care by developing relationships during the first two hours on th e first day of school. The three educators used a personal approach to teaching by showing photos and sharing stories about their lives. They built relationships deliberately and demon strated care through getting


49 to know you activities and games Teachers set an important tone within minutes of meeting students through lessons about care, respect, success, and kindness Ullucci (2009) sought to understand what six successful, White elementary teachers did in urban settings related to CRCM. School administra tors nominated the teachers who they believed best supported their students of color and who obtained high student test scores. Ullucci observed each teacher four to six times, with each visit l asting between 45 minutes and 2 hours. Observations were guid ed by an observational protocol instrument and general field notes. Findings revealed that teachers established classroom norms that guided the learning environment. Teachers encouraged peers to talk with one another and solve issues that threatened the co mmunity. Rather than chastise students, they used humor to redirect students to the a more holistic approach that employs multiple data sources is needed to triangulate the data (Erlandson, Harris, Skipper, & Allen, 1993), and provide deeper insi ght into the cultures of the A more recent study by Milner and Tenore (2010) examined CRCM in two urban oms. The teachers were different from each other in that one was a novice and the other was in the middle of his career and that one was Black and the other w as Whi te. Guided by the CRCM conceptual framework, the researchers sought to understand the compl exities of teaching and learning, specifically in regard to how these teachers managed their classrooms, how they reached out to families, and how they provided learning opportunities for their students. The authors observed teachers for half a day once pe r


50 week, formally interviewed each teacher two to three times, and conducted informal interview questions. Milner and Tenore found that both teachers were effective culturally re sponsive classroom managers who worked to understand who the students were, the ir interests, and their lives outside of school. The teachers accomplished this in different ways. For example, one teacher asked the students about their various intere sts while the other teacher took an interest in basketball and connected with a student who also enjoyed basketball. The teachers built relationships with stu dents by granting them access to their worlds, too. One of the teachers told p ersonal stories about his family and revealed that he grew up living off of food stamps. The other teacher shared his wide range of music interests. Both teachers viewed their classrooms as a community of family members and allowed student s to voice their perspectives about how their classrooms would be defined. Perhaps the most significant finding was that bot h teachers were effective cultural background. At the outset, teachers who share the same cultural background as their students may have an advantage over teachers teaching a cross racial difference s (Milner & Tenore, 2010). However, establishing culturally responsive student teacher relationships can help White teachers and their students overcome racial barriers to support their learning. Warm Demanding Strong student teacher relationships and an authoritative management style is part of the work of the warm demander. effective teachers of Athabascan Indian and Eskimo children in Alaskan schools and years later Irvine and F raser (1988) elaborated on the construct to describe effective


51 teachers of Black children. Irvine and Fraser described warm demanders as teachers minded, no nonsense, structured, and disciplined classroom environment for kids whom soci (1988, p. 56). central characteristic defined in the dominant literature on effective teaching (Kleinfeld, 1975). However, the warm demander s killfully balances both care and authority to create a highly structured learning environment that supports a culture of achievement for Black students (B ondy & Ross, 2008). A growing li terature base documents the actions of the warm demander. Ware (2006) outlined t he beliefs and practices of teachers characterized as warm demander s in her qualitative study of two effective Black teachers. The participants taught in dissimilar contexts Ms. Willis was an elementary school teacher in the lowest socioeconomic community in the district with 30 years of teaching experience, and Mrs. Carter served for six years as a middle school teacher in a technology magnet school that ranged from low income to middle income Black students. Using semi structured interview and o bservation data, her study characterized these teachers as warm demanders meaning their interactions reflected author ity, caring, and culturally relevant pedagogy nonsense approach typified their warm demander stance as they were quick to reprimand inappro talk While this authoritative discipline style may seem harsh to the uninformed observer, teachers and students within the Black community perceive mea n


52 wellbei ng (Corbett et al., 2002; Monroe, 2005 b ; Ware, 2006). As Delpit explained in a but we are not listeni ng [They are really saying] you are too smart to give me work li other words, when one listens closely, their harshness is not intended to demean or control students. Ins tead, they communicate culturally relevant care for students through firmness and unrelenting insistence. Demonstrations of teacher care are particularly important for Black children given the priority of person to person relationships and interpersonal i ntelligence within Black study exemplified the role of caregiver in t hat they viewed themselves as othermothers for their Black students. They held high expectations for their students, removed barriers to their success, and communicated care. Insistence as a means to create a supportive psychological environment that facilitates student engagement is a key feature of the authoritative warm demander (Ross, Bondy, Gallingane, & Hambacher, 2008). Ross et al. (2008) discussed the purposes, structure, and tone of insistence. Warm demanders insist because they wholeheartedly adopt the belief that children can, will, and must learn, and that it is their responsibility to teach them (Corbett et al., 2002). Their insistence is effective because they have developed personal relationships in which students understand that their teacher has their best interests in mind. In practice, warm demanders insist by repeat ing remind ing, and rein forcing th eir expectations.


53 Warm demanders instruct with authority and ground their teaching practices in a culture of mutual respect that they earn; that is, a teacher authority is not assumed (Delpit, 1995). Because their classrooms are grounded in mut ual respect, the tone of insistence is firm yet warm; business like but caring. The authoritative warm demander is not to be confused with an authoritarian teacher, who imposes rigid restrictions in an attempt to control students, teaches them to be comp lacent rather than engaged, and is often feared. Being insistent means the classroom is guided by proactive strategies to teach expectations in conjunction with an abiding support for students to meet these expectations. In this way, genuine care and a ref usal to give up on students is Although some research portrays warm demanders as older, experienced, Black teachers, scholars have begun to examine warm demanding within the context of novice, non Black te achers. Bondy et al. (2013 ) interviewe d and videotaped two first year White teachers who worked to become warm demanders for their Black students. The context of this study is interesting in that bot h teachers were graduates of an i nternship program that w as designed to prepare prospective teachers to teach in high poverty elementary schools. The findings highlighted a contrast between Alyson, a teacher who view ed warm demanding as a stance for teaching and Dianna, a teacher who viewed it as a set of strat egies for classroom management. Even though both teachers talked about caring as critical for student teacher relationships, Dianna spoke about caring in terms of her words and actions whereas Alyson talked extensively about caring as connectedness to her students and their families. That is, it was important to Alyson that students perceive her actions as care.


54 unit guided her interactions with students, her pedagogical deci sions, and her grounded in her relationships with students that allowed her to firmly insist on appropriate behavior and respect for all in the classroom. In contrast, Dianna focused solely on her actions of care rather than how students perceived her care. She cultural constructions of care, which at times led her to struggle with connecte dness and student cooperation. If teachers are to communicate abiding care for their students, this care must be recognized and felt by students. A recent study by Ford and Sassi (2012) used ethnographic methods and discourse analysis to show how two vete ran high school warm demanders, one White and one Black built authoritative relationships with their students. Teacher selection differed in that one teacher volunteered for the study and the other teacher was referred through chain sampling, which identi fies participants through referrals by knowledgeable sources (Patton, 2002). Irvine (2003) described the kind of familial relationships the Black You know, I take ownership of these kids. I tell them on the first day to attach my last on students, a term associated with how successful Black teachers instruct with authority, was ineffective in showing students her care for them. She revealed, grouchy. Y And it took me not very long to realize


55 that as a White tea and being mean to them is to totally turn them away. My mama around like you, let alone a White Instead, the White teacher established her authority by communicating with students in culturally congruent ways. For example, she frequently employed Signifying in her discourse with s tudents, a communication style that relies on wit and indirection she was transparent about institutionalized structures that hindered the success of her Black students. In a whole group conversation regarding the bias of standardized tests, needed to be persistent about meeting her expectations. to establish authority may be an effective strategy for warm demanders who share a similar cultural identification wi th their students, but for others who lack this cultural affiliation and knowledge of Black cult ure, these strategies may be inaccessible (Ford & Sassi, 2012). Doing so may be interpreted as an act of ownership, as highly offensive, and as communicating a lack of care. through various ways and therefore a s ituated pedagogy that responds to the needs of children of color is necessary (Ford & Sassi, 2012; Irvine 2003). Warm demanding requires White teachers to rethink their own racial identities, transcend racial tensions that may linger given the presence of oppression and racism in society, and form cross racial alliances with the Black community. In summary, research reveals that warm demanding is a stance to teaching grounded in a social justice commitment to improve the lives of Black children (Bondy et


56 al ., 2013 ). Warm demanders instruct with authority and demonstrate interpersonal caring by encouragement are primary characteristics and where teachers and students interact in personal is characterized by an abiding care manifested through pedagogical decisions where Closing the Discipline Gap Few st udies have focused specifically on teachers working to close the discipline gap. Two seminal studies by Gregory and Weinstein (2008) reveal ed the complex nature of student discipline in th e high school classroom. Study O ne reviewed a mid high school discipline data to identify whether student referrals for defiance were the most common reason for suspensions among Black students. Their findings r evealed that 67% of student referrals ( n= of adult author Black students were in fact the primary contributor to this category. They made up 30% of the total school population yet represented 58% of students referred for defiance. On the other hand, Whites made up 37% of school enrollment, but only re presented 5% of those referred for defiant behavior. Thus, the proportion of referrals issued for defiance proved to be significantly higher for Black Their second study explored classrooms. A subsample of Black students ( n= 30) was chosen from the first study. Then, these students each identified two teachers. For all students, the teacher who last sent the student to the office for th e most recent defiance related referral (referring teacher) was asked to participate. In addition, students each nominated one teacher


57 with whom they got along with well (nominated teacher). Both teachers and students completed surveys that measured severa l variables including teacher caring, teacher expectations, defiant and cooperative behavior, trust in teacher authority, and student perceptions of referring teachers and nominated teachers. Surveys pointed to the s of te ac hers as being caring and communicating hi gh academic expectations and the connection with student trust in teacher authority. difference reported by both the teachers and students. That is, students were more cooperative in nominated teachers more than an additi onal week of classes compared wit h referring teachers. Findings their teacher predicted student trust in teacher authority and cooperation. A limitation in these stu dies is that their findings relied s olely on survey and student referral data. Gregory and Weinstein (2008) did not observe student behavior and teacher student interactions and because of this we know little about how relational trust is established with Black children who consistently rec eive behavior referrals. We also know litt le about classroom processes or how teachers work with students to transform defiant behavior into cooperation. A qualitative case study by Monroe (2009) expanded the literature on teachers working to close the dis cipline gap in a Title I urban middle school located in the southern part of t he U.S. The school enrolled more than 700 students with an Black population of 58%, followed by 37% of its students who were White. Teacher


58 nomination was sought for four math or es for student learning and for their tural backgrounds. Three female teachers and one male teacher were selected to partic ipate in two interviews and ten one hour observations. Monroe revealed that teachers had learning based perceptions of student determine whether students were being disruptiv e. When misbehavior arose, teachers drew on their subject area expertise and from prior experiences from their teacher preparation programs to redirect such moments into pedagogical opportunities. Doing so enabled the teachers to continue a lesson without struggling to get students bac k on track. The CRCM framework described by Weinstein et al. (2004) captured many Conclusion This study was designed to expl ore how effective teachers think about and work to transform behavior they view as challenging. R esearch about the discipline gap tells us that Black and Hispanic students are overrepresented in punitive school discipline, calling attention to Black childr en in particular, who endure more punitive disciplinary sanctions than any other racial group. The chapter elaborated on the two conceptual frameworks that inform the present study culturally responsive classroom management (CRCM) and culturally relevant c ritical teacher care (CRCTC). The CRCM framework views classroom management and student discipline as broader than behavior modification for children with challenging behavior. CRCM works to cultivate classrooms characterized by high


59 student engagement and ca re, where culture is the lens through which the teacher views her management practices. CRCM affirms that teachers must be equipped with five components to teach children from diverse cultural backgrounds. Extending CRCM, the CRCTC framework proposes a particular kind of care for Black students because of the subjugation they have endured for years. CRCTC is an important framework that informs the current study because of the marginalization the Black community continues to bear, which includes their ove rrepresentation in school discipline. In the second half of the literature review, empirical research related t o student behavior was reviewed and synthesi zed, and led to two conclusions. First, children of color, especially those living in poverty, conti nue to learn (or not learn) in school environments where teachers do not genuinely believe they can succeed. They are part of an education system that interprets their attempts to voice their views as defiance, providing pathways to prison instead of oppor tunity. As an attempt to reform these students, many educators advocate a prescribed curriculum, office referrals, and a school uniform. Accused of defiance, Black children are often found sitting in the office because their teacher s have removed them from the classroom. Ladson Billings (2013), in a talk on what educators get wrong about children in poverty, poignantly noted that children are Second, the co nnection between the work of effective teachers and the diverse children they teach is being established, and the direction for future research is hopeful. Studies suggest the importance of establishing a community guided by components of CRCM (e.g. Bondy et al., 2007; Milner & Tenore, 2010; Monroe, 2009) and caring for


60 Black children in ways that communicate political clarity an d futures (Roberts, 2010). Nevertheless, additional studies that explore effective teachers, culturally re sponsive practitioners, and teachers of color are sorely needed to understand the racial dimension of student discipline. Milner (2 013) recently posed the salient question: Why are students of color (still) punished more severely and frequently than White students? T he present study seeks to go beyond the question of why they are punished more severely and more often to understand what effective teachers do to create caring and respectful learning environments for their Black students. The current study ex tends the literature that relies on te reported practices (e.g., Brown, 2003) and research that uses observations as the only source of data (e.g. Ullucci, 2009). Few studies seek to understand how effective teachers think about discipline, ho w and why they respond to behavior in particular ways, and what influences their decisions. Understanding how teachers conceptualize student behavior and how they translate their theoretical frameworks into curricular and pedagogical decisions is crucial. Thus, a study that increase the knowledge base on how they work to narrow the discipline gap. T his study focuses on Black children and seeks to take an in depth, ethnographic approach to how teachers think about and work to transform behavior they view as challenging.


61 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Introduction This qualitative study is informed by a constructivist perspective At its essence, qualitative research aims to stud y the socially constructed nature of reality (Denzin & various participants in a social setting const [by gaining] access to the multiple perspect 5). The research question that guides the study is: How do effective teachers think about and work to transform behavior they view as challenging? This question guided the research methodology and methods for this study. This section describes methodological decisions for this study and consists of the following sections: (1) Research Perspective, (2) Research Setting, (3) Site Selection, (4) Participant Selection, (5) Data Collection, and (6) Data Analysis. R esearch Perspective The episte mological stance that undergirded this study is constructivism which holds that truth is not discovered but constructed as people engage with the multiple realities of the world (Crotty, 1998). The constructivist paradigm arg ues these realities are unique because they are constructed by people who experience the world from different viewpoints (Hatch, 2002). T he construction of knowledge is a dynamic, active proc ess in which sense s and experiences. A constructivist epistemological stance holds that researchers and their participants mutually engage in the process of knowledge construction. From this perspective, no single interpretation exists; thus, meaning ca nnot be described as


62 objective or absolute. Constructivism is not to be confused with constructionism According to Crotty, constructivism focuses exclusively on the meaning making of the [and of t he present study. The constructivist research paradigm guided additional methodologica l decisions for the study. I assume d Crotty, 1998) on interpretivism. Interpretivism is epistemologically d istinct from positivism, as it is concerned with Verstehen (understanding) human and social reality. For Weber, all knowledge of cultural reality considers knowledge from particular points of view. Interpretivism is focused on culturally derived and histor ically situated constructed meanings of the world (Crotty, 1998). The interpretivist approach to inquiry perspectives and practices related to student behavior in the c lassroom. In order to understand individual student behavior that they believe violates classroom norms, the researcher must closely investigate the social contexts in which these p erspectives are constructed and subsequently enacted. Teacher student and student e fruitful settings to explore. Thus, the ways in which teachers view and work to transform challen


63 m aking related to student discipline From this view, the researcher attempts to co construct with the participants their perspective (Denzin, 1974). I examined the perspectives and p ractices of two teachers through the use of qualitative methods aligned with the constructivist paradigm Research Setting Decisions about research settings are driven by several factors. Most importantly, the setting should provide rich data that will an swer the research question (Hatch, 2002). Specifically, this study took place in one elementary school in Miami D ade County, FL, the fourth largest school district in the United States (Civil Rights Data Collection, 2012). Interestingly, about one third of the 20 largest school dist ricts in the U.S. are in Florida County demographics r eveal that Black students compo se 25% of total school enrollment, yet half of them have experienced at least one out of school suspension. Hispanic stu dents make up 65% of to tal enrollment in MDCPS and 46% have received at least one out of school suspension. These data indicate that both racial groups experience overrepresentation in out of school suspensions, where Black students are subjected to significantly higher dispropo rtionality. These statistics practices related to challenging student behavior. Site Selection One school was selected according to four criteria: (a) a low income element ary scho ol as defined by Title I status; (b) at least 70% of the student population recei ves free or reduced price lunch; (c) at least 30% of the student po pulation is Black; and (d) racial disproportionality in disciplinary practice exists. These criteria were purposefully chosen to represent the diverse population in Miami Dade County. A 30% Black student


64 population reflects a slightly higher percentage than the current Black student school lassrooms reflected a percentage of Black children congruent with the average Black student enrollment for the entire county. The final criterion reflects the presence of a discipline gap in the school. The study took place at Treitman Shores Elementary (pseudonym), a pre kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school. The principal granted access after IRB approval from the university and the MDCPS Research Review Committee. The school is housed in an older building on a fairly busy street, a mile aw ay from the local high sch community partners of Treitman Shores Elementary School will work together to enable children to become caring, competent, well informed citizens empowered t o p. 1). The school day begins at 8:35 A M and ends at 3:05 P M for students in second through fifth grade. Students in Pre K, Kindergarten, and first grade have a shorte r school day, arriving at 8:20 A M and leaving at 1:50 P M. On Wednesdays, all students in the school are dismissed at 1:50 P .M. The official uniform is navy blue pant s, shorts, or skirts with light blue or white shirts. Students are required to come to s chool with the proper uniform and are expected to maintain personal cleanliness. Students are also allowed to bring cellular phones, however they may not disrupt the educational process. A before and after school care program is provided for families at a n additional cost. A section of the parent/student handbook specifically addresses school discipline. st from those who walk our


65 ention, parent/student handbook, 2012, p. 7 8). The handbook highlights ze ro tolerance for school related violent crime and notes that the school strives to ensure that st udents are able to develop their potential for learning, and to interact positively with peers in a safe environment, without disruptions. The discipline section further details the code of student conduct and includes specific rules for the classroom, caf eteria, and hallways. eating during the detention period is not allowed. Water and/or bath room breaks are not In the past, elementary scho ols in MDCPS could give students in school and out of school suspension, but hav e recently done away with in school suspension in an attempt to reduce the number of suspensions in the county. Suspendin g stude nts was once done quite readily. However now, elementary schools must receive approval from the district to authorize an out of school suspension The following quote from the assistant principal illustrates the pressures received by the district to reduce phazard at best, with no school wid e system for improving behavior outcomes for students. Some teachers send students to the office on a weekly basis and some never at all. During the two months of this study, I noticed the same students sitting in a small back room in the office because t heir teacher s had kicked them out of the classroom.


66 Students who attend the school are from the neighborhood community and reflect diverse racial backgrounds. The demographic profile published by the U.S. Department of Education 2009 10 Civil Rights Data C ollection shows that school enrollment is ap proximately 820 and is comprised of 51% Hispanic 38% Black 8% White, and 3% Asian. Treitman Shores is a Title I school and approximately 85% of students receive free or reduced price lunch. Twenty three percent of students at the school are designated as Limited English Proficient meaning that t hey are learning to read, write, and speak English (ESOL) program 1 A total of 51 out of school suspensions were reported from the first day of school to when the referral report was requested (August 20, 2012 October 31, 2012). Twenty nine percent of s tudents suspended were Hispanic and 61% were Black; males made up 66% of students suspended. Given that 38% of students are Black and 61% of those students have ex perienced an out of school suspension, it wa s eviden t that a racial discipline gap wa s present. Participant Selection Participant selection was ba sed on a homogenous sample; that is, id entifying participants who share common experiences or characteristics with the goal of understanding the subgroup in depth (Hatch, 2002). As this study explores a particular kind of teacher, all teachers were identified as effective in working with studen t behavior. In this context, an effective teacher is defined as one who has been nominated as obtaining repeated measures of high academic student performance, 1 The ESOL program is composed of five levels that denote a stud structure, pronunciation, vocabulary, and reading ability. Level I is considered novice, typically assigned to children who have recently immigrated to the United States and speak little to no English. The goal is for students to reach fluency at level V.


67 holding high expectations of students, and demonstrating successful approaches to working with s tudent behavior. Nominations of effective teachers were sought by th e teach ers because he has spent time observing and working with teachers at Treitman Shores. Required and pre ferred criteria guide the selection of teachers. In conjunction with nominations, I asked the principal to provide a list of teachers with the lowest number of office referrals in the school, which helped to determine the teachers who rarel y refer students to the office for behavior issues. Teaching in a general education, diverse classroom was an additional requirement for selection. Diverse in this context means that the students in the classroom represent various racial, cultural, and soc ioeconomic backgrounds. Teachers in departmentalized teaching arrangements and teachers in similar grade levels were given preference as a kindergarten con text is dissimilar from a fifth grade context. The behavior s upport personnel, who is the assistant p rincipal, was contacted to participate in one interview, as described in the methods section. The two teachers, Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl, and the assistant p rincipal, Dr. Zeek, were asked to sign an informed consent form that explains the purpose and pr ocedures of the study. The informed consent indicated that their participation was voluntary and that they could choose to withdraw from the study at any time. I provided a copy of the informed consent and a description of the study to both teachers and th e assistant principal. In Chapters 4 and 5 I begin with detailed descriptions of each teacher that I gathered during the two months I spent with both teachers. For more low.


68 Mrs. Geller Mrs. Geller is a fifth grade reading, language arts, and social s tudies teacher. Her day is split up into two segments of instruction, with lunch dividing her morning and afternoon class. Her morning class, which is al so her homeroom clas s, is composed of general education students. The afternoon class has some general education students but contains mostly special education students. A special educatio n teacher assists Mrs. Geller with working with the special education students every aft ernoon. Treitman Shores is the only school Mrs. Geller has ever worked in and prior to her fifth grade assignment she taught first grade for four years. She has a witty sense of humor with a hint of sarcasm. W hen her principal asked her to move from first to fifth grade, she eagerly accepted the opportunity to work with older students This is her ninth year of teaching and she is currently working on a doctoral degree in education. Mrs. Pearl s day is split into two seg ments of instruction and the two teachers share the same lunchtime. T heir rooms are next door to each other, and it is not uncommon to see them exchanging lesson ideas in the hallway since they are both reading, language arts, and social s tudies teachers. s morning c lass consists of fifth grade ESOL students whereas her afternoon class is made up of general education students. Her E SOL students are from several different countries including Bolivia, Peru, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Haiti and the students vary signific antly in terms of their English speakin g ability. Mrs. Pearl has been an educator for nineteen years in predominately Hispanic settings and has also worked at the district level before deciding to come back to the classroom.


69 Data Collection perspectives and practices related to student behavior. The classroom provides an ideal oint of view what motivated the participants to do what the researcher has observed them doing and I n order to a colle ction methods were composed of interviews, observations, field notes, and archival data. Interviews When interviews are conducted in conjunction with observation, they provide an in he will be, or should be; how respondents think or feel about something; and how they perspectives and practices related to student behavior, I conduct ed four formal interviews and multiple informal interviews with each teacher. This study employed intensive interviewing in which the researcher listens, observes with sensitivity, and encour ages the participants to elaborate on their experiences (Charmaz, 2006). What may be glossed over in a ty pical conversation was an opportunity to probe deeper. classroom The first formal interview was conducted before any observations. The purpose for this initial interview was twofold. One, I asked teachers general questions about their personal and professional background. Two, the initial interview was designed for t he


70 participants to get to know me. Far too often, the researcher enters a site wanting to learn about the participants, yet there is no disclosure about the life of the researcher (Dunbar, Rodriguez, & Parker, 2003). I shared with them my background, situa ting myself within the research. Spending time to develop and build rapport with participa nts is essential for building trust and furthers researcher reflexivity. The first rapport building interviews were the longest, lasting approximately one hour and fi fteen minutes. Following the first formal interview, I conducted two additional formal, semi structured interviews with each teacher. Following the theme of what Hatch (2002) called I led the interview with a few guiding questions y et remained open to following the leads of my participants, probing areas that arose during our discussions. These interviews elicited teachers' thinking about student behavior based on the research question and my ongoing review of the data. Interviews be gan with moved toward more general questions about student behavior. I was responsive to the ; therefore, the interviews went in the direction that the teach er took them, and they drew on the unique professional experiences and their teaching. On average, each of the three interviews lasted 62 minutes. After providing participants with emergent findings a nd impressions, a fourth member think about how their perspective s and practices related to student behavior have been represented. I use the quotations deliberately because the interview took place through an exchange of emails. The purpose of this final f ormal interview is to strengthen the trustworthiness of the study by asking each teacher to verify, clarify, or add to the ways they think about student


71 they had the opportunit formal interviews, ex cept the final member checking interview were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Appendix A details the length as well as number of transcribed pages for each interview. Informal interviews are unstructured conversations that provide opportunities for the participant to elaborate further on what the researcher has observed (Hatch, 2002). advantage of the immediate context to give informants the chance to reflect on what 93). The informal interviews occurred directly after observations to get immediate feedback, interpretation, and cl arification about observations on that particular day. For example, a new student class, I asked her why she placed him next to a particular student Further clarification allowed me to understand the connections between what teache rs said during their interviews and what they did when working with student behavior. This required me to listen deeply so that I could create relevant questions on the spot, engaging in a reflective conversation with the teacher about what I observed. I j otted down notes and key phrases in my field notes immediately after our conversation for that particular observation. In instances where I wanted to ask an informal interview question, but the teacher was unable to talk with me, I was respectful of her ti me and did not ask the question. During the two months of observations, I asked Mrs. Geller 10 informal interview questions and asked Mrs. Pearl nine.


72 In addition to the teachers, I interviewed the assistant principal, Dr. Zeek, who served behavior support personnel. Interviewing her allowed me to understand schoolwide and district wide policies and practices related to student behavior. Although s he is in his first year at Treitman Shores Elementary, she began her employment in MDCPS as a cu stodian and has been an assistant principal at three other schools in the district. While the teachers in the study are the focus of this dissertation, Dr. Zeek provided contextual information about the The interview lasted about 50 minut es and was audio recorded. Refer to interview protocols in Appendix B. Observations This study focuses on classroom life as student teacher interactions and the learning environment are two factors that can be shaped by individual teachers. Ethnographic ob servations were another of data. The goal of observation is to examine the culture, setting, or phenomenon under study from the perspectives of the participants. In other words, my intent as the researcher was to look through the lens of the teachers to ac quire knowledge related to how they think about and work with student behavior. This was accomplished through direct, frequent observation behavior and prompted me to ask specific questions in the interviews about their observations (Angrosino & Mays de Perez, 2000) and attended other school related activities outside the classroom. For exampl e, I followed the teachers and students to the library, cafeteria, assemblies, and to PE class I wanted to know what life was like for the teachers and students not only within the walls of the classroom but throughout


73 their many transitions. Although ob servation raises the concern that participants will act in ways they think the researcher wants to see, repeated visits for several hours at a time served to minimize this possibility. Through prolonged engagement I was able to gain access to their natura l behavior. When studying classroom phenomena, researchers begin with a broad focus and then narrow the focus as observations continue (Hatch, 2002). Spradley (1980) 77), an initial approach that pays attention to the major features of the social context rather than the specifics. Durin g the grand tour, I observed dimensions such as explicit understandings of classroom culture, routines and expectations, rules, trans itions, affect, use of language, and the physical arrangement of the classroom. These dimensions helped to develop in itial impressions and directed me to specific teacher student and student student interactions related to student behavior. For the first t hree weeks of data collection, I conducted nine half day observations in each teache classroom. During weeks Four th rough S ix, I conti nued with half day observations twice a week. During weeks Seven and E ight, I observed each teacher for a half day once a week. Teachers were observed both in mornings and afternoons to enable me to understand how classroom contexts may shift. In total, I observed each teacher 14 times for approximately 2 to 2 hours each visit Refer to the observation schedule in Appendi x A for a breakdown of the two month observations. My prolonged engagement in these classrooms enabled me to fully capture how became more focused, leading me to ask interview questions that followed up on the


74 s These practices included but were not limited to, how the students inte racted with the teacher and one other, how the teacher communicated academic and behavioral expectati ons, and how the teacher worked with student behavior. In addition, I frequently referred back to the research question to ensure that my observations did not stray from the purpose of the study. ssue in qualitative observations. I assumed a non participant observer role, as it was my goal to capture naturally occurring activity without impacting the classroom environment. Wolcott (1999) describes non no effort to hide what they are doing or deny their presence, but neither are they fully able to avail themselves assive, moderate, and active levels of researcher participation. For this study, I assumed a passive level of participation meaning that I was physically present in the classroom, but did not participate or interact to any great extent. While the presence of any person other than the teacher and his or her students makes the classroom unnatural to some degree, my student interactions. I accomplished this by sitting silently in the background while recording field notes as indicated below, only speaking to the teacher if spoken to first. For example, when Mr s. Geller polled the students about whether they thought her unborn child would be a boy or a girl, she also asked for m y vote, and I responded. When students asked for my help, I politely directed them to a classmate or their teacher, depending on the kind of request.


75 Field Notes Raw field notes were taken with a laptop during each observation in order to record descriptio ns of contexts, actions, and initial impressions in a fast paced environment (Hatch, 2002). Since my goal was to portray an accurate account of what phrases to prompt the important for the study because I honed in on how the teacher thought about and worked admonished a particular student, it name so that I could refer to the student in a subsequent interview. As mentioned earlier, field notes focused on each classroom context. A firm ities then framed m y approach for later observations. For example, tow ard the end of the study I spent more time in Mrs. two students in particular who she discussed at length During each observation, a two column format for notes was used. The left, and wider, column contained descriptions of the classroom contexts, the actions of the teacher and students, and the teacher student and student student ade] a right column included initial impressions and interp retations of what w as observed keeping observations and research assumptions separate. For example, when I observed a child sitting away from the rest of the group, I noted this in the right column of my notes as a reminder to ask Mrs. Pearl about it later.


76 Since the classr oom is a rapidly changing social environment, there was limited time to type full comments. However, directly after each observation, raw field notes were fleshed out with additional notes to complete classroom descriptions and interactions. Field notes we re then used to guide conversations about specific events during the interviews. Archival Data Background data were sought to describe the research setting. I obtained archival data sources related to student behavior by asking key informants, such as the guidance counselor and the secretary at the school. Informants were asked questions helpe behavior as well as disciplinary consequences for breaking school rules. The archival data were not primary sources for analysis; rather, they contributed to a fuller description of the setting and helped me formulate questions for the participating teac hers. Archival data, then, serve d to contextualize the research study. Data Analysis As appropriate for a qualitative study with constructivist episte mological underpinnings, I ana lyze d the data using basic grounded theory gu idelines to produce cases of each t eacher Grounded theory emerged from the work of sociologists Glaser and Strauss (1967), who aimed to systematically construct abstract theoretical explanations of social proce sses. The application of grounded theory as described in this study uses flexible practices and guidelines of more recent methodologists who have adapted the method, moving away from the positivist grounded theory of Glaser


77 and Strauss and toward a constru ctivist approach (e.g. Charmaz, 2000, 2002, 2006 ; Thornberg, 2012; Williamson, Carnahan, & Jacobs, 2012). Rather than view the researcher as an authoritative expert, constructivist the phenomena of study and sees both da ta and analysis as created from shared 2006, p. 130 ). Social construction focused research fits within the constructivist grounded theory methodology because both undersco re the importance of shared experien ces of the researcher and participants as a means to understand student behavior I approached this study from the perspective that there are many interpretations of the world, nd implicit meanings, perspectives, and experiences of reality. Viewing the world through their eyes brought fresh insights and allowed me to understand the beliefs that guided their actions. My role as the researcher was to co construct these realities no t discover one reality, as one reality does not exist. Initial Coding Initial coding is important because it is the first step for moving beyond concrete statements to understand ing what is happening in the data. Charmaz (2006) suggests three ways for gro unded theorists to begin initial coding: word by word, line by line, and incident to incident. I began the initial coding process by analyzing interviews and observations separately. First, I read through all interviews first to determine initial codes. Th en, I read through all the field notes to identify additional initial codes As


78 followed with field notes to find evidence where the observations would support the I began line by line coding of the first interview transcript, naming each line of my written data. I soon realized that this method was problematic because it rigidly fragme nted my data in such a way that meaning. Instead of capturing the sense making of the teachers, their words became isolated and incomplete. This led me to code the transcripts and field notes in larger chunks, coding by meaning unit for transcripts and incident by incident for f ield note s. Seeing the totality of these units better enabled me to recognize emerging patterns in the data. possible deterred me from imposing personal motives or agendas on the d ata. I coded meaning units as actions whenever possible to refrain from making conceptual leaps before doing a complete analysis of the data. Using an example from Mrs. Pearl second interview, she revealed hat are empower my kids stayin g close to her wo rds. Dedoose, a cross platform W eb based application for analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data, helped to keep the initial codes, totaling to 492, and excerpts of interview and observation data organized. Initial coding guided d ecisions about future core conceptual categories from which I constructed the analysis. I used constant comparative methods (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) to determine analytic distinctions throughout the analysis process. To start, I


79 compared data to find gener al similarities and differences, but as I delved deeper to form conceptual categories, I compared interviews, compared earlier observations with later observations, and compared int erviews with observations. For example, I compared the daily routines that the teachers used to maintain the classroom environment across all field notes. Once the most significant initial codes were established as determined by reoccurring patterns in the data, I bega n the second phase of analysis focused coding. Focused Coding Focused coding is the process of taking initial codes to separate, sort, and synthesize larger amounts of data. Focused coding allowed me to make decisions about which initial codes might be consolidated to form broader conceptual categories. As an exampl ways that Mrs. Geller communicated care for her students. These initial codes were subsumed under the large r focused code : Appendix C provides a visual example of the analysis process. Again, I used constant comparative methods to refine the relationships in the data omissions and incons 5). Memo Writing and Conceptualizing Larger Categories As focused codes emerged, I began memo writing, the pivotal step between data collection and writing initial drafts of cases. Memo writin g is crucial in grounded theory because it prompts the researc her to analyze codes, define their properties and characteristics, and raise them to a conceptual level for further analysis (Charmaz,


80 2006). This allow ed me to actively engage with the data, de velop ideas, and refine term with the following two questions in mind: What does stud ent learning mean to her? What is she trying to accomplish? As I continued to refine conceptual categories, I compared categories to make analytical distin ctions. I posed the questions : What do these categories mean and how are they distinct? How are her p ractice s different from the conditions in which learning occurs? Through this recursive, analytic process and with the help of the chair of my commit tee, I was able to better understand what the teachers were thinking and doing, and grapple with what it me ant. Conventions of the Language This qualitative study used ethnographic methods to answer the research question. To be consistent in my report of the findings, a few words about language are provided here. Data are presented in the past tense when they d escribe a particular event that reading notebooks). By using the past tense, the findings are communicated as statements of what was observed or recorded instead of assuming an eternal truth to what is perpetually situated in context (Guti rrez & Rogoff, 2003). assu mption is that their beliefs continue beyond this study, I chose to remain consistent in the tense usage.


81 batim and can be identified by text followed by codes, as described below, or quotation marks. In addition, ema ils from the participants follow APA guidelines for personal communication. Teacher code: Mrs. Geller (G), Mrs. Pearl (P) Data source: observati on (o), interview (i) Date of data collection: month/day (1015=October 15) Lines within interview transcript: li nes from the transcript page (ln14 16) Pages within field notes: page number from the field note (p4) As an example, the code P o1030ln76 78 should be interpreted as Mrs. Pearl, observation, October 30, lines 76 through 78. Role of the Researcher My rece Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, e actually reify oppressive practices in U.S. schools. Kumashiro (2009) asserts that, What [ we ] have come to be defined as good teaching in the United States are approaches to teaching that reinforce certain ways of thinking, of identifying, and of relat ing to others, including ways that comply with different forms of oppression (including racism, sexism, classism, (p. xxxii) While commonsense ideas about good teaching permeate national education discourse, re search suggests that there are official perspectives of what and how schools should teach and these perspectives typically reflect the beliefs and values of dominant views in society, particularly those in privileged positions or with political power. As I conceptualized and conducted this study, I strove to work toward anti oppressive research, acknowledging that research (and anything for that matter) is


82 partial and never neutral. To claim its neutrality only serves to oppress those who do not possess the same assumptions and expectations. The anti oppressive researcher, then, must validate multiple ways of knowing and continue to trouble the conclusions once a research project is over. From my perspective, tea ching and research are not compo sed of one set of best practices because I believe that the nature of teaching and learning is multifaceted, complex, and highly contextual. My commitment to anti oppressive research has prompt ed me to continually ask myself: How do my tacit assumptions and beliefs abo in mind, I sought to understand and honor the different views and approaches for responding to challenging student be havior. My own experiences have undoubtedly shaped the way I think about teaching and learning in urban schools. I am a graduate of a teacher preparation program in the U.S. and have taught for three years in urban settings. For two of those years, I work ed in a culturally and raciall y diverse elementary school in s outh Florida and for one year I taught English to K 8 students in an urban city in Japa curriculum and t eaching and have completed coursework towards a Ph.D. in cu rriculum and i nstruction with an emphasis in curriculum, teaching, and teacher education. Although I have never taught in a Title I school, my experiences as an elementary school teacher in south Florida provide me with a context from which I can relate t o my experiences. In addition, my work as a doctoral student is grounded in teaching and learning to teach in high poverty settings. I spent three semesters teaching a graduate course for


83 preservice teachers that address ed teaching and lear ning in diverse schools. For two semesters, I worked as an intern supervisor in which I observed and coached preservice teachers in the development of pedagogical skills to meet the diverse needs of their st udents. I have taken coursework such as Critical Pedagogy, Teacher Learning and Socialization in High Poverty Schools, and Issues in Teacher Education, which all high poverty settings. My previous research projects highlight my longstanding history and co mmitment to exploring classroom processes in high poverty schools. As an undergraduate University Scholar, I worked with a research team that examined the classroom management practices of effective beginning teachers in two high poverty schools on the fir st day of school. I also helped to design an online course called Critical Pedagogy which was taken by full time practicing educa tors working on a doctorate in e ducation. Not surprisingly, my interest in historically oppressed groups has strongly guided m y research trajectory, thus providing the foundation for the current study. Establishing Trustworthiness reports, qualitative inquiry seeks to ensure that empirical knowledg e is trustworthy. The trustworthiness: credibility, dependability, and transfer ability. Credibility is an evaluation of whether related, dependability is an assessment of the quality of all the integrated pieces of the research design and how these pieces a re implemented. Transferability refers to the degree to which the findings in a study can apply beyond the scope of the project.


84 Practices such as triangulation, member checking, thick descriptions, expert audit reviews, and researcher reflexivity will min imize threats to trustworthiness. An absence of these practices may lead to research respondent mistrust, distortion of the data due To establish trustworthiness, it is not enough to simply mention these terms in qualitative research reports (McWi lliam, 2000). Therefore, I explain how these practices were used to enhance authenticity of the research. I triangulated the data to ensure that conclusions were drawn from multi ple sources. Cross examining the interviews, observations and field notes, and referring to archival data pro vided a more detailed and integrat ed picture of the findings. Member checking occurred through out the research process; I frequently checked my de scriptions and interpretations of the data with the teachers during the interviews. Also, I sent each teacher an email attachment of her case and conducted a member checking interview as described above. I did not receive a response from Mrs. Pearl, but th is may be because I sent the case after the school year ended It is possible that Mrs. Pearl does not check her school email during summer break. On the other hand, Mrs. Geller confirmed t hat I accurately described her commitm ents and practices regarding her work. In her member checking interview, she said: It was really quite fun to relive those moments with the kids (a few made me lol 2 ), and it was really interesting to see how I am perceived as a teacher. I must say that it made me feel proud of the wo You summarized succinctly (specifically in your visual representation) how I see myself as an educator and what I generally find to be the most important elements of my work as an educator. It was really different (and exciting) to see that laid out in this fashion. In my opinion it was a great depiction of what I value in 2 mediated communicat ion.


85 education and my classroom. Thank you! Oh, and thanks for the nice physical descri ption in the beginning! (S. Geller, personal communication, March 3, 2013 ) Mrs. Geller attached a picture of her newborn baby to her responses in our me mber checking interview, an indication of the rapport I worked to establish with my participants. Through this in depth examination of two effective teachers, I aimed to intimately situate the reader by develo beliefs and practices related to the research question. rigor. The members of my doctoral committee, all experienced re searchers, assessed the quality and rigor of the research methods and analysis before, during, and after the purpose. As the chapters were constructed, commi ttee members provided feedback to ensure that the findings were supported by the data collected. I frequently met with, emailed, and held phone conversations with the chair of my committee as I continued to w ork on this research project. To address transferability, all interview protoc ols and a code representation are included in the appendices to enable other researchers to repeat or build on this work. Finally, I employed researcher reflexivity by continual ly reflecting on my beliefs and assumptions about the research topic. Reflexivity began with a written researcher subjectivity statement and continued with a researcher journal that included identification of subjectivities as they emerged. For example, in my observations with Mrs. Pearl, I observed what I perceived as yelling. To me, this is not an effective way to interact with students because it does not communicate care. I took note of this


86 assumption in my researcher journal and when I asked Mrs. Pear an interview, she clarified that she was not yelling at students. Rather, she was teaching with energy and one of the ways she accomplished this was by projecting her voice loudly. In addition, instead of relying on my own percepti ons of yelling, I began to look at was loud, students eagerly raised their hands to participate. Study Limitations A key limitation lies in the fact that the research stu dy does not directly address the learning and teacher practice are important because of the role they can play in affecting educational policy (Desimone, Smith, & Frisvold, 2007). Nevertheless, we get environments of success for students, particularly for students o f color A second limitation stems from how nominators understood my definition of an measures of high academic student performance, holding high expectations of st udents, and demonstrating successful approaches to working with student behavior. It is possible that education stakeholders did not understand my definition of effective in the same way. To ensure that our definitions were as consistent as possible, I ask ed the principal for the specific evidence he drew from when he nominated particular teachers as well as a list of teachers with low referral rates. Before beginning the study, I met with the principal for about 45 minutes to discuss nominations he had in mind.


87 A third limitation is related to power dynamics inherent in the resea rcher participant relationship. It is important that education researchers are aware that they are historically positioned to have a higher social status than those they study (Coch ran Smith & Lytle, 1993). The unequal power between the researcher and the participant may contribute to the Hawthorne Effect, a phenomenon in which participants in behavioral studies change their performance because they are being observed To mitigate th is effect, my goal was to remain open to negotiating power and not overstep approached them with informal interview questions only when they had time to speak with me. The tea chers were available to participate in the semi structured interviews on particular days and times and I was sensitive to these needs.


88 CHAPTER 4 MRS. GELLER: THE LIFE COACH Introduction The present study sought to understand how two teachers, nominated as particularly effective with student behavior, think about and work to transform behavior they vie w as challenging. This question emerged from my concern about the discipline gap and from work I have done in high poverty schools specifically. The literature related to the discipline gap led me to the supposition that effective teachers view certain behaviors as challenging. However, Mrs. assumption in the research question. In fact, Mrs. Geller did not view student behavior as chall enging. Instead, she assumed that students needed to develop many skills to prepare them for their lives in and out of school, and it was her responsibility to help them develop those skills. Despite my attempt to elicit her thoughts direc tly related to st udent behavior (for example: Whose behavior are you concerned about? What concerns you? ) Mrs. Geller redirected the interview in order to talk more broadly about all of the skills she intended to teac h her students. She had a whole child orientation, whic h is typical of effective teachers of Black and emotional wellbeing, and character as well as their academic development This is the story of a teacher who believed it was her job to i which included working with them to strengthen the knowledge, skills, dispositions she believed they would need to determine their own futures It is important to note here that neither teacher talked specifically about how they wor ked with or cared for their Black students. Given their teaching histories, it is


89 interviews because their frame of reference was historically oppressed students. That is, Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl did not talk specifically about Black students because they had only ever taught Black students and other students of color. Nevertheless, their cases reveal the ways in which they enacted critical care for their Black students. making and practice related to her teaching, including her approach to behavior. I begin the chapter with a description of Mrs. Geller, followed by background information about her students. Then, I provide a model of how I understand her work. I describe Mrs. I articulate core principles of her practice and conditions she enacted that supported Who is Mrs. Geller? Mrs. Geller was sending her students outside to PE on the October day when I walked into her classroom at Treitman Shores. Her hair was short and dark brown wit h carefully streaked blond side swept bangs. She had br ight blue eyes and a slim, athletic build. She greeted me with a hug and kiss on the cheek, a social norm in the Hispanic community and her way of welcoming me to her classroom. I could sense within minutes of meeting Mrs. Geller that she had an extroverte d and friendly personality. We had been in contact via email a few weeks prior to our first meeting to discuss her participation in the study and on this day I visited her classroom to complete the first rapport building interview. We sat in a small back room that was connected to her classroom so that she could supervise the several students who were finishing a computer program before running off to PE. We got to know each other quickly, and I felt an intimate connection with her because we had a lot in common: we were of similar


90 age, both from the Miami area, both liked working out and the beach, and both were completing our doctorates in education. During our first interaction, I felt as if I had known her for quite some time. Born to a Cuban American i1025ln14 15) father, she was raised in Miami with five siblings, three sisters and two brothers. She is the youngest of the six and remembers growing up Catholic and going to church every Sunday as a child. Her Cub an grandmother was a large part of her life and would pick up all the siblings from school every day. Because her grandmother did not speak English, Mrs. Geller acted as the translator so that her grandmother could have conversations with her teachers afte Spanish speaking skills have diminished; she can understand conversations in Spanish and will speak it if she is in a situation that demands it, but she does not describe herself as fluent. She shared with me that her childhood upbringing was quite busy as i1025ln107 108). Respect was a significant part of her childhood upbringing: There was no rais house as a child or as an adolescent. There was a time when I could respond or I could talk, but there was a level of respect just from somebody elder. (G i1114ln115 120) After she graduated high school, she attended a four year college in Flor ida on a volleyball scholarship. She played the sport most of her life. Her career sights were set on becoming an on air journalist, and afte r she co studies and journalism she landed an internship at a local television station in Miami. She did not complete the unpaid internship, which left her financially unstable. She


91 needed a source of income quickly so when a friend nudged her to interview for a teaching position at Treitman Shores, she went to the interview and was hired immediately. Without a background in education, she began her teaching career mid year in a first grade, ESOL Level I classroom. She c ontinued to teach first grade for the next four years before her principal assigned her to fifth grade. In discussing her transition to an older group of students she explained, I was ready for a richer dialogue, if you will [laughter], and just the way I humor that I like to use in my classroom that is totally over the heads of the younger ones. (G i1 025ln70 75) Mrs. Geller was comfortable and confident teaching fifth grade, and as I observed her interactions with students, I began to understand the kind of humor that characterized her personality and allowe d her to connect with students. Mrs. Geller w as a married 30 year old when we first met and had recently found out that she was pregnant. Already a mother to a one year old boy, she lives in a middle class, suburban, family oriented community about 40 minutes away from the school. She was not showing in late October when this study began, but by the end of December, she certainly had a waddle to her walk. As I spent more time with her, we developed what I believed to be a more personal relationship we learned that we uncommon to find someone who e njoys 90 minutes in a 105 degree room!) and became even closer when we talked about our journey through graduate studies. She and her husband travel whenever they can and try to stay active by running, going to the beach or t he pool, or playing tennis. While they enjoy staying active, graduate school has certainly limited her free time.


92 In 2006, Mrs. Gell nstruction as she knew there was more for her to learn about her teaching. In her first interview she revealed, I just wanted more direction. At that point I felt good with what I was doing but lot of information, so I just wanted to be able to expand my knowle dge base in what I was doing and different options and avenues on how to reach the kids that I was teaching. I knew what was working in my class but I knew exposed to yet. (G i10 25ln154 161) The continued desire to grow professionally also influenced her decision to pursue an Ed.D. in a professional practice doctoral program in which she is entering her third year 1 : Again, I think I wa I want to m ove beyond the classroom in regard with affecting student learning, and so again, I need to know more; I need to feel more secure in my knowledge of the practice and as a professional and I want a broader perspective. (G i1025ln168 175) Being part of a pr ofessional practice doctoral program gave her the opportunity to learn and work with other practicing educators including school administrators and teachers, which helped her to understand issues related to education from different perspectives. She shared different light. She maintained that the program strove to: bring to light, or bring a voice to this sense of individuals, these marginalized, underprivileged individuals that you kno w tend to get silenced, and this idea of bringing their voices to the forefront and creating throughout the program. (G i1025ln215 222) 1 A professional practice doctorate is designed specifically for practicing educators. Students generate knowledge through the systematic study of problems of practice in their particular contexts. Both the professional practice doctorate and the Ph.D careers as scholars and academics, while the Ed.D. prepares them to become practitioner scholars who solve problems of practice.


93 Some of the courses in the program placed an e mphasis on teaching for social justice. Mrs. Geller found these courses to be useful as they helped her think about teaching with an equity oriented focus. That is, the courses reinforced her practice as she interacted with her students One assignment she she explored the perspectives of six of her Black and Hispanic students who lived in extreme poverty. Using interviews and questionnaires, she learned about the complex challenges they face d on a daily basis. The inquiry urged her to hear their voices and rethink her role as their teacher. She was deliberate in her explanation that inquiry i s not of my practi i1025ln258 260). Whereas inquiry in teacher education programs is often viewed as a time and place bound project, Mrs. Geller conveyed th at inquiry informed all facets of her professional work (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009). working with students. In fact, she was a self proclaimed dictator who described h ow she managed her students: Collaborative groups? Them I was very much a dictator, ver st by silencing them. other teacher would send their misbehaved children to my class like I was a dictator. (G i1213ln227 242) Her descript ion characterized a classroom that she believed once felt more like prison and less like a learning community. In fact, she said that students once feared her.


94 students to a t eacher who enacted critical care. In discussing the connection between preventing them from success, she revealed: I mean was I aware? W as there a sense of awareness? Y e high poverty students and a lot of these students are in a position where We can never teach these students. W e can never re ach privileges that they have never been privy to. Yes, I have that awareness, from working with them day in and day out. But, w as I able to recognize things that I might have been d oing to contribute to that are thing s that I might have been it ( G i1025ln226 237) Mrs. Geller revealed that she made assumptions about students and their needs without genuinely knowing the m. Examining the biases that guided her interactions with students, she elaborated on prior assumptions in her early years of teaching: Like not stopping to ask them, to listen to them, or to assume that I knew what was best for them [I] assume d poor th em, this is what they they want from a teacher or what things that teachers do that affect them. I neve said t hurts you? What makes you not really want to learn? (G i1025ln239 249) She attributed the equity oriented graduate programs to her evolving thinking and practice. Mrs. Geller moved from he r tacit assumptions of universal care that may have harmed students to taking a genuine interest in their perspectives to understand how they wanted to be cared for. Mrs. Geller went into great detail about the difficulties her students experience. I mention these here because they help to explain the context in which she taught. She


95 anonymity. This section focuses on family challenges but I am acutely aware that there is much more to their lives than the adversity they face. Nevertheless, their struggles are real and shape the way Mrs. Geller worked with them. A striking observation Mrs. Geller made was that this year, more than any o ther in her teaching career, students have been displaced from their parents and live with grandparents, other relatives, or are in foster care. One child had a mother who tried to set their house on fire. Others never knew their mother and father. Another parent has been in and out of drug addiction treatment centers for years. A few parents were in jail. Several of the students were cared for by adults who work in the evenings and sometimes work two or three jobs. It was quite common for her students to b e responsible for completing their homework without assistance, finding something to eat for dinner, caring for younger siblings if they are the oldest, and putting themselves to bed. They sometimes came to school without adequate school supplies, dishevel ed, or without their uniform. Some arrived without breakfast and having slept little. Mrs. Geller were described adjusted reactions are inconsistent from day to day. You might see an outburst or [a student] ove r I mean [their issues] find their way out in different i1025ln369 lped her understand their struggles and think about ways to help them succeed. Figure 4 which includes but is not limited to her approach to working


96 addressed multiple dimensions to ensure that each child was challenged academically and was prepared to participate in a global environment. The model is informed by Mrs. child orientation to teaching At the co re of the mode teaching, which represents the commitments that guide her work. Her stance is her professional positioning, and what I with beh avior is similar to the way she worked with anything students need help with. It is for this reason that the model is not a model of how she responds to challenging behavior; rather, it is a comprehensive representation of preparing students for life. The second ring includes five principles of practice that guided the ways in which she enacted the stance of learning for life. This is not to suggest that Mrs. Geller was guided only by these principles, but rather these were the most salient principles that emerged from the data. The outer ring contains four lines which supported her stance and the principles that guided the ena ctment of the stance. The lines represent the conditions, or the environment Mrs. Geller created to facilitate learning for life. L y Job. Period. (2002) two year study that examined poverty students as learners and how they influenced classroom instruction and stu dent learning, Mrs. Geller emb philosophy. This philosophy holds that success. While ed ucators often repeat the m antra some attach qualifiers to this belief, suggesting that there are limits to what teachers can


97 succeed if could succeed if their parents value education home or other variables unrelated to teacher and school practices. These qualifiers convey that the onus for student success is on the family; if students lag behind, it is t the capabilities of low income students indicates that one likely does not genuinely believe that all of the students can succeed. The v implications for how teachers conceptualize their role in the classroom and their day to day interactions with students. Mrs. Geller repeat students and insisted it was her job to ensure that students were successful. She expressed this goal in our interviews and in her interactions with students: k test? Give me a hand in the air if you know. (very few students raise their hands) Mrs. Geller: The benchmark test is just to see what you know. I do expect you to do well give up just because it gets a little annoying. (G o1029p1) Mrs. Geller then proceeded to draw a visual representation on the board of her told them that she expected them to make improvements from their August benchmark assessment. Mrs. Geller kept track of their achievement s and was not blind to student differences. She expressed that students had different strengths and skills they needed to work on but one thing was clear t


98 about that because I think they could all do well if I could just have them for (G i1025ln391 393). Viewing students from an asset oriented perspective, she bilities and helped them to see themselves as capable of the success she knew they could achieve. When Ryker told Mrs. Geller that he was fin e possibly be, I want him to do his ve ry best all the time and [your grandparents and I] feel the same way about you. T hey do not look at you put you in the gifted prog and you need to pr ove to (G i121312ln706 725) Even students who had a reputation for problematic behavior were not viewed from a deficit perspective. Referring to one of her Black students known I like him. He takes more redirecti He bad, just lively. [laughter] Energ hears me say someth ike today I said something about no excuses song is and he starts singing right, no excuses, promises, whatever, just no excuses. Get to work, okay? (G i121312ln529 544) M rs. Geller also shared that the student was no angel. In fact, he fractured a was suspended for a day. Despite this, Mrs. Geller still believed that it was her job to curb his poor choices because he was capable of success. There were no excuses for failure because she genuinely believed that


99 goal for the students in her classroom. In an exchange of emails, I probed further to understand her definition of student learning. In an era of education reform, studen t learning tends to refer to the standardized measurement of achievement in a subject area. Student achievement is concerned with an increase in test scores. For Mrs. Geller, this was too narrow a definition of student learning. From her perspective, stude nt learning meant more than mastering academic skills; it meant mastering life skills so that students would experience success both life, concerned the whole child. master certain basic academic skills (writing using proper grammar, r values, ways of thinking that will not only allow them to perform well on a soc ial interactions, careers, etc. ( S. G eller, personal communication, March 3, 20 13) It was no surprise then to hear Mrs. Geller talk about what she believed to be the and doers, facilitate individuality and creativity, and promote the desire for students to be strong c ontributors t 2013 ). As such, she wholeheartedly viewed herself as the conduit between her students hool as an personal communication, March 3, 2013 ) and she talked about her role in preparing students to contribute to society:

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100 I want my role as a teacher to be to foster an environment where I am pushing them to think in different ways, challenge scenarios, provid e strong reasoning for their beliefs and thoughts, communicate their thinking accurately, and transition creative ways of thinking into some type of action. (S. Geller, personal communication, March 3, 2013 ) Getting students to think differently and to cha llenge scenarios are indications that she world a better place. In other words, her data suggests that learning for life included encouraging students to enact change. This meant that she strove to make connections between tested academic skills from the state mandated c urriculum to the bigger picture: life She explained: As a teacher, I might be teaching vocabulary essentially, but I [teach] how and why we might choose certain words to use in different scenarios. We might go into how those words can be switched around depending on who hat seems like a quickly becomes a lesson that [students] might consider the next time they have a conversation with an adult, or when they are in an interview type setting. (S. Geller, personal communication, March 3, 2013 ) Since her goal was for students to experience success in life, teaching them how to respond in challengi i1114ln36 37) or behavioral skills, such as how to speak i n a respectful manner, were just as crucial as the academic skills that would prepare them for their lives in an d out of school. Just as she would not send students to the office for failure to master an academic skill, neither would she send them to the office for failure to master a behavioral skill. Her role was to prepare them for tough academic assessments as w (S. Geller, personal communication, March 3, 2013). She did not value one as more important than the other, but did note the challenge of weaving into her curriculum the skills not part of the pacing guide (e.g., respect, honesty). Focused on nurturing the

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101 whole child rathe r than a teaching agenda that merely addressed academics, five principles guided how she ensured student effort and excellence in learning for life. s Practice Principles of practice are the ways in which Mrs. Geller enacted her stance learning for life. Five principles guided her thinking which informed her day to day interactions with students: 1) knowing students and caring for them, 2) facilitating student engagement, 3) differentiating teaching, 4) assisting students to achieve high expectations, and 5) empowering students as collaborators in teaching and learning. Although I separate them for purposes of description, the five principles are interr elated in practice. Knowing Students a nd Caring f or Them Building relationships and communicating care were a priority for Mrs. Geller who worked hard to get to know her students to create a positive learning community Knowing students was th e first step in showing students that she cared for them. She made the connection between knowing students and showing her care clear: touch it. So I just focus on [relationships]. Because I think that building relationships in the beginning and getting to know them and making t hem think that I care is more important than jumping into focusing on Florida curriculum. (G i1025ln415 433) This is a bold statement given the high stakes environment that ties teacher salaries in Florida to test scores. Delving into the curriculum would eventually come, but helping students feel understood, accepted, and connected to her and their peers conveyed her care for them. Mrs. G eller communicate d her care through getting to know you

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102 activities, by rem oving barriers to their success and by acknowl edging them for a job well done. On the first day of school, students completed questionnaires that elicited a range of responses about their interests, strengths, and background experiences. Mrs. Geller then spent the next two weeks conducting mini inter views with students, getting to know them on a more personal level. Students also had the opportunity to interview each other in smaller groups to get acquainted. Mrs. Geller enabled students to get to know her on a more intimate level by providing them an opportunity to ask her questions Her then i102512ln433 447). She believed reciprocity in the relationship was key for students to perceive her care. Mrs. year She frequently circled the room to check on students and patted them on the back as they worked on academic tasks. She praised students often with positive and specific praise, such as o1105p4 ) and wanted you to do. You highlighted the chun o1113 p3 ). She acknowledged them for working hard, which she believed made them want to work harder. Her commitment to caring for her students was also evident when they did not perform well. For example, when Mrs. Geller aske d Jamal how he did on an assignment he said: Jamal: I got an F. Mrs. Geller: Jamal, what happened??? Jamal: I keep trying to bring my grade up but it keeps going down.

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103 Mrs. Geller: We need to talk more then and figure out a way. (G o1205p5 ) Refusing to giv e up on to teaching. Not only did Mrs. Geller refuse to give up on students, she worked to remove unwoven stitching and no lo nger had working zippers, she stapled the broken sections of his backpack together so that he was able to take his books and other supplies home after school. That same day, another Black students read independently, Mrs. Geller sat on the carpet trying to fix the chair. In o1113 p6 ), she said. She smiled, and so did he. Some of the barriers were much larger, yet she refused to allow them to come between her students and their learning. Teachers were required to send students to the office if they were in violation Coming to school was of upmost importance to Mrs. Geller so when she learned that one of her students repeatedly missed school simply because he did not have a clean uniform, she instructed that he come to school and promised that she would not send him to the office. She believed that missing school for this reason was not a good excuse and defied school policy. Mrs. Geller went against the grain to ensure students were learning. She also worked to remove larger barriers outside of school that interfered with student learning. In one of our informal interviews Mrs. Geller shared a story about a mother who was ordered by the Department of Children and Families to give up her six children because she left them alone in their home without electricity. Her oldest son and upon learning t his, she placed an application to become

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104 his foster mother. For various reasons, he did not end up living with Mrs. Geller but her actions communicated her deep care and concern for the student. Despite obstacles small and large, she was committed to doin g whatever she deemed necessary to Getting to know students is certainly not a new idea in the culturally responsive teaching literature bu t one worth further interrogatio n. Mrs. Geller recognized distinctions between knowin g students on a surface level, such as what they like to eat and their hobbies, and knowing students on a deeper level. Although Mrs. Geller used a questionnaire activity as a first step to knowing students, she also understood the contextual layers that h seeks to understand the child within his or her community. The following quote shows how deep knowledge of a student helped Mrs. Geller approach what on the surface might have appeared to be a simple instance of off task behavior: e just with him; mom works at night so he can go to bed be putting his head down anytime he home till two in the morning, so he goes to bed when he goes to bed, and o he gets himself up in the morning and gets dressed and those are all the things that I had to know a and work on like a little piece of it. (G i1114ln664 681) By understanding the contextual layers that impact able to help them in learning for life. Mrs. Geller was adamant about finding ways to

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105 reach students so that she could teach them, and in order to do so, she had to know them on a personal level. She asserted, They need t hat personal level. I need to know who their families are, I need to know what they like, where they come from, what their struggles are, my responsibility that I use those t o help them with the goal of student le arning. (G i 1025ln266 270) Knowing students, then, guided her decisions about how she would teach and motivate students to learn for life. Facilitating Student Engagement Motivating students to learn in school was wha t Mrs. Geller believed was her greatest strength as a teacher. She wanted students to be excited about learning, to demonstrate knowledge they had acquired, and to take pride in their accomplishments. 2 which inspired her to plan for activities to facilitate student engagement. She avoided rote and mundane tasks where i1114 ln356 358 ). Mrs. Geller used several strategies to facilitate student engagement, which included inviting students into the curriculum, asking open comments. Mrs. Geller sought ways to make lear ning personal by inviting students into her curriculum. For at least 30 minutes of each class period students would gather on the carpet and Mrs. Geller would read to them. They began reading the book Holes, which begins with a description of the setting, Camp Greenlake. The following is an excerpt 2 hat one is invested and willing to do what is necessary to achieve a goal.

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106 from field notes that demonstrated her ability to get students engaged by personally inviting them into the story: Mrs. Geller: You are now enterin g Camp Greenlake. (she continues to read) die a slow a nd painful death. Student: (under his breath) Oh, damn. Some people actually want to get bit by scorpions? Why? Student: Because if not they make you dig holes. Student: T his place sounds like torture. Teacher: So Nick thought, jail or Camp Greenlake. What would you choose? (G o1030 p4 ) This question prompted an interesting discussion about whether students would choose jail or Camp Greenlake and why. She also had them draw the setting of the camp to help envision what it might look like. To conclude their discussion, she validated their t sounds nice a lake, a hammock, and some of you are saying no thank you, scorp o1030 p3 ) When it came time to read Holes and the other class novels, buried in their books, eager to find out what would happen next. Asking open practice o1030 p4 ), she asked when they learned that the kids of Camp Greenlake dug holes all day. When the author introduced a new character in Holes o11 0 5 p2 ) Students vehemently shared their varying perspectives, and she listened intently and was responsive to their comments.

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107 ations that she did not plan for. When a discussion about Thanksgiving engendered issues of racism and sexism, Mrs. Geller was open to the conversation: Mrs. Geller: Were the women at the Thanksgiving feast? Students: (in unison) No. Mrs. Geller: Why not? Were they looked at as equals? Students: (in unison) No. Mrs. Geller: How about Blacks and Native Americans? Students: No. One student: They were racist. you are r acist, you think that what? Students: That your race is better. Teacher: EXACTLY. And when we talk about being sexist that means you think your gender is better than the other. (G o1205 p3 ) Conversations about racism and sexism are often considere d taboo i ssues in school settings, but this certainly did not stop Mrs. Geller who understood that these topics were significant to her students of color In this way, the conversation went in the direction that the students to ok it, engaging students in topics the y wanted to discuss. and the students participated in several ways. They learned a continents song that involved body movements to help them identify all seven continents. After learning the song, she broke th e class up into two groups and had a friendly competiti on for which group could sing the song the loudest. They also made a human map with their bodies that represented the world. To help students remember their inference skills, Mrs. Geller created an inf erence chant:

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108 o1108 p2 ) Since this was a skill that was practiced on a daily basis, students repeated this chant loudly and in unison quite often. Also, partners or small group s were formed to encourage them to tackle challenging tasks as a team. In this way, she was able to tap into the inter ests and learning styles of her students, motivating them to excel. Differentiating Instruction e included tailoring instruction to meet the needs of individual students. Often, teachers differentiate academic content (i.e., skills in the curriculum pacing guide), but learning for life meant that Mrs. Geller differentiated other important learning an d the processes to achieve that learning based on what them i1114 ln724 726 ) and she further noted the significance of knowing students in making instructional decisions: student only one time go over and put my hand on their shoulder or look at them a certain way going to work. (G i1114 ln83 88 ) Knowing students prompted her to employ several different strategi es to help them. These wer e composed of non verbal cues, pep talks, hugs, and communicating in culturally responsive ways. learning each student needed to work on. Some of these included handwriting sk ills, organization skills, staying on task, learning how to work with others, setting personal goals, and having a positive attitude. Her approach to assisting in their transformation

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109 was different and individualized for each student. For example, Mrs. Gel ler used a special hand code for a student who constantly called out during instruction. This particular student was an only child who craved attention; therefore her subtle, special hand code made him feel as though he received special attention. Taking t he time to communicate with a non verbal hand gesture was an effective reminder for the student to stop calling out without embarrassing him or making it appear to other students as though he received special treatment. For another student who also incessa ntly called ou t, she often used proximity or what she referred to as a was that if she were to verbally respond to every comment he made, it would impede the instructional pace of the entire group. Therefore, she was sure to a cknowledge his appropriate behavior with positive praise instead of harping on inappropriate behavior that she believed was sometimes out of his control. moods after leaving their morning teacher who often punished them. When this occurred, which was at least twice per week, Mrs. Geller greeted them at the door, always with a smile. She would not begin instruction for the day until she gave a pep talk to get them back on trac k: in a good space mentally, and if they were in trouble in the other class or they were in trouble in the office or the y were coming back from a three day and good afternoon. (G i1114 ln640 647 ) It was easy for these students to harbor feelings of distress about incidents for which they got in to trouble. However, dwelling on these incidents and refusing to let them go

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110 could impede their ability to l to stay positive and let them know that they had a clean slate upon entering her room. For Ryker, who needed daily work on having a more positive attitude, the class period always ended with what c ame to be known this, the worst negative attitude. You need some positive energy in your u know what ? F rom give me a hug you some positive energy those arms are go Before he leaves, [the students] all count and he gives me a hug (G i1213 ln805 816 ) Mrs. Geller: Positive e nergy, Ryker. (Ryker walked over to her.) Mrs. Geller: Come on, Ryker. We need a long hug today class for math. (Ryker put his arms around he r, and she and the students began to count in unison) One, two, three those arms around me! (G o1119 p5 ) Mrs. Geller students in differentiated, culturally responsive ways. She described how she conveyed the same message in contrasting ways: I have one stu dent that is very soft that if I were to ever raise my voice it would probably frea k him out; he be become a little bit more stern, with him I have to say, other students that if I try to have a conversatio n with th zoned out;

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111 the eyes and I need to come on with a stern voice in order for them to be (G i1114 ln795 812 ) Addressing a soft spoken student in a stern and direct manner could have led to feelings of intimidation and disengagement whereas a stern and direct style was likely to be effective with other students. Mrs. Geller continuously m onitored the varying needs and styles of her students and responded quickly by changing the pace of a lesson, modifying instructional activities, providing individual assistance, and redirecting their attention to the task at hand. A one size fits all appr oach for students was futile. Mrs. Geller differentiated instruction based on who her students were and what they needed to experience success. Assisting Students t o Achieve High Expectations i12 1 3 ln82 83 ), Mrs. Geller refused to accept s Many state they have high expectations, but fall short in assisting students to meet them. However, Mrs. Geller expre ssed high expectations and coached students to reach these expectations. She was consistent, every i1213 ln87 88 mean what I say i1025 ln813 ), she asserted in a business like manner; therefore, when she stated an expectation, she followed through. While t his from care and concern for their wellbeing.

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112 Expectations for what was appro priate depended on the context. D uring whole group instruction, students knew that they had t o focus on the lesson. Therefore, getting up to throw away a piece of paper or engaging in side bar conversations was unacceptable. On the other hand, when students worked in small groups to craft a short story, talking with their peers was expected. Expec tations were established and practiced during the first two weeks of school and continually reinforced through reminders: one it fifty million repriman reminder. (G i1114 ln387 394 ) Mrs. Geller believed that students were capable of adapting to the different expectations she required, and her reminders served to prompt them. Before s tudents transitioned to another task, she clearly assisted them to meet her expectations by reminding them of what was expected: me remind you: one pillow per person and no one ca n lie flat on the ground for everyone your seat. T his is not a race. (G o1030p3 ) Her role as their life coach was to pu sh them to meet her expectations and to support them in the process of doing so this is i1114 ln436 437 ), she stated. Mrs. Geller viewed her practice as a careful balance between supp orting and pushing students to reach her expectations and she was able to push students to achieve because of the caring relationship s she had worked to maintain throughout the year:

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113 re conversations and that I try and teach them an d lead them there and then once I know they know better, I push them. (G i1213 ln102 108 ) From her perspective, she could not simply demand what she expected from them; she had to assist, or show them how to achieve success. For example, she continually tau ght students how to make inferences using clues provided in the text: to highlight way too much. (asked the students to instruct her on the SMART Board) So should highlight? (Students tell her the part of the sentence she should highlight.) How am I going to show the EVIDENCE? We want just the answers, just the evidence, just the PROOF. You are going t o go back in that story and I expect to see where you found the answer with me to find it later. (G o1113p2) Making inferences was a skill practiced from the beginning of the year. Therefore, when a student rushed to finish his reading assignment, she gave him a stern look and firmly o1 105p6 ). Returning his paper, s he insisted that he go back a nd redo the assignment, and she refused to accept less than his best effort. Assisting students to meet her high expectations outside of the skills in the curriculum pacing guide, such as organization, was just as critical: Mrs. Geller: Is that organized? Student: No. Mrs. Geller: How could this be more organized? (She tells the student to get his fo lder.) Part of not being organized is not putting things in a specific place. (She

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114 places his homework in the left side pocket of his folder.) Next time you remember this but you nee d to do it to stay organized. Next time we take it out of your folder. Student: (nods his head) Yes, Mrs. Geller. (G o1101p2) She demanded that the student stay organized not only because h e often misplaced his homework assignments, which was detrimental to his academic success, but staying organized was a skill he needed to be successful in life. Unwavering in her efforts, she supported the student by showing him how to be more responsible. Then, she pushed She exercised her authority and monitored students because she took responsibility for student learning. As their life coach, she expected students to perform to a high standard and helped them to meet their goals. Empowering Stud ents as Collaborators in Teaching a nd Learning Mrs. Geller wanted students to make decisions about their learni to be involved I noticed that they become a little bit more empowered and they i1213 ln14 18 ). She accomplished this by co creating classroom rules, helping students establish and meet personal goals, using their ideas in her instructional decisions, and pushing them to take responsibility for their learning. During the first week of school, Mr s. Geller asked students to co create classroom rules. A classroom discussion facilitated by Mrs. Geller provided students the opportunity to voice their desires for the kind of classroom community they hoped for.

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115 Students said they should be expected to c ome prepared to learn each day, treat others with respect, and follow directions. Rules were posted next to the SMART Board at the front of the classroom to remind students of the kind of classroom environment they agreed on. An aspect of collaborating in teaching and learning was establishing and meeting the goals students set for themselves. The day report cards were distributed, Mrs. Geller had students reflect on their grades to think of one goal they were going to work on. Students were required to wri te their goal on a piece of paper, and more importantly, how they planned to reach that goal. They turned these goals into Mrs. Geller who later revisited them with each student. Just before a major standardized assessment, Mrs. Geller spoke with them abou t performing better than the previous assessment: somewhere betwee n 5 10% higher. Does that seem like a fair goal? Is that something you can work towards? (G o1030 p1 ) Furthermore, Mrs. Geller coached her students to make academic and behavioral ntional planning to improve individual student goals. The following is a conversation between Mrs. Geller and the aforementioned student who needed assistance with staying organized: (Student cannot find his homework assignment.) Mrs. Geller: What do I e homework assignment? Take out your homework folder. (Student takes out his homework folder, but there is no homework assignment.) it. Listen to me.

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116 disappointed because I was excited to come in here this morning and see you take out you r homework from that folder. Okay, we need to try this again tomorrow. (Minutes later, the student continues to dig in his backpack and finally finds his homework assignment crumbled with other miscellaneous papers. He immediately brings it to her.) Mrs. G eller: And where was it? Why was it there? You need to promise me that tomorrow, you will have your homework in your folder. Student: I promise, Mrs. Geller. (G o11 0 5 p3 ) The next time I observed her classroom was three days later. As their usual routine, desk was his folder, with his homework assignment inside of the left pocket. With a sense of pride and accomplishment, he smiled, sat up straight and tall, and had his h ands folded. H e was ready for her to check it and she responded to him promptly. She genuinely valued their input and empowered students by using their ideas in her instructional decisions. When a student proposed a slight change in a reading assignment, M o11 0 5 p3 ) and encouraged students to do it his way. As they came to the end of Holes a novel they had been reading together, a classmate suggested that their next novel be Small Steps the sequel to Holes Reco gnizing their excitement about this prospect, she promised to investigate the book. She also pushed students to take responsibility for their own learning. For example, when a student did not complete an assignment because he was absent, yet failed to tell o1212 p5 ). She was

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117 coa ching them to become independent, which included speaking up for themselves and getting the work they missed. Conditions that Support Learning for Life The present study aims to understand how effective teachers think about and work to transform behavior t hey view as challenging. Given that Mrs. Geller viewed student learning as learning for life, behavior was just one of the many domains of learning that she addressed. Conditions that supported learning for life, the outside ring of the model, were the fea tures of the classroom environment that Mrs. Geller put in place to facilitate student learning. She created a particular kind of learning environment grounded in a culture of success supported by four conditions: respect, perseverance, comfort, and urgenc y. These conditions complement one another and as a whole they facilitated the principles that guided her teaching. Respect Student behavior was not challenging to Mrs. Geller. Instead, she assumed that students needed to be competent in many life skills and viewed it as her responsibility to coach students toward success in life. As such, Mrs. Geller shared that many of her students did not know the meaning of respect and what it looked like; thus, it was her duty to teach them. From her perspective, re spect embodied an array of skills, including how to speak to adults, how to speak to peers, how to have conversations, how to le for creating a positive learning community with respect at the core, thus a clear expectation of respect was communicated at the beginning of the year:

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118 as respecting one anot speak to them in return. I try to keep that fine line, that balance between they have issues or they need help i1025 ln402 412 ) Even though Mrs Geller insisted on a classroom environment characterized by respect, this did not mean that she wanted students to fear her because she was the authority figure. She acknowledged that yelling or degrading them when they were disrespectful would be counte rproductive to the respectful classroom she was trying to create. As their life coach, she carefully balanced her role between teaching them about respect while still being approachable if they needed her assistance. Refusing to embarrass or degrade studen ts reinforced her commitment to maintaining a respectful classroom environment. Mrs. Geller used redirecting language when students were disrespectful. Her tone of voice was firm, but res pectful, direct, and specific concerning the violation of respect: Yo ur comments are not necessary. We can move a lot faster without your comments (G o1107 p3 ). (G o1205 p3 ). (G o1115 p1 ). Mrs. Geller: Excuse me? Is that how you speak to people? You need to take your time before you begin to speak. (G o1105 p6 )

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119 Although she did not harp on or lecture students, she was sure to curb comments or actions she viewed as disrespectful because she believed they cou ld damage the learning environment Sometimes the disrespectful behavior was more serious and called for a problem solving conversation to help students understand why their actions were inappropriate. When Mrs. Geller received a note from the substitute indicating that Ryker was disrespectful in her absence, she called Ryker to her desk to discuss the incident. At the ou, and I do want people to o1105 p1 ). Sev eral days later, when she learned that Ryker stole a piece of candy from her desk, Mrs. Geller walked to his house to have a talk about why the behavior was inappropriate as well. As students entered the library, one student was flailing his arms, jumping around, and accidentally hit Mrs. Geller. She unaware of your surroundings. You n o1030 p6 ). To maintain a respectful classroom environment, it was important for her to teach students why the behavior was disrespectful. She wanted them to discontinue their disrespectful behavior, not because she was t he authority but because she was coaching them to be respectful human beings. Establishing a classroom ethos of respect was of significance to the teacher who aimed to teach skills students needed to be successful in life.

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120 Perseverance Perseverance, the s teady persistence in a course of action despite the presence dents to do their absolute best and to keep going even when things got tough Instead of rushing through tasks to comple te as much as possible, she told students to take their time, be thorough, and recheck their answers. She showed them she was persistent in her own life. Mrs. Geller also persevered in her work with her students, which communicated her unrelenting goal to coach them toward a successful life. When a student had difficulty with a question on a reading assignment, she insisted that he reread the paragraph. Once he selected the correct answer, she smiled t might be a pain in the butt to thanked her, and nodded his head in agreement (G o1113 p5 ). She acknowledged the di fficulties and ust because it o1212 p2 ). By coaching him to persevere, he showed Mrs. Geller and himself that he was capable of success. Mrs. Geller expressed that they were not the o nly ones who had to persevere when challenging obstacles arose. In fact, she showed them that as an adult, she had to persevere too: Student: Wel l,

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121 that at home. You have to go back to the text. I do that in school, too. Look, let me show you my book f or school. (She grabs a book from her purse, which is from a course she is taking. She opens it, shows them all the notes and highlighting she has made. She also shows them dog eared ld STILL go back and check. (G o12 0 5 p6 ) This communicated to students that perseverance was a valuable and necessary character trait to have if one wanted to experience success. Overcoming obstacles was a part of life and Mrs. Geller insisted on teaching them determination and resilience. As a ubiquitous condition of the classroom, Mrs. Geller persevered in h er schoolwork and in her work with students. When a student seemed to have difficulty with answering a question, Mrs. Geller got on her knees and leaned in close, assisting her with the question. The student stared blankly at the paper and continued to hav e trouble. Mrs. Geller took a deep breath and calmly helped the student once more. Eventually, the student answered the question correctly (G o1105 p6 ). In other example, she noticed that a student was not doing his best on his Holes quiz. Mrs. Geller immed iately intervened and told him to take out his Holes book: in your quiz. (Student tells her his answer to a specific question.) Mrs. Geller: But that is not correc t. So, go back to Chapter 8 an d when you reread it, (Student refers back to Chapter 8.) Student: You were right, Mrs. Geller. It was a little different. book. (G o1213 p3 4 )

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122 She demanded that students continue to work hard and stay the course because she believed that perseverance was important for life. Comfort for optimal le arning to occur. From her perspective, comfort included physical and psychological components that made the environment feel welcoming and safe. Both components were an important part of what she viewed as comfort. The physical environment was an inviting a large carpet at the back of the classroom where many whole group lessons took place. Students each had their own pillow or foldable chair to use on the carpet when they read and discussed their novels. They brou ght the pillow and chairs from their homes, which helped them to feel at ease as they worked. Desks were arranged in clusters of four or five to facilitate cooperative learning. She did not want them to feel isolated as they learned. Establishing a comfort able learning environment went beyond the physical arrangement to include psychological components of the classroom. Her amiable disposition toward the students helped to create comfortable learning environment. Mrs. i1025 ln702 703 ). In the following example, Mrs. Geller showed her personal side when talking about her unborn baby: Mrs. Geller: Guys, what day is today? Students: November 8 th Mrs. Geller: Yes, but aside from this!

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123 your belly! s under their students raise their hands) So, if we made that into a pie chart, it would predictions using a red marker for girl and a blue marker for boy). Well, o1108 p1 ) Allowing studen ts into her personal life humanized her and made them feel comfortable. She was friendly, and she made it easy for students to approach her. She helped a student draw a fish o o1030 p3 ) Her charming demeanor, pats on the shoulder, smiles, and humor gave them fe elings of ease and encouragement and psychological safety. Mrs. Geller understood that learning for life involved taking risks and, therefore, students needed an emotionally safe environment where they would feel comfortable taking those risks. Instructing students to read an article and jot down words they did o1205 p 7 ). While everyone had different background knowledge, she reassured students that no one would make them feel inadequate if they did not understand parts of the article; by the end of the lesson, all students would have the same knowledge. As another exam ple, when two students began an assignment

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124 and fix it so you can do o111 5 p3 ). Mrs. Geller acknowledged that making mistakes was a part of le arning, and gave students second chances to support them in a psychologically comfortable environment. Being consistent was another way of establishing a psychologically comfortable coming in here i1025 ln820 823 ). Rules, procedures, routines, and expectations were con sistent and clear, and students felt comfortable because they knew what was expected. In other words, Mrs. Geller believed that predictability created a physical and psychological environment that allowed students to learn. Urgency ense of urgency commun icated the indisputable message: W hat we are learning is important and there is no time to waste By building a sense of urgency in her classroom, she refused to allow students to be lackadaisical in their work and she held herself t o the same standard. She rarely sat at her desk, frequently roamed the room, had materials ready before she began each lesson, and at times used a timer for learning activities. As she roamed the room, she pushed students to extend their thinking on the ta sk at hand. Every minute was precious and could not be wasted. In fact, she would firmly tell students to stop wasting time if they appeared lackluster or Grab a highlig hter and go. No wasting time. Anthony, did you hear me? No discussion. You are highlighting an d taking notes in your notebook (G o1205 p7 ).

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125 What are we waiting on? Get out your agenda and write down your home learning so we can go to the library. I need you to get you to (G o1030 p6 ) Mrs. G eller: What does our classroom Rule Number O ne say? Student: (reads rule on the wall) Always be prepared. Mrs. Geller: Right and you are not prepared because prepar ed in here means that you have thr ee sharpened pencils and you are wasting time. So, quickly get it sharpened. (G o1105 p6 ) Mrs. Geller expected students to be on task and ready to learn because she had many life skills to teach them. While there was never any downtime, it is also importan t to note that the activities she planned for challenged students to think and be creative. few extra minutes, they read a book or completed a prior assignment that they had not yet finished. Her instruction was fast paced but not so quick that students became lost. Urgency, in conjunction with respect, perseverance, and comfort were aspects of the classroom environment that Mrs. Geller established to assist in the progr ess of learning for life. Conclusion The present study seeks to understand how two effective teachers think about and work to transform behavior they view as challenging. However, Mrs. Geller did not perceive behavior as challenging. Instead, she believed that students needed to be prepared for life, which meant learning many kinds of skills, and it was her job to help them develop these skills. She recognized them as whole persons and tended to the many crucial aspects of their gr owth and development. Her whole child orientation extended beyond the academic curriculum to a curriculum that prepared them for life.

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126 She believed that students were capable of success and she actively coached them to maximize their potential. Mrs. Geller enacted her stance by kn owing students and caring for them, facilitating student engagement, differentiating instruction, assisting students to achieve high expectations, and empowering them as collaborators in teaching in learning. She created the conditions for learning to take place by establishing an environment characterized by respect, perseverance, comfort, and urgency. Her stance guided the ways in which she interacted with students, communicating the abiding belief that students were capable of excellence, and that she wo uld coach them to be the best they could be.

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127 Figure 4

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128 CHAPTER 5 MRS. PEARL: THE LIBERATOR Introduction The present study seeks to understand how effective teachers think about and work to transfor m behavior they view as challenging. I hoped to learn about the perspectives and practices of these teachers to better understand how preservice and inservice teachers might approach student behavior in more informed ways. Like Mrs. ory uncovers a faulty assumption in the research question. I learned that she believed challenging behavior did not exist in her classroom. In probing To be very honest oncerned as far as behavior issues in the classroom. They may have i1115 ln385 387 ). Repeatedly asking this question in different ways, I received the same response: behavior prob lems were absent from her classroom. Concerned that she of and responses to challenging behavior, I nevertheless continued to visit her classroom curious about her assertion t hat her students did not exhibit challenging behavior. It is no surprise that the chapter does not specifically address behavior. Rather, the chapter describes a veteran teacher who sought to by empowering them to change the status quo. work with students. The essence of her teaching is deeply connected to her personal history; therefore, first, I share a bit of background about her life. Second, I provide a model of how I interpret her teaching. I describ learning

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129 for liberation which influenced the way she approached her students and their families. Last, I d escribe core principles of her practice and the conditions that support ed the enactment of her stance. Who is Mrs. Pearl? I had heard a lot about Mrs. Pearl before I met her Speaking with the principal about Mrs. Pearl. Definitely a classroom you ud ed a magnetic personality. She carried herself with confidence and poise. During the months I spent in her classroom, Mrs. Pearl always came to school with high heels on; it looked as if she stepped out of a hair salon each mo rning, and she always wore make up. Of course, there was far more to Mrs. Pearl than her hair and high heels. The students looked up to her they loved her and it showed. A native of Miami, Florida, Mrs. Pearl came from a working class family of seven siblings four boys and three girls. She was the oldest of the three girls. When her father died at an early age, her mother raised them, which was no easy task for a single or four times within the Miami area because they could not afford rent. The Baptist church was teaching music, Mrs. Pearl grew up surrounded by music. Mrs. Pearl sang in t he church choir and sometimes played piano at Sunday service. She did not enjoy singing and playing piano but because her mother was a musician in the church choir she appeas ed her for some time. Eventually, she developed a mind of her own: I wanted to de viate from the norm because I just did not want to be like everyone. I wanted to have my own identity, my own personality, my own

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130 my energy into dancing instead of playing the piano, because when everyone would come to the house, you know, they wanted you to sing or they wanted you to play a musical piece, and I just did not want to do that. (P i1026ln41 52) Mrs. Pearl was determined to have her own unique identity. She expressed that she described herself as a strong, energetic, personable, and assertive Black woman. To truly know Mrs. Pearl, one must understand the political clarity that was a signi fica nt feature of her character She critiqued race based assumptions and brought race to the forefront, unveiling the ways in which inequity is a ubiquitous element of society. understa P i1218ln722 729). She was keenly aware of the stereotypes about Black people and low income children in the greater society. the dominant American dialect People have said to her, (P i 1 218 ln443 444 ). When she talked about Black boys in particular, I sensed anger and I can say that because I have an Black i1218 ln603 607 ). Mrs. Pearl was aware that them and viewed them as incapable, and believed that they were not being cared for in ways tha t the students perceived as care. Political clarity was the lens that informed her work with students.

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131 Mrs. Pearl graduated from a small college in s outh Florida. She majored in Business Administration and went Us and th en at Budget Rent A Car. Even though she had jobs within her area of expertise, she was exhausted from the long work shifts that gave her little reward. She recalled: little bit rewar ding. Maybe I need to go into education; I need to touch some management; what do I get out of this? People just overwork you not fit the norm because I was a young, Black female. (P i1026ln337 343) teacher. For the first five years of her teaching career, Mrs. Pearl taught fourth grade i n a high poverty, predominately Hispanic elementary school. She continued to work for MDCP S in the district office as an educational s pecialist for T itle I schools, a curriculum support specialist, and a reading c oach. When the district mandated small clas s sizes three years ago, Mrs. Pearl returned to classroom teaching and has been at Treitman Shores ever since. Together for 28 years, Mrs. Pearl and her husband have two teenage children. Her husband is of Caribbean decent and is a public elementary school principal in Miami. They live in a culturally diverse, gated community in a suburban part of s outh Florida. The community is made up of middle to u pper middle class families from all over the world including Haiti, Bangladesh, India, China, and Cuba. I kn ow this area quite well, as it is the same community in which I began my first teaching position. In fact, Mrs. same school. Upon discovering this coincidence during the ini tial interview, it helped to

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132 establish rapport and mitigate the power dynamic in the researcher participant relationship. Mrs. Pearl talked extensively about raising her children and how this was different from her upbringing. Mrs. Pearl walked almost two miles to school each day whereas her children are taken by car, even though they live directly across the street from their school. She acknowledged the many opportunities her children had that she was never privy to and she constantly reminded them of th is because at times, she believed they felt a sense of entitlement. In addition, she made sure her children voiced their views: We live in a very nice neighborhood and the kids attend very good schools. The expectations of my kids are very high; we expe ct a lot from them, but they also have their own identity. I allow my kids to have certain freedoms, and by freedoms I mean my kids are able to voice their opinion. I give my kids a voice; I listen to my kids, because when I was growing up, my mom did not listen to me. Whatever she said was gold; you had no voice; you had no opinion. (P i1026ln83 90) Not having a voice as a child engendered a commitment to raise her children to use their voice s Mrs. Pearl strove to cultivate a voice in her children because she believed i1026ln130 132) r voice and solve their own problems. When her daughter was unhappy with her math teacher, she respectfully expressed this concern to the principal and was placed in another math s got her children into trouble. On one occasion, her son assertively told one of his teachers that she had made what he believed to be an inappropriate comment toward him. He was later reprimanded by the teacher. Despite this, Mrs. Pearl continued to cultivate their voices because she beli eved it made her children stronger individuals. Cultivating their voices as a means to

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133 empower ing them was a prominent theme with both her biological children and the children she taught. Several demographic similarities exis students. They were predominately Black or Hispanic and almost all students received free or reduced lunch. Using people first language, she made sure she differentiated level because I think students will rise (P i1 026ln349 352 ). Despite their low academic scores, she acknowledged them as people first and foremost, and was confident in their abilities to achieve success. Like jobs to provide for their children. Sometimes, students came to school without having breakfast and not dressed in uniform. and her class, which consisted of one special education class and one general education class. They came from several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Her ESOL students varied greatly in their ability to speak English, ranging from beginners to fluent. e spoke no English It was difficult for her to communicate with families at times because she did not speak

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134 e. Students who were just beginning to learn English spoke in their native language to communicate their ideas. arrive at the essence of Mrs. Pea working mod el, I developed a representation of M grade students Figure 5 1 shows the center of the model as her stance, or what Cochran e ways we stand, the ways we see, and the lenses we nging behavior in her classroom; therefore, the model does not describe how she responds to challenging behavior. Instead liberation. Learning for liberation is described in the next section. The second ring represents four principles of practice that helped her enact the stance of learnin g for liberation. The four line s are the conditions, or the environment Mrs. Pearl created to facilitate learning for liberation. Exploring the culture of her classroom and her thinking allowed me to collect a considerable amount of data to support this model. The chapter does not capture every detail as her practice is complex, but I attempt to describe the prominent themes in Mrs. Pearl was a woman with strong convictions. As such, she wanted students to experience success a nd believed it was her responsibility to help them to accomplish that success. Helping students achieve success was evident at the beginning of Mrs.

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135 my stude get it, I have failed. I have done something wrong. I have failed you, I have failed myself so if something is wrong, we need to correct that, we need to fix that. (P i1026 ln419 423 ) She be lieved that students had to learn beyond competence; they had to achieve success in their lives. Achieving success meant that she had to prepare students i1026 ln185 ) they had to learn many other skills including respec t, compassion, empathy, and acceptance of others. Academic skills were important, but focusing narrowly on academics would impair them in becoming well rounded citizens: they leave t his classroom, when they leave middle school, you want to know that you prepared them to be productive citizens, respectful citizens. This year will come and go, but life long citizens that are productive, respe ctful, tolerant, compassionate t. (P i1026 ln680 684 ) Translating this belief into practice, she taught them skills that went beyond academic learning. For example, when students began to talk over one another, Mrs. Pearl quickly stopped the lesson to teach them about what she viewed as respect. In an as sertive yet calm voice she said: Okay boys and girls, we need to learn manners. When Mrs. Pearl is speaking, you do not try and over to learn manners so when someone is speaking you are to be quie t. If you wish to be noticed, raise your hand. (P o1218 p1 ) norms. She encouraged discussion, but learning how to listen to others without interrupting them was an important skil l she believed they needed both within and outside the classroom walls.

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136 Another vital skill she believed they needed to learn was how to accept others who were different from them. She knew that once they were adults in society, they were going to interac t with people who had different frames of reference and ways of being. She urged: You have to work with various personalities strong, passive, bossy to deal with it! How do you dea along with? I have a very big mouth. Mrs. Pearl has a VERY big mouth. I can be very boisterous. I am LOUD! But guess what? I am also a very easy ACCEPTING people. (P o112712p2) She encouraged them to have a positive attitude and to view others from ass et based perspectives. Instead of viewing people as bossy, she urged them to reframe their thinking, helping them to see others in a positive light. She wanted them to embrace Exten ding the notion of learning life skills, Mrs. Pearl insisted that students do what she told them to do. While this may sound dictatorial, her rationale was not about controlling her Black and Hispanic students. Rather, doing what she told them to do was a way she communicated her unyielding care for them. Knowing the challenges of racism, living in poverty, and marginalization from her lived experience, she asserted: challenges that their families have to go through. I tell my kids break the mold. I tell my kids do what I tell you to do and you will have success; do what I tell you and you will have success. I want you to be successful. (P i 1026ln 504 508 ) She was concerned for their wellbeing and genuinely wanted students to live successful lives. She saw her students as racial beings that had to break free from social and economic inequality if they were to succeed In other words, she was c ommitted to

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137 ing the Breaking the mold was a phrase Mrs. Pearl used deliberately and often to refer to her larger goal of learning for liberation. Her teaching approach wa s grounded in a 1994, p. 209), one based on the perspective that social systems are unjust and in need of change. Social reconstructionists are concerned with equipping students to eliminate Gomez, 1996, p. 10). As a teacher working for social r econstruction, Mrs. Pearl equipped students to lead self determining lives and assert their voice. In other words, restricted their access to successful lives Mrs. Pearl was keenly future opposition they would face. Notwithstanding, she was determined to teach them to overcome challenges and take control of their lives. By helping them break the mold, she was preparing them to bec empowering them to be effective leaders, not only inside the classroom but outside the classroom. Several of my students are on patrol; several of them are interested in going i111 5 ln126 129). S he was preparing them to bec ome leaders at school leaders who would then become change agents of society. In the preparation to become leaders, she recognized the importance of cultivating student voice:

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138 [Students] may feel that as a child, How do you empower them? By not having a voice? When do you give that kid a voice? You have to cultivate that voice. You have to provide opportunities for that student to have a voice. You need to let them know i1026 ln154 159 ) take on the obstacles and opposition that would lie ahead Mrs. Pearl believed that students should use their voice s to speak out, and she encouraged them to do so: i1026 ln164 166 ). On one o ccasion, a student felt Mrs. Pearl was treating her group unfairly and addressed the issue to the entire class: Mrs. Pearl: Why are only certain groups raising their hand? Everyone should be speaking. Catie: (raises her hand) Mrs. P., our entire group was call on us. Mrs. Pearl: Oh, you did? Catie: Yeah, we were all waving our hands in the air. o1126 p4 ) By acknowledg ing and validat ing a stu d concern, Mrs. Pearl att empted to send a message about the potential of student voice For the students, this showed them that their voices would be heard and could initiate change. As a woman informed by political clarity, Mrs. Pea interrelated pr inciples that helped to enact her goal of learning for liberation for her students.

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139 Mrs. Pearl accomplished her stance, learning for liberation, through the enactment of four main principles of practice. The following pr inciples guided her work with students and are elaborated in the subsections below: 1) transforming student identity, 2) othermothering, 3) facilitating student engagement, and 4) insisting on high expectations. Transforming Student Identity It is importan t to recall that Mrs. Pearl did not work to transform challenging be havior. Instead, the data show identities. She worked to actualize this transformation by helping students see themselves in new ways, exp licitly telling students her goals for them, and shaping them to be relentless in their efforts. When students entered her classroom at the beginning of the year, they saw themselves as troublemaker s, poor English speakers, and children who repeatedly fail ed high stakes standardized tests. Many students did not see themselves as successful because of the labels that had been placed on them in the past: When I see a kid at the beginning of the year, [their] whole mindset has hen I see th e transformation of my students, that is when I know my work is done. At the end of the day I look at Marisol, ESOL A she did was es me When kids know you genu you coul do. (P i1026 ln785 797 ) as inherently inequitable. She knew her students of color would be silenced and

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140 unsuccessful if they continued to view themselves from these deficit o1031 p1 ) she told me early in the study. Mrs. Pearl knew her students of color would eventually be up aga inst others from more privileged backgrounds, thus she worked to arm them with confident student identities, equipped with a strong voice, ready to face the world. Specifically, she worked to help students see themselves in new ways: from silent to confid ent, from timid to bold, and from low performing to capable of excellence. By changing how they saw themselves, she helped them to envision the possibilities. In another interview, she expressed how students described their own identity change and noticed changes in their peers: confidence within the kids, and if they feel confident, the opportunity for them to learn is so great. (P i1115 ln133 142 ) confident and strong individuals. For example, when it was time for Henry a soft spoken and shy student to present in front of the class, Mrs. Pearl smiled and said, o1115 p2 ) Mrs. Pearl reassured timid Henry that his c lassmates wanted to listen to his presentation: You guys are really interested in what he has to say and you want to be able to hear him. You know what he wrote was great and you want to hear rom your diaphragm, Henry. (P o1211 p2 )

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141 She was explicit in her statements about her goals for their success in the future. o1031 p2 ). Again, she actively worked t o help students visualize their later success in life: Mrs. Pearl: Matthew, what do you aspire to be when you grow up? Matthew: I want to be an architect. Mrs. Pearl: Well imagine that you are a 24 year old young architect and people are like h wow this guy is intelligent and people really respect his knowledge. o1218 p4 ) a phrase Mrs. Pearl used to descri be state of mind in which people believe they are unstoppable and can do anything they want and they do. Mrs. Pearl constantly reminded students that they had to be on fire at all times. One morning in particular, I walked into her classroom to se e the lyr on the SMART Board. She heard the song on her way to work that morning and it prompted her to turn the song into a teachable moment. Discussing the lyrics and meaning of the song, the following conversatio n took place: like that exude? Students: (shout out) Bold, determined, confident! Mrs. Pearl: Yes, those are all character traits. Okay, (points to one line in the song) what does that statement mean? What does that signify? THINK THINK! You are analyzing. (Students give answers.) Mrs. Pearl: Uh natural high. I can do anything I want to do.

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142 (One student elaborates on her interpretation.) Mrs. Pearl: YES! That girl is on fire! (Student goes up to Mrs. Pearl to give her a hug.) Student: o1114 p1 ) In this example, Mrs. Pearl used a popular song the students were familiar with to send the message that they could do anything they desired. Her reference to enacting change in the c ommunity alluded to her belief that they would be responsible for uplifting their own communities. However, students of color had to first see themselves in new ways if they were going to change the inequitable status quo, and she worked to help them achie ve new identities. Othermothering Consistent with the literature on successful Black teachers, othermothering was liberation. She viewed herself as a n other mother to the children she declared her love for: somebody showing them the direction, showing them the correct path to go down and second mother. (P i1115 ln142 148 ) As their second mother, she viewed it as her responsibility to guide students down the path of success. Mrs. Pearl used several strategies to convey her care as their othermother, which included establishing a close bond with students, a familiar disco urse style, expressing her love for them and uplift of the comm unity

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143 She established an interpersonal bond with students, showing care and concern for their wellbeing. When a student felt ill just before winter break, she comforted him yet told him he needed to continue with the task at hand: Mr s. Pearl: Come on baby Jordan hand on his shoulder) Jordan : Yes, a little. Mrs. Pearl: Mrs. Pearl wants you to feel better. Did you eat? (Jordan nods his head yes.) Jordan you are doing so well and Mrs. Pearl needs you to ke ep up what? Jordan : GOT! Mrs. Pearl: Right, and then you have two weeks to rest. (P o1218 p3 ) Asking students if they were okay when they missed school, wondering about birthday parties, and inquiring ab out their families were all ways that she established a close interpersonal i1026 ln519 520 ) she expressed to them. Another way she demonstrated othermothering was through her discourse style. Like many mothers, she used terms of endearment that communicated genuine affection when she spoke to them. After a student walked o1107 p3 ). Rather than chastise the student for arriving late, she used a term of endearment to welcome her into the room. Many use these words to convey care, but n ot all are genuine. Mrs. Pearl communicated with students in culturally responsive way s, which played a central role in othermothering. At times, she spoke Black English Vernacular (BEV o1031 p4 ) when a

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144 student gave an impressive answer. Her goal was to connect with students in ways that c ommunicated her love and care for them. Mrs. Pearl also communicated her love for them in explicit ways by blowing kisses, giving pats on the back and hugs, and telling them she cared for them. They were her i1218 ln129 ) and even thoug h they were not he r biological children, she loved them re for each and every one of them the same way I care for my own children. The same way I treat my son and my daughter, I treat them the same e i 1218 ln152 154 ). They, too p erceived her as their other mother. approval. The following example convey s their affinity for her: Student #1 : I love you, Mrs. Pearl. Mrs. Pearl: I love you too darling. Student #1: Mrs. Pearl, you are like our second mom. Mrs. Pearl: You all can come visit me anytime you want. (P o1031 p3 ) This interaction suggests that once the academic year end ed, their relationship did not. In her role as their othermother, Mrs. Pearl attempted to show them that she loved them just as much as they loved her. This notion of the maternal guided her practice whereby she believed that learning could not be done al one, and that she and her students were responsible for encouraging one another. Learning but also by a communal responsibility to help each other. Mrs. Pearl asserted, h one is weak, how do we make that person stronger? What is

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145 it we can i 1115 ln125 126 ) I observed many instances wher e students helped to build one other up. They helped one another by offering constructive criticism on t heir writing assignments (P o110 8 p2 ) and presentations (P o1115 p1 their continued improvement. Clapping for students who tried their best and celebrating sh encouraged each other to improve Her enactment of othermothering included student uplift as well as uplift of families. Regarding Your parents had to struggle to get here, your parents have to struggle to maintain, so you are going to break the mold. You are going to do that, i1026 ln452 456 ) family members who struggled to live prosperous live s. Her classroom was a site for social activism she expected students to use what they learned in school to then educat e their family members at home. For example, she wanted them to teach their families new words, how to navigate different computer programs, and how to read. Mrs. Pearl valued education and used her classroom to promote student empowerment and community uplift. Facilitating Student Engagement Mrs. Pearl exhibited enthusiasm, effort, and concentration in the classroom She believed that behavior issues were non existent because the students were actively engaged. In her classroom, students were eager to raise their hands to

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1 46 it was time for students to l eave her class, they would cry o1107 p4 ) She facilitated their engagement through storytelling, student choice, connecting prior comments. Stories enabled Mrs. Pearl to relate with students and they revealed a personal approach to her teaching. She explained, me. When I bring in that personal side of my through storytelling, it makes it much to do their very best. (P i1218 ln23 30 ) Some of the stories were about her family. For instance, when she explained the word see, Dr. Pearl is getting old and he has a receding hairline now. What does that mean? I want someone o1121 p3 ) Discussing the meaning of the she used a story to illustrate: re on your then you fell off your bike. You scraped your knee. Maybe that gave you a flat tire and now Then, when you had to walk, what else could have hap o1211 p3 ) Continuing the conversation, she told additional stories about various incidents such as falling off the bed and getting stitches, and getting attacked by wasps. Her storytelling helped students relate to the concepts she taught them. Providing students choice was another way she facilitated student engagement to enact learning for liberation. She stated: I think when you give students choice, they are probably more apt to do the assignment. If you involve the students in the decision making, you

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147 opportunities to be involved in the decision making process. (P i1218ln236 240) She allowed some flexibility as they completed classroom tasks. Most of the time students were allowed to work where they felt most productive. Sometimes, they chose whom they wanted to work with, under the condition that they could not get off task. Students often chose where they wanted to work they could work at their desks or on the carpet, but again she required that they diligently work on the task at hand. For a take home project, they chose how they presented their projects (i.e., Powerpoint presentation, book, etc .) to the class. ow many of you have siblings? [M ost raise their hands] Ah, do you think you could use that word w ith o1107 p1 ) To help them understand how technology has evolved, she drew a cassette tape on the board and explained how iPhones and iPads are current devices with the same function as a casse tte tape, with additional and improved functions (P o1107 p3 ). Many students then commented that their own cell phones could record, and could be used to talk to others and surf the Internet. Connecting learning to what they were familiar with provided a re levant context in which they could understand new concepts she taught. The desire for students to learn for liberation prompted her to get students actively participating in their own learning. Rather than sit quietly during a lesson, Mrs. Pearl required t hem to develop ideas, use their bodies to demonstrate what they knew, brainstorm solutions to problems, and talk to and listen to their peers. While reading the

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148 novel Frindle, a book about a fifth grade boy who creates a new name for a pen students worked with peers to develop a new name for an object. T hey were eager to work with one other, and were enthusiastic about inventing a word that only their group knew (P o1107 p4 nd a student pretended to daydream and bumped into Mrs. Pearl (P o1107 p3 ). Students also performed the meaning of many vocabulary words: Mrs. Pearl: When we talk about rowdy, what does that mean? How would that look on the PE field? (Students provide sever al responses including loud, free, and crazy.) Mrs. Pearl: I want you to show me the word rowdy (Students wave their hands in th e air, screaming and shouting.) (P o1115 p3 ) Students were excited about learning because her pedagogy was active and engagin g. racism, and homosexuality. The following observation illustrates her responsiveness to their c omments when a discussion arose about racism: Mrs. Pearl: Who is them? You mean Black people? Student: (nodding her head) He says they smell and look like ca ca. Mrs. Pearl: You know that is a LEARNED behavior. Let me ask you, if there was something you could all say to him, what would you say?

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149 Student: Everyone is human. Mrs. Pearl: Right, remember we talked about learning different cultures and accepting different cultures? Remember we talked about turban Black you understand? Maybe we could teach him something about having tolerance and acceptance of other people. (P o1127 p3 ) It is uncommon for one to observe such a frank conversation about racism, but Mrs. Pearl understood these topic s were significant to her students. This is not surprising given that her students were members of historically oppressed groups. To empower their voice s she followed their lead engaging them in topics they wanted to discuss. Insisting o n High Expectati ons Mrs. Pearl believed that having high expectations pushed students to reach for ... I always knew that if you took i1218 l n365 367 ). She wanted students to experience success in life and, therefore expected that they always try their best. Because Mrs. Pearl prepared students to enact change in their communities, she also expected students to think critically and independentl y. Mrs. Pearl demanded that students meet the high exp ectations she set for them. She insisted in two complementary ways. One, she required students to repeat the task until they reached success. Two, she required them to repeat her expectations. During i ndividual presentations, she expected students to speak clearly and confidently When a student began to mumble about his project, she stopped him and WAIT WAIT. What did I tell you guys? Talk from your diaphragm. Open your mouth and speak. Y ou are not mumbling to us. You need to open your mouth and o1115 p2 volume she demanded that the

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150 student start from the beginning. By asking him to redo the task, she insisted the student meet her high expect ations, which reinforced her message that he was capable of success. Just as she expected them to be clear in their speech, Mrs. Pearl was explicit in grade students. The quality of w ork I expect of you is one in which you have to do research, o1029 p3 ) Requiring students to think critically, the following observation illustrates how she used a call and response strategy to remind them of her expectations before they began a task: Mrs. Pearl: I tell you to think. I tell you to analyze it. WHY DO YOU ANALYZE THE QUESTION? (One student answers.) Mrs. Pearl: What else do I want you to do? You have to do WHA T? Student: INTERPRET! Mrs. Pearl: You have to interpret! Very good sweetheart. What else do I want you to do sweetheart? Are you going to underline every word in that question? Stud ents: (in unison) NO! (P o1029p1 ) synchronized responses show th at this was a common strategy Mrs. Pearl used to remind students of the expectation s Mrs. Pearl reminded students to think critically in other ways. For example, the large poster displayed at the front of her had to think about situations critically if they were going to change the status quo.

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151 Mrs. Pearl often communicated her insistence by e that students would put all of their energy into the task at hand: Mrs. Pearl: All right, guys Students: Get ou r head in the game!!! (one student is slouching in her seat). Mrs. Pearl: While you are in my class, you are not to slouch. Put your butt in the chair. gonna hire you. You need to sit up. (P o1107 p3 ) as putting their head on the table might communicate disinterest or inattentiveness, which would hinder their success in a job setting. She was explicit in her teaching about and she reminded them that they needed to be alert and ready to learn. Conditions that Support Learning for Liberation This study sought to understand how effective teachers think about and work to transform behavior they view as challenging but Mrs. Pearl simply did not believe challenging behavior existed in her classroom. Again, her tea ching stance was guided by learning for liberation; that is, learning to break free from the inequitable status quo. She established classroom conditions to facilitate her stance. The four conditions that permeated the classroom environment include comfort intensity, model ing and urgency.

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152 Comfort From Mrs. safe and at ease in the environment was critical for learning to take place. Establishing this kind of environment reinforced her larger goal of learning for liberation. Sh e said, like, reg ardless if your parents are not educated and if your parents are working two or three jobs. (P i1026 ln182 187 ) conditions that supported their voice. Mrs. Pearl worke d to achieve a comfortable learning envir onment by creating a family setting, redirecting students that attempted to compromise the comfortable environment, and using humor in her interactions with students. Mrs. Pearl wo rked to establish a family setting letting students know that her (P i1218 ln181 182 ). She provided a space where students could feel free to laugh and be themselves, not having to worry that their family members would bring them down. While c ultivating a group of leaders, the learning cl imate was centered on building one an other u p rather than tearing one another down. She understood that learning involved taking risks and making mistakes. This was particu larly important in this context as many students were learning how to communicate in a second language. Thus, she created a classroom culture grounded in support and encouragement. Mrs. Pearl s give everyone a o1126 p2). Students encouraged one other by giving compliments (P o1031 p1 ), cheering (P o1126 p4 ), and clapping (P o1121 p3 ) for a job

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153 well done. If a student had trouble with understanding a lesson, another student who was more fluent in English would assist by translating. They viewed their classmates as family members who they helped because they wanted to see them succeed. Feeling comfortable as they took risks in their learning allowed them to flourish. In the middle of the year, she welcomed a new student to the family by making him feel comfortable on his first day of school. The student had recently immigrated from a Spanish speaking country and appeared timid upon entering a new environment. As their othermother, Mrs. Pearl asked each student go around the room and introduce themselves. Making the student feel welcome and loved, many students took her request one step further and introduced themselves in Spanish to make him feel at ease in his new envi ronment. Even students whose first language was Creole attempted to introduce themselves in Spanish, going out of their way to make the new student feel accepted. Students were excited to have a new member in their family, giving high fives and shaking his hand as they introduced themselves (P o1126 p1 ). On rare occasions, students attempted to compromise the comfortable learning environment, but Mrs. Pearl did not allow this to happen. For example, when a student turned to anot o11 0 5 p1 ) She refused to tolerate unkind words when she worked tirelessly to build th em up. Inquiring about the incident in one o f our interviews, she explained: peers because when the students are threatened I feel that they can very easily shut down and there is no

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154 what [other students] may do or what they may say, or the reaction they may get from their teacher. (P i1115 ln66 70 ) Making clear that students would disengage from learning if they felt uncomfortable or threatened, sh e nipped hurtful comments in the bud. It is interesting to note how Mrs. Pearl responded to students when the learning environment was threatened. She expounded: environment and it takes away from my instructional time. [Why] linger on to quickly and I move on. (P i1115 ln207 212 ) This suggests that instructional time was of paramount importance and harping on these kinds of comments were few and far between because of the constant work she put in by creating a comfortable learning space. Another way she provided a comfortable learning environment was by showing students that she was funny and full of life: I think the students have to realize also the teacher is not as stiff and the students are able to relate t o the teacher even more so when they realize threatened in any way. (P i1115 ln38 43 ) She accomplished this by usi ng humor to show her personal side For example, after wacky o1126 p1 ) When they were discussing the o1108 p2 ). Students

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155 laughed loudly, and it communicate d her willingness to engage in silliness to make students feel comfortable. Intensity As an uninformed observer of the classroom at the beginning of the study, it seemed as though Mrs. Pearl was yelling at her students. However, as I spent more time unders tanding the culture of her classroom, it became apparent that she was not yelling at the students; rather, she was teaching with great intensity. Her words best describe the intensity that was a prominent feature of the environment: My kids will say to me, just love the way you teach, the way you scream, and you just get into it, pours over to my students and it makes a big difference. (P i10261n8 12) Teaching with intensity included her energy, the loudness in her voice, and her constant moving around the room. i1026ln797 799). entire delivery helped to captivate her students. planned for them. Loud and at times a bit dramatic, her spirit transmitted onto them. The following remarks highlight the intensity that permeated the classroom: o1126 p4 ) Mrs. Pearl: How are you guys today? Students: (in unison) FABULOUS! Mrs. Pearl: Oh, I am so glad you o1031 p1 ) Mrs. Pearl: Lucas, you always do an exceptional job. Wow! Fabulous love it!! (P o1031 p2 )

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156 Mrs. Pearl described herself as boisterous and she instructed with emotion that allured the students, making learning more enjoyable. As Mrs Pearl and I talked in depth about her energy to me They notice every single thing i1026 ln521 5 24 ). In a way, they were mesmerized by who she was as a person Captivated by her intensity, they wanted to be like her. M odel ing According to Mrs. Pearl, being a role model for students was a necessary component in helping students to break the mold. She believed it was her responsibility to lead by example by serving as a role model. Being a role model was the fabric, or the underlying structure of her classroom: I know this is where I belong because I know I make a difference with these kids, and I think kids need role models like Mrs. P. As educators we leave our footprints on these students and we need to be very careful about what we say and how we say it because we are cultivating these young beautiful ng and we have to mold them the right way. (P i1026ln15 21) She continued to tell me that she wanted students to exude some of her own character traits esteem and character. Students needed role models to show them how to be positive, what success looked like, and how to achieve success. As their role model, she believed that it started with the way she physically presented herself. She said, Kids want to see their teacher well groomed; it makes a difference I onto my students. (P i1026ln24 28)

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157 Every day she was meticulously dressed and the students watched her closely. Observing her new outfits, they would compliment her on her stylish dresses, freshly pressed pants and collared dress shirts. They would tell her how much they liked the way her hair was styled, and liked her lipstick shade and her many access ories. Even though there were no official rules on professional attire, she was one of the most professionally dressed teachers at the school. She shared that being a role model for her students was more than the way she dressed, but it was an aspect that the students noticed first. Being a role model also meant she demonstrated what compassion, working with others, acceptance, and a positive attitude looked like. Thus, she embodied th e same character traits she wished to cultivate in them For example, whe n she and her students walked through the halls, she typically greeted other teachers in passing with a warm, enthusiastic greeting. In this way, she showed her students how professionals acknowledge with one another. In many instances, she held collegial conversations with the ESOL lead teacher in front of students that demonstrated her ability to work with others to achieve a common goal. Mrs. Pearl and I both noticed that being a role model was the fabric of her classroom. In her first interview, she lau ghed and said: see your personality reflected in your students (P i1026ln14 17) The students looked up to her and some began to emulate her personality. During one a ilure is not an

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158 o1114p3). As a successful Black woman she modeled that success was within their reach. Urgency It is no surprise that a teacher who instructed with intensity also worked to create an environment characterized by urgency. From h er perspective, urgency indicated that there was much to learn and students had to act as though every minute counted. Mrs. Pearl shared the following story: Today we were talking about the sense of urgency and I was telling students that sometimes some of you do not display a sense of urgency. ten minutes to get started. You need to have that rush. It needs to be very I felt t hat I needed to exercise so I we nt downstairs, I went into the garage, I got on the treadmill for one hour and then I got on my trampoline, I was doing jumping There are some things that I need to get done (P i1218 ln8 19 ). She expected t hat students complete the tasks she asked of them immediately because she genuinely wanted to see them succeed. If students appeared sluggish, she firmly told them that they were wasting time and that they needed to get back on task. The following three st atements are examples of how she communicated urgency in the classroom: so long to get started? (P o110 8 p3 ) Son, you need to hurry up because you are wasting instructional time. No no, y ou are wasting time. (P o1127 p4 ) o1126 p4 ) Mrs. Pearl understood that her students needed to learn many skills to compete in an inequitable society where the stakes are high for Black students in particular. As such,

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159 when she observed what she perceived to be off task behavior, she firmly redirected students to get back to work. Conclusion I began this dissertation with the goal of understand ing how effective teachers think about and work to tr ansform behavior they view as challenging. However, from person. As a strong Black wo man, her political clarity was a significant part of her character and it informed her work with students. She acknowledged that Black children were misunderstood and not cared for in ways that they perceived as ca ring She also recognized racism and pover reconstructionist orientation sought to prepare students for a successful life so that they could become change agents in society. Mrs. Pearl believed that students were capable of success and worked w ith them to achieve success for the larger goal of changing the sta t sought to prepare students for liberation, which included a commitment to empowering students and their families. In fact, she repeatedly mentioned breaking the mold for her students of color. Four principles guided the way she p repared students for liberation: t ransforming student identity othermothering, facilitating student engagement, and insisting on high expectations. Mrs. Pearl created the conditions for learning for liberation by establishing an environment defined by comfort, intensity, model ing and urgency. Her stance informed the ways in which she interacted with students, caring for them in ways that would help them break free from the social and eco nomic inequality that confined them.

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160 Figure 5

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161 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS Overview of the Study Disparities in punitive school discipline disproportionally affect children of color where Black children are punished more frequently and more severely than any other racial group. The discipline gap has been the focus of many research agendas, in the pursuit of equitable educational opportunities for all students. Yet, it is clear that teachers differ from one another in their ability to establish caring classroom environments for their Black students. This dissertation attempts to add to the literature on Speci fically, the study addressed the research question: How do effective teachers think about and work to transform behavior they view as challenging? The literature related to student behavior and positive discipline is growing. However, studies that explore effective teachers, culturally responsive practitioners, and tea chers of color are necessary to understand the racial dimension of student discipline. The present study was informed by culturally responsive classroom management (CRCM) and culturally releva nt critical teacher care (CRCTC), which view culture, race, and teacher care as integral dimensions for interacting with Black children. The study took place in one urban, high poverty elementary school that indicated a discipline gap for Black students. Two effective fifth grade teachers were chosen to obtaining repeated measures of high academic student performance, holding high expectations of students, and demonstrating success ful approaches to working with student behavior The study employed a constructivist approach that used interviews, observations, and

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162 archival data to understand the perspectives and practices of the teachers. I followed the teachers for two months to lear n about their sense making and practice related to what they perceived to be challenging student behavior. Constructivist grounded theory methods (Charmaz, 2006) were used because they draw on shared experiences of the researcher and participants as a mean s to understand practices The findings were presented in two case studies. It is important to remember that the findings do not demonstrate how Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl worked to transform behavior they viewed as challenging. This is because neither teacher framed student behavior as challenging. Instead, I learned that the two teachers embraced their whole child approach to teaching by whi ch they saw themselves as responsible for preparing their students for their lives within and outside of school. The cases reveal academic achievement as well as their psychological wellbeing. Although she was nominated as an exemplary teacher, Mrs. Geller identified herself as a former dictator who admitted to silencing students in her beginning years of teaching. In the present study, I was able to capture how her teaching had evolved. Mrs. ed on learning for life, and she enacted her stance through five principles of practice which included knowing students and caring for them, facilitating student engagement, differentiating instruction, assisting students to achieve high expectations, and empowering students as collaborators of teaching and learning. She established a classroom ethos characterized by respect, perseverance, comfort,

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163 and urgency. Mrs. Geller was their life coach committed to coaching students to achieve their maximum potentia l. Similarly, Mrs. Pearl was committed to helping students to live successful lives. The explicit political clarity that informed her worldview acknowledged racism and beings, and she believed it was her responsibility to prepare students to break free from itating student engagement, and insisting on high expectations. The conditions that supported learning for liberation included comfort, intensity, modeling, and urgency. In addition to providing an overview of the study, the purpose of this final chapter is to elaborate on conclusions drawn from the findings, to relate those conclusions to the extant research literature, and to practitioners and researchers The chapter begins with a discussion of the major conclusions drawn from the study in relation to the previous research literature that was reviewed in Chapter 2. Then, the chapter concludes with implications for future practice and research. Discussion of Findings The study documents the experiences of two veteran teachers one Black and one White and focuses on Black children in high poverty settings. The findings point to five n a larger mission of improving their lives. They expected students to need help learning a variety of skills and dispositions, and they embraced their responsibility to nurture the development of the whole child.

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164 Second, Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl enacted teaching practices grounded in principles of CRCM. Third, the study extends previous findings from a small, but growing research base that highlights the significance of a particular kind of care for Black children. Fourth, the study sheds light on the pu rposes of helping students to gain access to the culture of power. Fifth, it reveals that educators may work more effectively with Black students if they reframe deficit and punitive views of student discipline. The stories of Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl reveal that they did not find behavior challenging. What I gleaned from the two practitioners was their commitment to Corbett et insists that stude nts can, will, and must succeed responsibility to ensure they achieve that success cha racteristic of the warm demander teachers who espouse values and enact Kleinfeld, 1975). The study revealed that Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl were warm demanders for th eir Black children; they embraced their responsibility of enriching their within and outside the classroom walls. Although Mrs. Geller and Mrs. these commi tments differently. child orientation acknowledged that students had to learn many life skills to have successful lives. These skills included teaching them how to respond in challenging situations, perseverance when tasks became diffic ult, and learning how to work with others. Just as she would not send students to the office for

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165 their inability to interpret a passage from a classroom novel neither would she send them to the office for talking while she was explaining an assignment Mr s. Geller viewed it as her responsibility to help students learn many skills by constantly coaching them. As their life coach, her role was to support and push students to meet her high expectations. She could not simply insist on her expectations ; she had to show them how to reach success. Ladson Billings (1994) echoed this sentiment regarding effective elopment rather Mrs. Pearl also had the desire for students to live successful lives and believed it was her responsibility to help them accomplish that success. She spoke simil arly to Mrs. Geller about teaching more than academics and, interestingly, she asserted that behavior issues simply did not exist in her classroom. Her own experiences with racism e themselves access to successful life paths. Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl were not trying to control T hese findings are important for three reasons. First, they reveal two teachers who believe that academic learning is one of the many dimensions that define success. This is noteworthy given the high stakes environment that ties teacher salaries to their st Second, the study shows how both teachers are teaching against the grain in a school environment that promotes punitive school discipline practices (i.e., zero tolerance, suspension, and expulsion). The cases of Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pe arl

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166 show us how they actively resisted macro level school structures that promoted harsh discipline. Third, these findings point to the varied yet effective approaches of two teachers, one White, and one Black, to improving the lives of their Black student s. For example, Mrs. Geller continually worked with a particular student on his organization skills. Staying organized was a skill he needed to be successful later in life and thus, she assisted him in creating and executing an action plan to meet their co created goal. their identities. It was imperative for Mrs. Pearl to help students see themselves in new 1031p1) if they co ntinued to internalize the deficit labels that had been given to them. Billings, 1994). Moreover, the data support the conclusions drawn by others tha t teacher insistence plays a vital role in establishing a consistent, caring, and respectful classroom ethos for Black children (Bondy et al 2007 ; 2013; Delpit, 1995; Ware, 2006 ). Practices Grounded in CRCM This study provides further support to the con clusion that CRCM is an orientation to teaching that helps teachers create caring environments that bolster student learning. The CRCM literature asserts that effective teachers understand the role of culture in of behavior. These insights help to create emphasizes rewards and punishments for behavior, in favor of an approach that promotes self regulation and moral responsibility. In fact, neither teacher had behavior

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167 skills, rather than attempting to control the ir behavior, the teachers were intent on preparing their students to thrive. Geller frankly revealed the prior assumptions she made when she began her teaching career. She admitt ed to thinking that she knew what was best for her students, looking within, and e xamining the assumptions and biases that guided her interactions with students. Her critical consciousness, initiated by her graduate coursework, prompted her to think about how being a rigid dictator may have oppressed and silenced the very students she t ried to help reach success. As described in the literature, CRCM is a frame of mind that drives teachers to develop deep knowledge of students as cultural beings to meet their specific learning needs. Thus, suggesting predetermined strategies to enact CRC M would be misleading. This was evident for Mrs. Geller, who explained that the differences in her students backgrounds and their families prompted a situated learner cent ered pedagogy, using understanding of the broader political, economic, and social context prompted them to think about caring for their Black students in relevant ways. A Part icular Kind of Care The third conclusion that emerged from the findings is the importance of Mrs. review pointed to care as an integral part of the teacher student rela tionship (Bondy et

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168 al., 2013; Brown, 2003 ; Gay, 2010; Ware, 2006 ) and the significance of teacher political clarity ( Bartolom 2009) in the educational experiences of students of color Bartolom preparing students to deal with s working toward political clarity in explicit and implicit ways. Getting to know students was one way Mrs. Geller convinced students that she cared for them. She established an ethos of care at the beginning of the year through getting to know you activit ies that communicated her deep interest in each student. Going beyond knowing students at the surface, she worked to know them on a personal level perspective, she had to know students on a personal level if she was going to contribute to improving their lives. Most importantly, she conveyed care for students by refusing to give up on helping them achieve success. Expressing her care further, she actively removed small barriers would not fall out on his walk home) and large barriers (e.g., her willingness to become (1984) noti on of engrossment in that she got to know students in order to understand what students perceived as care Mrs. Geller understood that children, particularly Black 1995 ; Noddings, 1984). Her engrossment determine d the appropriate action s to communicate her unyielding care for them

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169 sociocultural realities through her commitment to improving their lives. Practices such as placing students in heterogeneous learning groups, creating a democratic learning environment, and removing barriers to their success were ways that she worked toward political clarity. Mrs. Geller improved her political clarity by recognizing the unequal power r elations once present in her classroom, and by working to create a classroom community characterized by an ethos of mutual respect and comfort. her children navigate a racist socie ty, Mrs. Pearl had to prepare them to take on the unavoidable challenges that lay ahead. One of the ways she demonstrated culturally question the world around them. Mrs. Pe arl instilled in her students the importance of caring for their peers by working together, helping one another, and encouraging their expected students to use what t hey learned in school to educate their families at home. Thus, Mrs. Pearl enacted CRCTC to ensure the educational success of her Black children but also to uplift the Black community at large (Roberts, 2010) ities adds to the CRCTC literature teachers enact care for their Black children. By helping students see themselves in new ways, she fostered identity reconstruction, whi ch is crucial for children who have been placed at the margins of society. As their role model, she showed them what confidence looked like by exuding confidence herself. These manifestations of teacher care are

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170 crucial for a racial group that has been sub jected to disproportionate rates of punitive school discipline. Experiencing the psychological effects as a member of a historically oppressed group, it is clear that Mrs. Pearl understood racism as far more than individual prejudice and stereotypes. Inste ad, racism is defined by systemic inequities that operate at the macro level. Crucial in the perpetuation of systemic racism is the role of cultural capital and the advantages it brings. For years, many Whites have had access to social networks of White fr iends, colleagues, and acquaintances. These networks are crucial in that they provide access to important resources, such as information about openings for high paying jobs, health care, and educational opportunities. In essence, cultural capital is accumu lated knowledge that confers power and life status. By telling students, do what I tell you to do and you will have success her students codes within the culture of power (Delpit, 1995). She viewed students as change a gents; therefore, she prepared them to take action to challenge the status quo. Telling students not to slouch, showing students how she communicated with colleagues, and modeling professional dress, she made the culture of power transparent. For Mrs. Pear l, helping Black students attain success through the explicit teaching of the culture of power was the highest form of her care. Acquiring Cultural Capital F or W hat ? A discussion about acquiring cultural capital is significant because it helps us think mo re clearly about the aims of education for Black children and other historically oppressed groups. When teachers explicitly teach what Delpit (1995) refers to as the culture of power, why do they do so? That is, acquiring cultural capital, for what? The sc holarship of La dson Billings (1994) helps us to consider these questions. She writes:

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171 T here is some evidence to suggest more generally that when African American students attempt to achieve in school they do so at a psychic cost. Somehow many have come to equate exemplary performance in school with a loss of their African American identity; that is, doing well in only option, many believe, is to refuse to do well in school (p. 11) Billings and other critical race theorists refer to as an assimilation to Whiteness. Rather than assimilate, teachers who enact culturally relevant critical care exp ect culture s as a significant dimension of the learning process. They help students choose success without losing their identity as they work to do so. We must ask ourselves, when educators teach Black stu dents the culture of power, are they helping them assimilate Whiteness, further perpetuating White supremacy? Or, are they helping students gain access to the culture of power with the ultimate goal of critiquing and transforming it? In order to reduce the discipline gap, teachers should consider the difference between obtaining cultural capital for the purposes of fitting into the culture of power versus obtaining cultural capital in order to challenge the culture of power. The culture of power points to t he relationship between those who make the rules and those who are expected to abide by them. When teachers instruct their students of color to critique and thereby transform the culture of y are also working to eradicate the racism that fuels the discipline gap. power with t he aim of transforming it. Evidence also reveals that Mrs. Geller was interested in students becoming change agents in their communities. For example, she

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172 communication, March 3, 2013). Although Mrs. Geller did not describe the strong social justice commitments of Mrs. Pearl, her work provides some evidence of her desire for students to becom e change agents in society. Reframing Discipline A discussion about the research question is necessary here. The research question was based on the assumption that the teachers found certain student behavior troubling or difficult to manage. By asking the Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl refused to label their students as deficient, deviant, or bad. They did not see their students in this way. Indeed, the teachers challenged the deficit thinking ideology (Valencia, 2010) about the capabilities of their Black students. Instead of viewing students as deficient, Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl focused on success, As the study concludes, it is noteworthy to observe that much of th e discourse about discipline is framed in a deficit perspective (this very discourse helped frame my eply embedded in the culture of urban and high poverty schools. Deficit thinking blames the student or the that lead to the positioning of some students as good and othe rs as bad. Rather than about behavior. Educators who become vigilant about their own blindspots may be able to dismantle deficit thinking and work to provide equitable opportunities for all students.

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173 Implications In addition to building on the existing literature about Black children and the discipline gap, the study offers implications for future practice and research. Implications for practice will be explored first, followed by implications for researchers. Implications for Practice Currently, less than 16% of teachers are of color, whereas 42% of students in public K 12 schools come from minority backgrounds (National Center for Education Statistics, 2002). By the ye ar 2035, demographers predict that the majority student population in public schools will be made up of students of color (Hodgkinson, 2001). As U.S. schools become increasingly diverse, the teaching force remains considerably White monolingual, and middl e class (National Center for Education Statistics, 2002) As a part of the dominant culture, White preservice teachers in particular enter teacher education programs unprepared to teach students of color, particular those in high poverty settings (Sleeter, 2008). Many preservice teachers begin their preparation programs with little cross cultural experiences and adopt a colorblind mentality, claiming they do not see race. Some view their Black students from deficit based perspectives and t heir assumptions about the 1995). If teachers view the world th rough a White middle class lens, they may be unconscious of how schools perpetuate racist practices, such as interpreting the behaviors of their children of color as defiant and removing them from the classroom m a White middle class lens, which fails to understand that behavior is culturally influenced,

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174 and what may be culturally normal to a student of color may be inappropriate to the White teacher. Although some preservice teachers enter preparation programs with little cross cultural experience, it is important that teacher educators do n ot assume their White preservice teachers are deficient. Lazar (2004) writes that teacher educators should not assume that their students from affluent communities are colorblind and that students from culturally diverse or urban communities are culturally sensitive. Instead, he 148). Reconceptualizing preservice teachers as learners w ho seek to enter a profession to make a difference in the lives of children may be how teacher educators begin to coach teacher candidates to be successful. While White teachers are capable of teaching their students of color well, this does not happen wit their home environments, or what Irvine (1990) described as cultural synchronization, is a promising approach for teachers to close the racial discipline gap. Teacher educators must be r esponsible for helping novices develop cultural competence related to the students in their care (Sleeter, 2008). Helping teachers to build on assets and use CRCM strategies may help them create classrooms in which students of color can thrive. M rs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl are models of teachers who act with political clarity to facilitate the development of their students as self determining and resilient people. In addition, teacher educators may want to focus on the notion of culturally relevant critical care and how that differs from a universal conception of care to help

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175 novices focus more on establishing strong teacher student relationships and how students perceive their care. It was imperative for Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl to demonstrate the ir care, and most importantly, it was necessary for their students to perceive their care as genuine. For the two teachers, telling children they cared was simply not enough. Furthermore, teacher educators must communicate the difference between expecting high quality work from their students and sympathizing with their income and/or Black. The latter pities students and does not help lower their e xpectations, instilling the belief that all of their students could succeed. The literature on teacher beliefs indicate s that teachers are ill prepared for learning how One shot workshops, which conti nue to be common in multicultural education, have little to no effect. Similarly, teacher preparation that attempts to teach about diversity using didactic presentations are more likely to teach preservice teachers stereotypes than improve teaching (McDiar mid, 1992). A promising approach to help preservice teachers learn about various racial, cultural, and class groups is through c ommunity based lear ning connected with professional coursework. Community based learning provides opportunities for preservice t eachers to learn through real life experiences along with course assignments that emphasize reflection (Sleeter, 2008). S everal s tudies have documented the learning of teachers in communities that may be unfamiliar to them (e.g., Adams, Bondy, & Kuhel, 200 5; Nordhoff & Kleinfeld, 1993) and although longer experiences tend to yield the deepest learning, shorter immersion e xperiences can also be valuable. Perhaps what is most crucial is not the

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176 duration of the community based learning experience but the refl ection and guided conversations teacher educators have with preservice teachers regarding the se unfamiliar experience s. It is essential that t eacher educ ators create the conditions for potentially uncomfortable conversations so that White preservice teache rs are able to reflect on their own biases and assumptions and have a greater awareness of systemic inequity. require a reconsideration of preservice teacher education. An equity oriented approach must be at the center of teacher preparation program s; that is, a social justice stance must be woven throughout teacher preparation programs if teacher educators are to work on behalf of Black students and other historically oppressed groups With greater insigh beliefs and their experiences with community, teacher educators and school leaders can be better prepared to challenge ingrained beliefs about the capabilities of Black children and cultivate in te achers the deep commitment to the wellbeing and success of the children they teach. In addition to university based coursework, the literature reveals that novice (Anderson 2007). Therefore, teacher preparation programs should work more intentionally to place preservice teachers with cooperating teachers like Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl. By doing so, preservice teachers can be provided with the opportunity to use their unive rsity based conceptual tools and implement them in an environment that supports and affirms students of color. While this may sound like a lofty goal, placing

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177 prospective teachers with skilled, culturally relevant caring pedagogues who act on behalf of the ir students of color may be beneficial for closing the discipline gap. Furthermore, many urban school districts have adopted restorative practices as a means to narrow the discipline gap. Restorative practices, which emerged from the restorative justice mo vement, are used by educators to help students express their opinions, build relationships, and problem solve as a group (Wachtel, 1997). When a rule has been violated, students join together to play an active role in addressing the harm and restoring the community. Restorative practices are concerned with fixing problems with people rather than doing things to them (Sawin & Zehr, 2007). These practices may be a promising approach to reduce the discipline gap and dismantle the school to prison pipeline beca use they focus on repairing the wrongdoing and building relationships rather than punishing offenders. This may be particularly effective for Black children whose culture places a significant emphasis on the community at large. As mentioned earlier in the dissertation, Treitman Shores did not have an schoolwide approach for addressing student behavior, which led to many of the same students sitting in the office. Restorative practices might be an effective means for keeping students engaged and helping them to learn how to build community to prevent wrongdoing. Implications for Future Research In addition to implications for teachers and teacher educators, this study provides implications for the researchers who investigate issues related to student discipli ne. Several implications for future research directions are examined here. First, improved measurement of the racial discipline gap will likely advance areas of further inquiry. Gregory, Skiba and Noguera (2010) pointed out several

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178 methodological issues in the measurement of disproportionality, including the gauge for determining a significant level of disproportionality (Skiba et al., 2008). Improved reporting of punitive disciplinary infractions would also help future research efforts. In my attempt to co llect information on discipline in MDCPS, I was able to find discipline data for Treitman Shores with ease. However, when I asked the MDCPS for districtwide student discipline data for all elementary schools to ascertain whether Treitman Shores had large d isparities compared with other elementary schools, they were unable to provide this information. This information would have helped me to access suspension and expulsion rates across the county. Second additional research that highlights the work of effec tive teachers of Black students is still needed. In the most recent report from The National Center for Education Statistics (2011) stark gaps exist between White and Black children in achievement, high school graduation rates, and educational attainment. Despite these findings, empirical studies have demonstrated the potential for Black students to succeed in school (e.g. Cooper 2003; Ladson Billings, 1994). The educational cultural backgrounds and teacher care inform classroom life. Third future studies may focus particularly on how the teachers set up their classroom communities from the beginning of the school year. T he data collection for the study began in late October and concluded at the end of December. Initially, the project was to begin at the start of the academic school year in order to capture how the two teachers established the classroom environment. Issues with obtaining access from the school district prevent ed me from beginning on the first day of school. In the future,

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179 researchers may want to observe during the first few weeks of school to understand how teachers created environments grounded in CRCM and CRCTC. Fourth, research might move beyond individual the culture of entire schools. What are the characteristics of schools that embody the discipline policies? And how do they differ from schools tha t emphasize control and practice zero tolerance? How do educators in schools that have reduced the discipline gap describe their transformation? To effect change on a larger scale, additional research is needed on the kinds of approaches schools use to red uce the discipline gap. Fifth, it is necessary that future research efforts address student views about but it did not include the voices of their students. To date, there a re no known studies about Black ing on Black boys, additional research may answer the questions : What are the experiences of young Black boys who have been persistently disciplined? How do they const ruct disruption? researchers may want to interview individual boys or conduct focus group interviews to understand their collective voice. Focus groups with young Black boys ma y provide important insights into what they consider to be helpful and hurtful teacher and school practices. Conclusion The study described two effective teachers who elicited cooperation from the same Black students who were perceived as disruptive by oth er teachers and school

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180 personnel. How did Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl engage their students? They developed caring teacher student relationships with the very students that others perceived as unruly and hopeless students whom other teachers dismissed to th e office at any opportunity. This study adds to the current knowledge base related to reducing the discipline gap and how effective teachers perceive student behavior. The study demonstrates the Further, it confirms the practices of CRCM and expands knowledge about a culturally relevant kind of caring for Black children. In Mrs. Geller and Mrs. Pearl, researchers and practitioners have models of the perseverance and urgency that are central to de veloping ways to narrow the racial discipline gap.

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181 APPENDIX A INTERVIEW SUMMARY Table A 1 Length of interviews Participant Interview Length in minutes Pages of transcription Mrs. Geller 1 76 21 2 62 23 3 64 24 4 email email Total 202 minutes 68 p ages Mrs. Pearl 1 68 24 2 41 16 3 62 22 4 email email Total 171 minutes 62 pages

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182 APPENDIX B OBSERVATION SCHEDULE Weeks 1 3 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Morning G P G Afternoon P G P The rotation allows for each teacher to be observed during different times of the day. Each teacher was observed three times per week. Weeks 4 6 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Morning G P Afternoon G P The rotation allows for each teacher to be observed during different time s of the day. Each teacher was observed twice per week. Weeks 7 8 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Morning G P Afternoon As the observations came to an end, each teacher was observed for half of the day, once per week. The schedules ab classrooms. According to this schedule, each teacher should have been observed 17

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183 times. However, because of teacher planning days and holidays, I observed each teacher 14 times. Approximately *Note: G=Mrs. Geller, P=Mrs. Pearl

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184 APPENDIX C INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS Teacher Interviews Formal interview 1: Rapport building and background information 1. Personal demographics: al information about you. How would you want me to moment)? Use prompts as needed, such as: Tell me about where you were born and raised. How do you characterize your rac ial and cultural background? Tell me about your family. How would you describe the community you live in? 2. Employment related demographics: What degree(s) and certifications do you hold? How long have you been a tea cher at this school? In total? What grades and subjects do you currently teach? What have you previously taught? Please describe the student demographics of your school. 3. Tell me about your class this year. (Probe for: culture, race, SES, interests, family backgrounds). 4. How is this year's class similar to and different from last year's class? 5. Tell me about the relationship you have with your students. Are some relationships easier to cultivate than others? Why do you think this may be?

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185 6. How would you describ you do to build and/or maintain these relationships? 7. Of the many things you do as a teacher, which do you consider to be the most important? 8. What are your greatest strengths as a teacher? What that you are particularly proud of? Can you give me an example? 9. As you know, you were nominated as a teacher who is effective with student behavior. What are your thoughts about this? Why do you think your principal nominated yo u? 10. Tell me about school wide policies and procedures/district wide policies and procedures in place for student behavior. What is your overall feeling about these policies and procedures? Formal interviews 2 4: Talking about student behavior (Note: Intervi ews two, three, and four began with questions related to specific classroom observations and teacher comments based on ongoing review of the data. These questions included but were not limited to the five examples provided below.) ou for participating in this study and allowing me to sit in on your some questions about your classroom: 1. I notice that you frequently (name a practice observed repeated ly). Tell me more about this. [Repeat as needed]

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186 2. I notice that (student's name) frequently (describe what student does/says). What do you make of this? Are there things you need to do to follow up on this? [Repeat as needed] 3. It looks to me like (name somet hing teacher appears to value) is very important to you. Tell me about this. [Repeat as needed] 4. working on with him/her? [Repeat as needed] 5. You frequently tell students (st ate what teacher often says). What is your reasoning behind this? [Repeat as needed] Interview 2: 1. 2. What expectations do you have for classroom behavior and responsibility? How do you communicate those expectations to students? 3. What do you consider to be challenging student behavio r? How do you define student disruption? 4. Whose behavior are you concerned about? What concerns you? What do you think Interview 3: 1. Do you think about student behavior now in the same way as you di d when you first began to teach? What is the same?

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187 What is different? Why has your thinking changed? 2. Are there special things teachers should know about student behavior as related to student demographics [Probe: race, culture, gender, SES]? 3. Whose beha vior are you concerned about? What concerns you? What do you think 4. What would be important to have in a discipline policy or program? Interview 4: 1. What kinds of experiences have you had that have shaped the way you view student behavior? moment? Tell me about that. Probe: Does anything stand out to you that has directly impacted what you do or how you think about student behav ior? Tell me more about this. 2. minutes from meetings of the school discipline committee. I noticed that [indicate a particular action taken by the committee]. What do you mak e of this action? Does it 3. Whose behavior are you concerned about? What concerns you? What do you think 4. Are there things you are still working on related to student behavior? If so, what are they? Formal interview 5: Member checking

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188 Now that you have read about my emergent findings, please take a minute to think about how your perspectives about student behavior have been represented. 1. What is your general reaction to the mater 2. Are there any places where I misrepresented your words? 3. Is there anything else you would like to tell me about your views and approaches to working with student behavior? Possible questions for informal interviews (Note: Altho ugh these informal interactions with the teachers will occur often, they will necessarily be brief. Some of the questions may be used during formal interviews.) 1. I noticed (describe a specific teaching practice or an incident during the observation). Tell m e more about this. Why did you make that decision? 2. How did you decide to (name what teacher did) instead of doing something else? Was it effective? Why not?/How do you know? Are there things you need to do to follow up on this? Please explain. Might you ha ndle this differently next time? 3. I noticed that student ---did (describe what student did). What was your reaction to this? What caused you to react in the way that you did? How do you think the student perceived what you did? 4. Why did you group students the way you did? 5. Imagine that (describe a different turn of events in the lesson) had occurred during this lesson. What would you have done?

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189 Other possible questions related to specific instances that occurred during the class observation, or probed furt her about answers to the above questions. Behavior Support Personnel Interview 1. Tell me about some of the things you do related to your job. How long have you been a [insert job title] at t his school? 2. Please describe the student demographics of your school. 3. Tell me about school wide policies and procedures/district wide policies and procedures in place for student behavior. What is your overall feeling about these policies and procedures? W ho decides what these policies and procedures will be? Are these policies and procedures consistently implemented? If not, why not? If yes, what facilitates their implementation? 4. Do teachers receive support with student behavior? If so, tell me about this. 5. What happens for children who exhibit particularly challenging behavior? 6. documents should I be sure to look at so that I can understand how teachers work with student behavior at t opportunity to read the school discipline handbook and noticed that this school has an In School Suspension progr

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190 What is the process for getting sent to ISS? What are some reasons why students are sent there? Do some teachers use ISS more than others? What do you do, if anything, about students who have been sent to ISS on multiple occasions? What does the scho ol do, if anything, about students who have been sent to ISS on multiple occasions?

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191 APPENDIX D CODE REPRESENTATION constructivist grounded theory methods guided the data analysis process. Below is an example of extracting initial codes taken from interview and observational data, conceptualizing them into larger focused codes, and forming a teaching.

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205 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Elyse Hamba cher was born in Miami, Florida. She has a younger sister, Evette Hambacher, both born to a Chinese mother and a German American fath er. She grew insistence. She refused to attend when she became a rebellious teenager and regrets it ever since. She graduated from the International Baccalaureate Program at North Miami Senior High School in 2001 She then continued to earn a b Elementary Education at t he University of Florida and a m and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. After graduating from Columbia Elyse taught fourth grade in s outh Florida. She later joined the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme and taught English to K 8 students for the Kumamoto City Board of Education in Japan. A year later, she returned home to teach Kinderga rten in the same school where she began her teaching career. Elyse began to pursue her Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Florida in 2009. Upon completion of the Ph.D. degree, Elyse will begin a position as an Assistant Professor of Community and Culture in Education at the University of New Hampshire. She will relocate to the seacoast of Portsmouth, NH with her chocolate lab weimeraner, Aubrey. She plans to continue traveling the world, eating good food, practicing Bikram yoga, and loving lif e.