ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN TEACHERSÂ’ SELF-RATINGS OF CULTURAL RECEPTIVITY AND THEIR RATINGS OF THEIR LOW-PERFORMING AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTSÂ’ LEVELS OF BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS, ADAPTIVE SKILLS, AND SUCCESS BEHAVIORS By CHRISTOPHER E. MACK A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005
Copyright 2005 by Christopher E. Mack
iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my committee, Dr. Carolyn M. Tucker, Dr. Mark Fondacaro, and Dr. Scott Miller, for their scholarly advice and guidance. Special thanks are extended to Dr. Carolyn Tucker who, as chairperson, mentor, colleague, friend, and confidant, has been an admired and respected role model a nd a true source of inspiration. Without her patience, diligence, and dedication, this thesis would not have been possible. I would like to thank the members of the ChildrenÂ’s Health Self-Empowerment Team and the Model Partnership Educati on Program for their continued support and direction throughout this thesis process. I would also like to acknowledge those members of the Gainesville, Florida, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, community who believed that this venture was possible. Finally, I wish to extend special thanks to all my family and friends whose patience, support, and encourag ement made this thesis possible.
iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................vi ABSTRACT......................................................................................................................v ii CHAPTER 1 ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN TEACHERSÂ’ SELF-RATINGS OF CULTURAL RECEPTIVITY AND THEIR RATINGS OF THEIR LOW-PERFORMING AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTSÂ’ LEV ELS OF BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS, ADAPTIVE SKILLS, AND SUCCESS BEHAVIORS...............................................1 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..............................................................................9 Teacher Expectations and Culture................................................................................9 Teacher Cultural Sensitivity.......................................................................................12 Behavior Problems and Cultural Influences...............................................................17 Success Behaviors, Adaptive Ski lls, and Cultural Influences....................................18 Problem Statement......................................................................................................20 3 METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................................23 Operational Definitions..............................................................................................23 Participants.................................................................................................................24 Instruments.................................................................................................................24 Procedure....................................................................................................................26 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................28 Descriptive Data.........................................................................................................28 5 DISCUSSION.............................................................................................................32 Summary of Results....................................................................................................32 Limitations of the Present Study and Directions for Future Research.......................35 Implications for Future Research................................................................................37
v Implication of the Current Findi ngs for Counseling Psychologists............................38 Conclusion..................................................................................................................38 APPENDIX: ASSESSMENTS..........................................................................................40 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................46 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................55
vi LIST OF TABLES Table page 4.1 Means and Standard Deviations of Major Variables for All Participants................29 4.2 Correlations Between Total Scores for Major Variables for All Participants..........30
vii Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN TEACHERSÂ’ SELF-RATINGS OF CULTURAL RECEPTIVITY AND THEIR RATINGS OF THEIR LOW-PERFORMING AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTSÂ’ LEVELS OF BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS, ADAPTIVE SKILLS, AND SUCCESS BEHAVIORS By Christopher Eric Mack May 2005 Chair: Carolyn M. Tucker Major Department: Psychology This study examined the relationship betw een teachersÂ’ self-ratings of their cultural receptivity and their ratings of their low performi ng African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and beha vior problems. Seventy-three teachers (51 Caucasian Americans and 22 African Americans) with 0 to 36 (mean of 13.82) years of teaching experience participated in this study. These teachers included 20 African American females, 48 Caucasian American fe males, 2 African American males, and 3 Caucasian American males who were employed at one of six elementary (grades K-5) schools in a Southeastern region of the United States. These schools had similar demographic characteristics and had rece ived a Â“DÂ” school grade on a statewide comprehensive assessment of each schoolÂ’s acad emic performance based on its studentsÂ’ scores on standardized achievement tests.
viii For this study the participating teachers co mpleted an assessment battery (AB) for each of two arbitrarily sel ected low-performing students in their classroom. The AB included the following instrume nts: Student Adaptive Skills Rating Form, (AS), Student Success Behaviors Inventory (SBI), and th e Behavior Problems Rating Form (BP). Additionally teachers rated themselves on the Quick Discrimination Index (QDI), a measure of receptivity to cultural differences. The results from a Pearson Correlation to test the hypothesis that there would be a significant positive association between the participating teachersÂ’ self-ratings of their receptivity to cultural differences and their ratings of their low performing studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and be havior problems failed to support this hypothesis. Further, results from an ANO VA revealed no significant differences in teachersÂ’ self-ratings of their receptivity to cultural differences and their ratings of their low performing African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, su ccess behaviors, and behavior problems in association with student gender or teacher ethnicity. The results of this study suggests that more research is needed to examine the role of teachersÂ’ receptivity to cultural differe nces and their evaluation of the school performance and behavior of their low pe rforming African American students. Such research will elucidate the value of multicultural competence promotion training for teachers in schools where the stude nt body is culturally diverse.
1 CHAPTER 1 ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN TEACHERSÂ’ SELF-RATINGS OF CULTURAL RECEPTIVITY AND THEIR RATINGS OF THEIR LOW-PERFORMING AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTSÂ’ LEVELS OF BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS, ADAPTIVE SKILLS, AND SUCCESS BEHAVIORS America is becoming more racially and et hnically diverse according to the Census 2000 report released by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau. It has been reported that more than one third of the population cons ists of racial and et hnic minorities (Sue & Sue, 1999). Furthermore, it has been estimat ed that minorities as a collective group will make up the numerical majority of the U. S. between the years of 2030 and 2050 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). One area that is impacted by our changi ng society is the educational system. During the last 30 years, schools have become Â“intensely made up mostly of students of colorÂ” (Piana, 2000). According to the Nationa l Center for Educatio nal Statistics (NCES, 2003), about 40 percent of African American students and Hispanic students attended schools in which 90 percent or more of th e students were minorities. The changing demographics of the United States have impor tant implications for public school teachers in their efforts to educate American youth. While the presence of ethnic minority st udents in our NationÂ’s public schools increases, our NationÂ’s teaching force grow s increasingly Caucasian. It has been estimated that approximately 85.6% of public school teachers are Caucasian with annual increases in this percent pr ojected (NCES, 1999). These teachers are faced with the challenge of teaching, motivating, understa nding, and encouraging many students who
2 are different from themselves and who may need types and/or levels of motivators, encouragement, and understanding that are unfamiliar to these teachers. How teachers treat their various students may make the difference between success and failure among these students. For exampl e, a researcher at Harvard University reported that the effect of teachers' expect ations on minority students could sustain and possibly expand the black/white academic achievement gap (Ferguson, 1998). This researcher further asserted that Â“low expect ations could alter how much effort teachers put into helping minority studentsÂ” (Ferguson, 19 98). Consistent with this assertion are the findings of a recent study indicating that teacher involvement had a powerful and direct impact on the academic achievement of African American students (Tucker, Zayco, et al., 2002) African American youth can be victimized by low teacher expectations, which are too often based on a teacher's preconceived no tions about the potenti al and ability of students of a particular race, rather than on the actual school related performance of individual students (Williams and Muehle, 1978) . Because of lower teacher expectations, some African American students as compar ed to Caucasian students are given less attention and praise, and ignored and reprim anded more by Caucasian teachers (Casteel, 2000). These occurrences are likely factors in the disproportionate ly elevated school dropout among African American students, espe cially males, that is well documented (Mahiri, 1998). Such dropout often confirms for teachers the legitimacy of their low expectations of their African Am erican students (Mahiri, 1998). Teacher perceptions have a tremendous imp act on the success or failure of children in schools. Research has indica ted that African American st udents are more influenced by
3 teacher perception of them than by their own self-perceptions (G arrett-Holiday, 1985). Researchers have also indicated that teach ers' perceptions and lack of cultural responsiveness can result in psychological discomfort and low achievement (Obiakor, 1999) and in social and academic failure among their students (Banks & Banks, 1993; Pollack, 1998). Cultural res ponsiveness involves understand ing and helping students learn situation specific engagement in behavi ors including loud talk ing, use of slang, and expressive movements that are sometimes us ed by these youth on a daily basis in their communities for survival socially in many neighborhoods. Cultural responsiveness also includes utilizing behaviors that impede life su ccess such as avoidance of eye contact as opportunities for conversations to understand su ch behaviors and to encourage alternative behaviors that promote life success. Numerous theories attempt to explain th e attitudes and achie vements of African American students. According to Fordham (1988) and Ogbu (1987), the low achievement and lack of social competence documented among a disproportionate number of minority youth have been attributed to genetic and/or cultural deficits. Re search on effective teaching of African American students indicate that African American studentsÂ’ potential will not be realized in classrooms where t eachers view African American children from a deficit model perspective, (Ki ng, 1994; Tucker, Zayco, et al., 2002). This perspective, views the performance of majority children as the standard of comparison by which the performance of children from other ethni c groups are judged. A deficit model of instruction and research attempts to make ch ildren fit into existing majority culture based systems of teaching and learning, rather than expand these systems to accommodate the strengths of the cultural characteristics that culturally diverse students bring into the
4 classroom. Such models can lead to disenga gement of African American students from the teaching and learning process, often re sulting in academic failure and behavior problems. Academic failure and disproportionate re presentation of minority populations in special education are ongoing challenges for teachers. Disproportio nate representation here refers to the representation of a sp ecific race/ethnic (e.g., African American) population in special education that exceed s the naturally occu rring rate of that race/ethnicity in the general population. A ccording to the recent National Research Council report (2002), disproportionate represen tation occurs in some fashion with every minority race in the United States. With regard to student gender, it is clear that male students are more likely to be referred to sp ecial education classes than female students (e.g., Drabman, Tamowski, & Kelly, 1987; Harvey, 1991). Behavioral problems as well as poor academic performance often lead to placement of minority students in special education classes (Abidin & Robinson, 2002). Behavioral problems, by definition, are any activities, overt or covert, that inte rfere with teaching and learning. Activities such as inadequate preparation for class, talking while doing academic work in class, fighting, or tardines s often disrupt the process of teaching and learning in the classroom; consequently the st udents who engage in these activities and those surrounding these student s learn and/or teach less. Research has shown that behavior problems are significantly associ ated with academic failure among African American children (Tucker, Vogel, et al., 2002). It is noteworthy that culture and ethnicity may affect what behaviors are considered behavior problems, the meaning of adaptive be haviors, and what are considered effective
5 discipline and discipline freque ncy. There is indeed resear ch indicating that African American students are unnecessarily punish ed by teachers (Sheets & Gay, 1996, p. 89), and that these students in comparison to Ca ucasian students are far more likely to be suspended from school (Gordon, Della Piana, & Keleher, 2000). Because teachers are typically culturally different from their African American students, it is understandable th at they (teachersÂ’) may evalua te, punish, and praise all of their students in accordance with their (teachersÂ’) own cultural based norms regarding acceptable classroom behavior. Indeed, a majo rity of teachers may be unaware of the culturally based nuances of Af rican American studentsÂ’ belief systems, behaviors, and worldviews. When African American student s challenge Caucasian middle class based expected behavior, a teacher may misconstrue the challenging behavi or as pathological, rather than construing this be havior as an adaptive strate gy for his/her own self-value. Such misconceptions can lead th e teacher to misjudge culture-re lated variations in normal behavior, beliefs, and experiences, and thus mi slabel these variati ons as pathological, when such is not the case (Mezzich et al., 1996). It is necessary that teachers demonstr ate acceptance and appr eciation of cultural differences among their students. For exampl e, teachers can include classroom learning activities that support and enhance their st udentÂ’s cultural identity. Teachers' acceptance of culture-related identities and their manife stations in the classroom are especially relevant to school achievement by students. It is notewo rthy that African American students have been found to benefit from a culturally responsive pedagogy that is theoretically grounded in teaching-effectiven ess research (Gay, 2000; Irvine & Armento, 2001; Ladson-Billings, 1994, 2001). Teachers who ignore, misunderstand, or devalue
6 cultural differences among students culture are li kely to have lower expectations of those students whose culture is di fferent from that of their (the teacherÂ’s) own culture. (Hilliard, 1989). Some of these students may adopt the view that minorities especially African Americans are inherent ly inferior and socially deprived (Anthony & Cohler, 1987). The fact that America is increasingly assuming a multi-ethnic identity and that most classroom teachers are Caucasian, coupl ed with research which indicates that teachers' perceptions and lack of cultural responsiveness can result in psychological discomfort and low achievement (Obiakor, 1999) and in social and academic failure (Banks & Banks, 1993; Pollack, 1998) all suggest there is a need for multi-culturally competent teachers in our classrooms. Broadly defined, multicultural competence involves having 1) awareness of culture-related attitudes and beliefs; 2) knowledge about cultural differences; and 3) skills to work with diverse groups (Sue et al., 1982; Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992). Having teachers examine their own values , myths, stereotypes, and worldview facilitates the awareness among them that characterizes multicultural competence. The knowledge aspect of multicultural compet ence can be promoted among teachers by promoting their understanding of the cultural, social, family, political and historical influences that impact the behaviors and at titudes of their students. Development of multicultural competence related skills am ong teachers require providing them with a culturally sensitive teaching model that frames the needed skills for actively engaging students in learning under whatever conditions that exist in their lives.
7 TuckerÂ’s Self-Empowerment Theory of Ac hievement (SETA; Tucker, 1999) offers such a model. TuckerÂ’s SETA asserts th at academic and social success by African American children are positively associated with levels of the following variables among these children: (a) self-motiv ation to achieve, (b) self-cont rol of academic progress and social behavior, (c) self-reinforcement (e.g. se lf-praise) of effort and progress toward academic and social success, (d) adaptive sk ills (i.e., communication, socialization, and daily living skills), and (e) engagement in success behaviors (e.g., good eye contact, making complete sentences). This theory does not ignore the reality that multiple environmental, social, economic, family, a nd other factors influe nce the academic and social behaviors of African American children; rather, it is responsiv e to the reality that most of these factors are not likely to signi ficantly change in the school lifetime of an African American child. Thus, African American children must be taught selfempowering strategies for promoting acad emic success despite life and learning conditions that exist in their lives (Tucker, 1999). Traditionally, in addition to knowledge acquisition, teachers of ten base special placement of students on their levels of engagement in th e latter two components of SETA-adaptive skills and su ccess behaviors. Teachers also often recommend special placements of students based on an indicator of the behavioral control component of SETA-level of behavioral pr oblems displayed. Since percep tions of what constitutes adaptive skills, success behaviors, and behavi or problems are influenced by culture, and given the cultural differences between most African Am erican students and their teachers, it is possible that teachersÂ’ level of receptivity to cultural differences between their African American students and themselves might be associ ated with thei r ratings of
8 their African American stude nts adaptive skills, success behaviors, and behavior problems. Thus, the present study empirically examin ed the associations between teachersÂ’ self-ratings of their cultural receptivity and their ratings of their studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and behavior problems. Th e fact that teachers Â’ ratings of African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success beha viors, and behavior problems can greatly influence whether they are given opportuni ties for future economic and social success supports the need to identify teacher variable s associated with thei r ratings of African American studentsÂ’ skills and behaviors.
9 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE The proposed study will examine the associa tions between of cultural receptivity of teachers and teachersÂ’ ratings of low-perfor ming African American studentsÂ’ levels of adaptive skills, success behaviors and behavior problems. Because there is a paucity of research on cultural receptivity, this chapter will review a larger body of literature related to this construct and relevant to the focus of the present study. This literature review is organized into five sections. In the fi rst section, literature regarding teacher expectations and culture is discussed. The second section provides a review of the literature that addresses th e need for cultural sensitivity by teachers, especially when teaching African American students. Next, the literature concerning behavior problems among African American students and cultural influences on their identification is presented. Fourth, resear ch findings regarding the role of cultural receptivity in success behaviors and adaptiv e skills for school and life success among African American students are discussed. Fina lly, based on the revi ewed literature the hypotheses of the current study are set forth. Teacher Expectations and Culture Teachers develop clear expectations for th e performance of thei r students early in the year (Jussim, 1989). Teacher expectations have been defined as "inferences that teachers make about the future behavior or a cademic achievement of their students, based on what they currently know about thes e students" (Good, 1987). The expectations teachers have for their students and the assump tions they make about their potential have
10 a tangible effect on actual student achievement. In fact, teachers' expectations may accurately predict students' achievement (Brophy, 1983; Hoge, 1984, as cited in Jussim, 1989) and play a significant role in determ ining how well and how much students learn" (Bamburg, 1994). It is now well established that students' social class and ethnicity serve as major variables in the formation of teachers' expect ations for students' intellectual performance (Baron, Tom, & Cooper, 1985). Students who behave, look, speak, and learn differently from majority students are at risk of be ing misidentified, misplaced, and instructed incorrectly in typical majority culture dom inated schools in part because of teacher expectations for those students with such differences (Obiakor, 1999). Many researchers contend also that teachers expect less of ch ildren from low-income and other stigmatized groups and therefore provide less rigorous academic instruction and set lower academic achievement standards for these students. In addition to lower expectations for academic performance, teachers often perceive child ren from low-SES families as being less mature and having poorer self-regulator y skills than thei r peers (McLoyd, 1998). Furthermore, it has been asse rted that relatively low exp ectations exist in many schools serving low-income students (Hal linger, Bickman, & Davis, 1996). Generalized racist attitudes and cultural ignorance, either conscious or unconscious, on the part of some Caucasian teachers towa rd African American children may underlie the lowered expectations of these teachers for these children. Ferguson (1998) concluded that such racism is most likely at least some what present and may play at least some role in creating and maintaining the Black-White achievement gap. An additional indicator of the effects of the intersection of race, ethni city, and school achievem ent is the reported
11 finding that the performance of poor 11thgrade Latinos and Af rican Americans was lower than or barely equal to that of 8thgrade middle-class European Americans in the academic core subjects of reading, writi ng, math, and science (U.S. Department of Education, 2003). Research has suggested that ethnicity and social cla ss are characte ristics that frequently create negative expectations, which in turn lead to differential treatment of students from low-SES and minority groups (Neal et al., 2003). For example, it has been found that teachers lowered th eir expectations of the acad emic abilities of African American students who spoke in African Amer ican English. By contrast, teachers raised their expectations concerning the academic abilities of African American students who used standardized English (Neal et al., 2003). Fu rthermore, it has been reported that some teachers view behaviors that are culturally appropriate in students' families, among their peers, and in their communities as overly aggressive, inappropriate, negative, rude, intimidating, and threatening (Foster, 1986; Majors & Manc ini Billson, 1992). Teachers' misunderstandings of and reacti ons to students' culturally conditioned behaviors can lead to academic and social failure. Researchers have indicated that teachers' perceptions and lack of cultural responsiveness can result in their students experiencing psychological discomfort and low achievement (Hilliard, 1976; Obiakor, 1999). Teachers' perceptions of culture-related identities and their ma nifestations in the classroom are especially rele vant to school achievement by students. African American students, for example, have been found to be nefit from a culturally responsive pedagogy that is theoretically grou nded in teaching-effectivene ss research (Gay, 2000, LadsonBillings, 2001).
12 Teacher Cultural Sensitivity The United States is rapidly becoming a pl uralistic society, an d schools continually represent greater cultural di versity. Within the next 50 years, children of color will comprise nearly 60% of all school-aged child ren in the United States. In large urban cities such as New York, Detr oit, and Los Angeles, the pe rcentage of Caucasian school children has been reported to be less than 20% of the to tal enrollment (Orfield & Yun, 1999). Culturally sensitive teachers are aware and respectful of the importance of the values, beliefs, traditions, customs, and expe rienced parenting styles of the increasingly more culturally diverse students in their classr ooms. They are also aware of the impact of their own culture on the student-teacher relati onship and take all of these factors into account when planning classes and assi gnments for the children they teach. The growing diversity found within public schools necessitates that teachers of culturally diverse learners accept major res ponsibility for the academic success of all students (Fueyo & Bechtol, 1999; Ladson-Bill ings, 1994). Doing this requires that educators be culturally sensitive and confiden t in their own ability to adequately teach diverse learners. Thus, teachers must not only en hance their didactic skills, but also build nurturing relationships with th eir students and better unders tand the racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds of these students (Trueb a & Bartolome , 2000; Cochran-Smith, 1997; Fueyo & Bechtol, 1999; Ladson-Billings, 1994). Lack of awareness and receptiveness to cultural differences can make it difficult for both teachers and students to experience an achievement promoting learning environment. In a study that assessed preservice teachers attitudes related to teaching African American children (Bakari, 2003), it was f ound that achievement promoting learning
13 environments are characterized by the follo wing four domains: willingness to teach, teacher efficacy, teachersÂ’ sensitivity toward studentsÂ’ cultural needs, and expectations of students. According to Beauboeuf-Lafontant (1999) as cited from Bakari (2003) sensitivity toward African American students includes an embracing of cultural practices and values in the classroom as well as a commitment to change the experiences of inequality and disenfranchisement of students through anti-racist teaching. Based on research findings, Bakari (2003) concluded that teachers show little enthusiasm about teaching African American s students. She cited Bruno and Doscher (1981) who found that the higher the percentage of African Am ericans students attending a school, the less attractively th e school was described by teac hers and the higher number of requests for school transfers by teachers. Bakari (2003) also cited a meta-analytic study which concluded that teachers prefer to teach Caucasian middl e class students who are physically attractive and have familiar names as opposed to low-performing African American students (Dusek & Jose ph as cited in Bakari, 2003). Recent studies in the education literature (Enderlin-Lampe, 2002) identify teacher attributes of self-efficacy as a major elemen t in productive schooling. The examination of self-efficacy and outcome expectancy in relati on to teaching has been the foci of studies by several researchers (Gib son & Dembo, 1984; Ashton & Webb, 1986; Enochs & Riggs, 1990). Personal teaching efficacy has been define d as a belief in one's ability to teach effectively, and teaching outcome expectancy has been defined as the belief that effective teaching will have a positive effect on stude nt learning. Unfortunately, in a report on the preparation and qualifications of public sc hool teachers, published by the National Center
14 for Educational Statistics (1998), only 20% of teachers who reported teaching or having taught ethnically diverse students stated that they felt prepared to meet the needs of these students. In the aforementioned study by Bakari (2003), data were collected on a total of 415 students enrolled in teacher education programs at six universities. These students were placed in groups based on the type of in stitution attended. Group 1 consisted of preservice teachers from a public, predominantly Caucasian university; the university had no specific requirements related to teaching cu lturally diverse students. Group 2 consisted of preservice teachers from hist orically Black colleges and universities. Group 3 included preservice teachers from private, predominan tly Caucasian universities. Findings from this study suggest that African American pr eservice teachers are more willing to teach African American students th an are Caucasian preservice teachers. Moreover, African American preservice teachers expressed a greater willingness toward teaching African American students than toward teaching in ge neral. The authors concluded that there is little effort on the part of preservice teach ers to use diverse culture as a classroom resource. She added that resist ance to using culture in th e classroom may come from a personal choice to cling to a traditional pe dagogy that espouses assimilation and that ignorance of cultural capital ma y be perpetuated by an Ameri can educational system that endorses such pedagogy (Bakari, 2003). Expecting Caucasian teachers to be in the forefront of promoting multicultural competence in teaching is both logical and real istic. After all, th ese teachers comprise 86% of all teachers (U.S. Department of Edu cation, 1999). Educators of color must also play major roles in promoting multicultural competence in teaching.
15 Cultural and ethnic self-analyses and self-re flections are important activities for all teachers because, as Walsh (1988) suggested, "thinking critically is the antithesis of prejudicial thinking," and "a critical thinker strives for as accurate a worldview as possible to make informed judgments" ( p. 280). The open-mindedness and humility that result from understanding how culture and et hnicity affect their own being and behaving will help make teachers receptive to the valid ity of others' differences. This kind of reciprocity of rights to culture and ethnicity is imperative for effective multicultural teaching. Leaders in the field of multicultural educati on generally agree that little significant progress has been made in developing teach ing practices and curriculum that meet the needs of culturally, racially, and socially diverse students in cla ssrooms (Jenks et al. 2001). These leaders also agree that most teachers display comm on teaching practices that fail to address the diverse learning styl es of those who differ culturally, racially, and socially (Jenks et al. 2001) from majority students. Multicultural competence among teachers is a must. Multicultural competence among teachers refers to having the attitude s/beliefs, knowledge, and skills to teach students from diverse cultural groups (Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992). One aspect of being multiculturally competent is havi ng an awareness and acceptance of both similarities and differences among others (i.e., cultural receptivity) (Sue et al., 1992). Recently, researchers have focused on Â“eff ectiveÂ” teachers of African American students to identify models for culturally relevant teaching practices (Horton, 1997, Irvin & Foster, 1996; Weber 1997). They specifically focused on the combination of Caucasian teachers and diverse students and communities. In general their conclusion was that
16 effective teaching across race and cultural lines can occur if critical cultural norms of the community are respected. Research on effec tive teaching shows that effective teachers facilitate the diverse cultural and learning styles of their students. These teachers emphasize issues of content and substance a nd allow the use of multiple languages, (e.g., black English), they are familiar with the co mmon vernacular even though they instruct in Standard English; and they celebrate their students as individuals and as members of specific cultures (Darling-Ha mmond et al., 1997, p. 10). African American students' chances of school achievement increase when they, like their non-African American schoolmates, ex perience education with teachers who understand their socio-cultural knowledge and ta ke into account cult ural factors when designing, implementing, and evaluating in struction (e.g., Boykin & Bailey, 2000; Ellison, Boykin, Towns, & Stokes, 2000). After all, culture influences people's perception of appropriate beha vior and thus how and when they seek, obtain, and enact supportive behavior (Derlega , Barbee, & Winstead, 1994) However, teachers' misunderstandings of and reactions to students' culturally conditioned behaviors can lead to school and social failure . Researchers have indicated that teachers' perceptions and lack of cu ltural responsiveness can result in students experiencing psychological discomfort and low achievement (Hilliard, 1976; Obiakor, 1999) and in social and academic failure (Gay, 1994, 1997; Payne, 1995; Pollack, 1998). Further, Ogbu & Matute-Bianchi (1986) stated that when students find themselves in school settings that ignore or fail to affirm culturally socialized differences, they may respond with noncompliance, indifference, rese ntment, or anger often times resulting in behavior problems.
17 Behavior Problems and Cultural Influences Today, teachers face the challenge of e ducating an increasingly diverse population of students. Fortunately, mo st students are successful learners and positively and appropriately interact with both peers and adults. However, between 2% and 16% of school age children display be havior problems that pose special challenges to our educational system (Kauffman, 2001). According to Tucker (2002) it is a well-know n fact that African American children are more likely than European-American ch ildren to be socially and economically disadvantaged in our society. This reality c oupled with the cultural insensitivity of some teachers, places African American children at greater risk for engagement in maladaptive behaviors, academic underachievement, and academic failure. Sonuga-Barke, Minocha, Taylor, and Sandberg (1993) found that teacher s do tend to apply different standards for interpreting behavior in racia lly diverse groups of children, and that teachers tend to (a) rate African American students less favorably than Caucasian students on such measures as personality and behavior, motivation to learn, and classroom performance, and (b) treat African American students less favorably than Caucasian stude nts in the classroom (Murray, 1996; Partenio & Ta ylor, 1985; Plewis, 1997). In general, research representing a wide range of methodologies has revealed that teachers tend to rate African American child ren higher on overall behavior problems than Caucasian children (Epstein, March, Conners, & Jackson, 1998; Reid et al., 1998). More specifically, it appears that teach ers are more likely to refer a student to special education, counseling, and/or the principa lÂ’s office with externalizing problems than internalizing problems (Greene, Clopton, & Pope, 1996; Ll oyd et al., 1991; Pearcy, Clopton, & Pope, 1993; Walker, Bettes, & Ceci, 1984). This is pr obably because externalizing problems are
18 more difficult to manage in classroom situati ons. An interesting parallel is that according to Epstein et al. (1998), teachers tend to rate African American children higher on externalizing behaviors. Success Behaviors, Adaptive Ski lls, and Cultural Influences Research has shown that black student s from all socioeconomic backgrounds develop "oppositional identities" that lead them to view schooling as a form of forced assimilation to Caucasian cultural values, and come to equate academic success with "acting White" (Fordham and Ogbu, 1986). Such pe rceptions lead to the devaluation of academic pursuits and the adoption of self-def eating behaviors that inhibit possibilities for academic success (Fordham and Ogbu, 1986). Further, Ogbu (2003) found that "the attitudes and behaviors of some Black students were partly re sponsible for their teachers' low expectations" (p. 129). Black students did not raise their hands as much as Caucasian students and were more likely to come to cl ass without having done their homework. In other words, these Black students engage d less in success behaviors for academic achievement. Research has also demonstrated a st rong correlation between academic failure among students and antisocial behavior. Academic performance consiste ntly is identified as being inversely related to antisocial behavior among young peopl e. Poor academic performance co-occurs with or is a predicto r of antisocial conduct (Hawkins, Farrington, & Catalano, 1998; Maguin & Loeber, 1996). There is research that supports self-e mpowering African American children for academic success by teaching them achievement and interpersonal behaviors (success behaviors) and skills (adaptive skills) that directly and positively impact their academic performance. For example, Connell, Spencer, and Abner (1994) showed that behavioral
19 engagement (i.e., prosocial school behaviors su ch as on-task behaviors in the classroom and study behaviors) and emotional engage ment (i.e., level of school satisfaction, boredom, and nervousness) were both significan t predictors of academic performance of African American students (c ited in Tucker, 1999 pg. 314). TuckerÂ’s Self-Empowerment Theory of Achievement (SETA; Tucker, 1999) posits that academic failure and behavioral problem s, as well as academic and social success, are influenced by five self-variables. These se lf-variables are: self-motivation to achieve, perceived self-control of beha vior and achievement outcome s, self-reinforcement (selfpraise) of achievement efforts and outcome s, adaptive skills (i.e. communication, socialization, and daily livi ng skills), and engagement in success behaviors (e.g., good eye contact, making complete sentences). SETA suggests th at the higher the levels of these variables are present in a child, the more likely she/he is to exhibit academic and social success (Tucker, 1999). Success behaviors, adaptive skills, an d avoidance of behavior problems (an outcome of self-control) are required for classroom success, success at getting and keeping a job, future economic and social su ccess, and avoidance of special education placement, (Tucker, 1999). Thus the presen t study focused on whether the ratings of these important variables by teachers might be associated with teachersÂ’ cultural receptivity. According to Tucker (1999, pg. 288) succes s behaviors among students include: 1. Always arrive on time and be prepared. 2. Complete all assigned tasks. 3. Follow directions. 4. Maintain a positive attitude. 5. Use complete sentences. 6. Project oneÂ’s voice and speak clearly.
20 7. Maintain eye contact during conversations. 8. Listen attentively while others are speaking. 9. Show enthusiasm about doing a good job. 10. Participate actively in group discussions. 11. Cooperate when working with others. 12. Is helpful to others and c onsiderate of their feelings. 13. Avoid the use of insulting and criticizing remarks. 14. Maintain self-control, especia lly when angry or frustrated. 15. Identify your strengths and compliment yourself for your achievements. 16. Compliments others for their successes. 17. Understand that you are an importa nt person, today and everyday. 18. Set goals and work hard to reach them. 19. DonÂ’t say Â“I canÂ’t,Â” say Â“IÂ’ll try.Â” 20. Finishes task. 21. Never give up. Teachers can help identify and encourag e success behaviors and adaptive skills (i.e., communication skills, socialization skil ls, and daily living skills) in their students and they can promote avoidance of behavior problems among their students. Adaptive skills support/enable self-contro l and self-management that help constitute selfempowerment. These skills and success behavi ors provide students with opportunities for self-praise, which is a salient component of self-empowerment. Self-praise over time should reduce studentsÂ’ dependence on negative attention from teachers for engaging in behavior problems. Additionally, success be haviors are replacements for behavior problems. Problem Statement According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), African American students consistently perform belo w the national average in mathematics and language skills, with the gap widening as ch ildren continue through their school years. There are several consequences of this lo w performance by African American students that make it especially important to understa nd factors contributing to it. For example it has been reported that low-performing Afri can American students may be perceived as
21 "more difficult" than low-performing Cau casian students and so receive less teacher support (Ferguson, 1998). Furthermore, numerous studies have documented relationships between a variety of problem behavior s and low performing students (Williams & McGee, 1994; Faraone et al., 1993, Stevens & Pihl, 1987, Brady et al., 1992). Teachers have the challenge of addre ssing both the low academic performance of many African American students and the behavi or problems often associated with such performances. Ironically, the American teaching populati on is predominately Caucasian (NCES, 2002). Because the majority of Caucasian teacher s enter the field of education with little or no extended contact with people of color (Nieto, 1999), they may view African American students as inferi or, (Anthony & Cohler, 1987), and this perception has much potential for impacting the academic success of African American students (Ferguson, 1998, Tucker, Zayco, et al., 2002). It is not known whether teachers who are more receptive to cultural differences as compared to teachers who are less receptive to cultural differences are more likely to rate African American children higher on adaptive skills and success behaviors and lower on behavior problems. The present study examined the association of teachersÂ’ self-ra ted levels of cultural receptivity with their ratings of their low performing African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, su ccess behaviors and behavior problems. The specific hypotheses a nd research questions for this study include the following: H (1) TeachersÂ’ self-ratings of cultural re ceptivity will have a significant positive association with their ratings of their low performing African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills and success behaviors.
22 H (2) TeachersÂ’ self-ratings of cultural re ceptivity will have a significant negative association with their ratings of their low performing African American studentsÂ’ behavior problems. RQ (1) Do any found associations betw een teachersÂ’ self-ra tings of cultural receptivity and their ratings of low performing African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and behavior pr oblems differ in association with student gender? RQ (2) Do any found associations betw een teachersÂ’ self-ra tings of cultural receptivity and their ratings of low performing African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and problems beha viors differ in association with teacher ethnicity.
23 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY This chapter will present the following information: operational definitions of terms relevant to the study; descriptions of the research particip ants, instruments used, and research procedure, and results of the da ta analyses to addre ss each of the hypotheses and research questions. Operational Definitions Culture is the set of ideas, behaviors, attitudes, and traditions that exist within large groups of people (usually of a common religion or family). Cultural competency is the ability of indivi duals and systems to respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds and religions in a manner that recognizes, affi rms, and values the cu ltural differences and similarities and the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each (Seattle King County Dept of Public Health, 1994). Cultural knowledge refers to being familiar with selected cultural characteristics, history, values, belief systems, and behavi ors of the members of another ethnic group (Adams, 1995). Cultural sensitivity involves communicating or displaying culture-related knowledge, skills, awareness and experiences in ways that make people feel that their culture is respected. Cultural sensitivity in cludes being aware of oneÂ’s own culture and cultural biases and viewing cultural differences as differences rather than deficits of inadequacies (Tucker, 2002).
24 Cultural receptivity refers to an individualÂ’s or groupÂ’s openness toward the acceptance of a philosophy, an idea, or culture similar to or different than their own. Teacher expectations refers to the inferences te achers make about the future academic achievement or behavior of students, based on what these teachers presently know about the students (Good & Brophy, 2000). Low performing refers to academic performance that is below normative age level (i.e., having a grade point av erage of 2.5 or lower). Participants Seventy-three teachers (51 Caucasian Amer icans and 22 African Americans) with 0 to 36 (mean of 13.82) years of teaching expe rience participated in this study. These teachers included 20 African American fema les, 48 Caucasian American females, 2 African American males, and 3 Caucasian Am erican males who were employed at one of six elementary (grades K-5) schools in a Sout heastern region of the United States that had similar demographic characte ristics and that received a Â“DÂ” grade on a statewide comprehensive assessment of student performance by school. These teachers were recruited as part of a larger study investigati ng the impact of teacher training in culturally sensitive teaching on the academic performance, success behaviors, adaptive skills, and behavior problems of low performing stude nts in the participating classrooms. Instruments For the current study the participating teach ers separately completed an assessment battery (AB) for each of two arbitrarily selected low-pe rforming students in their classroom. The AB included the following instruments: Student Adaptive Skills Rating Form, (AS), Student Success Behaviors Inve ntory (SBI), and the Behavior Problems
25 Rating Form (BP). Additionally teachers rate d themselves on the Quick Discrimination Index (QDI). Adaptive Skills Rating Form (AS). This battery was used to assess the teachersÂ’ ratings of their studentsÂ’ ad aptive skills. It was constructed by the researchers involved with the larger study fo r use in that study. The AS ratings were made using a 5-point Likert scale that rang ed from 1 (Strongly Disa gree) to 5 (Strongly Agree). This 11-item scale consisted of three subscales. The first subscale, Communication, consisted of 3 items. A sample item on this subscale was Â“Speaks in full sentences.Â” The second subscale, Daily Living Skills, consists of 3 items. A sample item on this subscale was Â“Knows how and in what situations to call 911. Â” The third subscale, Socialization, consists of 5 items. A sample item on this subscale was Â“Controls anger or hurt feelings when denied his/her own way.Â” Success Behavior Inventory (SBI). The SBI consisted of 3 items. A sample item on the SBI was Â“Comes to class preparedÂ”. Higher scores indi cate higher levels of success behaviors. The SBI was constructed by the researchers involved with the larger study for use in that study. Behavior Problems Form (BP). Ratings of childrenÂ’s behavior problems were made using a 3-point Likert scale th at ranged from 1 (Never) to 3 (Very Often). This 12-item battery included questions like Â“Is easily em barrassedÂ” and Â“Gets angry easily.Â” Higher scores on the BP indicate higher level of engagement in behavior problems. Items for the BP were selected from the behavior problem section of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale (Sparrow et al., 1984). The Cronbach alph a of the BP for the current study was .81.
26 The Quick Discrimination Index (QDI; P onterotto, Burkard, Reiger, Greiger, DÂ’Onofrio, Dubuisson, Heenehan, Mill stein, Parisi, Rath, and Sax, 1995). The QDI measures receptivity to racial diversity and was used in the present study as a measure of receptivity to cultural differences. The instructions on the QDI were to label it, Â“Social Attitude SurveyÂ” during administration to help control for potential subject demand characteristics. Participants were instructed to rate the 18 items that constitute the QDI using a 5-point Likert type scale that ranges from 1 = (Strongly Disagree) to 5 = (Strongly Agree). Low scores are indicative of low receptivity to racial diversity/cultural differences and higher prejud icial attitudes; high scores are indicative of greater receptivity to racial diversity/cultural differe nces sensitivity and re flect low prejudicial attitudes. Ponterotto et al . reported a Cronbach alpha of .88 for the full scale QDI. Procedure When the teachers recruited to particip ate in the larger project on culturally sensitive teaching (i.e., the primary study) we re administered Asse ss Batteries (ABs) for that study, the assessments (ABs) for the presen t study were also admini stered as part of these ABs. Rather than placing names on comp leted assessments, codes comprised of the teacherÂ’s first name initial, last name initial, and last four social security ID numbers were used. These codes were constructed by th e participants as instructed via a cover letter from the primary researcher for th e primary study and placed on their completed assessments. These codes were used to ensure the confidentiality of the participants. All measures in the AB were counterbalanced for order. Teachers were informed that the questionnaires included in the ABs would be us ed to help assess the overall effectiveness of the culturally sensitive teacher training wo rkshop they had attended. The measures for
27 the present study were first among the que stionnaires in the assessment and took approximately one hour to complete. Teachers received both monetary co mpensation ($60) and professional development credit hours (2 CEUÂ’s) for thei r participation in the primary study. This participation was requested via a cover lette r to which was attached two stamped preaddressed envelopes, the baseline AB, whic h included the assessments for the present study, and an informed consent form. Particip ants were instructed to place the signed informed consent form in one provided enve lope and the completed assessments in the other provided envelope. All envelopes were returned (100% return rate) to a designated person at each of the particip antÂ’s school and this designee returned them unopened to the researchers. However, only 48% of the return ed assessments were totally and correctly completed and thus could be used in the data analyses for the present study. Many teachers failed to provide required information and/or completed the self-report measures incorrectly. The specific self-report measures the teachers were asked to complete for the present study are Demographic Data Form and the Quick Discrimination Index (QDI). TeachersÂ’ were also asked via the cover le tter to identify two (2) students with behavior problems and low grades for whom they would provide data on in the present study; however, to avoid any affects from po ssible teacher bias, only data for one child was arbitrarily selected for inclusion in the data analyses for the present study. Specifically, teachers were asked to complete each of the following assessments for each child selected: (1) Student Adaptive Skills Rating Form, (AS), (2) Student Success Behaviors Inventory (SBI), and (3) th e Behavior Problems Rating Form, (BP).
28 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This chapter is divided into three main sections. The first section contains the descriptive data for al l of the major variables in the present study. The second section provides descriptions of the statistical analyses conducted to test the investigated hypotheses and the results of these analyses. The final section provi des descriptions of the statistical analyses conducte d to address the res earch questions and the results of the analyses. Descriptive Data The mean scores, ranges, and standard de viations of the majo r variables in the present study for the entire sample of pa rticipants are indicated in Table 4.1. The normative mean for the Quick Discrimination In dex (QDI) is also pr ovided in Table 4.1. The normative mean score for the QDI, which is a measure of receptivity to cultural differences, was obtained from Ponter otto, J. et al., 1995. In their study, the QDI was administered to 284 participants (187 fema les and 97 males) ranging in age from 18 to 66 years. The normative mean score on the QDI was 86.0. The sample mean score on the QDI for the entire sample of pa rticipants in th e present study (M = 65.2) was lower than the normative mean. Thus , it appears that the participating teachers in the present study are less receptive to racial diversity/cultu ral differences than the participants in the original study.
29 Table 4.1. Means and Standard Deviations of Major Variables for All Participants Variables n M SD Normative M AS 73 33 9.5 SBI 73 8.5 3.07 BP 73 21.3 4.74 QDI 73 65.2 8.11 86.0* Note: *normative mean for the original scale; AS = Student Adaptive Skills Rating Form; SBI = Student Success Behaviors Inventory; BP = Behavior Problems Rating Form; QDI = Quick Discrimination Index Hypothesis 1 in this study was as follo ws: TeachersÂ’ self-ratings of cultural receptivity will have a significant positive association with their ratings of low performing African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills and success behaviors. Hypothesis 2 in the present study was as fo llows: TeachersÂ’ self-ratings of cultural receptivity will have a significant negative asso ciation with their ratings of their low performing African American st udentsÂ’ behavior problems. To test these two hypotheses, Pearson Co rrelation coefficients were computed on the following variables: teachersÂ’ ratings of their studentsÂ’ adaptive skills (AS ratings), teachersÂ’ ratings of their studentsÂ’ success be haviors (SBI ratings), teachersÂ’ ratings of their students behavior problems (BP ratings ), and teachersÂ’ self-ratings of their receptiveness to cultural differences (QDI ra tings). A p-value equal to or less than .05 was required for statistical significance. Table 4.2 reports a nonsignificant negative correlation between teachersÂ’ self -ratings of their cultural rece ptivity and their ratings of low performing African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, r=-.056, p = .365 and success behaviors, r= .098, p= .274. Results also rev ealed a non-significant positive correlation between teachersÂ’ self-ratings of their cultural receptivity and their ratings of their low
30 performing African American studentsÂ’ behavior problems, r= .13, p= .219. (See Table 4.2). Thus, hypotheses 1 and 2 were not supported. Table 4.2. Correlations Between Total Scores for Major Variables for All Participants AS SBI BP QDI AS 1.00 SBI .69** 1.00 BP .13 -.28** 1.00 QDI -.056 .098 .13 1.00 Note: ** indicates a signifi cant correlation at the 0.05 leve l (2-tailed); AS = Student Adaptive Skills Rating Form; SBI = Student Success Behaviors Inventory; BP = Behavior Problems Rating Form; QDI = Quick Discrimination Index The first of the two research questions in this study was as follows: Do any found associations between levels of teacherÂ’ self-ratin gs of their receptivity to cultural differences and their ratings of their low performing Africa n American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and behavior pr oblems differ in association with student gender? In order to address this research ques tion, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted with teacherÂ’s self-ra tings of level of cultural receptivity (as assessed by the SAS) as the dependent variable; adaptive sk ills, success behaviors, behavior problems, and student gender as the inde pendent variables; and adapti ve skills x student gender, success behavior x student gende r, and behavior problems x st udent gender as interaction terms. Results from this ANOVA revealed no significant interaction terms and no significant main effects. Thus, it appears th at any relationships be tween teachersÂ’ selfratings of their cultural recep tivity and their ratings of their low performing African
31 American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success be haviors, and behavior problems were not significantly influenced by student gender. Research Question 2 in this study was as follows: Do any found associations between levels of teachersÂ’ self-ratings of thei r receptivity to cultural differences and their ratings of their low pe rforming African American stude ntsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and behavior probl ems differ in association with teacher ethnicity? As with Research Question 1, an analysis of vari ance (ANOVA) was conducted with teacherÂ’s self-ratings of their cultural receptivity (as measured by the SAS) as the dependent variable; adaptive skills, success behaviors, be havior problems, teacher ethnicity as the independent variables; and ad aptive skills x teacher ethnicit y, success behaviors x teacher ethnicity, and behavior problems x teacher ethni city as interaction terms. Results from this ANOVA revealed no significant interacti on terms nor any significant main effects. Thus, any relationship between teacher self-ra tings of their cultural receptivity and their ratings of their low perfor ming African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and behavior probl ems were not significantly infl uenced by teacher ethnicity. An unexpected significant but weak positive correlation, r=.22; p = .047, was found between teachersÂ’ self-ra tings of their cultural receptivity and their low performing African American st udentsÂ’ behavior problems. This finding indicates that teachersÂ’ who rate themselves high on cultura l receptivity tended to rate their African American students as having high levels of engagement in behavior problems.
32 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The purpose of this chapter is to (1) summ arize and interpret the results of this study, (2) identify some of the limitations of the research de sign and offer directions for future research, and (3) discuss the impli cations of the present study for counseling psychologists. This study examined the relationship between teachersÂ’ self-ratings of their cultural receptivity and their ratings of their low performing African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and behavior problems. Summary of Results Hypothesis 1 stated that there would be a significant relationshi p between teachersÂ’ selfratings of their cultural receptivity and their ratings of their low performing African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills and su ccess behaviors. Results of a Pearson Correlation revealed no significant correlations between the teacher sÂ’ self-ratings and their ratings of their stud ents and thus Hypothesis 1 was not supported. This finding indicates that a teachersÂ’ perceived receptivity to cultural differences is not significantly associated with their ratings of their low performing students adaptive skills and success behaviors. This finding could be the result of teachers givi ng socially desirable rather than honest responses on the measure of cultural receptivity. Furthermore, it is inconsistent with the conclu sion of Mezzich et al., (1996) who reported that teachersÂ’ misconceptions of cultural differences among th eir African American students can lead
33 the teacher to misjudge culture-related va riations in normal behavior, beliefs, and experiences, and thus mislabel th ese variations as pathological , when such is not the case. It is also noteworthy that the finding from the test of hypothesis 1 is also inconsistent with the assertion of past, researchers that lack of cultural responsiveness can result in students experiencing psychological discomfort and low achievement (Hilliard, 1976; Obiakor, 1999) and in social and academic failure (Gay, 1994, 1997; Payne, 1995; Pollack, 1998). It is worth mentioning howev er that the finding from the test of hypothesis 1 is consistent with the findings of Biber and Lewis, (1997) who reported that African American students stat e that race of their teacher was not important as long as their teachers were caring, effective and fair. Hypothesis 2 stated that teach ersÂ’ self ratings of thei r cultural receptivity would have a negative association with their rati ngs of their low perfor ming African American studentsÂ’ behavior problems . No significant associati ons were found between these variables. These findings are inconsistent with the findings of Sonuga-Barke, Minocha, Taylor, and Sandberg (1993) that found teacher s do tend to apply different standards for interpreting behavior in racia lly diverse groups of children, and that teachers tend to (a) rate African American students less favorably than Caucasian students on such measures as personality and behavior, motivation to learn, and classroom performance. Although, these results are consistent with the findings of Chang and Sue (2003) who reported that teachersÂ’ evaluations of African American studentsÂ’ behavioral problems were not influenced by an interaction between the ra ce of the child and the type of presenting behavior.
34 Research Question 1 stated that the teach ersÂ’ self-ratings of their receptivity to cultural differences and their ratings of their low performi ng African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and beha vior problems would di ffer in association with student gender. Research Question 2 stat ed that the teachersÂ’ self-ratings of their receptivity to cultural differences and thei r ratings of their low performing African American studentsÂ’ adaptive skills, success behaviors, and behavior problems would differ in association with teacher ethnicit y. No significant interaction terms and nor significant main effects were found in the ANOVAs used to examine Research question 1 and 2. These findings are not surprising give n the earlier findings fr om the correlations to test hypotheses 1 and 2 showing no relati onships between the variables for which ethnicity and gender related relationships we re being investigated. Furthermore, with regard to Research Question 2, the examinati on of the question was not valid given that most of the participating teachers (68 females, 5 males) were females. An unexpected significant but weak positive correlation was found between teachersÂ’ level of cultural receptivity and behavi or problems. This finding indicates that teachersÂ’ who rate themselves high on cu ltural receptivity tend to rate their low performing African American st udents as having high levels of engagement in behavior problems. These results seem consistent w ith the findings of Zi mmerman et al. (1995), who reported finding that African Ameri can students rated by Hispanic and nonHispanic Caucasian teachers had significantl y higher mean total behavior problem scores than Hispanic or Caucasian students. Perh aps with cultural rece ptivity among Caucasian teachers comes greater attention given to Afri can American children which in turn results in greater awareness of and more opport unity to observe behavior problems.
35 Alternatively, perhaps the teachers gave soci ally acceptable rather than honest answers on the QDI. Thirdly, it could be that regardless of the level of teachers perceived receptivity to cultural differences, they will see and rate the high levels of behavior problems that tend to occur among low performing student s. The association between behavior problems and low academic performance am ong African American students has been documented (Hawkins, Farrington, & Cata lano, 1998; Maguin & Loeber, 1996). Limitations of the Present Study and Directions for Future Research One limitation of this study was that the num ber of African American teachers was low compared with the number of Caucas ian American teachers. Only 22 African American teachers agreed to participate versus 51 Caucasian teachers. However, these numbers by race are representative of the pr oportion of African Amer ican to Caucasian teachers in the participating schools. This low participation rate is likely reflective of the low number of African American teachers in general within the Alachua County public school system. Moreover, the sample size of this study was restricted to a particular geographical area (data from 40 participants were ultimately included in the statistical analyses and these participants were from schools in Gainesvill e-a city in Alachua County). Given these characte ristics of the sample, the present results have limited generalizability and should be viewed with caution. Another limitation of this study was that the number of male teachers was low compared with the number of female teachers. The sample of teachers in this study included 5 male teachers and 68 female teachers. Yet, these numbers by gender are representative of the proportion of male to fe male teachers in the participating schools. Another limitation of this study is related to the Social Attitude Survey (SAS) as a measure of receptivity to cultural difference s. Because the SAS was originally designed
36 to measure racist and sexist at titudes, items were chosen that seemed to be suitable for the primary study. Unfortunately, not all items chos en were applicable for some participants in this study. For example, one item on th e QDI was Â“I am against affirmative action programs in businessÂ”. Since the QDI is currently the only existing measure of receptivity to cultural differences or diversity future research can avoid th is limitation through the development of a measure of cultural receptiv ity using teachers as a normative sample. The fact that the Problem Behavior Invent ory (PB), created by the researchers for the primary study, did not have established re liability or validity represents a third limitation of the present study. The PB was developed by choosing items from a larger measure of behavior problems in children that was created by Sparrow et al., 1984, and therefore may not have been a reliable invent ory for teachers to use for the purpose of rating behavior problems among low perfor ming African American children in the present study. However, a test of internal reliability revealed a Cronbach alpha of .81. Another limitation of the present study is th at the participating teachers selected the students they evaluated, perhaps resulting in rating bias. There are numerous possible threats to the validity of th e self-reported ratings made by the teachers in this study. These threats include the following: (a) halo effect assessment of a student performance (e.g., behavior problems) is influenced by ot her aspects of the studentsÂ’ performance (e.g., number of days absent); (b) proximity erro r a tendency by teache rs to give similar assessments on outcomes or criteria that ar e considered close t ogether; (c) central tendency error a reluctance by teachersÂ’ to as sign very low or very high ratings; and (d) leniency error Â– a tendency to give all st udents higher assessments than other teachersÂ’
37 would give the rated students, while other teachersÂ’ tend to give all students lower assessments than other assessors would give the rated students. Yet another limitation in this study is that many teachers failed to provide required information (i.e., choosing only one student instead of the two required) and/or completed the self-report measures incorrec tly (i.e., did not answer all questions on a measure or gave two answers for one questi on). Only 48% of the returned assessments were completed correctly. One could make the argument that teachers who are noncompliant with completion of rating sc ales would produce di fferent ratings of children than compliant teachers. The use of self-report meas ures to assess the variable s of interest without the inclusion of a social desirability measure (e.g., the Marlow Crown Social Desirability Inventory) was also a limitati on of this study. Indeed, partic ipants may have been giving socially desirable rather than honest respons es on the selfreport measures. Without a measure of social desirability, any influence of this variable could not be controlled in the analyses performed. Implications for Future Research Findings from this study have a few implicat ions in terms of di rections for future research. First, the limitations of the present research need to be addressed in future investigations. Specifically, similar future rese arch studies with larger samples and with a more representative sample of African American and Caucasian male and female teachers are needed. Secondly, a social desirability measure (e.g., the Marlow Crown Social Desirability Inventory) should be included in the rese arch to test hypotheses and/or research questions similar to those in th e present study. Lastly, implementing a small group administration of the AB with research ers present to explai n instructions for
38 completing the questionnaires in the AB and to answer questions from teachers regarding the completion of these questionnaires is necessary. Implication of the Current Findings for Counseling Psychologists The results of the present study have an implication for counseling psychologists. The implication of the present study for counsel ing psychologists is re lated to the finding that teachersÂ’ who rate themselves high in cu ltural receptivity tend to rate their African American students as having high levels of engagement in behavior problems. This finding suggests that greater cultural recep tivity to diversity may help teachersÂ’ confidently give higher negative evaluations of African American students. If this is the case counseling psychologists are well trained to provide training to promote cultural receptivity among teachers. Conclusion While the presence of ethnic minority st udents in our NationÂ’s public schools increases, our NationÂ’s teaching force grow s increasingly Caucasian. This group of mostly Caucasian teachers are faced with the challenge of teaching, motivating, understanding, and encouraging many students who are different from themselves and who may need types and/or levels of motivat ors, encouragement, and understanding that are unfamiliar to these teachers. The current study examined the associations between teachersÂ’ se lf-ratings of their cultural receptivity and their ra tings of their studentsÂ’ adap tive skills, success behaviors, and behavior problems. The results from this study suggests that more research is needed to examine the role of teachersÂ’ receptivity to cultural differe nces and their evaluation of the school performance and behavior of their low performing African American students. Counseling psychologists have c onsiderable research, educati onal, and clinical expertise
39 in the area of cultural sensitivity and are therefore qualified to provide training to promote and enhance cultural receptivity among teachers.
40 APPENDIX: ASSESSMENTS Adaptive Skills Rating Form CHILDÂ’S CODE NUMBER: _________ Please rate your student on the following items. For each item, circle the number that best describes how much you disagree or agree with the statement for this particular student. 1=Strongly Disagree to 5= Strongly Agree Communication Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1. Relates experiences in detail when asked. 1 2 3 4 5 2. Listens attentively to instructions. 1 2 3 4 5 3. Has realistic long-range goals and describes 1 2 3 4 5 in detail plans to achieve them. Daily Living Skills 4. Demonstrates adequate understanding of 1 2 3 4 5 safety skills. 5. Knows how and in what situations to call 1 2 3 4 5 911. 6. Demonstrates an understanding of the 1 2 3 4 5
41 function of money. Socialization 7. Is able to establish friendships. 1 2 3 4 5 8. Follows school and community rules. 1 2 3 4 5 9. Controls anger or hurt fee lings when denies 1 2 3 4 5 own way. 10. Independently weighs consequences of 1 2 3 4 5 actions before making decisions. 11. Responds verbally and positively to the 1 2 3 4 5 good fortune of others.
42 Success Behaviors Inventory CHILDÂ’S CODE NUMBER: _________ Please rate your student on the following items. For each item, circle the number that best describes how much you disagree or agree with the statement for this particular student. 1=Strongly Disagree to 5= Strongly Agree 1. Arrives on time. 1 2 3 4 5 2. Completes classroom assignments and homework. 1 2 3 4 5 3. Comes to class prepared. 1 2 3 4 5
43 Problem Behaviors CHILD=S CODE NUMBER: _________ The following items are designed to measure how often a student exhibits certain problem behaviors. Read each item and think about this studentÂ’s beha vior during the past month or two. Decide how often the student does the behavior described. Fill in the circle unde r the appropriate rating: never, sometimes or very often. Please do not skip any items. In some cases you may not have observed the student perform a particular behavior. Make an estimate of the degree to which you think th e student would probably perform that behavior. Never Sometimes Very Often 1. Likes to be alone O O O 2. Fights with others O O O 3. Is easily embarrassed O O O 4. Argues with others O O O 5. Threatens or bullies others O O O 6. Talks back to adults when corrected O O O 7. Has temper tantrums O O O 8. Appears lonely O O O 9. Gets angry easily O O O 10. Shows anxiety about being with a O O O group of children 11. Acts sad or depressed O O O 12. Has low self-esteem O O O
44 Social Attitude Survey Please respond to all items in this survey. Re member there are no right or wrong answers. The survey is completely anonymous, do not put your name on the surve y. Please fill in the bubble that corresponds to your level of agr eement with each statement. Strongly Disagree Disagree Not Sure Agree Strongly Agree 1. I really think affirmative action programs on college O O O O O campuses constitute reverse discrimination. 2. I feel I could develop an intimate relationship with O O O O O someone from a different race. 3. My friendship network is very racially mixed. O O O O O 4. I am against affirmative action programs in business. O O O O O 5. I would feel O.K. about my son or daughter dating O O O O O someone from a different race. 6. I look forward to the day when a racial minority person O O O O O is President of the United States. 7. In the past few years, there has been too much O O O O O attention directed toward multic ultural issues in education. 8. Most of my close friends ar e from my own racial group. O O O O O 9. I think that it is (or woul d be) important for my O O O O O children to attend schools that are racially mixed. 10. In the past few years there has been too much O O O O O attention directed towards multicultural issues in business. 11. Overall, I think racial minorities in America O O O O O complain too much about racial discrimination. 12. I think white peopleÂ’s racism toward racial minority O O O O O groups still constitutes a ma jor problem in America. 13. I think the school system, from elementary school O O O O O
45 through collage, should encourage minority and immigrant children to learn and fully adopt traditional American values. 14. If I were to adopt a child, I would be happy to adopt O O O O O a child of any race. 15. I think the school system, from elementary school O O O O O through college, should promot e values representative of diverse cultures. 16. I believe that reading the au tobiography of Malcolm X O O O O O would be of value. 17. I would enjoy living in a neighborhood consisting of O O O O O a racially diverse population (e.g., Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites). 18. I think it is better if peopl e marry within their own O O O O O race.
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55 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Christopher Mack received his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in psychology and Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) from the Univers ity of Michigan and began to work with abused and abandoned children in Southeaster n, Michigan. Currentl y, Christopher Mack is attending the University of Florida pur suing his PhD in counseling psychology. His research interests include investigating the he alth risk and violent behaviors as well as academic achievement amongst low-income at-risk minority youth and their families.