1 EXPLORING HOW CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE MASTER TEACHERS DEVELOP AND USE THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR LOW INCOME AFRICAN AMERICAN ELEMENTARY STUDENTS By BLAIRE CHOLEWA A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE U NIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Blaire Cholewa
3 To my amazing family
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This disser tation is the product of a lot of lo ve, support and encouragement from my doctoral committee members, my family, and my friends. The job of an educator is to teach students to see the vitality in themselves Joseph Campbell I have had the privilege to w ork alongside an incredible doctoral committee who has helped me to develop and believe in myself as a practitioner, a researcher and a counselor educator. I am truly grateful for Dr. Ellen Amatea, my co -chair and advi sor, for her patience, guidance, exper tise, and scholarship. I cannot thank her enough for her dedication and willingness for sharing her wisdom. I also wish to thank my co -chair, Dr. Cirecie West Olatunji for showing me the joy of research opening my eyes to multiculturalism, and for introdu cing me to this inspiring line of inquiry; Dr. Mary Ann Clark for her faith in me and her knowledge of and dedication to school counselor preparation and practice; and Dr. Maria Coady for revealing to me the inequities in education and for her insight rega rding multicultural education and teaching. I also need to thank Michele Foster and the Lastinger Center for their dedication to improving the school experiences of low -income, culturally diverse students and their willingness to share their videotape dat a of two inspirational teachers for this research study. Familya group experience of love and support Marianne Williamson I am so blessed to have such an amazing family who has graciously loved me and supported me throughout this entire process. They h ave provided me the unconditional love which allowed me to confidently embark on this journey. Specifically, I thank my parents for their limitless encouragement and belief in me my sister for her friendship and listening ear, and my brother in -law for hi s computer expertise.
5 A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are Unknown I am so t hankful for my friends for their unfaltering support and understanding. Specifically, I want to thank Erin O. Knape my doctoral student contingent my Bonneycastle and 318 girls and my good friends from Fairfield. I am so appreciative of their love laug hter, and encouragement Last but not least I want to thank my wonderful research assistant, Ashley for her hard work and fresh perspective.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................................................ 9 LIST OF FIGURES ............................................................................................................................ 10 ABSTRACT ........................................................................................................................................ 11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................... 13 Scope of the Problem .................................................................................................................. 15 Deficit Theory ...................................................................................................................... 16 Ecological Theory ................................................................................................................ 18 Culturally Responsive Education ............................................................................................... 20 Features of Culturally Responsive Education .................................................................... 20 Benefits of Culturally Responsive Education .................................................................... 23 Role of the School Counselor in Culturally Responsive Education ........................................ 24 Need for the Study ...................................................................................................................... 27 Theoretical Perspective ............................................................................................................... 29 Purpose of the Study ................................................................................................................... 44 Research Questions ..................................................................................................................... 45 Definition of Terms ..................................................................................................................... 45 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ..................................................................................................... 47 Deficit Theory ............................................................................................................................. 47 DeficitBased Educational Interventions ........................................................................... 49 DeficitBas ed Counseling Interventions ............................................................................ 50 Consequences of Deficit Thinking ..................................................................................... 52 Deconstructing Deficit Theory ........................................................................................... 55 Ecological Theory ....................................................................................................................... 56 Cultural Discontinuity Theory ............................................................................................ 58 Relational Cultural Theory .................................................................................................. 65 Culturally Responsive Educational Practices ............................................................................ 67 Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Instructional Methods ........................................... 70 Culturally Responsive Classroom Management and Teacher -Student Relations ........... 71 Culturally Responsive Education Practices for African American Students ................... 73 Outcomes of Culturally Responsive Education ................................................................. 76 Five Standards of Effective Pedagogy ............................................................................... 80 Teacher Evaluation Research ..................................................................................................... 82 School Counselors Role in Culturally Responsive Education ................................................ 87 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................. 93
7 3 METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................................................... 95 Statement of Purpose .................................................................................................................. 95 Methodological Framework ....................................................................................................... 95 Subjectivity Statement ................................................................................................................ 98 Data Collection ............................................................................................................................ 99 Participants ................................................................................................................................ 102 Data Analysis ............................................................................................................................. 104 Theoretical Memos and Theoretical Saturation ............................................................... 105 Open Coding ...................................................................................................................... 105 Axial Coding ...................................................................................................................... 106 Selective Coding ................................................................................................................ 106 Trustwo rthiness and Credibility ........................................................................................ 107 4 FINDINGS ................................................................................................................................. 109 Describing the Master Teachers ............................................................................................... 111 Creating Emotional Connectedness ......................................................................................... 116 Creating Teacher -Student Connections ............................................................................ 116 Creating Teacher Class Connection ................................................................................. 143 Being Transparent and Joining ......................................................................................... 166 Facilitating Conditions for Relationship Building .................................................................. 175 Expressing Clear Procedures and Expe ............................................................................ 175 Requiring Respect and Order ............................................................................................ 177 Using Non -shaming Consequenc es .................................................................................. 178 Students Affective Responses ................................................................................................. 180 Demonstrating Joy ............................................................................................................. 181 D emonstrating Interest ...................................................................................................... 182 Demonstrating Contentment and Self -Love .................................................................... 186 Seeking Connection ........................................................................................................... 189 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................. 190 5 DISCUSSION ............................................................................................................................ 195 Teacher -Student and Teacher -Class Connections ........................................................... 196 Being Transparent and Joining ......................................................................................... 202 Facilitating Conditions for Relationship Building ........................................................... 203 Students Affective Responses ......................................................................................... 204 Limitations ................................................................................................................................. 205 Implications ............................................................................................................................... 208 Implications for Theory ..................................................................................................... 208 Implications for Practice ................................................................................................... 212 Recommendations for Future Research ................................................................................... 222 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................. 226 APPENDIX: VIDEO RATING SHEET ......................................................................................... 227
8 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................................................................................................. 229 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................................................................................... 252
9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 1 Flanders Interaction Analysis Categories: T eacher talk ...................................................... 38 1 2 Flanders Interaction Analysis Categories: Student talk and silence ................................... 38 4 1 Major dimensions of teacher -student relationship development ....................................... 109 4 2 Themes of the dimension emotional connectedness .......................................................... 110
10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4 1 Diagram of Ms. Bs classroom ............................................................................................ 113 4 2 Diagram of Ms. Ms classroom ........................................................................................... 115 4 3 Ms. Bs non -verbals for engaged listening ......................................................................... 117 4 4 Ms. Bs look for re -directing student behavior ............................................................... 134 4 5 Ms. Ms students depicting parallel line s in dancing with math ....................................... 162 4 6 Ms. Bs students raising their hands demonstrating interest ............................................. 184 4 7 Ms. Ms students raising thei r hands demonstrating interest ............................................ 184 4 8 Model of relationship development and relationship use to facilitate learning ............... 193 5 1 Var iability among the themes of emotional connectedness. ............................................. 214
11 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy EXPLORING HOW CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE MASTER TEACHERS DEVELOP AND USE THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR LOW INCOME AFRICAN AMERICAN ELEMENTARY STUDENTS By Blaire Cholewa August 2009 Chair: Ellen Amatea Co -chair: Cirecie West Olatunji Major: Mental Health Counseling To reduce the underachievement and psychological distress of low -income, African American students teachers have implement ed culturally responsive educational practices Although researchers have reported positive outcomes resulting from thes e practices the methods by which these teachers develop and use their relationships to facilitate students learning has not been studied. The purpose of this study was to develop a theory describing the relational processes that characterize how master teachers develop and use their relationships with their low income, African American students By gaining a greater understanding of these relational processes, school counselors can more effectively consult with teachers about implementi ng such practices in their classroom s. To address this need the interactions of two master teachers with their low -income, African American students were examined in this study. Using grounded theory methodology, seven videotapes ranging in length from 4 0 to 60 minute s were analyzed From this analysis a theory emerged describing three dimensions of teacher -student : emotional connectedness, facilitation of conditions for relationship developme nt, and student s affective responses Emotional connectedness included teacher -student connections, teacher -whole class connections and
12 teacher transparency Facilitative conditions reflected the teachers efforts to create a sense of safety that was conducive to relationship development. Emotional c onnectedness an d the facilitative conditions appeared to be related to students positive affective responses of joy, interest, contentment, self -love, and seeking teacher connection The theory that emerged from this study provides a more comprehensive model of relatio nship development between culturally responsive teachers and their students. Specifically, it emphasi zes the significance of teacher interactions with their class as a whole and teacher transparency in relationship development. Additionally, t he findings s uggest implication s for school counselor and teacher practice and preparation and future research First, there is a need for stronger partnerships between counselor preparation and teacher preparation programs. Second school counselors need to create pro fessional development initiatives that facilitate teachers implementation of culturally responsive practices Third there is a need for continued research exploring how other culturally responsive teachers develop and use their relationships with student s and the psychological outcomes of such culturally responsive practices .
13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION All good teachers want their students to feel that school is a place where they feel safe, valued, and successful as learners Unfortunately, far too many low income students from culturally diverse backgrounds experience neither academic success nor psychological safety in school (Diaz -Greenberg, 2000; LadsonBillings, 1994; Planty et al., 2008 ). In fact, the findings of several research studies reveal that not only do these students underperform compared to their more privileged White peers, but appear to be negatively impacted by the very experience of schooling (Choi Meininger & Roberts, 2006; Romero, Carvajal, Valle, & Orduna, 2007; Wong, Eccles & Samerof f, 2003) For example researchers report that culturally diverse students often experience more psychological distress in school than their White peers (Fisher, Wallace, & Fenton, 2000), report more depressi ve symptoms (Brody et al., 2006; Romero et al. 2007; Wong et al., 2003), and lower levels of self -esteem (Choi et al 2006). Literature on the disparities in achievement has frequently focused either on culturally diverse students or on low income students. Native American, Asian American, Latino Amer ican and African American students as well as some students who ascribe to more than one culture or ethnic group are often classified as culturally diverse ( Paniagua, 2005). The K 12 students most affected by the discrepancies in achievement are Native Ame ricans, some Asian American subgroups (specifically, Vietnames e and Pacific Islanders), Latinos and African Americans Most of the research emphasizes African Americans and Latino Americans as both groups are strongly represented in the United States whi le research on Native American V ietnamese, and Pacific Islander students is not as extensive (Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008) Students are classified as low -income according to their familys ability to qualify for the free or reduced meals through the na tional school lunch program and the school breakfast program (Planty et al.,
14 2008) Yet, a ccording to Frankenberg, Lee and Orfield, (2003), nearly half of the students in schools attended by the average African American or Latino American student are impov erished Thus, for the majority of culturally diverse students, the intersection of poverty and racial/cultural dynamics can influence the quality of their schooling experiences. More recently a growing number of educators have begun to modify their educa tional practices by implementing culturally responsive instructional methods and developing student teacher relationships that recognize and affirm the cultural identities of their low income, culturally diverse students. Undergirding these more culturally responsive educational practices is a dramatic change in thinking about low -income, culturally diverse students Rather than viewing these students and their families as deficient, educators are viewing these students socio -cultural backgrounds as import ant resources to be utilized in the teaching and learning process (Cummins, 1996; LadsonBillings, 1994; Nieto, 2004a, 2004b). Regrettably, many teachers are resistant either to using these practices and/or are unsure how to implement them (Bergeron, 2008; Bondy, Ross, Gallingane, & Hambacher 2007; Jenks Lee & Kanpol, 2001; King, 2004; Ladson Billings, 1994; Marbley, Bonner, McKisick, Henf ield & Watts, 2007; Nieto, 2004a ). Many school counselors, who are often called upon to consult with teachers when t hey experience difficulty in managing low -income, culturally diverse students, may also be unaware of these new educational practices (Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008) T o address this lack of awareness teachers and counselors need to understand how cultura lly responsive teaching practices are enacted in the classroom and how they impact low income, culturally diverse students Th e methods by which two culturally responsive teachers developed and used their relationships with their low income, African Ameri can students to facilitate learning were
15 examined This analysis was used to develop a theory describing how teachers might interact with their culturally diverse students Scope of the Problem Approximately 43% of the students enrolled in U.S. public schools are racially and culturally diverse In comparison with their White peers, some of these students underachieve in mathematics, reading, and writing (Planty et al., 2008). Specifically, in 2007 disparities in 4th grade reading scores between African American students and their White peers averaged 27 points, while disparities in mathematics scores between 4th grade White students and African American students averaged 26 points (Planty et al. 2008). On the 8th grade writing test, White students average d 23 points higher than African American students (Planty et al. 2008). Alarmingly, in 2006, one in ten African American students dropped out of school, while the drop out rate for White students was approximately one in twenty ( U.S. Department of Educati on, 2007). African American students are also more likely than White students to be e nrolled in high poverty schools as one third of African American students attend high poverty schools, whereas o nly 4% of White students attend such schools (Planty et al. 2008). High poverty schools typically have fewer resources than low poverty schools and are more likely to employ teachers with less experience and less preparation (Peske & Haycock, 2006). In addition to the differences in achievement, low income, Afric an American students are disproportionately referred for special education programs ( Blair & Scott, 2002 ; Skiba et al., 2008). Once identified, African American students are at higher risk for being segregated from their non -disabled peers in the classroom often receiving substandard instruction in separate settings (The Civil Rights Project, 2002; U.S. Department of Education, 2002). Moreover, inequities exist regarding the overrepresentation of low income, African American students in disciplinary referr al rates, suspensions, and instances of corporal punishment (Cartledge,
16 Tillman, & Johnson, 2001; Skiba, Michael, Nardo, & Peterson, 2002; Townsend, 2000). African American students are also expelled from school more frequently than their White peers and a re often referred to the office for less serious issues and for more subjectively interpreted behaviors (Gordon, Piana & Keleher, 2000; Skiba et al. 2002). Deficit Theory The persistence of the discrepancies in achievement has long concerned educators, s chool counselors, and policy makers. However, many have viewed the problem through the lens of deficit theory and thus most of the previous attempts to address these differences in achievement level have been deficit focused (Garcia & Guerra, 2004; Valenci a, 1997a) Deficit theory conceptualizes the achievement discrepancies between low -income, culturally diverse students and their more privileged White peers as a result of genetic deficiencies, the influence of the culture of poverty, and/or cultural defic its (Garcia & Guerra, 2004; Perry, 2003; Valencia & Solorazano, 1997) Deficits are viewed as intrinsic to low -income, culturally diverse students and their families and thus interventions are aimed toward remediating these students or their families (Skrla & Scheurich, 2001; Pransky & Bailey, 2002; Valencia, 1997a) Compensatory education programs, such as Head Start, Title I, and summer school programs, are the typical educational approaches based on this perspective Unfortunately, these approaches have met with limited success (Cooper, Charlton, Valentine & Muhlenbruck, 2000; Currie & Thomas, 1995; Vinovskis, 1999) For example, Bor man and DAgostino (1996) conducted a meta analysis of the Title 1 program and found considerable variation in effect size s of studies evaluating Title 1 programs Although low -income students participating in Title I programs in early elementary grades were found to outperform their low -income peers who did not participate in a Title I program in middle and high school, thei r academic gains did not allow them to achieve at the level of their more advantaged peers Research examining the efficacy of
17 summer school programs found that these programs more positively benefitted White, middle class students than low -income, cultura lly diverse students (Cooper et al. 2000). Traditionally, school counselors have also unknowingly conceptualized the academic and behavioral struggles of low income, culturally diverse students from a deficit orientation. Consequently, many school counse lors often take these students out of their classes and work with them on an individual basis in an effort to fix or remediate the difficult students. Most of the research assessing the impact of school counselors provision of ancillary services with low income, culturally diverse students has not resulted in consistent academic improvements among its participants ( Bemak, Chi Ying, & Siroskey-Sabado, 2005; Cook & Kaffenberger, 2003; Legum & Hoare, 2004). For example, Bemak and colleagues (2005) implemented an empowerment small group aimed at improving the academic achievement of 10th grade African American girls While the participants reported attending more closely to schoolwork, increased attendance, and improved attitudes as a result of the group experience, the authors did not report that results were substantiated with data from student records Legum and Hoares (2004) conducted a study evaluating a career based intervention for underachieving, culturally diverse students and found that the grades of students participating in the intervention did not improve significantly as compared to those students in a control group. In addition to the inability to significantly impact student achievement levels, educators deficit thinking practices may negat ively impact the psychological well -being of low income, culturally diverse students. Smokowski and Bacallao (2007) for example, found that Latino American adolescents perceptions of discrimination were positively related to their internalization of probl ems and lower self -esteem. In a study conducted with African American, Latino American, Asian American and Euro pean American students, Fisher and colleagues
18 (2000) found that racial discrimination was a pervasive stressor in the lives of minority students in the U.S Furthermore, these students reported significantly more discriminatory stress in institutional and educational contexts than did White adolescents Additionally, lower levels of self -esteem were associated with higher levels of discriminatory d istress in educational contexts by culturally diverse students who reported feeling discouraged from joining advanced level classes and/or being wrongly disciplined (Fisher et al. 2000). With regard to African American students in particular, Wong and his colleag u es (2003) found that African American adolescents perceived discrimination was negatively related to their self -competency beliefs, psychological resiliency and self esteem and positively associated with depressive symptoms and problem behaviors Ecological Theory Such deficit -based conceptualizations give little credence to the sociocultural and sociopolitical factors that may impact the problem of low -income, culturally diverse students under achievement. Therefore, in viewing the problem thr ough the lens of ecological theory one looks beyond the individual student and family and describes how other aspects of a students life, including the school and the community and other institutional fo r ces, may play a part in the problem of underachieve ment ( Amatea & West Olatunji, 2007a; Bronfrenbrenner, 1979; Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008) More specifically, ecological theory takes into account the school, classroom, teacher, and pedagogical related contexts as well as the students home context that may be contributing to the academic under -performance of low -income culturally diverse students (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Garcia & Guerra, 2004; Johnson,1994) Some educators have asserted that there is a Eurocentric bias in traditional education practices and, as a result, low -income, culturally diverse students experience cultural discontinuity because the cultures of their home and school do not align (Boykin, 2001; Gay,
19 2001; Lad son -Billings, 1994; Nieto, 2004a ; Tharp, Estrada, Dalton & Yamauchi, 2000) Research ers have documented that the stress resulting from students navigation of the two cultures of home and school is associated with increased depression and decreased self -esteem (Brody et al., 2006; Choi et al. 2006; Romero et al. 2007; Wong et a l., 2003). Choi and his colleagues (2006) found that African American, Latino American, and Asian American middle school students reported experiencing more social stress and having lower self esteem than the European American students Furthermore, Latino American and African American students reported significantly elevated levels of social stress, depression, somatic symptoms, and suicidal ideation than their European American peers. Both Romero and Roberts (2003) and Romero and colleagues (2007) found t hat culturally diverse adolescents experiences of bicultural stress were associated with more depressive symptoms These symptoms of psychological distress resulting from bicultural stress or perceived discrimination (Brody et al., 2006; Fisher et al., 2000; Wong et al., 2003) have the potential to impact students academic outcomes Suldo and Shaffers (2008) found that youth suffering from depression, anxiety and/or conduct disorders have significantly lower mean achievement scores than their peers with out such symptoms and are at risk for inferior academic functioning in terms of state testing and grade point averages In particular, several researchers have reported that depressed adolescents and adolescents struggling with conduct problems are at a si gnificantly increased risk for educational underachievement (Fergusson & Woodward, 2002; Hinshaw, 1992) Social withdrawal, which is often a symptom of depression in students, has also been associated with lower graduation rates (Risi, Gerhardstein & Kist ner, 2003). In a study of African American students, Saunders, Davis, Williams and Williams (2002) found that self
20 esteem, academic-self efficacy and the personal importance of school completion were significantly correlated with and predictive of students intentions to complete the school year Culturally Responsive Education Features of Culturally Responsive Education As knowledge about the relationship between cultural discontinuity and psychological distress increased, some educators attempted to develop more culturally re sponsive educational practices These practice s were designed to bridge the existing cultural disconnection between the education system and the home culture of different groups of low income, culturally diverse students. Culturally r esponsive education practices combine culturally based pedagogical and instructional methods (Gay, 2000; L adsonBillings, 1994; King, 2005; Nieto, 2004a ) with culturally responsive classroom management and teacher -student interactions (Brown, 2003, 2004; B ondy, et al. 2007; Weinstein, Curran, & TomlinsonClarke, 2003; Weinstein, Tomlinson -Clarke, & Curran, 2004). Bergeron (2008) eloquently describes culturally responsive educational practices: A culturally responsive classroom is one in which all individua ls are valued for who they are and for the unique experiences that each brings to the learning community. Cultural responsiveness is a celebration of possibilities and of individual potential. This potential includes the significance of language, and the v alue of multi -literacies. Cultural responsiveness is not averted by differences, but instead uses diversity as a way to foster childrens vision of their world and, more important, of themselves. p. 25 Culturally -based pedagogical and instructional methods take into account the cultural identity and background of students More specifically, these methods acknowledge the influence of culture in students ways of knowing, speaking, and interacting and thus culturally responsive teachers incorporate this know ledge into their teaching methods, curriculum and content (LadsonBillings, 1994; Moll & Gonzalez, 2004; Nieto, 2004a ). In essence, the teacher tries to construct the class in such a way that he/she does not dismiss the students cultural
21 background, but i nstead values and builds upon the students homes and community learning (Howard, 2001; Moll & Gonzalez 2004).F or example, if a students family cul ture is more communal, the student may approach learning in a cooperative manner that centers on the group and thus the teacher may need to design lesson plans that incorporate more communal activities (Espinosa, 2005) Another example of culturally responsive teaching is that of a lesson created and implemented by Sharon Maher who worked on a Zuni reservation (Maher, Epaloose & Tharp, 2001) Sharon was conducting a writing unit focusing on the writing strategy of compare and contrast She wanted to do so by tapping into the knowledge and experience of her Zuni students To do this, she asked her students to compare and contrast their culture with what they saw of the Jewish culture depicted in the film Fiddler on the Roof (Jewison, 1971) While her inst ructional goals might have been similar to that of other teachers, her methods of infusing her Zuni student s culture into the instructional process made her instruction more culturally responsive While the culturally responsive instructional methods are necessary, they are not sufficient Researchers have also highlight ed the importance of the teacher -student relationship in improving students academic achievement, pro-social behavior, and positive experience of school for decades (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Hamre & Pianta, 2001 ; Noddings, 1992; Wubbels, Brekelmans, & Hooymayers, 1991 ). The relationship can be part icularly important between the teacher s and the ir culturally diverse student s because the relationship can help facilitate the connection between culturally diverse students home culture and the schools culture ( Nieto, 2004a ; Wang, Haertel & Walberg, 19 94) According to Brown (2003, 2004) culturally responsive classroom management and teacher -student interactions focus on creating a caring
22 relationship with students, holding high expectations, asserting authority, and recognizing and adapting to the comm unicational norms of low income, culturally diverse students For example, culturally congruent communication may involve the recognition that certain cultural and income groups respond better to direct communication strategies versus the indirect strategi es used by many White middle class teachers (Delpit, 1995; Heath, 1983) Therefore, in recognition of this discrepancy, a culturally responsive teacher would adapt his or her communication style to better meet the needs of his/her students It is importan t to note that culturally responsive educational practices will differ depending on students cultural affiliations Additionally, one must also recognize the differences within a culturally diverse group (Sue & Sue, 2003) Consequently, it is suggested th at teachers educate themselves about their students cultures and spend time getting to know the families and communities of their students in order to gain cultural knowledge and understanding about the student population with which they are working ( King 2005; Mol l & Gonzalez, 2004 ; Nieto, 2004a ). For example, within the current study the student population is African American an d thus the teachers used African -centered educational practices T hese practices are characterized by three significant themes within African American cultural heritage: communalism, the epistemological belief that learning is socially construc ted, and the high stimulation and energetic action of the culture, also called verve (Boykin, 1986, 2001; Foster, 1995; Hale, 2001; King, 2 005; Murrell, 2002) Specific methods that may incorporate these major themes may include oral performance, call and response, use of movement and kinesthetic learning, and cooperative learning opportunities (B oykin, 1986, 2001; Hale, 2001; King, 2005; Mur rell, 2002).
23 Benefits of Culturally Responsive Education Research ers have reported significant academic gains by teachers who implemented effective, culturally responsive practices with low -income, culturally diverse students (Foster, Lewis & Onafow o ra, 2 003, 2005; Foster, 1997; Gay, 2000; Ladson -Billings 1994; Pransky & Bailey, 2002; Vogt, Jordan & Tharp, 1993). For example, Pransky and Bailey (2002) reported that English as Second Language (ESL) students in a culturally responsive teacher s classroom p assed their states comprehensive assessment test at a 30% higher rate than the states average ESL student passing rate Similarly, Foster and her colleagues (2003, 2005) reported that African American students under the instruction of a culturally responsive teacher in an afterschool program improved their standardized test scores in mathematics and showed increased positive behaviors in the classroom In addition to cognitive and academic improvements, sever al researchers have noted that the culturally responsive practices of teachers positively impact ed the psychological well -being of their low -income, culturally diverse students (Cummins, 1996; Diaz Greenberg, 2001; LadsonBillings, 1994) Cummins (1996) for example, reported that when students cultu ral identities were affirmed by their teachers they became more academically motivated and more engaged in the classroom In her qualitative study of Latino/a high school students, Diaz Greenberg (2001) reported that when students felt their voices were r espected and their culture validated they felt more positive about themselves, more connected to their learning experiences, and safer in the academic environment. Similarly, Ladson Billings (1994) qualitative study revealed that the culturally responsive teachers she studied increased African American students feelings of self -worth and self concept, and affirmed students sense of humanity and dignity. Howard (2001) interviewed African American elementary school students
24 of culturally responsive teache rs, and reported that the students felt m ore motivated, engaged, cared for, and held to high expectations Role of the School Counselor in Culturally Responsive Education The American Scho ol Counselor Associations (ASCA) National Model ( ASCA, 2003) has s tated that it is the responsibility of the school counselor to be involved in the academic mission of the school. School counselors are being encouraged by ASCA to serve as leaders, advocates and consultants within their schools to promote students academi c achievement and social development (ASCA, 2003) Bemak (2000) defines a school counselor as a leader who promotes educational reform and helps to create a healthy and safe school environment Other researchers have echoed Bemaks call, emphasizing that t hese school counselor roles are particularly important in schools with large populations of low income culturally diverse students (Amatea & West -Olatunji, 2007b; Brown & Trusty 2005; Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008; Lee, 2005) Specifically, Amatea and We st Olatunji (2007b) stress the school counselors role as a consultant in high poverty schools with the school counselor (a) acting as cultural broker for students, families, and school personnel; (b) consulting with teachers to develop culturally respon sive educational practices; and (c) creating a more family focused school environment Much of the school counselor training and research literature emphasizes the powerful role of psychological well -being and positive mental health in learning (Edwards & Mullis, 2003; Sciarra & Seirup, 2008). Cons equently, school counselors need to take the lead in helping teachers to create school and classroom climates that enhance student academic performance and facilitate psychological well being (ASCA, 2003; Hernandez & Seem, 2004; Wittmer & Clark, 2002) Welsh (2000) defined school climate as the unwritten beliefs, values, and attitudes that become the style of interaction between students, teachers, and administrators. School climate
25 sets the parameters of accepta ble behavior among all school actors, and it assigns individual and institutional responsibility for school safety" (p. 89) The climate of a school and even a classroom can influence students feelings of school satisfaction and feelings of belonging, whi ch have been associated with school engagement, school completion, academic motivation and achievement (Goodenow & Grady, 1992; Ryan & Patrick, 2001; Sanchez, Colon & Esperanza, 2005) School counselors have acknowledged the relationship between students self beliefs and their academic choices and have designed interventions to enhance students feelings of confidence, value and motivation (Falco, Crethar & Bauman, 2008; Scheel & Gonzalez, 2007). The main component s of school and classroom climate are th e relationships between teachers and students (Ryan & Patrick, 2001) Positive teacher student relationships have been shown to positively impact students academic achievement as well as students behavior (Baker, 1999; Birch & Ladd, 1997, 1998; Hamre & P ianta, 2001, 2005) For example in their study of five and six year olds Hamre and Pianta (2005) found that among students who displayed behavioral, attentional social a nd/or academic problems early in school academic success was greatest for those stu dents in classrooms with teachers who provided high emotional support. Moreover, Burchinal, Peisner -Feinberg, Pianta, and Howes (2002) found that the closeness between teacher and student was positively associated with increases in childrens vocabulary an d reading skills from preschool to second grade. Positive teacher student relationships, as rated by the teacher, have also been linked to decreases in students a ggressive behaviors (Meehan, Hu ghes, & Cavell, 2003) Furthermore in a study of eighth grade students conducted by Ryan and Patrick (2001), students perceptions of their teachers as supportive were predictive of decreased disruptive behavior.
26 School counselors are aware of the association between teacher -student relationships and positive outcom es because relationships are often seen as the foundation of the counseling profession (Miller, 1986b; Miller & Stiver, 1997; Saggese, 2005; Sexton & Whiston, 1994; Wampold, 2001). Therefore the basis of school counselor training rests in the acquisition of knowledge and skills related to relationship development (CACREP, 2001). Specifically, school counselors gain training in interpersonal communication and relationship building. Additionally, school counselors receive extensive multicultural training as well as training regarding human development, group facilitation, and working with children and adolescents ( CACREP 2001). Consequently, school counselors are uniquely trained in the intricacies of the development and maintenance of interpersonal relation ships at both an individual and group level (ASCA, 2003; Helker, Schottelkorb, & Ray, 2007) School counselors have utilized these skills in order to enhance the school and classroom climate by working directly with students through small group and large group counseling, as well as consulting with teachers regarding their classroom management and teaching practices (Cleme ns, 2007; Martin & Baldwin, 1996; Rice & Smith, 1993; Stewart & McKay, 1995) As indicated previously, l ow -income, culturally diverse stud ents experiences of cultural discontinuity have been associated with psychological distress and have the potential to negatively impact these students views of school (Choi et al., 2006; Diaz Greenberg, 2001; Fisher et al., 2001; Romero et al., 2007) Re cent school counseling literature has emphasized the significance of examining low -income, culturally diverse students psychological orientation to education and to the school setting particularly in terms of their sense of school belonging, academic self efficacy, and educational aspirations (Chinwe, McMahon & Furlow, 2008) Consequently, the research indicating the potential of culturally responsive practices to impact
27 the academic achievement and psychological well -being of low income, culturally diver se students is of significant importance to school counselors. School counselors are often called upon to consult with teachers and to work wi th students having academic, social or behavioral difficulties (ASCA, 2003; Hoskins, Astramovich, & Smith, 2007). T herefore it would be beneficial for school counselors to gain a b etter understanding of how master teachers develop relationships with their low income, culturally diverse students S chool counselors can then serve as advocates and leaders within their sc hools promoting the development and implementation of such practices within their schools Additionally, using their relational training school counselor s can work alongside t eachers to help them create teacher -student relationships and a classroom climate that facilitates so cial and academic success of low -income, culturally diverse students By taking on these roles of leader, advocate, and consultant within their schools, school counselors can act in a proactive manner using their relational and multicu ltural training, to prevent these students experiences of cultural discontinuity and the resulting psychological distress Need for the Study Educational research has continually documented the importance of the teacher -student relationship in facilitati ng student learning (Brophy & Good, 1974; Ladson Billings, 1994; McAllister & Irvine, 2002; Noddings, 1992) The negotiation of both the task-focused i nstructional component and the teacher -student relation al component has been found to be crucial to the f acilitation of student l earning (Lowman, 1984, 1994) The majority of p revious quantitative and qualitative research studies have focused predominantly on the teacher and his or her instructional methods and relational behaviors that were associated with p ositive student academic performance outcomes (Brophy & Good, 1986; Gettinger & Koehler, 2006) Most of
28 these studies presumed that the teaching behaviors and instructional methods were applic able to all students regardless of income level or cultural back ground Only recently have researchers begun to examine the impact of teaching methods and relational behaviors on specific groups of students and the culturally responsive practices of master teachers teaching culturally diverse students ( Brown, 2004; Bondy et al., 2007; Foster, 1997; Foster et al. 2003, 2005; Gay, 2000; Ladson -Billings 1994; Pransky & Bailey, 2002). At the current time, there is limited research available describing the relational behaviors of master teachers o f low income, African Ameri can s tudents and the responses of the se students to the teachers behaviors Foster and her colleagues (2003) note d that despite a grow ing body of literature justifying culturally responsive educational practices, it is often difficult to conceptualize wha t culturally responsive teachers are doing in the classroom. Thus, she and her colleagues assert that there is a need to further examine and understand how culturally responsive teachers teach Research ers, such as Brown (2003, 2004) and Bondy and colleagues (2007) have begun to examine how teachers implement culturally responsive classroom management practices and create environments f or success with urban populations However, Browns research was based solely upon interview data and did not include obse rvations thus limiting the ability to conceptualize how the teachers related to their culturally diverse students While Bondy and colleagues did utilize observations in their study of effective urban teachers, they focused predominantly on the teachers actions and provided only limited information regarding the students responses Moreover, their study focused on the first two hours of the school day and included only novice teachers As a result, given the reported impact of such practices on the psy chological well -being and academic achievement of these students (Cummins, 1996; Diaz -
29 Greenberg, 2001; Foster, 2003, 2005; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Peterek & Adams, in press; Pransky & Bailey, 2002) i t is particularly important that the relationship developm ent process between culturally responsive master teachers and their low income, African American students be further explored and described With this knowledge, school counselors can more effectively consult with teachers to enhance the academic achieveme nt and ps ychological health of low income, African American students. Theoretical Perspective Three theories were examined for their applicability in describi ng how master teachers develop and use their relationships with their low income, culturally diver se students to facilitate student learning : Relational Cultural theory, Flanders intera ction analysis categories, and S ociocultural theory. Relational Cultural Theory Relational Cultural t heory (RCT) emerged out of Jean Baker Millers (1986a) Toward a Ne w Psychology of Women, as well as the contributions of several other women including Alexandra Kaplan, Judith Jordan, Irene Stiver, and Janet Surrey RCT was conceived as a theory of bo th counseling and development that addr ess ed the experiences of marginalized groups (Comstock et al., 2008; Jordan, 2001; Jordan & Hartling, 2002) The theory moves away from the more traditional, western -based theories of counseling and development which focus on individualism, meritocracy and self -sufficiency, and instead e mphasizes relational experiences and the central role of rel ationships in producing healing (Comstock et al., 2008; Miller, 1986a, 1986b; Miller & Stiver, 1997) RCT was developed by therapists and was originally intended to influence counseling processes and relationships, but it has now been applied to areas beyond therapy (Jordan, 2001) Given that good relationships between caring adults and children and adolescents have been associated with youths psychological health and well -being (Cotterell,
30 1992; Hirsh, Mickus & Boerger, 2002; Resnick et al., 1997; Rhodes, Grossman, & Ro ffman, 2002; Southwick, Morgan, Vythi lingam & Charney, 2006), the theoretical tenets of RCT were considered a potentially relevant lens for view ing teacher -student relations (Spen cer, Jordan, & Sazama, 2004). Due to its focus on the experiences of women and culturally diverse populations, RCT places great importance on the social and cultural context in which groups and individuals live and develop (Hartling, 2008; Jordan & Hartling, 2002). In particular, RCT acknowledge s the role s that racism, sexism, and classism play in preventing individuals from engaging and partaking in growth fostering relationships (Jordan & Hartling 2002), as well as noting how relationships can be negatively impacted by poverty and institu tional discrimination (Hartling 2008). RCT is founded on the supposition that human suffering is based in experiences of relational violations such as isolation, shame, oppression, marginalization and microaggressions (Birrell & Freyd, 2 006; Miller & Stiver, 1997) If an individual experiences frequent relational disconnections such as these, the experiences can be associated with feelings of shame, fear, frustration, self blame, and other manifestations of emotional and psychological difficulties (Comstock et al., 2008) Acco rding to Miller & Striver (1997) periods of disconnection which cannot be transformed, such as power differentials, racism and chronic cultural disconnections can be a source of disempowerment, distr ess, and psychological problems. RCT further examines the experience of non-majority, marginalized groups and the role of socio political factors that can serve as a basis for disconnections (Comstock et al. 2008 ). RCT recognizes the Eurocentric cultural b ias within society and institutions that encourages independence, autonomy, and self sufficiency and separation, and notes how culturally diverse individuals may have to limit the parts of themselves, including thoughts and
31 feelings, that they bri ng into r elationship s (Chin, De, Cancela & Jenkins, 1993; Jordan, 2001). This parallels the research findings reported previously concerning culturally diverse students experience of acculturative stress and cultural discontinuity in their relationships and withi n educational contexts (Choi et al., 2006; Romero et al., 2007; Romero & Roberts, 2003) Moreover, Comstock et al. (2008) suggests that when feeling disconnected, individuals experience a decreased sense of energy, a decreased sense of self -efficacy, decreased self esteem, and disengagement, all of which were exemplified in the experiences of low -income, culturally diverse students described previously (Fisher et al., 2000; Wong et al., 2003) Relational Cultu ral t heory aims to minimize the negative impact of marginalization or cultural oppression through growth -fostering relationships (Comstock et al., 2008; Jordan, 2001; Miller & Stiver, 1997). RCT is based upon the understanding that people yearn for connection and thus the cultivation and maintenance of relationships is viewed as a crucial and complex aspect of development (Jordan, 2001; Miller, 1986b) Miller (1986b) identified five good things that are common outcomes of participating in growth foster ing relationships: (a) increased zest and vitality (b) feeling more capable and willing to act in the world, feeling empowered, (c) increased clarity and developing a more accurate picture of oneself, (d) having a greater sense of self worth, and (e) feelings of connection and seeking more relationships. Within these relationships growth, learning, expansion and meaningmaking occur (Jordan, 2001) Moreover, relational environments foster the rebuilding and reclaiming of individual s sense of competence (Hartling, 2008) The key relational processes of healing, growth fostering relationships identified by RCT theorists include movement toward mutual empathy, mutual empowerment, and authenticity (Comstock et al., 2008; Jordan, 2001; Miller & Stiver, 1997) While much of the research
32 surrounds the growth fostering relationships between adults in therapy, Spencer and her colleagues (2004) conducted an exploratory focus group study to examine diverse youths descriptions of their relationships with important adults in their lives Similar to the key processe s identified by RCT theorists, the researchers thematic analysis of the data revealed themes of mutuality and respect and authenticity Consequently, it appears that these same processes may be equally as relevant to the growth fostering relationships bet ween adults and children Mo reover, as stated by Spencer and her colleagues, these relationships create psychological safety and opportunities for growth and learning. Mutual empathy Judith Jordan, a n RCT theorist, quotes Kohut (1978) in an effort to encompass the signi ficance of empathy: He writes e mpathy is a fundame ntal mode of human relatedness, the recognition of the self in the other, it is the accepting, confirming and understanding of human echo, the resonance of essential human alikeness, a psychological nutriment without which human life as we know and cherish it could not be sustained (as cited in Jordan, Surrey & Kaplan 1991, p. 34) Empathy has been described by various theorists in a multitude of ways However, RCT conceptualizes emp athy as a complex, interactive process involving both affective and cognitive functioning (Jordan et al 1991). Empathy begins with an individuals desire for human relatedness which allows him or her to take in the verbal, nonverbal, and affective cues o f another and then all ows oneself to feel that affective arousal in oneself (Jordan et al. 1991). The emotional state of the other is captured and transferred to the individuals own experience. The individual does not lose his or her identity, but allows flexibility in his or her self boundary and once the affect subsides, uses their cognitive functioning to regain his or her sense of self (Jordan et al. 1991).
33 Jordan (1991 a ) refers to empathy as the trying out quality to the experience, whereby one pl aces ones self in the others shoes or looks through the others eyes ( p. 69). If a disconnection occurs within a relationship, the injured (particularly the less powerful person) is given the opportunity to express their feelings, while the other person empathically responds, thus creating an opportunity for a strengthened relationship and individuals increased feeling of relational competence (Jordan & Hartling, 2002). A key concept within RCT regarding empathy is that it does not go in one direction, but is experienced as mutual empathy Mutual empathy can be conceptualized as occurring when two people relate to the other in a context of interest in the other, emotional availability and responsiveness, cognitive appreciation of the wholeness of the ot her; the intent is to understand (Jordan, 1991b p. 89) There is recognition of the sameness in one another, while simultaneously acknowledging the differences and the uniqueness in each person The impact of experiencing mutual empathy strengthens an in dividuals sense of relatedness, connection, and a feeling of being directly, emotionally understood (Jordan et al. 1991, p. 34) Paralleling the key process of mutual empathy are the themes of m utuality and respect identified by Spencer and her colleagu es (2004) study of children and adolescents Youth participating in the study emphasized feeling cared for by an adult regardless of whether the youth was achieving or behaving in a certain way. Valued relationships were those in which the youth felt that their wants, needs, desires and strengths were not only welcomed, but also helped shape the nature of the relationship. One of the barriers to mutuality included when adults viewed the youth as less than and not as equal human beings. The youth acknowledge d the differentials in knowledge, experience, and authority, but that they still desired full engagement from adults As pointed out by Spencer et al. (2004), this echoes RCTs focus on the need to
34 actively listen and note the mutual impact that one can ha ve on the other, regardless of age (Miller & Stiver, 1997). Authenticity Authenticity is often disrupted in relationships where the power is not equally shared as in the case with power differences based on age, gender, race, and class. The person with le ss power is often expected to obey the rules and expectations of the more powerful person (Spencer et al., 2004) Consequently, one may become inauthentic and keep parts of his or herself hidden and thus not bring their full selves into relationship with t he other, suppressing authenticity (Jordan, 2001; Jordan & Hartling, 2002) However, authenticity is a key relational process in RCT It includes bringing more of oneself into the relationship with the other while simultaneously maintaining awareness regar ding ones possible impact on the other person (Jordan & Hartling, 2002). This does not mean that one is reactive or self -discloses haphazardly without boundaries, but in being authentic one takes r esponsibility for clearly stating ones own limits and des cribing the circumstances in which one can connect with another in a relationship. Given the power differential in relationships between adul ts and children, Spencer and her colleagues (2004) state that in caring relationships of temporarily unequal power (e.g. adult and child, caretaker and child, teacher a nd student) however, the more powerful person will actually be encouraging the growth of authenticity and full voice in the less powerful person (p. 358) Fourth grade youth in their study spoke of the ir ability to differentiate when adults were authentically engaging with them and their desire for such engagement as it made the relationship more enjoyable Spencer and her colleagues cite a young boy that summarizes this point: A boy then chimed in with the response he would like to give when an adult talks to him in one of those [inauthentic] voices saying, I am not a baby, and you dont have to use the sweet voice. He went on to say that an adult he feels has a good relationship with does
35 not do thi s, My uncle.we do a lot of stuff together and he talks to me in his normal voice. p. 358 Another aspect of authentic engagement includes adults actively listening to what the youth had to say Some examples of how good listening was demonstrated include d turning off the TV, asking questions, and removing distractions to focus on the conversation at hand The youth noted that they could tell when adults only pretended to be listening It was when adults are authentically engaged with the youth that the yo uth fel t like they have the chance to impact the r elationship because the adult was open to being impacted by what the youth was saying. The youth participating in the study also shared that authenticity was demonstrated when the adult tried to relate to the youths difficulties by recalling the similarities in their own experiences and validated what the youth said. This is quite different than when the adult is highly reactive to what the student says thus limiting the youths willingness to share with ad ults and in turn bring less of themselves into the relationship, thus less authenticity (Spencer et al. 2004). Mutual empowerment The final process, mutual empowerment did not emerge in the youths discussion of their growth -fostering relationships with adults However, RCT emphasizes the importance of mutual empowerment throughout their literature and research (Jordan 2001; Miller & Stiver, 1997; Surrey, 1991a, 1991b ). Psychological empowerment has been defined by Surrey (1991a ) as the motivation, free dom, and capacity to act purposefully, with mobilization of the energies, resources, strengths, or powers of each person through a mutual relational process (p. 64) While most theories conceptualize power in terms of power over or power for oneself, RCT conceptualizes processes of interaction termed power with or power together Therefore, one is empowered by the capacity to see and respond to the other and to engage in interaction that leaves both people feeling more aware of self and other (Surrey, 1991b, p. 167)
36 Mutual empowerment evolves as both individuals are responsive to the affective states of the other and feel heard, responded to and validated by the other (Surrey, 1991a, 1991b) A s a result, both individuals fee l more energized t o take action. Mutual empowerment between an adult and a child is conceptualized as nurturing, but in a bi -directional sense so that the adult does not remove oneself and focus solely on the childs needs, but acts to maintain and deepen connections that m utually empower (Surrey, 1991b) Adults aid in the empowerment of children by giving them the opportunity to feel successful in understanding and supportive based on the appropriate developmental level of the child. Therefore, the child feels more effectiv e and competent, which can then be transferred to more relationships and their own sense of their ability to act as a relational being (Surrey 1991a) One is disempowered when one is struggling to create and maintain a healthy relational context Relatio nal cultural theory and Flanders interaction analysis categories Flanders Interaction Analysis Categories (FIAC) emerged out of the various work of Ned Flanders and his colleagues (Flanders, 1970) Flanders was int erested in the study of teacher student interaction and he defines classroom interaction as the chain of events which occur one after the other, each only occupying a small segment of time (p. 3). He promoted interactional analysis, and defined interaction analysis as a label that refers to any technique for studying the chains of classroom events in such a fashion that each event is taken into consideration (Flanders, 1970, p. 5) A particular system of interaction analysis typically includes (a) a set of clearly defined categories, ( b) procedure for observation along with a set of ground rules that frame the coding process, ( c) steps for counting and tabulating the data, and (d) suggestions The purpose of such analysis is to keep track of certain events that occur in classroom behavior, to help teachers develop and control teaching behaviors, and to identify relationships between teaching behavior and student outcomes
37 Flanders and some colleagues at the University of Minnesota created a category system that focuses on the verbal communica tion that takes place between teachers and students The FIAC consists of ten category system, of which there are three conditions, teacher talk, student talk, and silence/confusion. The teacher talk categories and the student talk categories are broken in to two sub categories, initiative and response. Within FIAC, to initiate means to make the first contact, to begin, and to introduce a concept first To respond means to take action after an initiation, to counter, to amplify or react to ideas which have already been expressed, to conform or even to comply to the will expressed by others ( Flanders, 1970, p. 35) For specific definitions of each category, see Table 1 1 and Table 1 2, adaptation of tables depicted in Flanders (1970, p. 34). Though Relationa l Cultural t heory and Flanders Interaction Analysis Categories were created for differing purposes, there appears to be some overlap in their content. Many of the teacher talk response categories identified in the FIAC can loosely fit into one or more of the three key processes of RCT For example, the first FIAC category, accepts feelings, can be assumed under the RCT process of empathy The teachers willingness to accept the students feelings echoes the Spencer and colleagues study (2004), when the students acknowledged that they valued relationships with adults in which youth felt their wants, needs, desires and strengths were accepted and allowed to shape the relationship Accepts feelings could also fall into the RCT process of empowerment Surrey (1991a, 1991b), an RCT theorist, states that empowerment develops as individuals are responsive to the emotional states of the other and feel heard, responded to and validated by the other Lastly, accepting feelings could also fall into the RCT process of authenticity because the students do not have to be inauthentic and hide aspects of themselves (Jordan, 2001; Jordan & Hartling, 2002). As Spencer and colle agues
38 (2004) note, an adult has the ability to encourage students authenticity by giving the stu dent the opportunity to be fully themselves, which would include their emotions. Table 1 1 Flanders Interaction Analysis Categories : Teacher talk Teacher Talk Response 1. Accepts feelings. Names and accepts students positive and negative attitude s or feelings. 2. Praises and encourages. Praises and encourages student behaviors. Makes jokes, but not at the expense of others. Uses encouragers like nodding, saying uh huh or go on. 3. Uses students ideas. Clarifies and builds upon student s ideas. As the teacher brings more of their ideas in, move to category five. 4. Asks questions. Asks a question about class content and rules. Initiation 5. Lecturing. Providing facts, contents or procedures; giving explanations, their own opinion, or citing an authority. 6. Giving directions. Directs or orders students with the expectation that the student will comply. 7. Criticizing or justifying authority. Statements directed toward changing student behavior; explaining why the teacher is d oing what he/she is doing; referring to self. Adapted from Flanders, N. A. (1970). Analyzing teaching behavior. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Table 1 2. Flanders Interaction Analysis Categories: Student talk and silence Student Talk Response 8. Student talk response. Student talk in response to the teacher when the teacher initiates the contact or asks for students statements. Initiation 9. Student talk initiation. Student initiated talk in which students express own ideas, initiates a ne w topic, develop opinions and thoughts. Silence 10. Silence or confusion. Pauses, periods of silence, and periods of confusion where communication cannot be understood. Adapted from Flanders, N. A. (1970). Analyzing teaching behavior. Reading, MA: Addis on-Wesley Publishing The second FIAC category, praises or encourages, loosely falls into the RCT process of empowerment As discussed previously, within RCT, adults are viewed as capable of enhancing the empowerment of children by giving them the opport unity to feel successful in understanding and supportive in a relationship. The child then feels more competent and effective as well as seeing themselves as competent relational being (Surrey, 1991a) While RCT is specifically
39 talking about understanding and supporting another individual in a relationship, one could assume that the same could be applied to their ability to understand specific academic content or concepts and express this knowledge in a relational context Praises or encourages could also be seen as loosely fitting into the RCT process of authenticity. In his definition of praises and encourages Flanders, describes teachers telling jokes, which may allow the teacher bring more of his or herself into the student teacher relationship The third FIAS category, accepts or uses ideas of student, can be conceptualized as falling under the RCT processes of empowerment and authenticity By acknowledging the students ideas and making an effort to build off what the student has said, the teache r is communicating to the student that he or she has power with the teacher, and power with is highly emphasized in RCT The student gets to experience feeling heard and responded to by the teacher and may feel empowered as a result (Surrey, 1991a, 1991b) The student begins to see themselves as more authentic, and the teacher as more authentic because as Spencer and colleagues (2004) found, children feel that adults are authentically engaged with them when the child feels like he or she can impact the relationship and the adult is open to what the child has to say Relational cultural theory and s ociocultural t heory Sociocultural theory emerged from the contributions of L. S. Vygotsky (1978) The theory is based in the conceptualization that knowledge is co -created through social interaction as people communicate and interact with one another. Learning rests in language and in the interrelation among historical, cultural, institutional, and communicative processes (Lim & Renshaw, 2001; Vygotsky, 1978). Therefore, a n individuals learning cannot be understood solely within the individual, but through the interactional processes and in the participation in activities with others (Vygotsky, 1978. These activities are the basic unit of analysis (Tharp &
40 Gallimore, 1988; Vygotsky 1978). According to Lim and Renshaw (2001) it is within these activities that: Individuals gain or appropriate sociocultural knowledge and practices such as ways of speaking and behaving, conventions for representing ideas, procedur es for communicating, modes of inquiry and verifying knowledge claims, and values and beliefs, which constitute the explicit as well as implicit features of the community culture. (p.14) Consequently, there is an understanding of each individual as a being influenced by his or her culture and previous experience s Thus, accessing aspects of individual students culture or life experience in learning tasks enhances their knowledge acquisition. An understanding of how students conceptualize the world can faci litate a teachers ability to incorporate the students schemas and network of experiences in the learning process (Jarmilla, 1996; Vygotsky 1978) A key concept in individuals acquisition of knowledge is the zone of proximal development (ZPD; Vygotsky, 1 978). Vygotsky identified two levels of ZPD, the actual development level and the level of potential development. The actual development level is the level of a childs mental functioning as determined by their already completed developmental cycles, often measured by tests and their ability to independently problem solve The level of potential is the level at which the child can problem solve with the help of an adult or more capable peers The distance between these two levels is the childs zone of proximal development (ZPD) According to Vygotsky, learning awakens a variety of internal developmental processes that are able to operate only when the child is interacting with people in his environment (p. 90) Teachers stimulate this zone when they introduce their students to ideas that are just beyond their current knowledge and skill level, and teachers encourage students to attain the new skills through joint learning activities with the teacher or peers (Jarmilla, 1996).
41 Given its view of learners as social beings living in cultural contexts, sociocultural theory has been used as a foundation in which some culturally responsive educators have developed standards for effective pedagogy for culturally, economically, and linguistically diverse students (D alton, 1998; Tharp et al., 2000) Tharp and his colleagues from the Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence (CREDE) developed the Five Standards for Effective Pedagogy (Dalton 1998; Tharp et al. 2000). These five standards are particul arly crucial for diverse students but Tharp and colleagues suggest that they are beneficial to all students across all subjects In their examination of the educational research, Tharp and his colleagues found consensus based agreement on the premises beh ind each of the Five Standards of Effective Pedagogy (Bower, 1997; Carpenter, Fennema & Franke, 1996; Delpit, 1995; Moll & Gonzalez, 2004; Newman, 1996). Tharp and his colleagues (2000) and Hillberg, Doherty, Epaloose, and Tharp (2004) describe the five s tandards in detail. The five standards include : (a) joint product activity among the students and the teacher, (b) language and literacy across the curriculum, (c) connecting school to students lives, (d) facilitating students critical thinking, and (d ) teaching through dialogue. Three of the standards are particularly relevant to understanding how master teachers develop relationships and interact with their low income, culturally diverse students and overlap with some of the components of RCT : joint p roduct activity connecting school to students lives and teaching through dialogue J oint producti ve activity relates to S ociocultural theorys emphasis of activities involving interaction among individuals with varying levels of skills and expertise, including the teacher During this joint process the participants interact, exchange information, and share their ideas, rationales or thinking strategies The teacher does not take a hierarchical role but shares in
42 the experience and participates with the students (Tharp et al., 2000) This collaborative process relates to RCTs mutual empowerment, where within a relationship there is not power over but instead power with as individuals respond to and engage one another (Surrey, 1991b) The student may feel more empowered by being given the opportunity to feel successful Moreover, the student can feel more mutual empathy as their thoughts are welcomed and more authentic in that they are given more of a voice and are legitimately listened to and allowe d impact those around him or her, including the teacher (Spencer et al., 2004) The standards of connecting school and academics to students lives and engaging in dialogue can also reflect the key relational processes emphasized in RCT By connecting aca demics to students lives, the teacher affirms and uses the students previous knowledge, skills, and experience as a foundation on which to introduce new concepts and material (Tharp et al., 2000) Additionally, teachers use learning activities that incor porate the students and familys interests and culture (Moll & Gonzalez, 2004). Similarly, the standard of intentional dialogue is also related to giving students a voice and allowing their ideas to shape the learning context and the development of the t eacher -student relationship Through dialogue, the teacher seeks to expand students conversations on their academic, personal, social and cultural experiences as they relate to an academic topic or subject as well as create a community of learners (Tharp et al., 2000) By engaging in both of these standards teachers are affirming their students sense of self, as well as their cult ural identities and experiences This allows students to act and relate with what RCT calls authenticity, in that they no lon ger have to keep aspects of their selves and their cultures hidden, but can bring their full selves into the classroom and their learning (Jordan, 2001). Also, a s teachers make the effort to find out more about the lives and experiences of their
43 students, they are demonstrating empathy, respect and care for the students as students feel understood and valued (Jordan et al., 1991) Teachers show the ir students that they also impact not only the relationship, but the educational practices by integr ating such information into the curriculu m, instructional methods and relational context thus reflec t both RCTs empathy and empowerment Thus students and their experiences are acknowledged responded to and validated (Su rrey, 1991a, 1991b) Limitations of theorie s While RCT, Flanders interaction categories, and S ociocultural theory are each relevant to describing and conceptualizing how master teachers develop relationships with their low income culturally diverse students, they have their limitations and thus d o not seem to fully encompass what is occurring in the classrooms of these teachers. As noted, RCT has been used to describe effective therapeutic relationships and adult interpersonal relationships (Miller, 1986a, 1986b; Miller & Stiver, 1997; Jordan, 2001) Much of this literature has focused primarily on the outcomes of such growth fostering relationships (i.e. increased zest, empowerment, self -worth, clarity, and connection). Although, RCTs key relational proce sses mutual empathy, authenticity, and mu tual empowerment have been described it is still difficult to conceptualize how these relational processes are implemented in the teacher -student relationship Literature regarding RCT and adult child relationships has not been extensive and has focused primarily on parent -child relationships ( Spencer et al., 2004; Surrey, 1991a, 1991b) Though the teacher -student relationship may have some parallels to the parent -child relationship, the organizational, structured context of the classroom and the school day, as well as the academically focused nature of the relationship make it unique Flanders interaction categories are helpful in that they break down the verbal communication that occurs in a classroom into discrete categories (Flanders, 1970) However,
44 these categories do not include nonverbal communication which plays a crucial role in social interaction (Mehrabian, 2007; Ivey & Ivey, 2008) Sociocultural theory and the Five Standards of Effective Pedagogy clearly focus on instructional methods and d o not focus explicitly on relationship development. The overlap between RCT with Flanders categories and with the Five Standards broadens the scope of RCT by focusing on the classroom context but does not appear sufficient enough to provide an extensive t heoretical framework for examining master teachers interactions with their low income, culturally diverse students. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to use grounded theory methodology to develop a theory about the relational processes us ed by culturally responsive master teachers to develop and use their relationships with their low income, African American students to facilitate learning Master teachers working with low -income, African American students were chosen for this study becaus e o f the statistics regarding these students underachievement, their overrepresentation in special education programs and discipline referrals ( Blair & Scott, 2002; Planty et al., 2008; Skiba et al., 2002; Skiba et al., 2008; Townsend, 2000) and because of the researchers own work with this population Therefore, the findings will generally be most applicable to African American student populations. The term master teacher has been applied to teachers who use culturally responsive practices like thos e described above and who are able to positively impact their low -income, culturally diverse students academic achievement and social development (Foster et al., 2003, 2005). However, there are no agreed upon criteria to define a master teacher (White, 1991) Some researchers use the criteria of having been named state teacher of the year (Pollard & Tomlin, 1995) while others use a criteria of education al preparation and years of teaching experience (Doyle, 1985). For the purposes of this study, a master teacher is defined as a teacher
45 who is recognized by their peers for creating a classroom environment and relationships with her students in ways in which low income culturally diverse are documented to achieve academically and socially (Diaz Greenberg, 2001; Foster et al.2003, 2004; Gay, 2000; Karunagan, 2002; Ladson Billings, 1994; Phungsto g, 1999; Pransky & Bailey, 2002). Using grounded theorys method of open coding, axial coding and selective coding, seven, one hour long videotapes were analyzed to describe how master teachers develop ed and use d their relationships with their students in the learning process. The se video tapes depict ed the interactions between the master teachers and their students during the first week of an afterschool program and t he first week of the school year. Research Questions The following research questions were developed to guide the examination of the videotaped data: 1. How do the teachers develop relationships with their low income, African American students? How do t he students respond? 2. How do the teachers utilize their relationships in the teaching/learning process with low income, African American students? How do the students respond? Definition of Terms ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT. W ithin this research study this term refers to students performing at or above grade level as inde xed by school achievement tests, grade point averages, and staying on or abov e grade level in math and readi ng. CULTURALLY DIVERSE ST UDENTS. K 12 students most affected by the achievement gap in cluding Native Americans, some Asian American subgroups (specifically, Vietnamese and Pacific Islanders), Latino Americans, and African Americans Most of the research emphasizes African Americans and Latino Americans as both groups are strongly represente d in the United States while research on Native American V ietnamese, and Pacific Islander students is not as extensive (Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008) CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE S. This refers to combination of culturally responsive instru ctional methods and culturally responsive teacher -student relations and
46 culturally responsive classroom management and teacher -student relations (Gay, 2000; LadsonBillings, 1994; Nieto, 2004a ; Bondy et al., 2007; Brown, 2003, 2004). Gay (2000) defines cul turally responsive instructional methods as the use of cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning encounters more relevant to and effective for them (p. 29) Brown (2 003, 2004) identifies the following as key components of culturally responsive classroom management: creating caring relationships, holding high expectations, asserting authority, and culturally congruent communication HIGH POVERTY SCHOOLS. S chools where over 75% of the students are eligible for free or reduced priced lunch (Planty et al., 2008). LOW-INCOME. S tudents who qualify for the free or reduced meals through the national school lunch program and the school breakfast program, whose eligibility requirements are based on the Federal income poverty guidelines (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2008) MASTER TEACHERS. Alt hough master teachers have not been uniformly defined (Foster et al., 2003, 2005; Pollard & Tomlin, 1995; White, 1991) for this study a master teacher is defined as a culturally responsive teacher who positively impacts her students academic achievement, as well as their behavioral, social, and emotional development. RELATIONSHIP. of this study is conceptualized as series of interactio ns or interdependence between social partners in which the individuals go beyond role prescriptions and become more personal (Bronfrenbrenner & Morris, 1997; Bierhoff & Schmohr, 2003). TEACHER-STUDENT INTERACTIONS. T he reciprocal behaviors that are engaged in by the teacher and the students in the classroom which may take the form of both verbal and nonverbal communication A review of the relevant research literature will be presented in Chapter 2 to provide background to the current study. Chapter 3 will outline the methodology of the study including the setting, the participants, data collection and data analysis. The results and findings of the study will be presented in chapter 4 and chapter 5 will present the discussion of the findings, implications, a nd areas of future research.
47 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Although more than 50 years have elapsed since the famous Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, a glaring discrepancy in achievement levels still remains between many low income, cu lturally diverse students and their more privileged White peers (Grigg, Donahue & Dion, 2007; Lee, Grigg & Dion, 2007; Lee, Grigg & Donahue, 2007; Planty et al., 2008; U.S. Department of Education, 2006, 2007) Not only do l ow -income, culturally diverse students consistently underperform in mathematics and reading in 4th, 8th, and 12th grade as compared to their more affluent white peers (Grigg et al., 2007; Lee, Grigg & Dion, 2007; Lee, Grigg & Donahue, 2007), but 20% of Latino and 10% of African Amer ican students drop out of school (U.S. Department of Education, 2007). Moreover, t hose low -income, culturally divers e students who remain in school have less access to advanced classes than do their White peers and are underrepresented in gifted programs ( Ford & Harmon, 2001; Gordon Piana & Keleher 2000) Additionally, low income, culturally diverse students are overrepresented in special education programs (Blair & Scott, 2002 ; Skiba et al., 2008 ). In this chapter, various theoretical explanations for the problem of the achievement disparity between low -income, culturally diverse students and their more affluent White peers will be discussed In addition, literature concerning the implications for educator and school counselor practice will be discussed Deficit Theory The most prevailing and long standing theory that has been proposed to explain the underachievement of low income culturally diverse students is deficit theory (Skrla & Scheurich, 2001; Valencia, 1997a) Deficit theory asserts that studen ts academic failures are a result of internal insufficiencies and characteristics of the student or some deficiency within the
48 students family or community (Garcia & Guerra, 2004; Pransky & Bailey, 2002; Skrla & Scheurich, 2001; Valencia, 1997a) The or igins of deficit thinking are tied to the racist discourse that arose in the early 1600s positing that racial minorities were physically, cognitively, and culturally inferior to White s This racist discourse provided the groundwork for the thinking that ca me about at the beginning of the twentieth century which posited that human behavior and character were best explained biologically (Menchaca, 1997) This tho ught was further supported by the development of intelligence tests such as the Stanford Binet intelligence tests, which documented differences by race in intelligence and other genetically determined abilities and aptitudes (Menchaca 1997). By the early 1960s there was a shift in deficit thought, moving from a genetically based conceptualization of the underachievement of culturally diverse individuals, to one based in what Oscar Lewis (1965) posited as the culture of poverty Lewis suggested that people living in poverty live a life characterized by inadequate morals, norms, and s ocial practices t hat are transmitted generation to generation, thus perpetuating their economic condition Consequently, the idea of a culture of p overty provided a more contextual explanation for the underachievement of low income, culturally diverse individuals (Foley, 1997) An outgrowth of this culture of poverty perspective was the cultural deprivation argument which contended that the family unit (mother, father, home environment) was the source of deficiencies (Pearl, 1997) More specifically, there is a view that non -majority cultures devalue or oppose intellectual achievement and thus prevent members of these cultures from succeeding in school (Anderson, 2004; Pearl 1997). It was also proposed that students development was negatively impacted by living in chaoti c households during the critical years in a students life It was thought that the cumulative environmental deficits, including inadequate sensory stimulation and inappropriate
49 home management, resulted in irreversible cognitive deficits (Pearl 1997). Co ntemporary forms of deficit theory are based on these models: genetic deficiencies, culture of poverty, and cultural deficits (Garcia & Guerra, 2004; Valencia & Solorazano, 1997). Deficit -Based Educational Interventions Educators conceptualizing the under achievement of low income, culturally diverse students within a framework of deficit thinking have developed interventions aimed at fixing the students and their families (Garcia & Guerra, 2004; Pransky & Bailey, 2002; Skrla & Scheurich, 2001; Valencia, 1997a) Consequently, the classroom teacher is expected to counteract the students deficiencies by assisting them in meeting the standards of their White middle and upper class peers This idea is reflected in compensatory education programs that remedia te students who have fallen behind by giving them additional academic support services Some examples of compensatory education programs include Head Start, Title I initiatives, after school programs, and summer school programs (Cooper, Charlton, Valentine & Muhlenbruck, 2000; Halpern, 2000; Vinovskis, 1999) Researchers evaluating the effectiveness of compensatory education programs have found that while many of the programs yield some academic improvements in low -income, culturally diverse students, the improvements are not sufficient enough to meet the academic level of their White peers For example, a nationwide evaluation of Title I programs conducted in the late 1970s found that while Title 1 recipients did better than non Title I students, the mos t economically disadvantaged students did not benefit academically (Carter, 1984). Similarly, in their meta analysis of se venteen Title I studies, Borman and DAgostino, (1996), found that Title I elementary school participants performed better academical ly in middle and high school than their non -participating peers However, although Title I programming had a modest positive impact on students academic achievement, Borman and DAgostino note d that the discrepancies
50 between the academic levels of these s tudents and their more privileged White peers continu e d to exist With regard to summer school, a meta analysis of summer school programs revealed that these programs have statistically significant more positive effects on the academic achievement of middl e class students than on students from low income backgrounds (Cooper et al 2000) This may reflect the tendency to apply curricula that have been designed for historically successful students to low income culturally diverse students and families Currie and Thomas (1995) examined the effectiveness of Head Start programs and found that though White students made statistically significant improvements academically and with regard to grade repetition, Head Start was not associated with enhanced academic p erformance among African American students According to Garcia and Guerra (2004), these programs failed attempts to close the achievement gap may serve to further reinforce deficit thinking Deficit -Based Counseling Interventions School counselors have been trained to address the developmental needs of all students including students academic, personal, social, and career development needs (American School Counseling Association [ASCA], 2004) When schools operate under a framework of deficit theory, sch ool counselors are expected to fix low income, culturally diverse students who are underperforming academically and/or act out in the classroom by providing remedial support in the form of individual or small group counseling interventions (Hardesty & Di llard, 1994) Some of these interventions focus on resolving personal and interpersonal issues through an empowerment small group counseling as a means of improving academic achievement (Bemak, Chi Ying & Siroskey -Sabado, 2005), while others try to provid e struggling students with more exposure to various career opportunities through large group guidance lessons (Legum & Hoare, 2004) Such interventions with low -income culturally diverse youth have yielded inconsistent results. Although students from the empowerment group self reported academic improvement
51 these findings were not substantiated with school academic records (Bemak et al. 2005). Students in the career intervention developed by Legum and Hoare (2004) did not significantly improve their self e steem or GPA as compared to those students in a control group. Another example of a student -focused remediation program is Cook and Kaffenbergers (2003) Solution Shop, in which low income, culturally diverse middle school students were referred by their t eacher to participate in solution focused small group counseling in conjunction with study skills enhancement and tutoring The authors reported that 68% of the 8th grade participants and 44% of the 7th grade participants showed increases in grade point av erages While the results sound promising, causality cannot be determined and the authors did not indicate if the increases were significant nor whether the increases were maintained. Within the schools deficit approach the school counselor is also expect ed to work with the parents of students by helping the parents understand what role the school expects the parents to play in their childs education (Conroy & Meyer, 1994 ). In a study surveying elementary, middle and high school counselors Ritchie and Pa rtin (1994) found that elementary school counselors are significantly more likely to conduct parent education programs than middle or high school counselors Additionally, 84% of the participants indicated a need for parent skills training for their studen ts caregivers Specifically, a program developed by Mitchell, Bush and Bush (2002) for culturally diverse students included a parent education component designed to develop effective parenting skills and foster a home environment that supports the succ ess of their children (p. 144). While parent education programs can be well intentioned, they may be framed in terms of the parental deficiencies that need to be addressed and remediated through classes and the provision of information which can often be marginalizing to caregivers
52 A consequence of counselors operating under a deficit view is that they can begin to see these students and their families solely in terms of their problems and what they are lacking (Amatea, Smith -Adcock & Villares, 2006; B utler, 2003). Thus, within this mindset of seeing the problems rooted within the student and their family, the counselor led interventions and solutions look toward the child and the parents and rarely consider the school context or the cultural background of the students and their families. Consequences of Deficit Thinking T he educational practices and ideologies based on deficit thinking have had negative consequences on the socio-emotional and psychological well being of low -income and culturally diverse students (Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008; Ford, Harris, Tyson & Trotman, 2002) Studies b y Steele and Aronson (1995, 1997) revealed that the negative stereotypes regarding the academic capabilities of African Americans actually hinder these students perf ormance on standardized tests. Naming th e condition stereotype threat Steele and Aronson posited that the threat of being perceived under a negative stereotype or the fear of performing in a way that confirms the stereotype can influence culturally diver se students intellectual performance and academic identity One of the most harmful consequences of deficit thinking is the low income, culturally diverse students experience of discrimination (Smokowski & Bacallao, 2007). A growing numb er of researcher s described how discrimination affects childrens psychological well being and development (Caputo, 2003; Fisher, Fenton & Wallace, 2000; Rambaut, 1994; Smokowski & Bacallao, 20 07; Szalacha et al., 2003). Researchers have found that culturally diverse stu dents personal experiences of discrimination and expectations of discrimination are related to greater reports of depressive symptoms (Brody et al., 2006; Rumbaut, 1994; Szalacha et al. 2003) and psychological distress (Fisher et al. 2000). In a longitu dinal study conducted with
53 African American adolescents Brody and associates (2006) found that increases in perceived discrimination were also related to increased conduct problems and depressive symptoms Steele and colleagues (1995, 1997) have found that con sistent experiences of discrimination are related to negative self -evaluations in African American adolescents (Steele, 1997; Steele & Aronson, 1995) In relation to the negative self evaluations, perceived discrimination has been found to be associate d with lower self esteem, anxiety, higher levels of internalizing and externalizing problems, conduct problems, and differences in global self -wor th in adolescents (Fisher et al 2000; Smokowski & Bacallao 2007; Steele, 19 97; Steele & Aronson, 1995; Szal acha et al. 2003) Culturally diverse students perceptions of discrimination in educational settings and their effects have also been documented Fisher and his associates (2000) examined the impact of racial and ethnic discrimination on White, Latino, African American and Asian American youth. They reported that students from visible minority groups reported experienced more discrimination, lower levels of self -esteem and higher distress than White students Wong, Eccles, and Sameroff (2003) conducted a study examining the discrimination and devaluation of African American adolescents in schools. They found that African American students perceived discrimination was negatively related to their self report of achievement motivation, self competency belie fs, psy chological resiliency, and self -esteem. In addition, the study revealed that perceived discrimination in school was also related to African American students anger, depressive symptoms, and problem behaviors. T hese findings suggest that the negativ e experiences African American students may confront in school can impact their overall psychological development, self esteem, academic motivation and mental health (Wong et al. 2003).
54 Deficit thinking can also impact a number of school practices which may directly impact low income, African American students as well as other culturally diverse students Skrla and Scheurich (2001) asserted that administrators and educators deficit oriented views of these students may impact the documented disproportionality of culturally diverse and low income students placed into lower level classes, identified for special education, and under -identified as gifted and talented ( Blair & Scott, 2002 ; Ford et al., 2002; Skiba et al., 2008) Additionally, deficit thinking can also influence educators to lower their expectations with regard to low income, African American students academic capabilities (Ferguson, 2003; McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001) The effect of lowered expectation is often discussed in terms of Mertons (1948) self -fulfilling prophecy, in which he asserted that students perform to their teachers expectations. The concept was further highlighted by the classic study by Rosenthal and Jacobs (1968), Pygmalion in the Classroom which revealed that students wh o were randomly assigned by researchers as intellectual bloomers were treated as such by their teachers and met their teachers enhanced expectations. Another consequence of deficit thinking is that educators often view of the low level of achievement of low income, African American students and other culturally diverse students as inherent in the students, and thus the educators do not feel that it is in their power to change the students academic level (Butler, 2003; Ford et al., 2002; Skrla & Scheuric h, 2001) As a result educators may neglect to look for solutions within the educational system or in their own relational, pedagogical and instructional practices (Berman, Chambliss & Geiser, 1999; Garcia & Guerra, 2004) Instead they may focus their att ention and interventions solely on remediating the students and their families (Nieto, 2004a ).
55 Deconstructing Deficit Theory According to Valencia (1997a) the deficit thinking model has been found to be overly simplistic, deficient in empirical verification, grounded in racism and classism, and counterproductive in its educational recommendations Valencia (1997b) asserted that m uch of the research used to substantiate the genetic defici ency and cultural deprivation models is characterized by methodologica l flaws For example, the intelligence tests that fueled the genetic deficiency model were based on a normal distribution curve, which has never been substantiated for use with intelligence tests (Valencia, 1997b) and both the National Intelligence Test and the Stanford Binet intelligence were normed without including culturally diverse students in the standardization sample (Chapman, 1988) Furthermore, the research used to demonstrate the notion of genetic racial differences in intelligence precludes the notion of confounding variables such as an individuals English language abilities, number of school absences differential educational experiences an d environmental backgrounds (Anastasi, 1988; Bagley, 1922; Valencia, 1997b). Therefore, because these vari ables were not controlled for, one cannot discount that any of the above listed variables are not related to differences in intelligence tests The culture of poverty theory has been criticized as exaggerating the likelihood that ones culture can produce consistent negative character, motivation, and value laden traits of individuals of particular cultures and as failing to note in -group variability (Foley, 1997; Leacock, 1971) Various studies conducted with poor White, African American and Latino American communities that illustrated the functioning communities with positive values and resiliency as well as successful parenting and social practices, thus opposing the notion that poor communities are disorganized, uninvolved and exemplify poor parenting ( Rubin, 1976; Stack, 1974; Williams, 1981).
56 Ecological Theory A number of alternative conceptualizations have emerged to explain the academic performance of low income, culturally diverse students as a result of the negative impact of interventions based in deficit theory. Known as ecological theory, t hese conceptualizations take a broader look at the problem of the underachievement of low -income, culturally diverse students by examining the various systems and contexts in which a student is involved. Subsum ed under a broad framework of ecological theory, are cultural discontinuity theory and Relational C ultural t heory Because of its emphasis on sociocultural factors in assessing, conceptualizing, and interceding with culturally diverse individuals ecologic al theory provides a valuable lens through which to examine the achievement discrepancy between low income, culturally diverse students and their privileged White peers (Amatea & West Olatunji, 2007a; Bronfrenbrenner, 1979; Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008; J ohnson 1994) Ecological theory takes into account the school, classroom, teacher, and pedagogical related contexts as well as the students home context that may be contributing to the academic under -performance of low -income culturally diverse students (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Garcia & Guerra, 2004; Johnson, 1994). The ecological approach is based in the ecological theory of human development created by Bronfrenbrenner (1979) Bronfenbrenner conceptualized four levels which are nested within one another The center most level, the microsystem, is the immediate setting containing the developing person, the student The microsystem entails the activities, roles, and interpersonal interactions experienced by an individual in a particular setting containing ce rtain physical and material features. Therefore, this includes the students home and school, among other settings The next level, the mesosystem, encompasses the interrelations amid two or more settings in which the individual is an active member For example, when considering a student, contact and
57 relations are made between the home and school settings However, there are also settings in which the individual does not participate and yet the events occurring within these setting impact the individuals microsystem. This is called the exosystem. An example of this would include the rules and policy implemented by the school board that might influence the school and thus the student The final level, called the macrosystem, includes the cultural and social factors of a particular culture or subculture that affect the other systems. This level might include the general attitudes of ethnocentric monoculturalism that affect the lives of low -income, culturally diverse students An ecological lens provides a mo re expansive view of the factors that might influence low income, culturally diverse students academic achievement by taking into consideration more than just the individual student and their families Johnson (1994) has taken Bronfenbrenners ecological theory and loosely applied it to child-environment interactions within the educational system. Specifically he created a four level, ecological paradigm of educational risks: microrisks, mesorisks, exorisks, and macrorisks The microrisks are the classroom interactions between the student and the teacher, the student and other students, and the student and the physical environment. The student compositions of the classroom, as well as the influence of the teachers beliefs, assumptions, expectations, and in terpretations shape the norms by which students are judged. As a result, some classroom contexts may be more suitable for some students than others (Johnson 1994). The mesorisk, takes into account the childs home interactions and how they relate with the classroom and the school, which can often be discordant, as the family has its own norms, expectancies, routines, requirements, etc The next level of risk identified by Johnson is the exorisk which involves exploring the role that the community and its various institutions and social programs have on child development as they interact with the student, their home and the
58 school Finally, the last level of risk is the macrorisk which incorporates the social and cultural forces which may affect students ide ntified as at educational risk Using Bronfennbrenners (1979) ecological theory and Johnsons (1994) theory of educational risk, one can view the problem of discrepancies in achievement beyond the individual student and his or her family, and recognize t he various systems that impact their academic failure and underperformance. In particular, this study focused on mesosystem/mesorisk and macrosystem/macrorisk levels as they apply to the education system when examining the problem of the discrepancies in a chievement levels. Within the mesosystem, one begins to see how the microsystem of the students school interacts with the microsystem of the students family This can become problematic if the values and beliefs of the various microsystems do not coincid e Similarly, with regard to the macrosystem, there are certain social and cultural norms that are promoted by majority society which are usually exemplified in schools and classrooms Consequently, those students who belong to subcultures other than the m ajority culture may be at risk of underperforming or failing in school (Johnson 1994). The presence of such disconnections between childrens home environment and that of the school has been termed cultural discontinuity. It has been suggested that some o f the differences in achievement between low income culturally diverse students and their more affluent White peers may be accounted for by the cultural discontinuity that is present within the educational system (Boykin, 2001; Gay, 2000; King, 2004; Niet o, 2004a, 2004b). Cultural Discontinuity Theory Scrutiny of our nations public education system exposes the ethnocentrism that permeates its organization, instructional methods, and curriculum. As Boykin (2001) noted, schooling encompasses more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic; it supports a particular worldview and way of interpreting reality. Cultural discontinuity theory emphasizes that
59 Eurocentrically based knowledge and values are reflected in teaching practices and influence teacher -student interactions (Foster, Lewis & Onafowora, 2003; Marri, 2005) Novick (1996) has compared the United States education system to a factory model of schooling, which stamp[s] a uniform education on all students (p. 61) Therefore, students whose backgrounds more closely coincide with Eurocentric norms are at an advantage while there is a cultural disconnection for those students who do not ascribe to such cultural norms and values (Jenks, Lee & Kanpol, 2001; Perry, 2003; Tharp, Estrada, Dalton & Yamauchi, 2000). Cultural discontinuity theory recognizes that each individual comes from a cultural background and history that influences the lens in which they see the world. The culturally -based skills and knowledge have been defined by Moll and Gonzalez (2004) as funds of knowledge. Unfortunately, educators often fail to acknowledge culturally diverse ways of learning, communicating, and relating, and thus invalidate students funds of knowledge based in their lived, cultural experiences (Foster et al. 200 3; Moll & Gonzalez, 2004; Nieto, 2004a ). In fact, in some cases low -income culturally diverse students schooling is culturally contested and may be in conflict with their effort to maintain their cultural identity (Boykin, 2001; Howard, 2001; Karunungan, 2002) The failure of teachers to recognize and utilize students cultural background often holds true regardless of the teachers own cultural background as most teacher preparation programs are also Eurocentrically oriented (Ford et al., 2002). Conseque ntly, it is the teachers pedagogical framework as opposed to skin color that upholds the Eurocentric educational norms (Ladson Billings, 1994) Culturally -based differences in communication styles and language patterns between culturally diverse students and their Eurocentrically based teachers may be associated with educators misunderstandings regarding students behavior, intelligence, and academic ability
60 (Coleman, 2000; Delpit, 2004; Lovelace & Wheeler, 2006). Some teachers are aware of cultural diff erences and make an effort to link students home lives and learning in school. Regrettably however, far too many teachers own outlooks toward cultural diversity often inhibit them from integrating childrens funds of knowledge into the teaching and learn ing environment (Foster, 1997; Gay, 2000; Jenks et al., 2001; King, 2004; Ladson-Billings, 1994). In most of the nations schools there is an expectation that students will not speak or comment on other students responses unless called upon However, this is an example of such a cultural discrepancy because this expectation is based on Eurocentric cultural language traditions (Lovelace & Wheeler, 2006). Some African Americans, Latino Americans, and Native Hawaiians use a communication style that is partici patory interactive. Within a participatory interactive style the audience members give support, respond verbally, and even move when they are speaking (Espinsoa, 2005; Gay, 2000; Lovelace & Wheeler; 2006). Teachers often misinterpret the students movement and calling out as a form of disrespect or hyperactivity resulting in the students subsequent punishment and removal from the classroom (Ford et al., 2002; Gay 2000). Cultural discontinuity theory and psychological distress The process of trying to navigate through the disconnection between their home culture and the culture of the school and classroom for low income, culturally diverse students may have harmful effects on students psychological and emotional well -being (Choi, Meininger & Roberts 2006; Cholewa & W est Olatunji, 2008; Nieto, 2004a ). DuBois (1903/1989) stated: One ever feels his two -ness, -an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconci led strivingsin one dark body (p.5) T his quote is referring specifically to African Americans and is not specific to education, but it can reflect the experience of many low -income, culturally diverse students who must negotiate the shifts between their home culture and that of
61 the school. These students are both members of their culture of origin and the majority culture of the United States, and thus they are bicultural The culturally diverse student is often expected to accept and incorporate the values, beliefs, and practices of the majo rity culture A t the same time many of these stu dents are simultaneously t r yi ng to maintain their own cultural identity (Romero Carvajal, Valle & Oruduna 2007; Romero & Roberts, 2003; Walker, 2007) This negotiation between two environment s in which there are competing values, norms, and identities h as been reported to negatively impa ct the psychological well -being o f these individuals (Choi et al., 2006; LaFramboise, Coleman, & Gerton, 1993; Romero et al. 2007; Romero, Martinez & Caravajal, 2007; Romero & Roberts 2003). While traditionally, one con ceptualizes biculturalism and the phenomenon of acculturation as pertaining to those individuals who have recently immigrated to the United States it also includes ethnic groups that have resided in the United States for centuries (Phinney & Devich -Navarro 1997; Walker, 2007). For example, although African Americans may appear to have adopted the language, behavior patterns, and core values of the majority culture, Anderson (1991) in his theory of acculturative stress asserts that this assimilation may occ ur to different degrees for different individuals. Walker (2007) suggests that African American culture is often one of African origin but has been influenced by sociopolitical and economic isolation and thus may be different from majority American cultu re. Consequently, African American students may experience acculturation stress as a result of their educational experience in the same way as recently immigrated students (Walker 2007). Padilla, Wagatsuma, and Lindhorm (1985) and Chavez, Moran, Reid, an d Lopez (1997) have emphasized the social stress experienced by culturally diverse individuals Noting the complex nature of social stress in general and accu lturative stress in particular, the se researchers
62 posited that there were three types of social st ress: general social stress, process oriented stress, and sociocultural stress General stress is that stress which is normative to all adolescents as they develop into young adulthood regardless of their cultural background. Process -oriented s tress is rel ated to adjusting and interacting in another culture, which may be more relevant to culturally diverse adolescents who are acculturating to the dominant culture Finally, sociocultural stressor s encompass both process oriented stress and discrimination Ch oi and colleagues (2006) investigated the differences in mental distress reported by culturally diverse adolescents experiencing social stress The se researchers defined mental distress as depression, somatic symptoms, and suicidal ideation. Using various validated and reliable instruments to assess depression, experiences of social stress, and self esteem, the researchers discovered that culturally diverse adolescents had significantly higher levels of social stress and lower levels of self -esteem than Eur opean Americans Additionally, after controlling for age, gender, and socioeconomic status, African American adolescents reported significantly higher levels of social stress and mental distress than European American adolescents A comparable study condu cted by Romero et al. (2007) investigated the relationship between bicultural stress and mental health status in Latino American, Asian American, and European American 8th grade students The researchers defined bicultural stress as stress resulting from d iscrimination, prejudice, immigration, and acculturation. Statistical analysis of participants self report questionnaires revealed that Asian and Latino American students reported a higher frequency of stress than European Americans, often at two to three times the frequency. Moreover, the researchers found that the adolescents level of bicultural stress significantly predicted the extent of depressive symptoms. The findings from the Romero study and the Choi study are consistent with the findings from ot her studies which have found that
63 culturally diverse adolescents who report experiencing acculturative stress also report more mental health problems or depressive symptoms (Hovey, 1998; Roberts, Roberts, & Chen, 1997; Romero & Roberts, 2003; Romero et al. 2007; Yeh, 2003) As a confounding factor, poverty can also impact psychological well -being (Corcoran, Danziger & Tolman, 2004; Leventhal & Brooks Gunn, 2003); this is predominantly so for children living in poverty with limited access to health care ser vices (Howell, 2004). The psychosocial adjustment and academic achievement of many impoverished children may be impacted by the numerous stressors these children face, including familial conflict, community violence, and high family mobility (Forehand, Big gar & Kotchkick, 1998; Heinlein & Shinn, 2000; Luster & McAdoo, 1994; Thompson & Massat, 2005). Additionally, children living in poverty are more likely to report increased levels of anxiety and depression than students from middle class backgrounds and have more behavioral troubles and decreased engagement in school (Black & Krish nakumar, 1998; Caughy, O Campo, & Muntaner, 2003; Samaan, 2000) Cultural discontinuity theory and academic outcome s The disconnection between the school culture and the home culture has also been shown to impact the educational experiences and outcomes of low -income, culturally diverse students (Coleman, 2000; Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008; Lad son -Billings, 1994; Nieto, 2004a ). In particular both low income and culturally diverse students are disproportionately placed in special education categories (Blair & Scott, 2002 ; Skiba et al., 2008). Thirty percent of learning disability placement among boys and 39% of learning disability placements among girls may be attributed to low -socio economic status markers (Blair & Scott 2002). A pproximately 1.5 million culturally diverse children were identified as having an emotional disturbance, mental retardation, or a specific learning disability in 1998 (The Civil Rights Project, 2002) A ccording to Parrish (2002), African American students have been the most overrepresented culturally
64 diverse group in special education programs in almost every state Furthermore, i n a 2006 Skiba and colleagues reported that in four out of five disability categories, African American students were more likely to be overrepresented in more restrictive educational settings than their peers with the same disability (Skiba, Poloni Staudinger, Gallini, Sim mons & Feggins -Azziz, 2006). In addition to the disproportional number of culturally diverse students particularly African American students, in special education, these students are also overrepresented in discipline referrals, expulsions, suspensions, and corporal punishment (Cartledge, Tillman & Johnson, 2001; Townsend, 2000; Skiba Michael Nardo & Peterson 2002) This is particularly true for African American students (Skiba et al., 2002) Skiba and colleagues report f or example, that while only 17% o f the total school population in their study was Afri can American, African American students account ed for 32% of suspensions and 30% of expulsions (Skiba et al., 2002 ). Furthermore, 10.4 % of African American students drop out of school, while only 6% of White students drop out (U.S. Department of Education 2007) Similarly, Laird, Debell, & Chapman (2006) found that students from low -income families (defined here as the lowest 20% of all family incomes) were four times more likely to drop out of high school than their peers from high income families (defin ed as the to p 20% of all family incomes). Within cultural discontinuity theory, the disproportiona te placement and representation of low income and culturally diverse students in special education programs in receiving disciplinary action, or in dropping out of school may be partially explained by cultural disconnection between students home environments and school environment Accord ing to Coleman(2000) and Bazron, Osher, and Fleischmann (2005), educators misunderstanding regarding the interaction al pa tterns and culturally -based language differences of these students often results in student s subsequent punishment and referral for special education placement.
65 For example, some cultural groups affective orientation may be misinterpreted as the students immaturity, irrationalit y, and lower cognitive ability or students communalism may be misinterpreted as social dependency (Ford et al., 2002; Pransky & Bailey, 2002 ; Weinstein, Curran & TomlinsonClarke, 2003). In addition students may unconsciously a ct out and display symptoms of psychol ogical distress in response to such misunderstandings and experiences of cultural discontinuity (Gil, Vega & Dimas, 1994) As discussed perceived discrimination and acculturative stress have been found to be a signi ficant contributing factor to academic difficulties and academic motivation for culturally diverse students ( Cummins, 1986; DeGarmo & Martinez, 2006; Phuntsog, 1999; Romero et al., 2007; Sanchez Colon & Esperanza 2005; Wong et al., 2003) The stressful experience of navigating negative classroom climate has been shown to influence students school satisfaction and students psychological distress (Baker, 1998) Research has indicated that those students who do not feel that they belong to their schools a re more likely to have low academic grades and more absences (Smerdon, 2002) Therefore, considering these research findings through the lens of cultural discontinuity theory, one could make the case that some low income, culturally diverse students may fe el as if they do not belong as result of their experiences of cultural disconnection in the classroom These experiences can thus impact their psychological well being and academic achievement Relational Cultural Theory Relational Cultural t heory (RCT) i s another theory that can be useful in examining the discrepancies in achievement levels that exists between low income, culturally diverse students and their more wealthy white peers Originating as both a counseling theory and a developmental theory to a ttend to the experiences of women and marginalized cultural groups RCT stresses the importance of relationships in fostering growth and healing (Jordan, 2001; Miller, 1986b; West,
66 2005) As a sub theory under ecological theory, RCT too places great import ance on the social and cultural context in which groups and individuals live (Hartling, 2008; Jordan & Hartling, 2002) but also seeks to minimize the negative impact of marginalization or cultural oppression through relationships (Comstock et al., 2008; Jo rdan, 2001). One of the crucial underpinnings of Relational C ultural t heory is the belief that all people desire for connection and thus relationship creation and maintenance is conceptualized as a vital aspect of development (Jordan, 2001; Miller, 1986b; West, 2005) RCT proposes that much of suffering comes from feelings of isolation but that healing can occur through a growth fostering relationship (Miller & Stiver, 1997) Movement toward mutual empathy, authenticity, and mutual empowerment are the cruc ial aspects of such a relationship (Comstock et al., 2008; Jordan, 2001). The outcomes of being in a growth fostering relationship include increased vitality and zest, empowerment, clarity, sense of worth, and feelings of connection (Miller, 1986b) Additi onally, growth fostering relationships can lead to increased feelings of competence, as well as the prospect for learning, transformation, growth, and meaning making (Hartling, 2008; Jordan, 2001; Jordan & Hartling, 2002) Unfortunately, as a member of a ma rginalized group, one is at more of a risk to have their relationships disturbed by issues including poverty, institutional discrimination, and unequal access to resources (Comstock et al., 2008; Hartling, 2008) as can be the case with low income, culturally diverse students Within RCT, extended periods of disconnection that are not easily resolved such as power differentials, racism and chronic cultural disconnections are conceptualized as potential sources of disempowerment, distress, and psychological problems (Miller & Stiver, 1997) In particular, according to RCT repeated disaffirmation increases some
67 individuals sense of self -doubt, shame, frustration, humiliation, and feelings of unworthiness in relationships (Comstock et al. 2008). RCT recogniz es the Eurocentric cultural bias within society and institutions that encourages independence, autonomy, and self sufficiency and separation, which may not be the values of some culturally diverse groups (Comstock et al., 2008; Jordan, 2001) Therefore, in dividuals from marginalized groups may begin to relate in inauthentic ways, feeling unable to bring into relationships the full aspects of themselves, thus disavowing parts of themselves, their cultures, and their life experiences (Chin, De, Cancela & Jen kins, 1993; Jordan & Hartling, 2002; Miller & Stiver, 1997) Comstock et al. (2008) suggests that in disconnection individuals experience a decreased sense of energy, a decreased sense of self -efficacy, decreased self esteem, and disengagement As describe d previously, many of these same symptoms were reported by low income, culturally diverse students when describing their experiences in school (Fisher et al., 2000; Wong et al., 2003) Consequently, RCT serves as a supplemental theory to ecological theory and cultural discontinuity theory in which to examine the discrepancies in academic achievement. Culturally Responsive Education al Practices Using ecological theory, cultural discontinuity theory and Relational C ultural theory (RCT) as a lens through which to view the problem of the achievement discrepancies and the behavioral difficulties of low income culturally diverse students, the teachers role becomes integral In 1958, Dewey asserted that teachers are responsible for facilitating a sense of communi ty to help students achieve positive outcomes. Mirroring the tenets of RCT, researchers note how a n effective teacher can provide students with positive experiences with an adult who provides acceptance, care, and support and how this attachment experience encourages social emotional growth and facilitates low income, culturally diverse students participation in
68 schooling (Baker, 1998; Sanchez et al., 2005). Moreover, the relationship between teaching quality and student learning highlights the significant role that teachers play in helping students learn (Darling Hammond & Young, 2002; Odden, Borman & Fermanich, 2004; Rivkin, Hanushek & Kain; 2001). Thus, in looking beyond the student and their families, there is a role in which the educators must play i n creating a classroom climate and environment which is conducive to the academic achievement of low -income culturally diverse students (Garcia & Guerra, 2 004; Johnson, 1994; Nieto, 2004a ; Skrla & Scheurich, 2001). As years of focusing on the problem of t he discrepancies in achievement have not significantly impacted the narrowing of the differences in academic achievement the importance of examining instances where there are exceptions to the underperformance of low income, culturally diverse students be comes increasingly important (Bempechat, 1999) The exploration of exceptions to the problem aligns with solution focused therapy, a prominent theoretical orientation in professional counseling (Berg, 1994; de Shazer, 1988) The goal of exploring the excep tions to the problem is t o identify the key factors that precede such success es and then apply such factors to other problematic situations. Therefore, it is important to examine the classrooms and practices of teachers who recognize the importance of teac her -student relationships as well as the potential for cultural discontinuity and thus make an effort to teach in a way that is relationally oriented and culturally synchronous In doing so, one can begin to identify some of the crucial pedagogy and teacher -student relations that can be strengthened and replicated in other classrooms There are many effective teachers who teach in ways in which low -income culturally diverse students thrive academically, as well as behaviorally, socially and emotionally (D iaz Greenberg, 2001; Foster, 1997; Gay, 2000; Karunagan, 2002; Ladson Billings, 1994; Phungsto g,
69 1999; Pransky & Bailey, 2002) Teachers within these classrooms have created a caring, safe, and academically focused classroom environment conducive to learni ng with limited behavioral difficulties (Bergeron, 2008; Brown, 2004; Bondy, Ross, Gallingane, & Hambacher 2007 ). These teachers are often named master teachers because of their ability to positively impact the academic achievement as well as the behavi or, social, and emotional development of low income, culturally diverse students (Diaz Greenberg, 2001; Gay, 2000; Karunagan, 2002; Ladson Billings, 1994; Phungstog, 1999; Pransky & Bailey, 2002). What culturally responsive master teachers have in common is the ability to bridge the existing cultural disconnection between the education system and the culturally diverse students and their families through culturally responsive education practices that they tailor to the students culture Culturally respons ive edu cation combines culture specific pedagogical and instructional methods (Gay, 2000; LadsonBillings, 1994; King, 2004; Nieto, 2004a, 2004b) as well as culturally responsive classroom management and teacher -student relations (Brown, 2003, 2004; Bondy et al., 2007; Weinstein et al. 2003; Weinstein, Tomlinson-Clarke, & Curran, 2004). Culturally responsive education al practices take an ecological approach to the discrepancies in academic achievement by taking into account the broader context, noting that culturally diverse students are impacted by the various systems that they interact with on a daily basis which includes the school ( Bronfrenbrenner, 1979; Butler, 2003) Culturally responsive education gets to possible root causes of the discrepancies in achievement by recognizing the sociopolitical, systemic factors including bias and cultural discontinuity, and using a combination of instructional methods and a personal, growth fostering relationship to mitigate the negative impact
70 Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Instructional Methods Pedagogy must provide a way for students to maintain their cultural integrity while succeeding academically (Ladson Billings, 2001, p. 79) Both the student and the teacher are shaped by their personal, social, cultur al, economic and political values from prior beliefs and experiences which affects how they interpret the classroom culture and social structure (Lalas, 2007, p. 20) Within culturally responsive pedagogy teachers recognize that students come to school wi th cultural experiences, prior knowledge and ways of learning, and thus utilize this knowledge so that all students can learn important academic skills as well as achieve within the classroom and beyond (Ladson Billings, 1994; Nieto, 2004a, 2004b; Phuntsog, 1999). Thus, culturally responsive instructional practices include the use of cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning encounters more relevant to and effective for them (Gay, 2000, p. 29). The exploration of students knowledge is a crucial step in culturally responsive education This exploration does not entail simply reading about a cultural groups experience, but talking to parents, students, and community me mbers and becoming familiar with the day to day life of students (Howard, 2001; Ladson Billings, 1994) Moll & Gonzalez (2004) call this accessing the students funds of knowledge which can emanate from various areas like gardening (biological/botanical knowledge), constructing patio walls (masonry), or car restoration (mechanical knowledge) After discovering the students funds of knowledge, a teacher can incorporate such knowledge into the instructional processes, as well as identify ways that the stud ents daily routines employ reasoning processes that are similar to those needed in problem solving in various subjects, like math, science, etc. (Lee, 2001). Specifically with regard to students, teachers must find out who their students are, what they know, what they need to know, what they are interested in, and what they want to learn (Delpit, 2002; Karunungan, 2002) With
71 this knowledge of the students in the classroom, the teachers are able to teach in such a way as to builds on students strengths, t heir approaches to learning, and the knowledge that they bring to the classroom (Delpit, 2006; Espinosa, 2005; Ladson Billings; Lovelace & Wheeler, 2006; Moll & Gonzalez, 2004). Culturally Responsive Classroom Management and Teacher -Student Relations In an era of educational policy that is marked by No Child Left Behind (U.S. Department of Education, 2001) and state mandated standardized testing, the focus of teacher educators and in -service teachers has been on pedagogy, instructional methods, curriculum and content While the instructional methods and pedagogy are necessary, they are not sufficient. As eloquently articulated by an ESL teacher, it doesnt matter what good content you have, or what good curriculum you have, or what exciting lessons you h ave; if you dont care about students and they know that, you dont have a chance to get to them (Brown, 2003, p. 279) Paralleling the core tenets of Relational Cultural t heory, educational literature notes how t he relationship and the teachers empathy are integral to any academic achievement and personal growth that is going to take place (Ladson Billings, 1994; McAllister & Irvine, 2002; Noddings, 1992) This has been found to be particularly true when students and teachers come from differing cultural and social backgrounds (Brown, 2004; Hale, 2001; Irvine, 2002; Weinstein et al. 2003; Wilson & Corbett, 2001). Teacher education literature has noted the importance of relationships and other relational processes (McAllister & Irvine 2002; Noddings 1992). One approach, named culturally responsive classroom manage ment, provides a description of teacher -student relations The four delineated aspects include: (a) creating a caring student teacher relationship, (b) holding high expectations, (c) asserting a uthority, and (d) maintaining culturally congruent communication (Brown, 2003, 2004)
72 Collete, a high school English teacher, highlights the importance of creating a strong, personal relationship with students when she states I really believe you have to make that social and emotional connection with kids in order to get inside their heads. You have to get to their heart before you get to their head. The fact that you care makes them see you differently (Brown, 2004, p. 277) Caring can take the form of creating a personal teacher -student relationship with each student that includes almost daily communication stemming beyond sole ly academics (Bondy et al., 2007; Brown 2004; Ladson Billings, 1994) It also entails teachers sharing stories of their own li ves, finding out about their students interests, giving the students agency in the classroom, and taking the time to actively listen to the students worries and opinions (Weinstein et al., 2003) Although students want to be cared for, this does not mean that caring is only demonstrated through affection and nurturing Caring is also depicted in the way teachers expect the students to succeed and communicate their belief in the student s abilities (Bondy et al., 2007; Howard, 2001) Being culturally respon sive means holding clearly expressed high expectations, holding the students accountable for their work, and not accepting any excuses (Brown, 2003, 2004; Cochran-Smith, 2004; Gay, 2000; Weinstein et al., 2003; Wilson & Corbett, 2001) A corollary to holding high expectations for these students is the teachers ability to assert his or herself as the leader within the classroom by being both assertive and authoritative (Bondy et al. 2007; Brown, 2003) The teachers make it clear to the students that they mean what they say and they make a concerted effort to consistently enforce rules and hold the students to high behavioral standards They also try to provide an environment where students are protected physically, socially, and academically (Brown, 2003, 2004; Delpit, 1995) The final component of culturally responsive classroom management involves being attentive to the culturally based
73 communication styles and language patterns that may be present when working with low income culturally diverse students (Delpit, 2004, Lovelace & Wheeler, 2006) Effective teachers of these students recognize these differences and develop congruent communication processes, which may entail modifying their own, so that they can create relationships with their students throu gh genuine interactions (Brown, 2004; Weinstein et al., 2003) For example, Delpit (1995) noted that while it is common for White middle class teachers to use indirect strategies like Jordan, would you like to begin?, both African American students and s tudents from working class families are more familiar with and more responsive to straightforward directives To meet the communication patterns of lower income and culturally diverse students, culturally responsive teachers would incorporate more direct m essages with their teaching style. Culturally Responsive E ducation Practices for African American S tudents Considering that the current study will specifically be examining the relationship development and the interactions between master teachers and their low income, African American students, it is important to discuss culturally responsive educational practices with this population Culturally responsive practices with African America n populations are often called A frocentric pedagogy or African centered pedagogy According to Murrell (2002), this pedagogy is what teaching and learning are like when they are centered in African American cultural heritage (p.51) Though African American individuals and their family ascribe to their African American cultu ral heritage in varying degrees (Boykin, 1994; Lee, 2005; Walker, 2007) and while one cannot isolate African American culture down to a monolithic description of beliefs, values and characteristics (Murrell, 2002; Sue & Sue, 2003) the literature presents i nformation which can situate learning, teaching and teacher -student relationships within a cultural context That is not to say that African American children will not express cultural themes of European origin, but the centrality of Afro -cultural themes i n African American childrens communities
74 and family activities will be of particular significance to their development. This is particularly so for low -income, African American children who may be more distanced from mainstream beliefs and practices because of lack of exposure due to economic circumstance (Allen & Boykin, 1992; Boykin, 1994) The three themes that appear central to African centered pedagogy and educational practice include communalism, epistemological belief in socially constructed learni ng, and verve (Boykin, 1986, 2001; Foster, 1995; Hale, 2001; King, 2005; LadsonBillings, 2001; Murrell, 2002) Communalism is a fundamental theme in understanding Afric an American culture and African -centered educational practices Communalism can be under stood as encompassing a we ness to all that is undertaken Consequently in the classroom, it is not the teacher distanced from the students in the learning process, but instead teaching and learning is a joint venture embarked on together (LadsonBilling s, 2001; Murrell, 2002) The social context in an African centered classroom is best described as a family in which there are set routines, traditions, practices, celebration s and ways of interacting that bind the members together and facilitate nurturing caring relationships (Boykin, 2001; Foster, 1995; King, 2005; Murrell, 2002) Therefore, according to Murrell, a community is created which the link between students and with the teacher is socially recognized and individuals work together toward a common purpose or set of objectives. Moreover, given its familial context a holistic view is taken of each individual Thus the teacher is concerned with more than just the childs acquisition of knowledge and their cognitive growth, but also students moral, et hical, and personal development are of relevance (Foster, 1995). The second central theme is greatly intertwined with communalism. African centered educational practice rests in the epistemological belief in socially constructed learning (Hale,
75 1986, 2001; Murrell, 2002). African American students do not typically learn best when their learning is oriented to objects, but instead they learn and develop when their learning is focus ed toward people (Hale, 2001; Murrell, 2002) According to Murrell, the deve lopment of childrens capacity to think, reason, communicate and perform academically is a matter of practice a mater of knowledge in use that is enacted in socially situationed and culturally contextualized settings (p. 50) Moreover, there should be opportunities for continuous interpersonal engagement that allow for students to produce work products in a collective effort (Murrell, 2002) Learning thus takes places in a social process that is influenced by the community discourse, and it is through this that the students and the teacher acquire both received and cons tructed knowledge (Murrell, 2002). Part of this social engagement and interaction can take place through incorporating the knowledge traditions and communication patterns including narrative, call and response, indirection, and wordplay (Foster, 2001; Murrell, 2002). The third theme of African pedagogy and educational practice is the theme of verve (Boykin, 1979). Verve is often referred to in education research in terms of the African American cultural tendency toward high levels of stimulation to action, energy, and ability to tend to multiple concerns at once (Berry, 2005; Boykin, 1983, 1986, 2001; Hale, 2001). Boykin and colleagues suggested tha t African American homes abound with stimulat ion, intensity and variation, due to the propensity in some homes for there to be a variety of activities occurring and a large number of people present in the homes. Also, they have asserted that some of the high stimulation in low income, African America n homes is based in a movement and expressive orientation connected with music ( Allen & Boykin, 1991; Boykin, 1983; Boykin & Allen, 1988; Lee, 2005). Similarly, Hale (2001) refers to African American childrens exposure to high
76 degrees of stimulation throu gh visual arts, video arts and music. A number of researchers have thus noted how many African American children have an elevated behavioral vibrancy and an elevated affinity toward stimulus change (Berry, 2005; Boykin, 1983, 1986, 2001; Hale, 2001) Co nsequently, teachers wanting to create a learning environment that integrates African American students culture would use multimodal teaching methods as well as the use of multimedia in their instruction (Hale, 2001; LadsonBillings, 2001) Furthermore, A frican centered educational practices would also include opportunities for student oral performance, movement and kinesthetic activity, (Boykin, 1983, 1986, 2001; Murrell, 2001; King 2005; Lee, 2005). Outcomes of Culturally Responsive Education Academic o utcomes Examining the discrepancies in achievement levels through the lenses of ecological, cultural discontinuity and cultural relational theory, versus deficit theory, provides a more inclusive framework in which to explore some of the roots of academic underachievement and potential interventions Specifically, as noted, the educational practices of culturally responsive, master teachers get to the potential causes of these achievement discrepancies resulting in academic gains for their low -income, cult urally diverse students (Diaz -Greenberg, 2001; Foster, 1997; Foster, 2004; Foster et al., 2003, 2005; Gay, 2000; Karunagan, 2002; Ladson Billings, 1994; Phun t s o g, 1999; Pransky & Bailey, 2002) One example of the use of culturally responsive educational p ractices is that of the Kamehameha Elementary Education Program (KEEP) KEEP is a K 3 language arts program that was developed after identifying cultural discontinuity as one of the major problems in the poor academic achievement of low -income, Native Hawa iian students (Vogt, Jordan, & Tharp, 1993) This program was created in the late 1970s, and is one of the older examples of the
77 effectiveness of culturally responsive practice The program was adapted to include culturally responsive instructional practic es, classroom organization, and motivation management based in Hawaiian culture (Vogt et al. 1993). Specifically, the program moved from a phonics approach to reading to a comprehension approach, implemented more group work, and used culturally based form s of encouragement, including indirect and group praise. According to Tharp and colleagues (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988; Tharp 1982) students made pronounced improvements in reading and maintained results above the academic achievement of non -KEEP programs A more contemporary example of the efficacy of culturally responsive teaching is that of the research conducted by Pransky and Bailey (2002) The researchers present a number of case studies regarding efforts to minimize the cultural discontinuity in the cl assroom for English as a Second Language (ESL) students Noting that various academic variables impact academic performance, the researchers documented academic progress made by these students through test results and observational data In particular, the y found that 80% of the students within the culturally responsive teachers classroom passed the states comprehensive assessment test The passing rates for ESL students across the state averaged below 50%, with some districts pas sing rates as low as 10% Additionally, aggregate test scores of these ESL students showed increased movement toward grade level performance and teachers observed an increase in quality of academic work and increased participation of the students. Foster and colleagues (2003, 2005) also focus on culturally responsive teaching, but specifically focus on such practices with low income, African American students The researchers developed an after school programs for low -income, culturally diverse students focusing on language arts, m athematics science, and the arts taught by culturally responsive master teachers at three locations Overall, the afterschool program had a positive impact on
78 students academic achievement and behavior (Foster, 2004; Foster et al., 2003, 2005) In partic ular the absence of problematic behavior and the presence of positive behaviors in the programs were noticed, as well as everyday classroom teachers noting the increase and influence of positive behaviors in the classroom as well. Conversations and inform al interviews indicate that parents have noticed changes in their childrens behavior and their childs excitement about learning Additionally, students participating in the program showed increases in test scores based on pre and post test data in readin g and mathematics (Foster et al., 2003) and outperformed a matched district sample in reading and writing on a district administered test (Foster et al., 2005). Finally, Peterek and Adams ( in press) present a case study of a fifth grade teacher who exempli fies culturally responsive education practices Teaching in a Title I school that serves a predominantly low income, African American population, this master teacher has set high expectations that her students not only met but exceeded. She addressed the c ultural characteristics of her students by incorporating oral chanting, call and response, clap ping, and rhythmic movements into her classroom practices This teacher used her understanding of her students as a basis on which to create meaningful learning experiences The results of such culturally responsive efforts helped students to move from poor to outstanding scores on the states standardized tests (Peterek & Adams in press). In fact, her students had some of the highest standardized mathematics tes t scores in the state. Psychological outcomes Given the prominence of standardized testing in educational policy and practice and the continued existence of discrepancies in achievement levels, much of the emphasis with regard to culturally responsive educ ation has concentrated on academic outcomes, including standardized tests and grade point averages. However, the impact that master teachers culturally responsive
79 practices can have on the psychological and emotional development of low -income culturally diverse students has not been explored sufficiently. In getting to know their students and integrating various instructional methods and content so as to meet the students cultural experiences, master teachers are affirming their students identity and de monstrating their care for low income, culturally diverse students Cummins (1996) suggests that teachers efforts to affirm students developing cultural identities through teacher -student interactions, may result in students putting forth more academic e ffort and actively participating in more instruction. Moreover, Cummins asserts that teachers, who encourage students to add a second language and cultural affiliation while preserving their home language and culture are more apt to create an empowering en vironment, versus those teachers who encourage the replacement of students home language and culture as a means of assimilation. Rosario Diaz Greenberg (2001) investigated the educational practices that encourage the emergence and legitimization of Latino American students voices Using a participatory research approach, Diaz Greenberg interviewed Latino American students and gained their opinions The students spoke of their desire for more culturally responsive practices including a curriculum that inco rporates the perspectives of the students and their families. Pervasive throughout the study included students comments regarding their ethnic identities and culture Therefore, those students who felt their voices were respected and their culture validat ed reported feeling more positively about themselves (worth and self esteem), a sense of connectedness and safety in the learning environment, and greater belief in their ability to critically analyze information (Diaz Greenberg, 2001).
80 In a similar qualitative study, Gloria Ladson Billings (1994), in her renowned book Dreamkeeper s, describes her qualitative study of eight successful teachers of African American students. She not only discussed the positive academic outcomes of these teachers students, but also of the impact on the psychological well being of students She stated that culturally responsive teaching practice respects students sense of humanity and dignity Students self worth and self concept is promoted as teachers make an effort to get t o know their students and incorporate their culture and knowledge, thus acknowledging the students worthiness Ladson Billings asserts that the hope of these teachers is that the students have sense of ownership of their knowledge and are empowered by it She also noted that the teachers also use the students culture as a source of celebration and a means of affirming them and their identities Moreover, LadsonBillings shares about the classrooms of culturally responsive teachers stating psychological s afety is a hallmark of each of these classrooms The students feel comfortable and supported (p. 73). Five Standards of Effective Pedagogy Despite the voluminous literature discussing c ulturally responsive education and its efficacy in impacting the acade mic achievement and the psychological well -being of students, it can often be unclear as to what exactly a culturally responsive teacher does. Some of the major aspects of culturally responsive instructional methods have been identified by Dalton (1998) an d Tharp, Estrada, Dalton, and Yamauchi (2000). Tharp and colleagues (2000) identified the conditions that maximize academic excellence in low -income, culturally diverse and linguistically diverse students Out of their work they proposed five principles of pedagogy that maximize teaching and learning for culturally, linguistically and economically diverse students across all subjects: 1) teachers and students producing together, 2) developing language and literacy across the curriculum, 3) making meaning an d connecting school to students lives, 4)
81 teaching complex thinking, and 5) teaching through dialogue The premise behind each of these five standards have been articulated in various other educational research across student populations ( Bower, 1997; Car penter, Fennema & Franke, 1996; Delpit, 1995; Moll & Gonzalez, 2004; Newman, 1996) and thus there has been consensus based agreement based on the evidence throughout educational research and development (Tharp, 1999) The Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence (CREDE) has named these the Five Standards for Effective Pedagogy. The first standard, joint productive activity emphasizes that learning takes place most effectively when teachers and students work and communicate together to reach a common goal or product (Hillberg Doherty, Epaloose, & Tharp., 2004; Tharp et al., 2000) Teachers play an active, but not a dominant role in the process and share in the experience to allow for extensive discussion. This is particularly important when students and teachers different culture s as joint product activities provide a shared common context within the school experience (Tharp et al., 2000) The second standard involves the facilitation of language and literacy in all subject areas and in all instructional activities. Students are to be continually given opportunities to speak, write, practice language use, and receive conversational feedback The teachers role is to aid in students language development by questioning, rephrasing, and modeling (Tharp et al., 2000; Hillberg et al., 2004). The third standard relates to what Moll and Gonzalez (2004) have named funds of knowledge discussed previously. Consequently, this involves connecting school learning to students lives, thus building on the experiences, interests, and knowledge that st udents obtain from their homes and communities The fourth standard emphasizes teaching higher order thinking skills and enhancing students development of more complex thinking Also called
82 challenging activities, these activities involve tasks that challenge the students to grow in their zones of proximal development, give students the chance to apply new information, and balance challenge and assistance to enhance st udents complex thinking. (Hill berg et al., 2004; Tharp et al., 2000) The fifth and final standard is teaching through conversation, also called i nstructional c onversation (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988) According to Tharp and colleagues (2000), such student teacher dialogue creates condition s for maximizing learning, which include the development of the student teacher relationship, the facilitation of the relationship between the school knowledge and the students home knowledge, and enhancements in critical thinking Teacher Evaluation Res earch The Five Standards of Effective Pedagogy (Tharp et al. 2000) are an example of the instructional components found to be important in enhancing student performance However, effective instructional methods are only part of the interaction process t hat occurs in the classroom. As Jeff, a high school English teacher states, Youre there to teach kids not subjects! (Brown, 2003, p. 278). Educators and school counselors have long noted the i mportance of positive classroom climate s conducive to learning and the caring relationship between teachers and students (Baker, 1999; Fraser & Wallberg, 1991; Hamre & Pianta, 2001; Noddings, 1992) Much of the research has indicated that positive classr oom climates are related to increased academic achievement dec reased behavioral difficulties, and affective outcomes including motivation, self -worth, and engagement ( Birch & Ladd, 1997, 1998; Furrer & Skinner, 2003; Hamre & Pianta, 2005; Marchant, Paulson, & Rothlisberg, 2001; Meehan, Hughes & Cavell, 2003; Ryan & Patrick, 2001) Furrer and Skinner (2003) investigated students sense of relatedness and its impact on students engagement level According to the researchers, sense of relatedness can be assessed by measures of school climate and quality of teacher -stude nt relationships, in addition to feelings
83 of belonging, inclusion, acceptance, importance and interpersonal support. A group of 641 3rd to 6th grades students rated their relatedness to their teachers and their parents, their perceived control in academic s, and their behavioral/emotional engagement in class Teachers also rated each students engagement. Regression analysis indicated that students perceptions of relatedness to teachers were positively associated with both student rated and teacher rated e ngagement Additionally, teacher rated engagement was associated with academic performance. Ryan and Patrick (2001) investigated how eighth grade students perceptions of the social climate of their eight h grade classroom were associated with students chang es in motivation and engagement as they moved from seventh to eighth grade Social climate was broken into four components: the extent to which teachers fostered teacher -student relationships, promoted interaction among students around an academic task, fostered mutual respect among students, and the promotion of academic competition and comparison among students Controlling for prior motivation and engagement, gender, race, and prior achievement, social climate was found to be significantly related to cha nges in students social efficacy with the teacher, academic efficacy, self regulated learning and disruptive behavior Students perception of their teacher as supportive were related to positive changes in motivation and engagement, including increased c onfidence with the teacher, self regulated learning, and decreased disruptive behavior Students who felt their teacher was trying to understand them and was available for help were more engaged with less off task behavior in the classroom. A critical part of classroom is the teacher -student relationship Researchers have long emphasized how the relationship can serve as the foundation on which learning and growth occur in both K 12 classrooms and college classrooms (Brophy & Good, 1974; McAllister & Irvine 2002; Noddings, 1992; Lowman, 1994). In their study of the intergenerational bonds between
84 teachers and students, Crosnoe, Johnson, and Elder (2004) found that stronger teacher -student relationships were associated with a higher likelihood of academic ac hievement and less likelihood of behavior difficulty. The teacher -student relationship has been deemed particularly important for those students deemed at risk due to behavior, socioeconomic status, prior academic performance, and their communitys drop out rate (Baker, 1999; Hamre & Pianta, 2005; Ladson Billings, 1994; M eehan et al., 2003; Muller, 2002) Hamre and Pianta (2005) conducted a study with 910 five to six year olds identified as high functional risk or low functional risk based on the students scores on measures of attention, externalizing behavior, social skills and academic achievement They found that high risk students in highly emotionally supportive classrooms had similar levels of conflict with teachers and levels of academic achieveme nt as those students identified as low risk However, high risk students in low or moderately emotionally supportive classrooms had lower achievement and higher conflict with teachers than low risk students Baker (1999) conducted a mixedmethod stud y u sing observations, interviews and self report questionnaires to examine teacher student relationships among low -income African American third through fifth graders. Those students who reported high satisfaction with school indicated that they felt more supported and cared for by teachers than those students w ho reported less satisfaction This is of particular importance as students feelings of school satisfaction have been associated with school engagement, school completion, academic motivation and a chievement (Goodenow & Grady, 1992; Ryan & Patrick, 2001; Sanchez et al. 2005). Meehan, Hughes and Cavell (2003) focused on the association between positive teacher student relationships and the aggression levels of aggressive second and third grade stud ents Students were identified by their teachers as fitting the behavioral description of a physically or
85 relationally aggressive child. Meehan and colleagues found that teacher rated support pr edicted lower levels of teacher rated aggression. Moreover, th e relationships between teachers and students were more strongly predictive of lower l evels of peer -rated and teacher rated aggression for aggressive African American and Latino students than for aggressive White students The researchers suggest that the culturally diverse students may be more responsive to the positive relationship with their teachers than White students because positive interactions between teachers and White students are more commonplace. Considering the information described above, e x emplary teachers appear to be those who can create a semblance of balance between the creation and maintenance of relationships and the implementation of instructional methods From his examination of effective teachers, Lowman (1984) developed the twodim ensional model which includes intellectual stimulation or the teachers stimulation of interest and clarity of presentation and rapport which depicts the teachers interpersonal skills and their ability to increase student motivation. The model depicts the complex negotiation of both the task and the relational processes of effective teaching (Lowman, 1994) Process Product Research The interactional processes of effective teachers have been of interest in educational research for over forty years as t here has been a search for the instructional practices and relational variables that lead to positive academic outcomes This research, called process product or process outcome research, looks to identify and quantify the relationship between classroom pr ocesses and student outcomes The classroom processes are understood in terms of teaching behaviors and practices, while the outcomes are the students learning and behavior (Gettinger & Kohler, 2006; Brophy & Good, 1986). While process -product research ha s
86 decreased currently, it was quite prominent in the 1960s, 70s and 80s One area of interest within proc ess-product research is teacher -effect research Teacher -effect research examines teacher behaviors and interactions between teachers and students and their relationsh ip with student performance. Teacher -effect research consists primarily of observing the teachers at work in their classroom s Using methods described as interaction analysis (Amidon & Hughes, 1967, Flanders, 1970) or systematic classroom observation (Hillberg, Waxman, & Tharp, 2004), researchers use classroom observation instruments to document teacher behaviors The researchers then calculate the relationship between the frequency of such behaviors and measurable student achievement and behavioral outcomes (Gettinger & Kohler 2006). This line of research has created an abundance of evaluation systems for examining the interactional processes within classrooms, including, for example, Flanders Int eraction Analysis Categories (F I A C; Flande rs, 1970), Reciprocal Category System and Equivalent Talk Categories (Ober, Bentley & Miller, 1971), Observational System for Instructional Analysis (OSIA; Hough & Duncan, 1970) and Classroom Observation Keyed for Effectiveness Research (Medley, Coker & Soar, 1984) Many of the well known quantitative process product studies exploring teacher behavior and student achievement are reviewed by Brophy and Good (1986) It is important to note that historically teacher -effect researchers have assumed that these teaching behaviors were applicable to all students regardless of student background. In the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a shift toward interpretive, qualitative paradigms of research as way of examining the complexities of classroom dynamics (G ettinger & Kohler, 2006). According to Cochran and Lytle (1990) research from these perspectives presumes that teaching is a highly complex, context -specific, interactive activity in which
87 differences across classrooms, schools, and communities are criti cally important (p. 3) Qualitative studies typically explore classroom interactions through detailed observation or small case studies which take the form of in-depth field studies or narrative descriptions (Jacobs, Kawanka & Stigler, 1999) More recent ly researchers returned to quantitative studies of teaching through the use of various instruments and questionnaires measuring students and teachers perceptions of teacher -student relationships and classroom interactions (Fraser, 1998; Wubbels & Brekel mans, 2005). School Counselors Role in Culturally Responsive Education Within the past twenty years, school counselors have inserted themselves more substantially within schools by taking on a greater leadership role (Brown & Trusty, 2005; Dollarhide, 2003). In the past, school counselors have used their psychological and relational skill sets to facilitate change within individual students and their families, however they are now moving toward also using these same skills when acting as systems change age nt in schools This role expansion is depicted in the American Scho ol Counselor Associations (ASCA) National Model ( ASCA, 2003) The ASCA Model stresses that the school counselors responsibility is to take on leadership, advocacy and consultant role s tha t are integral to the academic mission and systemic change of schools. Theses roles are particularly important with school counselors working in schools with large populations of low -income, culturally diverse students (Amatea & West -Olatunji, 2007b; Bemak, 2000; Bemak & Chung, 2005; Lee, 2005). Brown and Trusty (2005) specifically note that the school counselors can minimize the discrepancies in achievement levels through their role as consultant. The concept of the school counselor serving as a consultant is not a new concept In fact, researchers have been advocating for school counse lor consultation for decades (F a u st, 1968; Hoskins, Astramovich & Smith, 2007; Strein & French, 1984) Counselor educators have been emphasizing the importance of
88 increasin g school counselors consultation knowledge and skills (Davis, 2003) Moreover, youth in schools particularly, low income, culturally diverse students, fa ce a number of complex problems. N oting this, Keys, Bemak, Carpenter and King Sears (1998) and Bemak ( 2000) emphasize the need for school counselors to consult with parents, community members, and teachers School counselors already consult with teachers on a variety of topics including, for example, helping teachers to connect with the affective domain of their students (Strein & French, 1984), develop relationships and rapport with and among students (Rice & Smith, 1993; Wittmer & Clark, 2002), work in preventing behavioral issues within the classroom (Clem e ns, 2007) and work more effectively with student s with attention deficit hyper activity disorder (Schwiebert, Sealander & Dennison, 2002) More recently, there has been an emphasis for school counselors to integrate their multicultural competencies into their consultation with teachers (Coleman & Baski n, 2003) While school counselors have been encouraged to consult, an area in which school counselors could increase their consultation role with teachers is by helping them to develop and implement culturally responsive education practices (Amatea & West Olatunji, 2007b). The ASCA Models three pronged emphasis on student academic, career, and personal/social development of students (ASCA, 2003) clearly indicates the necessity of involvement of the school counselors in not only minimizing the differences i n academic achievement, but also improving the overall psychological well -being of their students. Although improv ements in the psychological well -being of students has always been a goal of school counselors, within an ecological perspective, school couns elors aim to intervene to impact macrosystemic factors, including bias and cultural discontinuity (Amatea & West -Olatunji, 2007a). Given this aim, one of the most significant roles of the school counselor in impacting the
89 discrepancies in achievement will be through his/her role as a consultant (Amatea & West Olatunji, 2007b; Bemak, 2000). With the student to counselor ratio averaging 475 to one ( Sable & Noel, 2008), it is impossible for the school counselor to be able to reach all of these individuals dire ctly and do so effectively. Because teachers interact with students on a daily basis, they are in a critical position to create a classroom environment that will ensure cultural integrity and academic achievement (Phuntsog, 1999). Thus the school counselor s partnership with teachers can be crucial P receding the call for more leadership skill development among school counselors, many school counselors perceived the issues of teacher preparation teacher instruction, and classroom dynamics as less relevant to the ir daily responsibilities (Cholewa &West Olatunji, 2008) However, given the current directive and the pervasiveness of the achievement discrepancies, it is imperative that school counselors attempt to transform the experiences and significantly imp act achievement outcomes for low income culturally diverse students (Bemak, 2000; Hines & Fields, 2004; Lee, 2005) As a consultant the school counselor can partner with teachers to create culturally responsive environments to not only positively impact l ow -income culturally diverse students academic performance, but the students psychological well -being as well School Counselor Preparation and Competencies School counselors are uniquely trained to work alongside teachers to create culturally responsi ve environments. While school counselors have not been trained extensively in teaching pedagogy or instructional methods, school counselors have received training in relationship development, interpersonal skills, and human development as well as multicultural awareness and understanding In fact, the main accrediting body for counselor education programs, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP), requires that school counseling students accrue a minimum of 48 sem ester hours of graduate coursework
90 including eight core areas which must address strict standards (CACREP, 2001) Three of the areas that specifically point to school counselors preparation and ability to work with teachers regarding culturally responsive practices include the areas of human growth and development, helping relationships, and social and cultural diversity (CACREP, 2001) The area of helping relationships focuses on creating conditions which can facilitate the ability to connect with anot her human being on an interpersonal level In particular, this area focuses on the characteristics and behaviors that influence helping processes including age, gender, and ethnic differences, verbal and nonverbal behaviors and personal characteristics, o rientation and skills ( CACREP, 2001, p. 14 ). Therefore, school counselors are aware of the various intricacies within relationships. Considering the expansive literature pointing to the importance of the teacher -student relationship and its link to positi ve student outcomes, particularly for low income or culturally diverse students (Baker, 1999; Hamre & Pianta, 2005; Meehan et al., 2003; Ryan & Patrick, 2001) school counselors knowledge of relationship development is significan t. School counselors knowle dge and skills will be further enhanced with a better understanding of how master teachers develop relationships and use their relationships with thei r low income, culturally diverse students in the learning process. The human growth and development area e mphasizes the developmental processes throughout the lifespan. Specifically some of the topics that must be covered include theories of individual and family development, theories of learning and personality, and approaches for facilitating optimum develop ment (CACREP, 2001) A working knowledge of these theories gives school counselors a context in which to understand classroom climate and student learning processes In addition, the standards require that counseling students gain an understanding of devel opmental crises, psychopathology, and environmental factors that can impact behavior
91 (CACREP, 2001). School counselors particularly focus on child and adolescent development which provides an understanding of some of the potential social and emotional needs of students at different age levels (ASCA, 2003) The third area of social and cultural diversity is of particular importance regarding the unique skill set of school counselors This area focuses on the : cultural contexts of relationships, issues and tr ends in a multicultural and diverse society related to such factors as culture, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental and physical characteristics, education, family values, religious and spiritual values, socioeconomic status and unique characteristics of individuals, couples, families, ethnic groups and communities. (CACREP, 2001, p. 12) Additionally, aspects of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination as well as how certain behaviors that are supported by the majority culture can negatively impact individuals psychologically and physically are addressed (CACREP, 2001) To avoid the continuation of such negative outcomes, the profession has emphasized the significance of training culturally competent counselors who are able to effectively work with clients from a variety of backgrounds and orientations (Sue & Sue, 2003) The American School Counselor Associations (ASCA) code of ethics stresses professional school counselors duty to strive toward cultural compe tence and gain an improve d awareness, knowledge, skills and effectiveness in working with diverse populations (ASCA, 2004, p. 4) More recently there has been a movement toward social justice and the im portance of counselors taking an advocacy role in addressing the needs of marginalized populations (Holcomb-McCoy, 2004; Keys et al. 1998; Lewis, Lewis, Daniels & DAndrea, 2003) which aligns with ASCAs (2003) promotion of school counselor advocacy The teacher education literature indicates that even w ith a mandatory multicultural education class within most teacher training programs and/or discussions of multicultural
92 education practices, many novice teachers are resistant to or have difficulty with its practical application (Bergeron, 2008; Bondy et a l., 2007; Jenks et al., 2001; King, 2004; Ladson Billings, 1994; Marbley, Bonner, McKisick, Henfield, & Watts, 2007; Nieto, 2004a ). Given their multicultural training, coun selors can help teachers deepen their understanding of the negative influence of mon o -cultural instructional practices and the necessity of using more culturally responsive educational approaches (Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008) Unfortunately counselors are not always a part of the conversation regarding teacher preparation, teacher ins truction, or classroom dynamics as these topics seemed to be less relevant to the daily responsibilities of professional school counselors (Cholewa & West -Olatunji, 2008). School counselors have developed interventions aimed at decreasing the impact of cul tural discontinuity on students, but these interventions often do not include working in partnership with teachers (Bailey & Paisley, 2004; DelgadoGaitan, 1994; Mitchell, Bush, & Bush, 2002) For example, Bailey and Paisely (2004) developed Project: Gentl eman on the Move (PGOTM), a comprehensive and developmental program that takes a holistic, culturally based approach about the empowerment of African American male adolescents The program took place during after school hours and on the weekends One of th e components of the intervention included content aimed towards the students academic and social growth Academic topics included African and family history and study skill enhancement, while social topics included self -efficacy, community service, profes sional etiquette and acceptance of individual differences The students also participated in individual and group counseling as well as went on field trips, college visitations, and community service projects. The program also involved parents and family m embers but did little to involve teachers or impact the school context. Results showed that students who participated in the program had higher GPAs than those students who were referred
93 to the program but chose not to participate. Interviews from the stud ents indicated that students who participated had increased academic motivation, self -efficacy, and increased leadership Parent interviews revealed similar themes as well as improved social skills and a peer support network Although a promising intervention, the role of the school counselor cannot be limited to direct services solely aimed toward decreasing and remediating for the impact of cultural discontinuity. Given the current mandate school counselors must insert themselves proactively into the con versation regarding the differences in achievement levels so as to prevent low income, culturally diverse students from experiencing cultural discontinuity and relational disconnections in the classroom As psychological, interactional experts, with multic ultural training school counselors must play a more integral role in ensuring the minimization of discrepancies in achievement levels and the enhancement of the psychological well -being of low income, culturally diverse students through partnership and consultation with teachers (Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008) However, in order to do so more effectively it is important that school counselors get a fuller picture of the practices and interactional processes of culturally responsive master teachers. Conclus ions Discrepancies in the achievement levels between low income, culturally diverse students and their economically privileged White classmates continue to plague educators, school counselors, and parents Many attempts to minimize the discrepancies have b een based in deficit theory, aiming to remediate the students and their families Not only have these efforts failed to significantly minimize the achievement level discrepancies, they may actually negatively impact low income, culturally diverse students Educators have begun to acknowledge the sociocultural and sociopolitical context in which students live, and how these students often experience a
94 disconnection between the culture of the school and that of the students homes which can negatively impact their academic achievement and psychological well being. As a result, some educators have begun to develop and implement more culturally responsive educational practices, including instructional methods and relational processes Research suggests that such practices not only positively impact the academic achievement of these students, but also positively affects their psychological well -being. Given the psychological, relational and multicultural training of school counselors and their dedication to the a cademic progress and psychological health of all students, school counselors must take a role in facilitating culturally responsive educational practices. However, in order to do so, a more detailed, illustrative description of culturally responsive educat ional practices is needed Researchers have begun to describe the instructional methods and behavioral practices of master teachers that impact the academic achievement of low income, culturally diverse students. However, a dearth of research exists pertai ning to the interactions between master teachers and their low -income, culturally diverse students which may yield positive psychological outcomes.
95 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Statement of Purpose The purpose of this study was to develop a theory using grounded theory methodology that describes the relational processes characterizing how culturally responsive master teachers develop and use their relationships with their low income African -American students to facilitate learning In particular, the present stu dy id entified and describe d specific teacher student interactions responses and relationships that might affect the psychological well -being of students. Psychological well being has not been uniformly defined, but has been measured in various ways throug h self -report instruments (Andrews & Withey, 1976; Ryan & Deci, 2001; Sandvick, Diener & Seidlitz, 1993) However, there does not appear to be consensus regarding directly observable behaviors reflecting psychological well being. Consequently, only studen t s behaviors reflecting either levels of engagement with the teacher or other students or students interest or on task behavior could be inferred from the data In this chapter a de scription of the methodological framework, the researchers subjectivity statement, the participants, data collection procedures, and data analysis procedures are presented. Methodological Framework It was decided by the researcher that t he purpose of this study and the research questions posed in this study were best examine d through qualitative method s Because the existing theories such as Relation al Cultural t heory and S ociocultural theory did not provide specific detail to guide the study theoretically the m ethodology of grounded theory was used Grounded theory was developed by Glaser and Strauss in 1967 and is based in a post positivist framework (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) Post -positivism asserts that the entire truth can never be fully realized, but that it can be approximated through the research process (Lincoln &
96 Gu ba, 2000) Grounded theory seeks to discover or build theory from the data, thus moving away from the tradition of theory testing (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). More specifically through data collection and systematic data analysis, grounded theory aims to gain an understanding of concepts in order to provide a theoretical explanation of social phenomena (Straus & Corbin, 1998) Data analysis is a cycle of inductive processes in which concepts are identified and hypotheses made based upon the observations from t he data, which are then proceeded by hypothesis testing to provide verification of the emerging theory. Within grounded theory, the sample of the study is not set prior to the beginning of the study Instead the sample is determined by the process of data analysis and the identification of concepts categories an d themes (Corbin & Strauss, 1990; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1998) Therefore, data collection and analysis continues along with the constant comparative method in order to maximize opportunities to discover variations among concepts and to densify categories in terms of their properties and dimensions (Strauss & Corb in, 1998, p. 201) W hen the added data collection and analysis no longer yields new information that augments the deve loping theory thus reaching what grounded theory calls theoretical saturation (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) Corbin and Strauss (1990) note the provisional nature of concept discovery in the research process of grounded theory. Actual incidents or activiti es are analyzed as having the potential to be indicators of phenomena, and are given conceptual labels (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). However, concepts must repeatedly present within the observation data, or significantly absent, in order to be integrated into the emerging theory. Therefore concepts are grounded in the reality of the data and not based upon the researchers preconceived notions A key part within this process is the constant comparative method (Glaser & Straus, 1967) also called comparative
97 anal ysis (Straus & Corbin, 1998) This process includes comparing the similarities and differences between incidents and incidents properties to begin classifying incidents into categories (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) Straus and Corbin discuss moving beyond comp aring incidents to making theoretical comparisons to facilitate understandings of properties and dimensions of concepts. From the analysis of various concepts, relationships are hypothesized and then tested as the more data is analyzed and through this pro cess a theory emerges. T here are three specific phases of coding in grounded theory: open coding, axial coding, and selective coding (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Open coding consists of doing a line by line or video segment by video se gment analysis of the data The segments are broadly coded and then compared to one another in terms of similarities and differences. Codes of interaction/action segments that are conceptually similar or related are grouped under conceptual labels often c alled concepts or categories (Strauss & Corbin, 1998 ). Open coding is followed by axial coding in which categories are grouped and assembled according to their relationships among one another Axial coding is the process of relating categories to their s u b categories, termed axial because coding occurs around the axis of a category, linking categories at the level of properties and dimensions (Strauss & Corbin, 1998, p. 123) The final phase, selective coding, consists of examining and incorporating th e categories properties and dimensions as well as re lationships among the categories into a theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1998) In grounded theory the researcher uses theoretical memos to document his/her reflective process regarding the codes, categories and emerging theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) Theoretical memo writing is considered foundational to the development of a theory (Glaser, 1978) According to Glaser as one analyzes the data, he or she should be writing down his or he r ideas re garding the codes and categories and their
98 relationships among one another In writing theoretical memos, one is to have a nonjudgmental attitude to allow for a free flow of ideas This memo writing facilitates the expansion of properties and dim ensions of categories, the integration of categories, and theory conceptualization ideas (Glaser, 1978). Subjectivity Statement In this work, the researcher must acknowledge the frame of reference from which she engaged in this research The researcher is a white female in her late 20s She grew up in a white family of middle to upper -middle income She has not experienced living in an income bracket that would be considered low income Even as a graduate student, though f inancially strained at times, her experiences do not approximate the experience of the students from which this research study focuses Moreover, her culture aligns with the Eurocentric base espoused in the U.S. education system and to her knowledge has not experienced cultural discontinui ty either during her K 12 or h igher education experiences Her experiences in school have been predominantly positive, and she has never struggled signi ficantly academically, nor did she have behavioral difficulties. Since she was an underg raduate over 6 y ears ago, she has been interested in working with low income, culturally diverse youth and their families. It is here that her passion lies, and thus after e arning her undergraduate degree she spent a year living and working in a boys group home that serv ed low income African American youth It is during this time that she was exposed to some of the realities of their experiences of living with limited resources and some of their negative educational experiences. Her time in the boys group home inspired her to pursue a graduat e degree in counseling so that she could be more equipped to serve this population. She hold s a Master of Education and Education Specialist in school counseling and guidance and is
99 seeking her doctorate in mental health counseling Therefore, she has been trained in human interactions and thus will be examining the practices of teachers through a counselors lens. M ost of her research as well as her counseling practicum and internship experiences have been directed towards working wi th this population, often times wit hin the school setting. She has seen the disparities in achievement levels and the impact of cultural discontinuity exemplified in students of local schools serving low -income, cu lturally diverse populations She has seen these students positioned as nonlearners, labeled as problem children, an d sent out of the classroom In counseling these children, s he has witnessed th e angry and frustrated looks on their faces, heard descriptions of their dislike of school, and noti ced their defeated language Her immersion in multicultural education research focusing on S ociocultural theory, culturally responsive education, and cultural discontinuity has provided a lens through which to view her experiences. Data Collection The vid eotaped data that was examined in this research study was obtained from existing research and professional development project s As the focus of the study was the examination of the interactions between master teachers and their low income African America n students during their first days together the researcher sought a sample of teachers who had demonstrated their effectiveness with these students both academically a nd behaviorally T wo master teachers were ch osen based on this criterion The two teache r sample provided the basis for theoretical sampling, but the number of videotapes examined for each teacher was determined upon reaching theoretical saturation (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) The first set of videotapes was part of a research project conducted by Foster, L ewis, and Onafow o ra (2003, 2005) depicting a teacher conducting lessons with her first through third grade students in the first week of an afterschool program in the 20012002 school year While the
100 teacher was taped throughout the duration of the afterschool program Foster and colleagues only provided videotape data on the first three days of the program for this study. The second set of videotapes depicted a teacher conducting mathematics lessons with her fifth grade students in the first w eek of school during the 2006 2007 school year The data w ere part of a professional development project sponsored by a Center for Learning associated with a college of education at a large university in the southeastern United States. With permission fr om the researchers and as an extension of their research, the videotaped interactions between these two master teachers with their students during the first week of the after school program ( Ms. B ) or school year ( Ms. M ) were examined. Qualitative researc h literature denotes many of the advantages of using videotape data (Jacobs Kawanka & Stigler 1999; Ratcliffe, 2003) Videotaped data as an information source is advantageous as it is provides a rawer form of data than observational data such as field notes and it allows for repeated viewing, coding, and analysis in multiple phases. Therefore, a researcher can look at different dimensions of the recorded verbal and physical behavior (Jacobs et al., 1999) Furthermore, the capability of watching the data repeatedly enhances the potential for the reliability of descriptions (Ratcliffe, 2003). Data Set of Ms. B T he first data set was derived from a research project on culturally responsive master teachers conducted by Foster, Lewis, and Onafow o ra s (2003, 2005). Foster and her colleagues began an after school program at multiple sites to serve as both professional development sites and research sites in which to explore aspects of teaching and learning. The primary purpose of the project was to link inexperi enced teache rs with master teachers who had demonstrated their effectiveness with low income African American students as perceived by their administrators and peers The goals of Foster and colleagues research project were to document and analyze
101 the p rocesses by which inexperienced teachers learn to teach in these laboratories and to document and examine the processes of learning among children who are enrolled (Foster et al., 2003, p. 271) Foster and colleagues report ed that an aspect of the secon d goal included understanding how culturally responsive teachers create d conditions that impact ed not only the students cognitive social, and affective dimensions However, no analysis was conducted on this aspect of their data T herefore, with permissi on fro m Foster and her colleagues, this study used a part of their dat a set to examine aspects of their second goal. As part of the ir r esearch project, Foster and her colleagues developed a multi -site after school program for elementary school students in grades one through four called Learning through Teaching in an Afterschool Pedagogical Laboratory (L TAPL) The after school programs were created to increase the academic achievement of groups of participating first through fourth grade predominantly Afric an American students as well as to serve as professional development site s for teachers. The program was started in three urban school districts in California and New Jersey students participated in the program on a voluntary basis three days a week for a little over three months. The master teacher was responsible for the curriculum and the teaching strategies for her mixed age group students, and the curriculum focused on language arts, mathematics science, and the arts Teachers from the districts scho ols were given the opportunity to observe and at times work alongside the master teacher (Foster, 2004; Foster et al., 2003; 2005). Data Set of Ms. M The second set of data is part of a professional development project sponsored by a Center for Le arning as sociated with a large u niversity in the southeastern United States The primary goal of the center is to work to promote quality teaching, improve school performance, and facilitate the development of educational leaders. This particular professional devel opment
102 project focused on the mathematical instructional and methodological practices of a renowned fifth grade teacher teaching in a n elementary school in north central Florida The school is a Title 1 school serving a predominantly low income, African American population Known for her culturally responsive educational practices, the project coordinators sought to observe and videotape this master teacher and her fifth grade students in order to use her instructional methods and teacher -student interactio ns as an example and teaching tool for other in -service and pre -service teachers (E. Peterek, personal communication, January 7, 2009) Participants According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), in the fall of 2007, approximately 3.7 m illion teachers were employed full time in elementary and secondary school in the United States ( Snyder, Dillow & Hoffman, 2008) NCES also reported that in 20032004, 75% of public school teachers were female, 41% percent were under the age of 40, 48% ha d a masters degree or higher and 83% were white (Planty et al 2008; Snyder et al. 2008). Schools with higher percentages of minority students, higher percentages of low income students, and higher percentage of limited English proficient students were m ore likely to employ beginning teachers Furthermore, the teacher turnover rate is 7 percentage points higher at high poverty schools versus low poverty schools (21% vs. 14%). Ms. B from the data set from Foster and her colleagues research project was nominated a master teacher by her school and district personnel as a result of her demonstrated ability to effectively teach low -income culturally diverse urban students (Foster et al., 2005). Ms. B depicted in the data culturally responsive educational p ractices, drawing on her low income, African American students cultural resources as well as incorporating students language routines (Foster et al., 2003). The effectiven ess of Ms. B is substantiated by the impact of the L TAPL program on students acad emic achievement engagement, and behavior (Foster, 2004;
103 Foster et al., 2003, 2005) In particular, the researchers found an absence of problematic behavior and the presence of positive behaviors in the afterschool classroom Participating students regul ar classroom teachers reported an increase in positive behaviors in the classroom as well. Conversations and informal interviews indicated that parents had noticed changes in their childrens behavior and their childs excitement about learning. Additional ly, students achieved increases in test scores based on pre and post tests data of the Test of Early Reading Ability and the Test of Early Mathematical ability (Foster et al., 2003) Ms. B is an African American teacher who traveled to a neighboring urban school in central California to serve as the master teacher at one of the sites of the L TAPL after school program and thus does not have pre existing relationships with the students The afterschool program which was named the Mind, Body and Spirit club c onsisted of 14 low -income, predominantly African American first, second, and third grade students The videotape data reflect the first three days of the afterschool program. Ms. M, from the Center for Learnings sponsored professional development project was selected by the researchers because of her demonstrated ability to facilitate the academic achievement of her low income, African American students Yearly, her students had some of the highest mathematics gains in the states standardized tests (Chu n, 2008). Specifically, in the year in which the videotapes were recorded, the 2006 2007 school year, 56% of her fifth grade students obtained mathematics scores on grade level or above on their fifth grade test Of the students attending her elementary s chool in fourth grade, in the previous school year of 20052006, only 35% were on or above grade level in mathematics (Florida Department of Education, n.d.), thus indicating a 21% increase in the number of students performing at or above grade level assum ing all other factors are the same In 2006 2007, her students achieved the greatest
104 mathematical gains in the state of Florida (Chun 2008). Empirical data regarding Ms. M s impact on her students behavioral, social and emotional develop ment is not ava ilable though members of the professional development project have noted her effectiveness in those areas as well (E. Peterek, personal communication, January 7, 2009) Ms. M is an African American, fifth grade teacher at a Title 1 school in north centra l Florida in which 65% of the schools students qualified for free and reduced lunch. Ms. M holds her bachelor of arts in elementary education and at the time the videotapes were taken, she had been teaching for approximately 29 years. The videotapes depic t her teaching mathematics to 50 fifth grade students during the first week of school Because of her demonstrated effectiveness in teaching mathematics in the 2006 2007 s c hool year she began teaching mathematics to all the fifth graders in the school Thus, the students in the vide o tapes are from her homeroom class as well as another fifth grade class The other classs teacher served as an aide in the Ms. Ms class during mathematics (E. Peterek, personal communication, March 21, 2009). Additionally, t he videotapes depict the first week of school, and thus although Ms. Ms students may have been aware of her reputation as a mathematics teacher in their school the videos still reflect the relationship development process. Data Analysis The videotaped da ta were examined and analyzed using the video analysis software, Studiocode (see www.studiocodegroup.com ). To familiarize herself with the software, the researcher attended a six -hour session conducted by the software company which provided basic training on the capabilities and processes of the software The software combines the video with a timeline so that researcher codes can be applied to instances or video segments Thus, upon the completion of coding, the software has compiled a short movie of all of the instances of a
105 particular code, thus allowing for easy viewing and application of the constant comparative method Theoretical Memos and Theoretical Saturation In order to organize and keep track of her thoughts and hypotheses, the researcher wrote theoretical memos throughout data analysis. Initial memos noted potential codes, possible patterns in the data and questions regarding the differences between and among the codes. As the researcher moved b eyond open coding the theoretical memos became more detailed and theoretically based as the researcher began to develop hypotheses regarding relationships between the open codes and axial codes, and as the theory began to emerge from the coding process. T he researcher began the data analysis process with a set sample of two culturally responsive, master teachers However, the number of videotapes that would be needed to gain an adequate depiction of these teachers and how they developed relationships with their students was not determined a priori Therefore, the researcher viewed videotapes for each teacher until she reached theoretical saturation and the analysis no longer generated additional new codes Consequently, the researcher analyzed three, hour l ong videotapes for Ms. B, and four, 40 50 minute videotapes for Ms. M Open C oding Prior to beginning open coding, the researcher watched two videos of each teacher in order to become acquainted with each teachers teaching style and the overall dynamic of the classroom Next the researcher open coded each video three different times in order to code with specificity and in detail During the first time, the researcher focused predominantly on the teachers verbal actions and thus the researcher used words or created simple phrases to describe incidences relating to the teachers verbal interactions with students The researcher focused on
106 the teachers non verbals and actions in the second time The third time the researcher focused on the students respon ses to the teachers verbal and non -verbal actions In the process of open coding, the researcher created a series of theoretical memos to record potential themes, patterns and relationships emerging from the data To ensure credibility and monitor researc her bias, a Masters level graduate student in school counseling, independently watched and coded the videos using a standardi zed coding sheet (see Appendix ). The research er and the research assistant then met to discuss findings and the research assistants codes and identify areas of agreement and disagreement Axial C oding Using the theoretical memos and reflection, the researcher began the process of examining the open codes searching for themes or categories that described the data. The emerging themes were initially quite broad. Therefore, in order to facilitate axial coding and become more detailed, the researcher returned to the video data and began transcribing multiple instances of each code that exemplified the meaning of each c ode. With numerous examples of each code transcribed, the researcher continued to compare instances in each code as to their similarities and differences. The researcher then reviewed note cards related to each open code and began to group the open codes into categories and sub -categories according to their relationships with one another, returning to the transcribed data and video data to ensure the relationships were grounded in the data. Again, throughout this process the researcher wrote theoretical memos to record her th ought processes, reasons for categorizin g, and hypotheses regarding possible theories. Selective Coding Upon completion of axial coding the researcher again compared the codes within e ach category with regard to simil arities and differences which assisted selective coding The research
107 recognized themes based on the interrelationships and connections among the axial codes, which became the selective codes The selective codes and their associations with and among one another became th e basis for the emerge nt theory The researcher met independently with two members of her dissertation committee to discuss the theory and expound on and clarify the selective codes She then met with the research assistant for peer debriefing to explain the initial theory and to receive feedback regarding whether the theory was grounded in the video data, to limit researcher bias, and further refine the theory. Trustworthiness and Credibility Throughout the data analysis process steps were taken by the researcher to facilitate the enhancement of trustworthiness and credibility (Golafshani, 2003; Lincoln & Guba, 1985) First, as a way of promoting credibility and trustworthiness, the researcher used the technique of persistent observation by focusing in on the aspects most releva nt to the study over a series of seven videotapes In describing the emergent themes the researcher also attempted to provide rich, thick description to provide the reader context (Creswell, 1998; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). The researcher also kept an audit tr ail and documented her reflections and process of interpreting data as a researcher through the use of theoretical memos promoted in grounded theory (Glaser, 1978; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1998) Additionally the researcher used triangula tion of the data analysis process and peer debriefing to promote trustworthiness and credibility (Creswell, 1998; Golafshani, 2003; Johnson, 1997; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). A masters level research assistant examined the video data in its entirety and met wi th the researcher to discuss agreements and disagreements in codes and to clarify codes and their meanings. Moreover, once the researcher began to develop her theory, she presented her conceptualizations to the research assistant to explore researcher bias es, elaborate on themes, and confirm that the theory was grounded in the data. The researcher also presented her
108 conceptualizations and abstractions to two members of her dissertation committee to explore and refine her interpretations of the data and chec k for researcher biases.
109 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Two separate research questions were posed in this study. One addressed how culturally responsive master teachers developed relationships with their low income, African American students and the other addressed how they used their relationships with students to facilitate students learning Examination of the teachers interactions with their students revealed that these relational operations were so intertwined, that these two questions were most effectively an swered as one question rather than two. Thus in this chapter a theoretical schema is presented depict ing three major dimensions of teacher -student relationship development. These dimensions were: emotional connectedness, facilitating conditions of relationship building, and student s affective responses (see Table 4 1) Table 4 1 Major dimensions of teacher -student relationship development Emotional c onnectedness Facilitating conditions Student affective responses Teacher student connections Settin g expectations & procedures Joy Teacher class connections Requiring respect and order Interest Transparency and Joining Non shaming Contentment & self love Seeking connection The major theme of emotional connectedness was conceptualized as the conne ctive interactions that foster a sense of attachment and emotional bonding between the teacher and the students. Connective interactions may be contrasted with interactions that generate emotional distance like nagging, reprimanding, hars h punishment, or s haming. Emotional c onnectedness has three critical themes: (a) the teachers connective interactions with their individual students, (b) teachers connective interactions with the class as a whole, and (c) teacher transparency and joining the classroom com munity Teacher -student connections were interactions between the teacher and the individual student that created bonding such as engaged listening, re -engaging, and ensuring individual student success A surprising finding was that in addition to interact ions
110 between the teacher and individual students that built a sense of emotional bonding, these teachers also engaged in connective interactions with the class as a whole This was not anticipated, but proved to be a rich source of information about relati onship development between teachers and their students Although some of the ways that the teachers interact ed with the class as a whole were similar to their interactions with individual students there were also some unique aspects that enhanced the teac hers connection to their class The third dimension that emerged relates to each teachers transparency and willingness to join with their class community. Teacher transparency and joining was defined as each teachers process of integrating herself as a part of the class community and sharing herself in terms of their thought processes, their playfulness and their imperfections. Table 4 2 presents a list of themes and sub themes of the dimension of emotional connectedness. Table 4 2 Themes of the dimens ion emotional connectedness Creating teacher -student connections Creating teacher -class connections Being transparent and joining Atten ding to students Defining class community Voicing thought processes Engaged listening Attending to the cla ss Sharing their imperfections Empathizing Believing in the class Being playful Re engaging individual students Believing in capabilities Believing in students Affirming classs strengths Encouraging voice Ensuring the classs success B elieving academic capability Using knowledge & culture Believing in social capability Using existing competencies Affirming strengths Using music and dance Ensuring student success Using communication styles The second dimension of facilitati ng conditions of relationship development appeared foundational to how Ms. M and Ms. B were able to develop and use their relationships with their students. The facilitating conditions were conceptualized as the way in which each of these teacher s created an environment in their classrooms in which students could feel psychologically and physically safe. Each teacher verbally communicated the classroom procedures and what
111 was expected from the students. Disorder was not tolerated in either classroom; both t eachers maintained control of their classrooms and required respect. When a student did not follow the rules or directions, Ms. M and Ms. B would both redirect the students behavior. Of significance however, was the fact that each teacher always kept thei r composure when directing behavior and refrained from yelling at or scolding students nor did they humiliate students. Students who answered incorrectly or were not obeying the rules were respectfully corrected or redirected and were not shamed or made an example of by the teacher. The third and final major dimension, student s positive affective responses framed the positive responses of the students in relation to the emotional connectedness and the facilitating conditions. Ms. B and Ms. Ms students demonstrated behaviors that reflected the positive emotions of joy, interest, contentment, and self love. Minimal negative student affective or behavioral outcomes were observed. Students generally followed directions, and at the times when their behaviors were directed, the students quickly heeded the teachers directives with no objections or arguing. In the few instances where students were pouting or demonstrating behaviors of disengagement, the teachers quickly reconnected the student with themselves by attending to the students needs and feelings. To further describe the theory that developed from the data analysis the following sections will present descriptive information about both teachers and each of the major themes Thick descriptions will be gi ven to illustrate the behaviors and words of instances in the sub-themes, concepts and categories that make up each of the major themes. Describing the Master Teachers Prior to providing rich descriptions of each of the above described themes which emerged from the data, it is important to briefly discuss the differences between Ms. M and Ms. B in order to provide a general context and background for each of the themes. Ms. B and Ms. M differ
112 with regard to their personalities, styles of interacting with th eir students and methods of teaching and structuring their class es Therefore, while both created emotional connectedness and facilitated conditions within their classroom that were conducive to positive interactions, their means for doing so diverged. M s. B had a nurturing and motherly personality and style of interacting with her fourteen, first, second, and third grade students. She smiled frequently, fixed their hair and their clothes, hugged and patted them, joked with them on a variety of topics and used terms of endearment like sister, girlfriend and honey. There was also an intensity in the way she tried to connect with her students as she listened to and engaged them in conversations about themselves and their work. Additionally, she loosel y structured each day of the afterschool program and seemed to adjust her lesson plans according to her spontaneous thoughts or the academic needs and interests of the students. Some examples include stopping from transitioning to an activity to discuss wh at a club was, suddenly teaching the class the definition of metamorphosis, and spontaneously creating an activity during the daily check in to show the students how the mind connects to and directs the body Her flexibility and easy going nature were a lso reflected in the amount of noise and student movement around the room which she tolerated. During individual or small group work, she allowed a high level of volume in the classroom as students talked with each other and she also allowed students to ge t up from their seats and get supplies as long as she deemed that they were staying on task. In the midst of this she maintained control and directed students in terms of their volume level and maintenance of their on task behavior. Ms. Bs classroom was divided into two sections as illustrated in Figure 4 1. One section was used for large group activities where the students sat in a semi circle around Ms. B, and the
113 other section consisted of tables at which the students engage d in individual or small group work. Ms. B spent the first half of each day with the students in a large group and the second half with the students working at their tables. As the students worked at their tables, Ms. B walked around and checked their progress as well as spent time t alking with individual students about their work or their lives in general. Figure 4 1. Diagram of Ms. Bs classroom Ms. M personality and style of interacting with her large class of 49 fifth -grade students was stern and i ntense. She interacted with her students exclusively in the context of academics, and used mathematics as a medium through which to connect with her students and class. She often referred to her students as sir and maam and occasionally used their las t names, Mr. X or Ms. Y. Her teaching style can be described as intense and structured as she spent the Table Camera X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Front Board Table Table Door
114 entire class time engaging the students around mathematical concepts and ensuring that her students understood the material. She began each class by handing out materials and making sure students were equipped with supplies. She then reviewed what was covered the day before, presented n ew information and concepts, had students work with t he new concept, and then reviewed the material once again before the end of the period. There was an intens ity in which she presented the information and her expectation for the students. She d id not ge t off -task but continually stayed focused and challenged the students to push themselves further academically. While Ms. M smiled and was playful with her students throughout, she ran her class in a business like manner. She allowed the students to get loud when chorally responding to her questions or completing mathematical problems to the beat of music, but did not tol erate her students engaging in side conversations or getting up out of their seats during class time. Ms. Ms class was in a large room in order to accommodate the 49 students As illustrated in Figure 4 2, s he had her students sit at tables of four or fiv e students The majority of class time was spent with Ms. M at the forefront performing and engaging the class in call and response or asking the class or an individual student to respond to a question she posed. On occasion students worked independently a t their tables when taking a quiz or test, using white boards to practic e problems, or writing in their math journals. Therefore, because of the structure of her class day, Ms. M interacted with her class as a whole more frequently, and interacted with individual students only during the brief intervals of seatwork when she was m onitoring their progress. In summary, the ways in which Ms. B and Ms. M taught, interacted with, and even their classroom settings were quite different. The differences in classroo m arrangement and class organization facilitated more opportunities for teacher -student interactions for Ms. B and more teacher -class interactions for Ms. M. The divergence of their personalities also influenced how
115 and in what ways they interacted with their students, as will be depicted as each of the themes and sub themes are described below. Nonetheless, even though they each used different means Figure 4 2 Diagram of Ms. Ms classroom of teaching and interacting with th eir students, the students in both classes demonstrate positive affective responses by their words and behaviors depicting joy, interest, contentment, and self love, as well as seeking out more connection with the teacher. X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Desk Camera Front Board
116 Creating Emotional Connectedness Creating Teacher -Student Connections A critical theme in how the culturally responsive master teachers developed relationships with their low income, African American students was their use of a combination of interactions with individual students that bu ilt connections with each of them. These types of positive teacher -student interactions reflected in the video data can be categorized into four general themes: (a) attending to individual students through listening intently and empathizing, (b) conveying a belief in students and holding high expectations for them, (c) reconnecting disengaged students, and (d) ensuring individual students success. Attending to i ndividual students One way in which the teachers developed relationships with their students on an individual basis was through their attentiveness to their students in the classroom. Attentiveness at the individual level related to how both teachers actively acknowledged and attended to the thoughts, feelings, and personal needs of their individual students through their words and actions. Engaged listening : B oth teachers demonstrated their attentiveness to individual students through engaged listening. Engaged listening, much like active listening described in interpersonal communication literatu re and the counseling literature (Devito, 2007; Ivey & Ivey, 2008; Wood, 2007), includes both what was expressed in the teachers body language and what was expressed in the teachers words that conveyed the message I am fully listening to you and trying to understand. In the classroom context, engaged listening d id not always look or sound like it has been often been described in this literature. Instead, the busyness of classrooms, the number of students, and the task focus of classrooms can make engag ed listening difficult and yet Ms. M and Ms. B listened intently to
117 their students. When interacting with a student one -on-one while the student was at their seat both teachers leaned in and got at the students eye level instead of speaking to students fr om a standing position. Eye contact was typically maintained unless another student interrupted or the teacher had to attend to another student who was off task. Because Ms. B often engaged with the students when she and the class were sitting in chairs in a circle, she leaned in towards an individual when he or she was speaking and turned her body based on the location of the student. If the students were seated and she was standing, she would walk closer to the student speaking. Ms. B often tilted her hea d when listening to an individual student, and the angle in which her head tilted became more pronounced in instances when she was unsure of what the student was trying to communicate (see Figure 4 3). Figure 4 3. Ms. Bs non verbals for engaged listen ing Both teachers also expressed their desire to truly understand what the student was trying to say through their use of clari fying statements or questions. With interest, t hey asked the individual student to repeat him or herself, asked students to spea k more loudly, or asked questions like what does that mean? or what did you say? They also coached the individual
118 student to express themselves so as to be sure that they comprehended what the student was saying to them. For example, Ms. M told a stude nt whose hands were in front of his face to put his hands down, and Ms. B respectfully told a student who was answering a question with a hand motion by tilting his hand back and forth I dont know what that means. You have to talk to me. Additionally, b oth teachers paraphrased students answers by restating the students answers or comments in full. Therefore, through these methods the teachers conveyed their interest in each of their students words and communicated that what he or she said had value. Empathizing: In their effort to understand and share their understanding regarding what their individual students were trying to express, both teachers also responded to their individual students feelings and concerns at varying levels. Neither teacher ref lected students feelings to a great extent, yet there were instances throughout the video data that indicated that the teachers were aware of their students feeling states by how they attended to them. Ms. B, for example, would verbally acknowledge indiv idual students feelings by means of questions such as are you mad at me? or are you embarrassed? She also used indirect methods to convey she understood how a student was feeling. For instance, Ms. B gave students the opportunity to be a bug scientis t if they correctly named the insects in her pictures. The first two students she called on correctly identified the insects and thus were chosen to be bug scientists. Ana, who had her hand raised to be chosen but was not called upon responded by saggin g her shoulders, sighing and hitting the chair next to her. Ms. B stopped and turned her head to the sound, her eyebrows furrowed and her lips pursed. She then looked at the Anas face and Ms. Bs eyebrows relaxed and she placed her hand on Anas shoulder and said in a soft voice yes, you can name them. At another point a student sighed and frowned at not being selected for a task and without stopping what she was saying, Ms. B patted the student gently and gave her a small smile,
119 acknowledging the studen ts disappointment. Ms. B did not reprimand the students responses but empathized with and fluidly responded to each student. Ms. M was also responsive to individual students feelings and demonstrated concern about their well -being. One of her students h ad hurt his finger earlier in the day and was having difficulty writing the definitions of the math terms given his injury. The student told the assisting teacher and the teacher approached Ms. M to tell her about the student. Ms. M scrunched her forehead as she listened and said, Oh! Let me give him a band aid. I need to give him a band aid. She walked toward the injured student and said, If you cant write it, dont worry about it Zachary. You gotta put it in there later. Okay? Though she continued t o hold the expectation that the Zachary needed to get the work done, she simultaneously showed concern for him. Similarly, when one of Ms. B asked one of her students about her self -discipline that day, the student reported that her side was hurting earlie r. Ms. B responded saying, And what does that mean, but your side was hurting ? D id you still use your self discipline? and the student answered yes, nodding her head. Ms. B leaned in and replied, You were suffering? Suffering hurting? When the student nodded her head Ms. B said, I am sorry about that. Do you feel better? The student answered, yes and smiled up at Ms. B. In conclusion, both teachers connected with their individual students by being responsive during one -on-one teacher student i nteractions. During these relationshipbuilding connections Ms. M and Ms. B communicated their willingness to stop what they were doing and focus on and attend to their individual students. They shared their desire to know and understand each student and t hus affirmed the students value and worthiness of the teachers attention. Re -engaging individual students Regardless of the teacher and her ability to engage relationally and academically with her students, there are bound to be periods of student diseng agement. Within the data there were
120 instances of student disengagement in which students either disengaged from the academic task or disengaged relationally and emotionally. These two types of disengagement either occurred simultaneously or one might trigg er the other. In two instances an observable teacher -student interaction precipitated the students emotional and relational disengagement from the teacher. While in other cases the students disengagement precipitated the teacher response. Therefore, for this reason and for ease of description, the teachers response to these two types of disengagement and re engagement will be described independently. Disengagement or distraction from an academic task was infrequent in both classrooms, but did occur. Obs erved behaviors that indicated student disengagement from an academic task included staring into the distance, talking to peers, fiddling or doodling, and/or sitting idly when supposed to be completing a task. Emotional disconnection was observed only in M s. Bs classroom and involved an individual student withdrawing relationally from the teacher and the class. The behaviors consisted of frowning and pouting, directing their attention away from the activity or the rest of the class, pushing ones seat back from the group, unwillingness to make eye contact, and/or staring into ones lap. While the teachers recognition of the disengagement was important, what appeared most significant was their response. Neither Ms. M nor Ms. B would allow a student to dis tance themselves nor would they ignore the disengagement. Instead they both but responded quickly, actively trying to re -engage a distracted or emotionally withdrawn student, which at times could involve a lot of energy and time focused toward one student. The result of such efforts however, was the students re -engagement. Re -engaging distracted student: Although each teacher consistently attempted to keep the students engaged during their class periods, the students at times would get distracted and get
121 o ff task. Ms. B and Ms. M used different methods to re -engage the distracted student. Other times, they re -connected a distracted student to the academic task without the use of many words. For example, one of Ms. Bs students was standing up talking to two students working on their assignments. Ms. B approached the table, tapped the students paper three times and looked the student in the eyes. The student sat down in his seat and immediately began writing on his paper. In Ms. Ms class, a student was star ing off into the distance. Ms. M touched his paper and said, concentrate, concentrate and kept walking. The student paused and then began to write on his paper. Both teachers also just called out a students name if they saw a student getting off task. I n other instances, both Ms. M and Ms. B found it necessary to converse with individual students to get them back on track academically. One of Ms. Ms students was not writing a definition in his math journal, but just fiddling with his pencil. Ms. M appro ached him, picked up his math journal, turned to the right page and placed the journal in front of the student. He looked down at the journal and she leaned in and asked, Where are unlike fractions? Like fractions? Where is it? I dont see it. Where are like fractions? As the student found his pencil and started to write, she walked away. In each of these examples there was an absence of ridicule or punishment, but instead the teachers, gently but firmly re -engaged the student to the academic task. A s eries of interactions between Ms. M and Ronald, one of her students who had struggled with the mathematical concepts, exemplifies Ms. Ms care for her students academic progress and efforts to re -engage her students with their academic task. Ronald had be en demonstrating difficulty on paying attention and understanding the math ematical material throughout the week and it was no different on test day. About ten minutes into the test, Ronald was staring at his paper, with his pencil tucked behind his earn an d with his chin in both of his
122 hands. Ms. M walked up to him and said, Take your hands down, get to work. Ronald stopped propping up his head and looked at the paper, but he didnt write anything, and began to look around the room. Two minutes later Ms. M returned to Ronald and said, Try it, try it. Concentrate. Concentrate. He continued to just stare at the paper, look around the room, or tap his pencil to his finger. After about 10 minutes he tried to get her attention and Ms. M leaned in to listen to him. Ronald shared, I dont know how to do this. Ms. M looked him in the eye and asked, Do you know your multiplication facts? Ronald hesitantly replied, yes. Ms. M looked down at his test and asked, What is seven and three, how are they related? What number times seven is twenty -one? In response, Ronald whispered, I dont know, and looked in his lap. Ms. M then said, Instead of you out there on the cart asleep yesterday, you know what you should have had this open as she pointed to his mat h journal. She proceeded to get him a multiplication card that had the multiplication facts up to 12 and helped him complete two problems. Again he said he did not know the multiplication fact and she said, That is why it is important to write your multip lication facts every day and then helped him figure out the answer. She asked him, You got it? Now you try one on your own. Ronald leaned forward and started writing occasionally looking back at the multiplication chart. Re -engaging emotionally withdraw n students : When Ms. B reconnected with an emotionally withdrawn student, her appreciation of students as individuals is further illustrated. Ms. B reconnected with emotionally withdrawn students through affection, touch, humor, and terms of endearment. Th ere are two particular instances that exemplify Ms. Bs manner of connecting with relationally disengaged students. The first involved Kayla, a student who was disciplined and told to sit in the corner prior to Ms. Bs arrival in the classroom. Kayla was sitting on the edge of the semi -circle with a frown
123 on her face. Kayla was looking down, chewing on her bracelet, and otherwise not participating as Ms. B engaged with the other students about their self -discipline. Ms. B turned her attention to Kayla and said, and this little brain over here, this little girl and touched Kaylas shoulder and then tried to pull Kayla out of her seat. Kayla hesitated initially but Ms. B continued, Come on, and Kayla stood. Told her to sit off on the side as she put her arm around Kayla in a side hug and she tried to make eye contact as she smiling said, to chew on her bracelet. We should have brought pizza then she would not have had to eat her bracelet. She patted Kayla on the shoulder. Nevertheless Kayla maintained a frown on her face. Ms. B looked her in the eye, and then turned to another student to ask about their self -discipline --but she kept her arm around Kayla. She continued to hug or hold Kaylas hand for the duration of the check -in activity. Once the acti vity was completed, Ms. B let go of Kayla as she directed the students to break off to go to their small group tables to do an assignment. Kayla, however, did not follow; instead, she sat back down and chewed on her bracelet. Ms. B approached her, grab bed her hand, and asked her do you want to work with your stuff over here? pointing to a table off to the side. Kayla, still frowning, nodded yes. The woman operating the video camera can be heard saying, K ayla you should tell Ms. B about your self disci pline in M ind Body and S pirit club Ms. B says uh oh, and the woman continued, when you first got here and how you treated Ms. Tanya. Tell her Ms. B wondered aloud, M aybe that is why she is so forlorn? The woman operating the camera confirmed: It is. Kayla continued to frown and had her hand in her mouth, looking down. Ms. B grabbed Kaylas hand and sat her down, Come over her e. I know I have to talk to you, come on. Ms. B then had to attend to the rest of the students but came back and said, W hat are you going to do? J ust sulk over here all day? Do you owe sister Tanya an apology for how you acted? Do you
124 need to have a private talk with sister? Hmm? Please? Think about it for a minute I am going to come back to you. Approximately ten m inutes later, Ms. B was sitting on the floor working with students and a magnifying glass. Kayla asked her an inaudible question and Ms. B said, I would like for you to but can you apologize first have a private talk. Ms. B then turned to someone behind the camera and said, Tanya, she would like to have a private talk with you Can she speak with you for a minute privately? The apology takes place off camera, but Kayla can later be seen engaged with the rest of the class. This series of interactions th at took place in order for Kayla to reconnect with Ms. B and the rest of the class took effort and time on Ms. Bs part. However, there were no visual or audible indications of frustration or exasperation by Ms. B, even though she tried to engage the stude nt on three separate occasions. Moreover, Ms. B did not punish or discipline Kayla for what the camera woman reported, but instead helped prepare her to apologize. The second instance also involved a discipline issue, but actually entailed Ms. B having to sternly direct a young boy, Donovan. Donovan was slumped in his chair as he was reporting that he had had a difficult day with his self -discipline. Ms. B directed him firmly to sit up in his chair and he did not respond initially. She repeated with her eyebrows raised and said, Sit up in your chair, I am not kidding. Ms. B then expressed her disappointment that he had talked back to his teacher saying, You didnt yell at the teacher? I dont want to believe that. After finding out more information reg arding his talking back Ms. B said to him, I hope I dont hear that again as she shook her head. She then stepped toward him, raised her eyebrows and said emphatically, I really mean it. I mean it. Donovan shifted in his chair as she moved on. After this interaction, Donovan began to withdraw. Ms. B had the students go to work on their assignments at their tables, and walked Donovan, with her hand on the small of his back, to
125 his seat and then she walked away to help other students. Initially, he slum ped in his chair and crossed his hands across his chest. Students at his table began to tease him about his picture. Ms. B went and sat down with him at his table. As she sat, he tried to get up from his chair but she grabbed his arm and asked him to sit. She tried to talk to him about his project but he continued to slump and leaned his head on his shoulder. She leaned and asked him, Are you mad cause I snapped at you? He sat up and said I want to go home. She leaned back in her chair and looked at him He said. Can I go call my mama? The rest of the conversation was inaudible, but Ms. B was talking to the students at his table and can be heard using the term teasing. She then turned her attention back to Donovan who remained slumped in his chair. S he got interrupted by other students, and stood up and leaned down to talk to him and said, Now its science. His shoulders rose slightly as he got out of his chair and walked out of the screen. Ms. B returned to him minutes later and drew him in to part icipate in looking at a bumble bee under the magnifying glass. He smiled and laughed as he described what he saw under the glass. Again, Ms. B took time in the midst of a busy group of students to respond to and reconnect with an individual student, notin g that he was upset and emotionally withdrawn. Later in the day, she even assigned him the task of being in charge of keeping the magnifying glass safe. In response to her request he smiled, nodded and sat up straight, seemingly proud of his responsibility Although during most of her efforts, Donovan remained frowning and disengaged, her persistence eventually led to Donovan reconnecting with her and the rest of the class. The impact of her attention could also be seen when later in the class time Ms. B to ok a turn looking in the glass and as she leaned over, Donovan affectionately and gently patted her hair. Therefore, whether it is re -engaging a student who is distracted from an academic task or re -engaging an emotionally withdrawn student, Ms. B and Ms. M are committed to re -engaging
126 their students. Although their styles and methods of re -engaging students varied greatly, each teacher expressed their care and concern to individual students. Moreover, the ability to notice individual student disengagement and actively attend to re engaging them communicated to the student that their teacher valued their engagement, participation, and connection. Believing in individual students Ms. M and Ms. B repeatedly showed their individual students that they believed in them through their words and their actions. Both teachers invited and encouraged their students to express their ideas and opinions and share their knowledge. They also communicated that they believed in their individual students academic abilities an d social abilities, and encouraged students to believe in themselves. They expressed these beliefs by setting high standards and conveying that they expect ed their students to meet the standards, and that they would accept nothing less. In addition to affi rming the strengths of their individual students and applauding their efforts and achievement, they also challenged the students to go even further. Encouraging student v oice : In the classes of Ms. M and Ms. B, one did not only hear the teachers voices in the teaching process. In fact, the teachers rarely lectured for long periods of time. Instead these teachers often invited students to voice their ideas. When these teachers were talking to the class explaining a concept or providing information, neither teacher talked for longer than five minutes without engaging the class as a whole or asking an individual student a question. Thus, most of the class time was spend in an interactive process between the students and the teachers versus the teacher lecturin g and the students passively receiving the content. They were constantly encouraging students to share their knowledge and opinions in the midst of the teachers presenting their material. Both teachers started off their classes by seeking the individual opinions of their students. Ms. B asked her students, why are you here? referring to
127 the after school program, while Ms. M asked her students what they wanted to learn in mathematics In addition to asking the individual students opinions, both teachers acknowledged their students knowledge and ideas. For example, Ms. M had two students come up to the front of the class and help teach a new student about how to figure out the perimeter of a figure. They were given the opportunity to not only tell the stu dent but then Ms. M encouraged them to actually show the student on the board to help him understand about perimeter As both students were teaching they stood tall and explained and showed their classmate on the board without looking to Ms. M or askin g her any questions. Ms. B operated in a similar manner. A student demonstrated her spelling ability by spelling a sentence that was called out as Ms. B was writing it on the board. Ms. B looked at the student, smiled and holding out her pen said, Here yo u write it out. The student hesitated, but Ms. B encouraged her and said, Hurry up, and the student walked up to the board and began to write. On other occasions Ms. M asked for volunteers from the class, Who wants to explain it? or acknowledged, I am sure you understand the prefix un. Ms. B would ask a student what he wanted her to write on the board, saying, You said it Michael, so how would you say it? She would explicitly acknowledge the students knowledge with statements such as, Some pe ople have heard of self -discipline, so I would like them to tell me what it means. She also expressed to individual students that they could teach her as well. Tyreek was reciting a quote from a movie that Ms. B had asked about and she responded with a sm ile and laughter, Ooh, that is a good one Oh, I am going to remember that. Say that again. Yeah, but tell me that part again. You said you better watch out no I think its you tell me that part again Tyreek with a wide smile on his face and his ey es looking up at Ms. B, repeated the quote, and Ms. B
128 stated, Oh, I like that. I am going to use that as she clapped her hands. Tyreek maintained a smile even after Ms. B walked away. Another way both Ms. M and Ms. B encouraged their students voices wa s when they insisted that when a student was answering a question or sharing their work that their words were heard and their work was seen by the rest of the class. Ms. M repeatedly told individual students to speak up, speak up or to take your hand do wn so that others could hear them. Similarly, Ms. B also affirmed her students and their work by making sure that when a student was sharing his or her work with the rest of the class that everyone could see what the student had created. Ms. B would also have to remind other students not to interrupt students or to quiet down students so that the speaking student could have the floor. Through these actions, Ms. M and Ms. B conveyed to the student that what they had to say or had created was important and/o r special and thus should be shown to or heard by everyone. Believing in individual students academic c apabilities : Both teachers steadfast belief in the capabilities of each individual student and how they interacted with students in expressing their be liefs emerged from the video data repeatedly and in a variety of forms. Each teacher conveyed the beliefs that each of their students could achieve at a high level and they expected nothing but each individual students best. Ms. B and Ms. M set high standards for their students, and demonstrated that they would not accept anything below their standards and would push individual students to meet the standard. An area in which both teachers emphasized was their faith in individual students abilities to thi nk critically. Consequently, they regularly facilitated the development of critical thinking skills. One of the ways in which they did this was by giving individual students extended time to think when answering a question. There can be a tendency for teac hers to move on to another
129 student or provide the answer when a student hesitates, but Ms. B and Ms. M allowed their students an opportunity to process the question and share the knowledge or information that the teachers were confident the students posses sed. Students were not rushed nor where they mocked, but instead encouraged. Individual students were not only encouraged by being given adequate time to think and respond, they were also encouraged to think more critically. For example, Ms. M often pushe d her students to examine the process by which they arrived at a correct answer. Frequently, if a student gave an answer, Ms. M questioned the individual even further by asking, How did you come up with [X]? or How would you prove [X]? The correct answ er was not all that she was seeking, but instead comprehension and critical thinking. At one point, two students were trying to describe perimeter to a classmate, and she asked them, So can you explain it to him? What ways can you show him to help him understand about perimeter? In another instance, when the other teacher in the classroom started to help another student on the test, Ms. M stopped the teacher saying, No, no. He has to try. The student looked up at her as Ms. M asks what does it say right here? The student responded, Give an example. Ms. M continued, For what? Define means give us the definition. You know what we have been going over every day. The student nodded his head. Thus, Ms. M pushed him to figure it out on his own, conveying to him that she believed he had the capability within himself. In a similar situation she gave a student back his test after looking over it and said, You need to show what you were thinking. He turned the test in again, only for Ms. M. to return it to ensure his success, saying Where is the little brain down here, up under the numbers? See like the person did here, pointing to another test. Show what you thought about. The student nodded his head and looked down at his test and began to writ e. Again, Ms. M expressed her belief that
130 he had the knowledge in him and that he could think through, understand, and complete the questions on the test. Ms. B also pushed her students to think critically and expand on their answers. Ms. B was asking her students why they came to the afterschool program. One student answered, To get out of school. Ms. B questioned, To get out of school? But this is after school, and guess what? We are still in school. How can we say that, you are out of school, but you are in school? The student responded, To go home? She scratched her head and asked, Did you come here to go home? You picked a bad way to get home to come here and sit in a chair. I dont get it, you are out of school, but you are not here to get ou t of school The student then answered, O kay then to learn. In another situation she had students look in the magnifying glass at a dead bumble bee and describe what they saw. Erin looked in the magnifying glass and then started to walk away. Ms. B ca lled out to her, What do you see? You gotta tell me one thing. Erin, you gotta tell me one thing you saw? The student came back, looked in the magnifying glass and said, I see a bug on its back and its leg on its back. Ms. B held up her hand, palm ou t and said in a questioning tone, Wait a minute, is he lying on his back? Come back and look. Erin looked again and said, No, on its side, with a small smile. Ms. B responded, Right girl! Ms. B would also ask her students a lot of questions about their skills in completing projects depicting themselves in the present and in the future as a grown up. She would ask individual students things like, Do you want this to be you as a grown woman?, Is this you now?, Are you going to color this some more or are you going to leave it like this? and Tell me about your picture. As part of their project they talked about what they wanted to be when they grew up, and Ms. B encouraged high aspirations. When one student first said that she
131 wanted to be a doctor, and then after being asked what kind, responded that she wanted to be a nurse. Ms. B replied, Ok, a nurse is not a doctor, but we will talk. Y ou can be a doctor. An interaction between Ms. B and her student, Tamia, exemplifies Ms. Bs interest in her students work, facilitation of students individual thinking processes, and encouragement of their future goals. Ms. B was walking around the room checking on students progress and stopped next to Tamia and commented, Tamia, this is nice. What do you want to be when you get older? Tamia replied, A teacher. Ms. B raised her eyebrows and said, Are you sure? Tamia softly said, Yes. Ms. B smiled and extended her hand out toward the class and said, You want to deal with these little children l ike this? Tamia smiled and looking at Ms. B, replied, I probably won t be a teacher I will probably be s omething elsea lawyer Ms. B asked, What do lawyers do? Tamia shared, They go in the court and thenbut uh, the people who in court they talk about... th ey ask questions for the people. Ms. B raised her eyebrows and asked, Would you like that? You could be real importa nt like that? Tamia nodded her had smiling and replied, Yes. Ms. B continued, Okay. Let me get you a piece of paper and I wa nt you to draw yourself in the courtroom okay? Tamia nodded her head and smiled. Therefore in this interaction, as well as the ones previously described, Ms. M and Ms. B articulated their beliefs in their students academic capabilities by expecting the best and pressing them to think critically. Such expectations can facilitate the students own belief in him or herself and compel the student to meet the academic challenges set before them. Believing in individual students social capabilities : Students were viewed in terms of their multiple capabilities and thus Ms. M and Bs high expectations not only focused on each students academic development, but each students emotional and social development as well. Often the teachers beliefs in their students academic abilities were coupled with beliefs in the
132 students ability to follow the rules and interact appropriately with others. Neither teacher had situations in which they had to administer a punishment for misbehavior. However, on one occasion one of Ms. Bs students had to be punished prior to Ms. Bs arrival. While, students did not demonstrate major discipline problems in either teachers classroom, the teachers did redirect students behavior and guide individual students both verbally and nonverb ally. The directing and guidance were never given out with vindictiveness or anger, but instead both teachers remained calm and never lost control of their emotions. Though she did not act vindictively or out of anger, Ms. M was very stern in her guidance clearly expressing her dislike of certain behaviors and her expectation for a different behavior. The sternness and high standards was constant regardless of the behavior and the redirecting of behavior was very fluid. She did not stop everything to redi rect a student, but did so and moved on seemingly with the expectation that her direction would be followed. When a student was leaning back in his chair with only two legs on the floor, she approached him, touched the chair and said firmly, Chair on the floor, pull it up, and kept on walking. The student immediately did so and got back to work. She would direct silently as well, tapping the side of a student when he is sitting up on his knees in his chair. The student quickly responded and sat on his bot tom. She responded to another instance silently when a female student was playing with fake flower petals on her desk while Ms. M was teaching. Without stopping giving information to the class, Ms. M approached, scooped up the petals and put them on a back table. The student responded by fiddling with something else on her desk and started to answer chorally, though minimally, with the rest of the class. Sometimes after redirecting a students behavior, Ms. M would say thank you as a student responded. A more serious instance that could have evoked an angry reaction was when Ms. M was telling her students to get out a piece of paper and repeated
133 herself, A sheet of paper. One sheet of paper. Quincy, one of the students in the class echoed what she said e ach time. Ms. M just turned to him and said, Quincy. Dont mock me? Ya hear? Ms. B was also firm in her direction of individual student behavior, and directed student behavior in both indirect and direct ways. To curtail misdirected behaviors, she us ed instructional time defining the term self -discipline and providing and asking the students for examples of self -discipline. Thus, when she directed a student not following her directions, Ms. B often offered what might be called reminders. Some exam ples include instances where she pointed to a student and said, You are breaking the rules, or when she shook her head and said, Thats not using self -discipline or when she touched a student on her shoulder and reminded, You belong in the circle. The reminders were voiced with emphasis, but Ms. B did not raise her voice. The even voice and calm demeanor were typical when directing individual students. When one student was playing with a balloon during an activity, after telling the student once to pu t it away, she turned again to the student and said, You know what? If I see it again I am going to take it okay? Cause I think you are just fooling around with it. The student maintained eye contact with the teacher, his feet swinging and put the bal loon in his pocket and folded his hands in his lap. She continued, We dont want balloons in the class at all. That is a strict rule; maybe I should talk to you about that. Ms. B often also used facial expressions and touch to redirect student behavior in combination with words and without words. When one student was talking to his neighbor while another student was speaking Ms. B remained focused on the answering student, but put her arm around the talking student and the student got quiet. She would also use touch to keep a student behaving after having to direct a student. For example, a student, Donovan, was sitting while everyone else was standing and said to the boy next to him, Stop kicking me little boy. Ms. B
134 turned to look Donovan and held his gaze for four seconds. The rest of the class started giggling. Ms. M replied, Ah, ah. Do not laugh at him. She leaned over, grabbed Donovans arm, and directed, You need to stand up. Donovan followed her directions, but she kept her hand on his arm, while she continued with the activity. There were also instances when a student or two was talking or playing with another student and Ms. B would give them a look. The look consisted of raised e yebrows, a downward tilted head and pursed lips (see Fi gure 4 4) and conveyed multiple messages: stop it, get in line, and should you be doing that? The look was sufficient to get the student to change his or her behavior. Figure 4 4. Ms. Bs look for re -directing student behavior A practice that was particular to Ms. B was her review of her students behavior during the school day. She spent approximately 12 minutes checking in with each individual student asking them how their self -discipline was during the school day, expressing to the students that she expected the best in terms of their behavior. A female student shared that she had been talking too much during the day, and Ms. B said with emphasis, You can do better than that girlfriend. Another student, Tyreek, reported that he had some di fficulty in class with talking and had to give his teacher tokens because of his behavior. After some discussion with Tyreek, Ms. B asked, What are you going to do about it? Tyreek shifted in his seat and answered
135 while looking down, I dont know. Ms. B raised her eyebrows and frowned replying, Now, dont tell me that, and then pointing to Tyreek she said. I am going to have a talk with you, I dont like how that sounds. She moved on to asking the next student. Tyreek followed her with his eyes, sw allowed, and looked down, rubbing his hands on his pants. Another female student admitted to having to be told by her teacher to be quiet. Ms. B questioned, S he said that to you ? Should she have to say that? She has to take all her time and she could be helping all these students here. When students reported poor behavior, Ms. B never got angry, but instead made it clear that she was disappointed and knew that they were capable of more. Another category particular to Ms. B, that might be labeled indiv idual guidance, consisted of teacher comments to facilitate the overall development of pro-social behaviors in students. In one instance, Ms. B asked a student if her teacher was Ms. G. The student replied, Uh huh. Ms. B turned to her and said, Say yes We dont say uh huh. Similarly, a student was presenting her picture to the class, and was wiggling and rocking back and forth and Ms. B guided her to stop moving and when the student continued to rock and shift her weight, Ms. B stated, Stand still honey. Though minimal, Ms. B wanted to give the students feedback. In another situation a student got upset because she was not called on, and Ms. B called her over and said. I have a job for you and I want you to name [the bugs], but I cant ask you if you have an attitude. Can you straighten your little face please? You are going to name this and then be the entomologist, okay? The students face then brightened. Another interaction that demonstrates the category of individual guidance is one betwee n Ms. B and Lani. Ms. B was handing out nametags and Lani did not get one. Lani, whined loudly, You didnt give me none. Ms. B with her eyebrows raised said, E xcuse me. Lani looked down at the table in response Ms. B directed, I think you should rais e your hand and sa y Ms.
136 B can I have one please. Lani immediately looked up, raised her hand a nd began to say Ms. B can I have one please and Ms. B said W ait a minute. I have to call on you. R aise your ha nd. She returned to handing out nametags and then ask ed the cla ss to stop and listen and indicated that Lani should begin. Lani started, Ms. B and then paused. Ms. B guided her saying, May I Lani repeated, M ay I have a and paused again. Ms. B said, Nametag. Lani repeated, Nametag pleas e, and smiled. Ms. B complemented, O h that was beautiful, and then handed Lani a name tag. Lani took the nametag and got to work. Modeling after Lani, a nother student at the table immediately raised his hand and repeat ed the whole question asking for a nametag for himself This particular instance, not only exemplifies individual guidance, but how Ms. B gave Lani a chance to perform her new skill, to which Lani received praise and another student learned from Lani. Consequently, Ms. B and Ms. M chall enged their students to believe in themselves and demonstrated to the students the teachers own faith in individual students abilities to think critically and follow directions. Also, by being stern and firmly holding their students to high expectations, each teacher showed her students that she cared for them. In fact, they were cared for so much that their teacher would not accept poor behavior or academic mediocrity. Consistently, individual students responded to the behavioral or academic standard by w orking harder, pushing themselves further, or following the teachers direction. Affirming individual students strengths: In the midst of holding their students to high standards and expecting nothing less from them, both Ms. M and Ms. B connected with t heir individual students by complimenting them individually on their abilities. Neither teacher praised or affirmed individual students strengths excessively. Specifically, Ms. M did not do this as much on an individual basis as did Ms. B, but both teache rs took the time to acknowledge the
137 individual students accomplishments and progress. Based on their body language, be it a small grin, sitting up straighter in his or her seat, or more subsequent participation, one can posit that the individual students experienced feelings of pride at being positively recognized. Ms. Ms manner of affirming the strengths of her individual students was a subdued, yet seemingly genuine process. She did not shower the student with praises, but quickly expressed her positive feedback which differed from her praises for the class as a whole. For example, after administering a short pop quiz, she collected a students paper and looked at his answers as she kept walking. She turned back at the student and smiled at him as she t ook another students paper. She then turned and reached for his hand and shook it. She pointed at him and gave him a small smile, then gave him a thumbs up and smiled even wider. In a comparable situation, a student received a perfect score on her test. M s. M walked over to her, patted the students shoulder and said, Good job and the student smiled. In another instance Ms. M was asking the class the definition of an improper fraction. Most students had answered with statements like, The top number is bigger than the bottom number. However, when Ms. M called on a student and the student replied, When the numerator is bigger than the denominator. Ms. M nodded her head and turned to the class and said, We are using words. Very good. She says an impro per fraction is when the numerator is larger than the denominator. She then looked at the student and pointed to her and said, Excellent. The student responded by smiling slightly and looking down at the desk. Later that day, the same student can be se en with her hand raised to respond to other questions posed by Ms. M. Ms. Bs complimented an individual student more frequently than did Ms. M, and at times her style of complimenting was more demonstrative. She gave small compliments in passing by sayin g, Beautiful job, I see my artist in this room, excellent, or This girl knows her insects.
138 She would also have brief conversations in which she praised a student. A student showed Ms. B her picture, and Ms. B responded by opening her mouth and breathing in. Ms. B then grabbed for the paper effusively and then said, I love it. You cant have it. The student responded by resting her chin in her hands and looking up at Ms. B smiling. Occasionally she affirmed a student in front of the entire class. For example, when the students were at work on their individual projects, she called them to attention and with her student Kim at her side she said as she put her arm around Kim, I was to share with you Kims work that she did. I want to tell you why I am so proud of her. Kim looked up at Ms. B with a wide smile and her hand in her mouth. Ms. B continued, Not only did she complete her assignment, but she made herselfshe followed instructions she made herself as a little girl and a grown woman. Ms. B emp hasized the words grown woman. Kim responded to this by throwing her head back and laughing. Once Ms. B finished, the student was seen walking away with a big smile on her face. Another time, a student was able to guess the rule of the game that the clas s was playing and Ms. B got a wide smile on her face, clapped her hands and gave the student a high five and said, I need one of my stickers with a big brain on it. The student smiled and stood up straighter, then turned to look at the camera. In additio n to praising her students academically, she also complimented students on their hair, eyelashes, and smiles as well as called students handsome and complimented their names. In classrooms, it could be easy to focus predominantly on what students are no t doing right or well, and forget to search for and praise what students are doing right. However, Ms. M and Ms. B spent time affirming individual student strengths, qualities and capabilities. Their praise and compliments demonstrated to the students that their hard work, efforts, and improvements were recognized and deserved commendation. Such compliments could
139 potentially serve to further motivate students to continue striving to perform academically and socially. Ensuring individual students s uccess No t only did Ms. B and Ms. M set high standards with regard to their students academics, they also took measures to attend to each individual students academic needs to help them meet the standards. Moreover, each teacher took the time to ensure that each and every one of their students was making academic progress. Neither teacher would let a student fall behind and made sure that each individual student comprehended the material that was presented. Ms. M repeatedly asked, Are there any questions? And s he followed up her words with actions. When a student did raise his hand and said he did not understand volume, Ms. M stopped and returned to the board and explained the process of finding the volume again. She then checked in with the student to make cert ain that the student now understood. Absent from any of these interactions was any evidence of shaming or questioning concerning why the student did not understand. Likewise, neither teacher shamed a student when they answered a question incorrectly nor d id not ridicule the student. Instead they responded respectfully to individual students incorrect answers. The respectful manner in which they responded differed however. Ms. B was more indirect in her responses to incorrect answers and acknowledged the s tudents attempt. For example, while holding a Polaroid camera she asked the students to guess what she was holding. A student answered, A video camera, to which Ms. B smiled and responded, Nope. Close. It does look like a video camera. With her hand, she indicated another students turn. That student answered, A tape recorder? Ms. B responded, Good thinking and pointed to another student. In response to Ms. Bs replies, the students did not display any behaviors that would indicate that they felt embarrassed or ashamed of their
140 incorrect answer. In this instance one of the students, upon guessing wrong, immediately raised her hand again to try to answer again. In another example, Ms. B had separated the students based on the number of syllables in their names and was having the students guess how she had divided them up. Two students consecutively shared that they thought she separated the class by height. Ms. B demonstrated that the answer was incorrect by demonstrating the absence of a systematic height differential between the two groups. She then called on a third student, Tamia, who was jumping up and down with her hand raised. Tamia answered smiling, I know, I know. Tamia then put her hand on the top of the taller student next to her and sa id, Because tall and then Tamia put her hand on her own head and squatted and said, Short. Ms. B replied with her eyebrows furrowed, But we already talked about that. Tamia responded by bending over and waving her hands and giggling smiling. Ms. B th en paused, and recognizing the plausibility of Tamias answer said, But wait a minute, it could be, it could be. It could be a pattern of tall, short, tall short, as she pointed to the students, but I didnt do that. Ms. B could easily have snapped at the student for repeating the same answer, but instead remained collected and thus was able to interpret what the student was saying and acknowledge the plausibility of Tamias answer. Ms. M took a more direct approach to responding to wrong answers and c orrecting individual students incorrect answers. She typically did not acknowledge the plausibility of the students answer or the attempt, yet still remained respectful and did not shame the individual student. If a student gave a wrong answer she might say, No sir or No maam and move on to asking another student. Most of time she used their incorrect answer to facilitate the students learning. The following example depicts this facilitation. Ms. M: What is six times nine? (asking the whole class) Student: 63
141 Class: 54 Ms. M: (Turned to student) My question is, you yelling out 63, how you coming up with 63? In your mind you are saying six times nine is what? Student: 63 Ms. M: Is six times nine 63? Student: No Ms. M: (Turned to class and said empathically) Oh, so she made a mistake, so now what is the answer? Class: 54 Ms. M: (Turned back to student) What is six times nine? Student: 54. Ms. Ms focus on making sure the student knows and understands the correct answer conveyed to the student that it was important to Ms. M that the student know and understand the information. Both teachers also conveyed this message to individual students by the teacher s constant engagement and th eir consistent monitoring of the students progress. Ms. M and Ms. B never sat down or did their own work while the students were engaged in another task. I nstead Ms. M and Ms. B constantly walked around and checked on individual students work to ensure that individual students understood and completed their academic tasks Ms. B would move around the room, ask ing her students about their progress and answer any student questions. Ms. M however, would monitor individual students more closely, reading over students shoulders and checking their answers She even provided feedback on individual students note taking saying, You must write with a capital letter here, or Your words go on the line, not swinging up in the air. The students responded by fixing their mistake, and Ms. M would continue walking and checking on other students. Another way Ms. M and Ms. B were responsive to and ensured their individual students progress and command of the material was by using class time to check individual students comprehension. Ms. M walked around the class and asked each individual student to define one
142 of the math ematical terms and on other occasions would walk around and call on individual students at random. For example, on one occasion the student did not give the correct definition of a mixed fraction, and she said, No, no, no. That is not right. Open up your journal and read it. The class as a whole started chorally reading the definition, but Ms. M expressed that it was important for the individual student to learn the material and said. No, I want Javon to do it, and thus Javon responded by reading the definition aloud. Therefore, as depicted through the examples, Ms. M and Ms. B invested in making certain that their individual students were succeeding in their classroom. This investment was demonstrated by how they r espectfully corrected the students and how both teachers constantly engaged in monitoring student progress. Rather than sitting down or talking to other adults in the classroom, Ms. M and Ms. B gave their undivided attention to the students and their stude nts academic growth. Ms. M and Ms. B expressed through their actions that the information and each individual students comprehension was important. Both teachers were devoted to seeing their students achieve and would expend the effort to assure it. Summ ary The development of one -on -one relationships with students in classrooms is a complex process that looks much different from relationship development in other contexts because of the academic, task focused nature of classrooms. However, Ms. B and Ms. M seamlessly developed relationships with individual students through a series of connection building interactions interwoven within their instruction. They facilitated teacher -student interactions within the classroom context through their communication of their investment in their students. Ms. M and Ms. B conveyed their investment through their efforts to listen to and empathize with their students and their students experiences, show their faith in their students potential, re connect students who withdraw, and exert themselves to make certain their individual students
143 succeeded. Therefore, through their words and actions the teachers expressed to the individual students that they were of value and that they were worthy and deserving of their time and ef forts, and that the teacher wanted a relationship with each of them. Creating Teacher Class Connection Although each student was seen as an individual and both teachers had connective interactions with individual students, each teacher emphasized the importance of the individual student as part of the class as a whole. Both teachers stressed the collectivistic nature of the class and conveyed a commitment to building a relationship with their entire class. Ms. B and Ms. M communicated that everyone was con nected to one another in the classroom. Consequently, each teacher took measures to highlight that the class existed as a learning community and that she was invested in the class community. Ms. M and Ms. B developed their relationships with the class by f ocusing on the learning and the success of the class a whole, and thus by attending to, believing in, affirming the strengths of the class. Defining the class as a community Both Ms. B and Ms. M defined in concrete ways how their class operated as a learni ng community. In her first me e ting with her students, Ms. B began the afterschool program by having the class sitting in a circle and Ms. B taking the time to learn and memorize each students name and making student to student connections by asking, Who else is in your class? When new students started the program on the 2nd day, she returned to this activity and thus she highlighted the importance of being known by others in the group. She also expressed how she viewed the class as a family group when sh e stated, We are all here as a family, and I am the fake mother and you are the fake children. The emphasis on the communalism in the classroom as a supportive group was also demonstrated in how Ms. B and Ms. M prompted the class to help one another and provide
144 feedback. For example, when Ms. M was walking around checking students progress, she stopped and addressed one student, How would you visualizehow would you show your A? The student answered inaudibly, but Ms. M replied, No, uh uh. No s ir. She then pointed to the student sitting next to him and directed her, Show him, and the student responded by getting up and leaning over her classmates board and started to point to the board and talk to her classmate. In another instance she asked a student for the definition of perimeter and he hesitated to give an answer and she asked, You know the definition for perimeter? The student looked down at the desk and then shook his head no with his eyes furrowed and upper lip upturned. She directed the rest of the class to help him when she stated, Alright, lets give him the definition again, what is perimeter class? Similarly, Ms. B had students give one another feedback regarding on each others behavior during the school day, when she would as k, Did she use her self -discipline today? Whos in her class? Ms. B also directed two students who completed their projects early to help their classmates mount their pictures on construction paper and to have students who were knowledgeable about bugs teach their classmates what they knew. As a learning community, both teachers signified to the class that they were to help one another by virtue of being in class together. The centrality of the class as a community was further underscored by how Ms. B and Ms. M attended to the inclusion of every student and in doing so indicated the importance of each student as part of the class. Ms. M made an effort to identify and welcome the students in her class that were new to the elementary school when she stated, My new students raise your hands. My new studentsnew to Smith, new to Smith. Okay, welcome to our school, hopefully you will have an enjoyable experience this year. Okay? Also, because of the large number of students in her classroom, many students ha d to sit at tables on the edges of the room. Ms. M
145 went to those students sitting on the edge and ensured their inclusion by directing them, You all are going to have to turn at an angle so you can see the board okay? See Figure 42 for a diagram of the classroom. Ms. B was also very intent on the inclusion of each student. If the students were seated in a circle she would ensure that everyone was part of the circle, with statements like, You have to go way back, way back, because he has to get in the c ircle. She did not allow any student to be on the outside of the circle. Additionally, if a student was seated on the edge of the circle, she inquired, Can you see? When the class presented their work to one another she made certain that everyone could see by saying, Show everybody? Make sure everybody gets to see it. She also double checked that everyone had an opportunity to share when she asked, Who did we forget? and checked with individual students, Did you share Mia? Also, as described prev iously, Ms. B made efforts to re -engage emotionally withdrawn students and bring them back into the class community. As depicted in the examples, Ms. B and Ms. M demonstrated their commitment to creating a sense of community by emphasizing the interdepende nce of the students as a community of learners. By doing so they were emphasizing the collectivistic beliefs transmitted to the children by their African American families. Additionally, each teacher was also stressing the significance of inclusion and how they attached importance to each individual as a worthwhile member of the class community. Attending to the class as a whole Both Ms. M and Ms. B demonstrated skills in assessing, empathizing with, and attending to the emotional and cognitive states of th eir class as a whole. They were attuned to their classs engagement with and mastery of the academic material. Their attentiveness to their class was demonstrated by their flexibility with regard to lesson plans, recognition of the need to review
146 material more extensively, or judgment concerning how the class was understanding the information. However, just because the teachers recognized the engagement level, did not mean that they thus bended to the will of the class, but they did acknowledge and validate the students experiences. However, acknowledging and validating the students experience did not result in the teacher lowering their standards. Ms. Ms class time consisted of the class chorally stating definitions and answering questions repeatedly ove r and over again. At times the students began to drop in their energy level or could be seen displaying body language that may be perceived as conveying their boredom. For example, this might include the students with their head in their hands, sometimes c overing their eyes, fidgeting with different materials or barely responding when Ms. M asked the class to respond chorally. Ms. M empathized with this one day saying, I know you get tired of the lessons over and over and over again, but it is important th at we do it over and over again. Alright? She also just noted the fact that they were not as engaged when she stated, Some of you are not staying focused and you wont understandit is very important that you pay attention in this classroom. She also empathized with the difficulty of the material, and said, Its okay for you not to understand but you have to let me know. You have to raise your hand and say I dont understand. So when you tell me that then what should the teacher do? The class resp onded, Help. She then continued, Help you by doing what? By going over and over and over and over it again. Consequently, in being empathic and responsive, she did not dismiss covering the content she had planned for class because the students were n ot fervently engaged, but she did acknowledge their response and discussed the importance of the class knowing the material.
147 Both Ms. B and Ms. M were also sensitive to the classs understanding or confusion with regard to the material being presented. When Ms. B noticed that most of the class was mispronouncing the word math, saying maff instead of math, she stopped what she was doing and taught the students to enunciate the th sound. She even joked with them saying, This is one time you get to st ick your tongue out at your teacher. You get to say math. As she did this she scrunche d up her face and stuck out her tongue as she pronounces the th sound. The students laughed but then repeated, saying it correctly and Ms. B exclaimed that worked as she smiled. Ms. M would acknowledge her students confusion or frustration by reviewing the material again, providing the students with hints, or allowing them to look at the notes they had taken about the particular concept. For example, her class str uggled with defining and comprehending the concept of unlike fractions. At one point when she asked the class for the definition, they responded out of sync with a number of students giving the incorrect definition. She stopped them, recognizing their conf usion and said, Take a deep breath. In. Out. In. Out, as she made hand motions indicating when to breathe in and out. The students responded by taking deep breaths, with some students doing so exaggeratedly. She then told them to close their eyes or put their head on the desk, which they did. She then said, Think of un. What does un mean to you? The students with their eyes still closed shouted Not. Ms. M then said, Now give me the definition for unlike fractions. Take a deep breath before you g ive it to me please. The class then correctly stated the definition in completion. Therefore, in summary, both Ms. M and Ms. B were attentive to and responsive to their class as a whole. They did not disregard the experiences of their students but inste ad validated the classs experiences through their words and actions. Moreover, the teachers demonstrated a
148 willingness to be flexible and respond by changing what they were doing and responding to the groups level of understanding or engagement. Believing in the whole c lass Similar to their process of believing in individual students, Ms. M and Ms. B also communicated that they believed in their classs abilities and potential. They communicated that they expected the best, accepted no excuses, and empha sized the classs responsibility for their own learning. Additionally, the teachers supportively challenged and encouraged the students to work harder, go faster, and achieve more. However, throughout the process of challenging and expressing high standard s, the teachers complimented and acknowledged the strengths and progress that the class had made. Believing in the classs capabilities: Just as Ms. B and Ms. M shared their belief in individual students capabilities, they also demonstrated this belief a bout the class s potential as a whole. Therefore, it was not just that individual students needed to do well and reach high standards, the entire class needed to do the same. Ms. M, in particular, focused on this quite heavily and at a much greater frequen cy than did Ms. B. However, both Ms. M and Ms. B expressed to their class that they expected the classs best and if either teacher felt that their students had not done so, they would address it in some fashion. For example, Ms. B had her students try to guess the rule of a game that they were playing. Some of the students were repeating each others answers instead of giving their own and some of the answers given were not on track. Ms. B expressed that she wanted more from the class by stating, Who can r aise their hand and give me a serious answer? and raised her hand in demonstration. The students raised their hands, and Ms. B said, Isnt this the Mind, Body and Spirit club? As she pointed to her head she said. This time use our mind. Let me hear it come on. Ms. B also verbalized her high expectations regarding the classs behavior during the school day, prior to afterschool.
149 As mentioned, she took time to check in with each student concerning their self -discipline. However, she also emphasized thi s again with a comment to the entire class. She said with a strain in her voice, I really dont like M ind Body and S prit kids coming in here and telling me that the y didnt do things like if your teacher told you to do something That is very serious Ms. M also made sure her class knew that she expected the best. In fact, she started off the class on the first day stating, Who knows what I expect? As she had a reputation at the school for being strict, most of the class raised their hands. Ms. M repl ied, Everyone right, except my new students? But you will know. Right? She then repeated multiple times, I accept no excuses to make sure the class understood. When introducing their math journals and how she expected the students to have them in cl ass every day, she said, When you come here in the morning I dont need you to say, I left it at my aunts house. The fervor in which she upheld her expectations was demonstrated when she told the class a story about the past years students. Some of them came in last year, I had to go to the hospital to see my aunt and then I asked the question were you the doctor? Did you take care of your aunt? No. Then maybe you can sit in the waiting room and do your homework assignment. I accept no excuse s. Let me see the hands of those who understand. When I give you an assignment this is what I expect for you to do. Bring your assignment. Thus, she did not ignore the difficulty of having a sick family member, but she did express that her expectations st ill had to be met even in the midst of hard times. She reinforced her high standards and her expectation that they could and would do their best, by not allowing anything less than their best. When they answered chorally and stumbled over an answer or defi nition, she had them do it over again. At one point she asked the class to chorally provide the definition of a math ematical term. Only a few students responded and then
150 tapered off. She announced to the class, We are going to have to do better than that. Read it again. Similarly, she asked the class what an unlike fraction was. The class responded correctly, but they did not answer in a complete sentence, which is what she required. Thus Ms. M said, Well, lets try it again, but this time I need you to give it to me in a complete sentence. On another day, the class again stumbled on giving the definition of an unlike fraction, and she said, Get it straight, get it straight. Unlike fractions are what? The class then responded with the correct definitio n, in a complete sentence. She wanted their best even down to the grammar. Consequently, when the students start off chorally saying, A improper fraction, Ms. M jumped in saying emphatically, I keep hearing the word a. Its an, A, N. An improper fraction. An improper fraction. Make sure you have that in your journal, an improper fraction. Because Ms. M believed in the capabilities of her students and expected the best from her class, she encouraged and supportively challenged her class to pu sh themselves beyond what they felt they were capable of doing. This would take the form of challenging them to write faster, write more clearly, state the correct answer or just participate more actively. The challenging could be seen by some as too dem anding or harsh, and yet the students responded by heeding her challenge and meeting her demands. For example, Ms. M felt that the class was taking too long to write down a definition and thus she had them recall the fact that they had passed the states f ourth grade writing test. You all did Florida Writes last year right? Did you have all day to do Florida Writes? Similarly, she would state things like, You dont have all day to write in your math journals. Everybody should be finished, or You need to hurry up. You are in fifth grade now so that means you are timed. At other points the class would answer one of her questions quietly, with little enthusiasm, to which she would respond Come on, come on. Say it. We are learning today, or Dont fum ble over the words. I n one instance, class was
151 answered the question, What is perimeter? with little force Ms. M responded by telling the students, Stand tall in your mind when youre saying perimeter. Finally, the last way that Ms. M expressed her b eliefs in her student capabilities was by putting the responsibility for their learning on the class. She did not avoid her own responsibility as she told them, We are here to help you, referring to herself and the other teacher and she told them on mult iple occasions to ask questions. However, she conveyed that their learning was also their responsibility. Echoing an instance referred to earlier in terms of her expectations, she said to the class, When I give you an assignment, this is what I expect for you to do. Bring your assignment. Because the assignment is for who? Ms. M then waved toward the class to get them to respond. The students answered You. Ms. M continued, Its for you because if you want to learn you have to do the assignment. She a lso told them that their studying was fully their responsibility, You got to develop your own study habits. Nobody should have to remind you to study. In asserting that learning was their responsibility, Ms. M empowered the students to take their learn ing in their own hands and make decision regarding their learning accordingly. However, in line with her high expectations, she expected them to follow through and take the necessary steps to ensure that learning occurred. Affirming the class strengths and achievements: As their class met the demands and high standards set for them by their teachers, both Ms. B and Ms. M also affirmed the strengths and progress of the entire class. Though they expected nothing less, both teachers recognized the classs effo rts through giving compliments and words of praise to the class as a whole, and showing excitement and pleasure in their classs accomplishments. Both teachers not only praised the class, but stressed that they believed the students should be proud of them selves as well.
152 Ms. B expressed her delight with the class both in terms of their academics and their behavior. For example, she acknowledged the classs good behavior when she commented, People are taking turns nicely and Good listening and good quiet ing down. Likewise, when the class was talking about why they were in the afterschool program, she said, Ooh, you guys are coming up with some great ideas. As they worked on their projects, she announced, I see some nice pictures coming along. While they were presenting their projects she told them, You did a good job. She also wanted the class to acknowledge their hard work and thus continued, Who actually feels proud of the job you did? Give yourself a pat on the back. The students with gusto patted themselves on the back, smiling and giggling. Although Ms. M did not give numerous compliments and praise to individual students, she did compliment the class as whole. Typically this consisted of brief statements of very good, good job, and a lright! or clapping for the class. The excitement behind the compliments varied, at times with Ms. M saying them with an even voice, but other times saying them with a large smile, a raised voice, and/or enthusiastically clapping. Like Ms. B she had the s tudents recognize their own advancement by repeatedly telling them, Give yourself a hand or even Give yourself a hand because you have really done a super job. She further emphasized this when she stated Now you can go out and tell somebody what you d id on day one. Are you proud of yourself? The class responded affirmatively. Ms. M tendency was to also point out how far the class had come. On the first day she commented, You are starting off day one learning how to do mixed numbers, very good. She also stated, Give yourself a hand. That means you learned something this week. On the fourth day of school she pointed out, Fourth day of school and yall are doing fractions. Ms. M not only noted how far they had come, but how much further they could go. For example, when the class repeatedly was getting answers
153 correct, she said, If you are getting this on day four can you imagine by the end of the year what you will have going for yourself? She had so much hope for the class and she wanted them t o have the same hope for themselves in terms of what they were able to accomplish. In summary, as described, the recognition and affirmation of their classs strengths and communication of beliefs in the classs capabilities occurred repeatedly in the cl assrooms of Ms. M and Ms. B. The process of looking for, finding, and complimenting strengths demonstrated their investment in their class and their desire to acknowledge their classs efforts and progress. Moreover, the setting of high standards and unwil lingness to accept anything less than the students meeting the standard demonstrated the teachers faith in their classs capabilities and potential. The expression of these positive messages created numerous opportunities for positive teacher -class intera ctions to build on in developing a relationship between the teacher and the class. Ensuring the classs success Much in the same way that Ms. M and Ms. B ensured that every individual student was making progress academically, they were also doing the same with the entire class as well. One of the first steps Ms. B and Ms. M took to ensure student success was that they met the students need s with regard to school supplies and ensuring every student had the material that they needed. This was particularly si gnificant with Ms. M, because students are often expected to provide their own school supplies, versus in an afterschool program the expectation may differ. Regardless, both teachers rarely started a lesson or activity without ensuring all the students had the necessary supplies. As indicated, both teachers used the students seatwork time to walk around and check on individual students progress, and yet at the same time they were able to gauge the classs progress as a whole. For example, when Ms. M was walking around the classroom checking
154 what students were writing in their math journals, she announced, We need to practice our writing. They also both gauged the classs readiness and their engagement by checking in with their students. Ms. M often aske d her class, Are you ready? or Are we ready? and Ms. B checked in with her students with Are you guys with me? Ms. M also made it clear that when she asked a question to the class as a whole that she expected the entire class to answer. If the class did not initially respond as a whole, but only a few students answered, she would raise her voice and with repeat the question more forcefully until the entire class answered chorally. For example, at one point when she was trying to gauge the classs rea diness, she asked, Are you ready? Some students answered quietly yes. She asked again much louder and waved her hands back and forth in front of her and exclaimed, Are you ready? The class shouted back, Yes. Ms. M sighed and said, Okay, I thought at one time you werent ready. Similar to checking the classs readiness and engagement, Ms. M and Ms. B would each also maintain the classs engagement by giving directives to either direct the classs focus or continue the classs participation. They c onveyed to the class that the entire classs engagement and participation was important. For example, whenever Ms. B was writing on the board while the students were watching her, she would direct them, You read while I write. If they started to taper of f, she would stop and say, Everybody read, or Read please, read. During one instance she was going to write a long word on the board so she asked the class to count the number of letters in the word. She started to write the word, but no one was counti ng, so she turned to them and said, I want you to count. I dont hear anybody. Ms. M too would direct the class to maintain engagement by asking them to read what you have again or directing them to read this for me please. Ms. M also focused the st udents by saying, Eyes on the
155 board or Eyes up here. Though short statements, Ms. B and Ms. Ms classes each responded by following the directive and either read or focused their attention where indicated. Ms. M also checked the classs understanding and comprehension of the material throughout the class period. She expressed her desire for everyone in the class to understand when she frequently stated, Let me see the hands of those students who understand. She did acknowledge aloud that some student s would raise their hand even though they did not understand. At one point when she was talking about how they will be going over material repeatedly, she then continued, But if you sit up in this classroom and I ask the question do you understand? and everybody say Yes! Yes!. Ms. M puts her hand up in the air and waves it around, and then stated, But when it is time to take the quiz and you tell me, I dont understand, then it is too late. Ms. M reemphasized to the class on multiple occasions that they could and should ask questions if they were unsure of something. Ms. M told her students, Its okay for you not to understand but you have to let me know. She even pleaded with the students saying, Please if you dont understand the math, stop me at some point. She conveyed to the class that the class was a community and that it was important that every member of the class understand the material when she stopped the entire class to go over material again when one student did not understand a concept. She then checked in with the student afterward, Now do you understand? Once, the student said yes, Ms. M continued the lesson. Therefore, Ms. M was emphasizing through that interaction that because the class was a unit, when one of the studen ts in the class needed help, the class would not leave them behind. Ms. M did not let the class get by with just chorally giving definitions or even just giving their answers. Often, she would take the time to ensure that they knew their facts, understood
156 what they were saying and could explain how they got there. She did this through assignments in which she required students to repeatedly write each of the multiplication facts they had difficulty with so as to fill an entire page. Or if a student missed a question on a quiz, they were required to write the problem twenty times, because by the time you get to 19, guess what you will understand how to do the problem. In addition to assignments, Ms. M had them sing a rap song called, Rapping with Math. S he noted, however, that some of the class was rapping without understanding what they are saying. It is very important when you are rapping or you sing a song, you need to understand those songs that you are singingWith the math rap...we can rap the math rap everyday, but the question is do you understand what you are rapping? You give me the definition for volume. But do you understand what volume is? She followed up such statements by later having the class explain how they came up with certain answe rs. In once teacher -class interaction, she tested the class on how they figured out the area of a figure. Are you sure it is 18. I might say it is 19. Your teacher might say that it is 19. Three students shouted out saying, Prove it. Ms. M asked the c lass You are telling me that I am wrong? and the class answered chorally yes. She asked, How do you know I am wrong? They replied with force, We added it. Ms. M responded, You added. Oh okay then you have to prove your answer. Am I correct? The students answered, yes. She then proceeded to call on a student to prove how she got 18. Consequently, just saying the answer was not enough, but to be certain that the class understood the concept fully, they had to prove to her that they understood. M s. B and Ms. M expressed, by what they said and what they did, that they were invested in the success of their class as a whole. They took measures to repeatedly check that their class was paying attention and ready, check their classs comprehension, and direct their classs focus. Because the class was a community, no one was allowed to fall behind and thus the teachers
157 made efforts to make certain that it did not happen, even if it meant stopping the entire class to do so. In conclusion, these teachers investment in the success of their classes can be viewed in terms of their willingness to expend the energy and the time to take the necessary steps to provide opportunities for their students to succeed. They demonstrated they cared about the class and th e classs future. Using the classs funds of knowledge and culture While instructional methods and pedagogy are not the focus of this research study, Ms. M and Ms. B each had positive interactions with their class and developed relationships with their cla ss through the way they taught information and used their relationships in the learning process. Ms. M and Ms. B both used the existing skills and competencies that the group had obtained from their families, their communities and their experiences as a ba sis for the way in which they structured their class and taught new material. As most of the students in both Ms. M and Ms. Bs classes were predominantly low income, African American students, both teachers also incorporated African centered practices. So me broad examples of how they used students existing skill and knowledge bases as well their culture was through their inclusion of music and beats into the classroom, dance and movement, performance, using narrative and call and response, visual arts and common family routines. Using the classs existing knowledge s : Ms. B and Ms. M used the classs knowledge bases and competencies as a foundation from which to present information. Beginning in the first few minutes of the first day of class, Ms. M linked one of the procedures of the class with the students existing knowledge. Ms. M had her students take notes and complete their homework in math journals and thus expressed to the students how integral it was that they bring the journal ever day. To ensure that the students understood the importance of their journals, she related their math journals to a train ticket. She asked the class to raise their journals in the air and
158 stated, That is your ticket and this is the train that is moving. In order for you to get on the train you cannot ride for free. What do you have to have? The students replied chorally, A ticket. She asked again, What do you have to have? Again the class replied. A ticket. She continued pointing to the journal, So this is wha t you have to have. This connection of the math journal to the classs ticket to the math class reinforced the point that Ms. M was trying to make in that students must bring their math journals each day. Similarly, Ms. M was trying to teach the class th at their brains tell their bodies what to do. To make her point she connected the concept to what the students were doing at that immediate moment. She approached a student and pretended to stick a marker in the students mouth. Ms. M, talking about the br ain said, It says close your mouth so someone doesnt stick a finger or marker in it. The students laughed and Ms. M squeezed the students arm and smiled, You didnt even c lose your mouth. Y ou better get your brain in order. She continued around the circle where the class was seated and approached each student commenting on whatever the student was doing at that moment and how their brain sent the message to their bodies. One student saw her coming and turned around in his chair. She approached him and said, Y our brain is telling yo u to turn around and show [Ms. B] your back. The students responded in laughter, with a couple of students throwing their heads back in laughter. The next student was grabbing his nose, and with incredulousness in her voic e Ms. B said your brain told you to grab your nose ? The student covered his mouth and laughed, as classmates laugh ed with him. Ms. B said to the n ext student A nd your brain says to just laugh goofily The student closed his eyes and threw his head bac k laughing. Creating ways in which to connect the material to the students existing knowledge and skills can take time and effort. Ms. M noted this when she shared with the students about how
1 59 she had been thinking about them that summer and how she would teach them about mixed numbers. She shared, I thought about mixed numbers this summer and I say well, what can I tell my kids about mixed numbers? I thought about cake mix, eggs. How can I make this cake? I have my mixture there, how can I make this cake. Do I just pour all of that in a pan? What do I need to do? Huh, I have my cake mix and I have my eggs, tell memy mixture is already in the bowl, what do I need to do? A student answered Put in the eggs. Ms. M responded, The eggs already in the re. What do I need to do? A student answered, Mix it up. Ms. M continued, What do I need to do? I need to mix it up. So with this mixed number you are going to have to mix it up. With this mixed number you cannot work with this number until you do wha t with the number? The class answered, Mix it up. Ms. M continued, Until you do what with the number? The class then responded more loudly, Mix it up. Later in the class period, Ms. M returned to the idea of making a cake and said, In order for you bake this cake you had to mix your ingredients up, so think of this, she pointed to a mixed number on the board, as your cake mix. What do you need to do with this number? Mix it up demonstrated a stirring motion with her finger, in order for you t o work with it. To solidify her point, she proceeded to have the class actually act out the stirring motion. Consequently, in this example she not only tells the students about how she thinks about them during the summer, but also connects the concept to something that the students are familiar with, baking cakes, and ties it to a motion. Ms. M used a number of other concepts to relate the math ematical material with experiences with which the students were familiar. For example, in teaching unlike fracti ons to the class she related unlike fractions to receiving a gift that you dislike. She told them, I want you to think about something you dont like. Say for instance that your parents bought you something from the mall that you didnt like. What do you have to do with it? What are you
160 going to do with it? After hearing some answers from the class, she asked them, What are you going to do with it? You gonna go to the mall and take it back? The class shouted, yeah. She continued, Take it back and ch ange for something that you what? The students responded, like. She repeated, Change it for something that you like. That is what you have to do with unlike fractions. Additionally, Ms. M built upon the strong emphasis of family and kin within the Af rican American culture (Boykin, 1986, 2001; King, 2003; Merell, 2002). One example of this was when she had the problem. 3/9 of 27= written up on the board. She pointed to the nine and the seven and asked the class, are these numbers in the same family? Are they related? and later when discussing similar problems stated, We talk about family and talk about how they are related, and We talk about cousins, are they in the same family? So my question is how do you know they are in the same family? She also used family terms to teach the class the concept of least common multiple. She wrote + = on the board and referring to the two and four said, They are in the same family but you are go i ng to pick the oldest child. Looking at plus in your mind, who is the oldest? The class replied, four. Using music and dance : Ms. M and Ms. B both also incorporated music and beats into their classrooms, but they used music for different purposes. For example, Ms. B used jazz music to indicate a transit ion time between the class working individually on their project and when they had to gather together as in their circle for group time. When she initially turned on the music she did not say anything and multiple students stopped what they were doing and looked around. She then directed the students back to the circle and one student danced on his way to pick up the chair and another student just smiled as she walked to the circle. Ms. B also used Halloween music as a way of initiating a conversation about the holiday.
161 While Ms. B used music sparingly, Ms. M used music and beats throughout each class period as a bridge to teaching and solidifying mathematical concepts. On the first day of class she asked her class, Did yall work with music last year in your class with math? When the class answered no, Ms. M informed them that she uses music in her classroom. Before incorporating music, she taught the students how to change a mixed number into an improper fraction beat. She kept the beat for them by snap ping her fingers, thus they know the speed and cadence in which to convert the mixed number. For example, if the mixed number is 3 the mixing it up would proceed as follows two (snap) times three (snap) equals six (snap) plus one (snap) equals seven (snap) over two (snap). Ms. M would then say huh? and they were to repeat seven over two. She repeated the same problem over and over so that the class learned the rhythm, and once they perfected that she played a CD that had the same rhythm. The stu dents used this CD to practice changing mixed numbers to improper fractions every day. In addition to using the music and the beat Ms. M also combined dance and performance with the course content. She called it dancing with math or the math dance. Ea ch dance move corresponds to a mathematical concept. For example, for parallel the students put their hands straight up in the air above their heads (see Figure 4 5). For a line the students put each hand straight out at the shoulder level with their ha nds open. For a line segment, it is the same motion but their hands were closed in a fist. She also taught them angles within dancing with math. To reinforce the concept of a right angle and where their hands should be positioned she related a right angl e to cheerleaders when they say give me an L. Thus, when she asks them to do the movement of right angle, she prompted them with What do cheerleaders say? and she responded her hands in the position of a right angle and exclaimed in a teenagers voice, Give me an L! There were multiple other movements and sometimes phrases that were included in
162 Figure 4 5. Ms. Ms students depicting parallel lines in dancing with math dancing with math and she required the students to practice them before adding music. Once the music was added she encouraged them to dance with the beat and stated, Bounce with it. I know you can dance. She then would call out a math ematical term and with the beat they were to position themselves. During the math dance the student s typically smiled and/or really got into the dancing as demonstrated by their personalized touches to the motions and how they bobbed to the beat of the music. Ms. M also used a song that not only connected to what the students knew, but simultaneously ex pressed a message of high expectations and acknowledged the students capabilities. I dont know what youve been told Learning is as good as gold Using our hearts our hands and minds
163 Learning that you are right on time Sound off We come to school Sound of f We follow our rules Sound off At our school we do our best So we conquer any quest (2x) Look at me what do you see (2x) Somebody trying to be the best they can be (2x ) Sound off We come to school Sound off We follow our rules Sound off Lets go. Lets go. Lets go. The message conveyed in the song is much different than the messages that low income, African American students are intellectually inferior or incapable (Perry, 2003). Using familiar communication styles : Ms. M and Ms. B also incorporated th e communication styles of oral storytelling, narratives, and call and response as well as incorporating performance into their classrooms, all of which are common aspects of African American culture (Foster, 1995; Murrell, 2002). Both teachers used call an d response throughout their teaching by asking questions and having their students respond chorally. Additionally, Ms. M told her class short stories that related to a math ematical concept or emphasized a point she was trying to make. For example, Ms. M re ferred to her class last year and how they would come to class without their math homework, Some of them came in last year I had to go to the hospital to see my auntI accept no excuses. Or she told stories about how she helped others understand materi al, I told an adult one time because they were having problems trying to figure out what was the numerator and what was the denominator. If you think of D meaning down. Denominator is under. D. Down. She often related the different mathematical conc epts to
164 stories about families by talking about cousins and statements like I told them the story, if they are related, they are in the same family but you are going to take the oldest child. In order to emphasize a point or demonstrate something for the students, Ms. B and Ms. M would often act out points they were trying to make. For example, Ms. B acted out examples of how she did and didnt want to see her students present their projects to the class. She told the class, I am going to pretend that I am a kid. I am going to do it fake. Using a kids voice, she said. My picture, pointed to the paper and said me and the pointed to the bottom of the picture and said teacher and then threw the paper down. The class laughed in response. She said. Please dont do that. I will have nightmares. I want you to say My name is Vivien B and this is a picture of me in the Mind, Body and Spirit club after school and this is me when I was a teacher and I have 14 real kids. Who can do that? All of the students hands were immediately raised in response to the question. Similarly, Ms. M stressed to the students that though they sing their answers in class that it is not always appropriate. She stated, Lets say if you see you see somebody walking down the s treet and you are in the store and they say well, what is perimeter? And you say the distance around a figure. She sang the definition and then asked Are you going to say it like that? The class shouted, no. Not only did Ms. B and Ms. M perform in their demonstrations of key points, but Ms. M and Ms. B created opportunities for the students to perform as well. As mentioned, two ways Ms. M did this was through having the students dance, sing, and change mixed numbers into improper fractions with t he music. She also called an individual student up to the board to perform the steps of changing a mixed number to a fraction. On another occasion she called two students up to the board to describe the concept of perimeter to the new student. Therefore, t he students were given a chance to perform as teachers by describing perimeter verbally, as well as
165 visually depicting the information on the board for the new student, and the rest of their classmates who were watching. Ms. B also included performance in her classroom on a number of occasions. When one student, Lani, asked for a nametag incorrectly, Ms. B taught her how to correctly do so when she corrected, I think you should raise your hand and sa y Ms. B can I have one p lease. After giving Lani some time to think, she then had Lani perform for the rest of the class the correct way to ask for a nametag. Lani was praised for her performance, and one of her classmates learned from it by then asking for a name tag in the same format. Ms. B also gave each student a chance to present their project to the class as a whole and explain what they drew to their classmates. Ms. M and Ms. B made their teaching relevant and culturally relevant to the students in their classrooms. At times the teachers connect ion o f class material to the existing knowledge and culture of the students seemed spontaneous and required knowledge of students and quick thinking on the part of the teacher. For example, Ms. B responded to her students confusion about clubs by connecting the concept to the students experiences with their parents going to clubs. At other times connecting academic content may b e a more involved task that took thought, time and creativity. Such was the case with Ms. M found music with a beat that could facil itate the changing of a mixed number to an improper fraction, or coming up with the math dance. However, the teachers efforts to make the concepts familiar and even fun, further established their investment in their class, the classs learning, and the classs success. Summary One of the central themes that emerged from the data with regard to how Ms. M and Ms. B developed relationships with their low income, African American students was their efforts to connect and build relationships with their class a s whole. In building a relationship with their
166 class and re -emphasizing their class as a community, each teacher created a communalistic atmosphere which may have been familiar to their African American students. Although many teachers develop relationship s with individual students and hold high expectations for some of there students, Ms. M and Ms. B had high expectations for each of their students and for their entire class of students. Ms. M, in particular constantly challenged her students to go beyond their limits and achieve more. Again, the teachers not only held the high expectations but worked to help their students meet the standards by being attentive to the classs needs and endeavored to link the academic content to the students culture and exi sting knowledge base. In doing so, the teachers affirmed the students culture and lived experience, and appeared to convey the message that the students and their culture were of value. Being Transparent and Joining An integral component to the development of relationships with their individual students and the class as a whole that emerged was Ms. Ms and Ms. Bs transparency and willingness to share themselves with their students and actively join the community of learners. Joining was conceptualized as the process in which the teachers minimized the separation between themselves and the students, such that the teachers too became members of the class community alongside their students. While a hierarchy between teacher and student was maintained, both te achers flattened the hierarchy. Rather than disclosing personal information about themselves to the students Ms. M and Ms. B joined with the students in multiple ways. They physically joined the students by Ms. B sitting on the floor with her students and Ms. B dancing and singing along with her students. Moreover, they joined by voicing their thought processes, being playful and joking with their students, and revealing their fallibility.
167 Voicing their thought process Ms. M and Ms. B did not separate thems elves from their students by acting as the all knowing teacher who kept information from his/her students. Instead they both verbalized their thinking and provided insight into what, how, and why they thought certain things. Specifically they revealed th eir thought processes with regard to their reasoning for their action, their plans for the class, as well as their general thoughts. Absent from the teaching of both Ms. B and Ms. M was the phrase because I said so. Alternatively, both teachers often de scribed their reasoning behind their behaviors, decisions, and procedures. For instance, Ms. M did not just tell her class to keep their chairs pulled up, but explained on multiple occasions, Make sure you pull your chairs up because I do walk. Ms. B sa id something comparable to her students, We have squeaky chairs so can you please sit still. Ms. M however voiced her thinking most frequently with regard to the reasoning behind her teaching procedures. The class originally had difficulty with their mul tiplication facts when changing their mixed numbers to improper fractions. Thus in response to the difficulty, Ms. M explained her reasoning behind their current homework assignment saying, That is why you have multiplication facts as your homework. Am I correct? Because in a few weeks I expect you to just rattle it off, not sit and think about it. In a similar instance, the class messed up when reciting a definition and Ms. M stated in response, Now you see why we have to keep going why we have to go over and over. Some of you say I understand, but at this point you do not understand. That is why it is very important that we go over and over and over and over. When an individual student struggled to explain how she arrived at an answer Ms. M stated, Lets go over that again cause you act like you are not sure of yourself. Moreover, Ms. M did not just tell her students that it was important to pay attention in the class but reinforced the importance by
168 stating, It is very important that you pay attention in this classroom because I might give you a quiz in a few minutes. While Ms. M explained her reasoning with regard to her teaching and academics, Ms. B explained her reasoning in a variety of different areas. For example, she communicated her though t process about Halloween when she told her students, I picked this story for today because it is a scary story. In other instances in which Ms. Bs students demonstrated their excitement and desire to answer her questions by saying ooh, jumping up and down, and waving their hands in the air. Ms. B articulated her process for calling on certain students by stating, If you go ooh, I will not call on you. If you dont want to get called on just go ooh and I will not call on you and by saying, I dont call on people jumping up and down. She explained her process more fully in one instance when she stated, I dont call on people who do this as she waved her hand back and forth. And I dont call people who say ooh ooh ahh. I dont call on people l ike that cause I think you need to calm down. With regard to calling on students, Ms. B would sometimes explain why she chose a student, like when she said, I am going to call on Anna because she had her hand up first, but wait, sometimes I dont call on a person that raises their hand first, sometimes I call on somebody else. Also, she asked her students to look at her when she spoke stating, T he only way I know if you are listening is if you are looking at me, okay, look at me She also voiced her reasoning when a student shared her picture of herself as a grown up said that in the picture she was twenty and had two kids. Ms. B replied smiling, I think you need to put thirty. You know why? Because if you are twenty years old you have had no time t o go to college and get a job or find you a decent man. The student laughed and nodded her head and later returned to Ms. B to show her that she changed the year to 30. In summary, in hearing the reasoning behind
169 their teachers words and actions, the st udents had a better understanding of their teachers decisions. This may lead to the students being more accepting of the directives and procedures. Interestingly, the students consistently followed directives and never objected to or rebelled against eith er Ms. M or Ms. B. In addition to sharing their reasoning with their students, Ms. B and Ms. M also shared their thought processes concerning what was to proceed next in the class, either in the short term or long term. Through this the class knew what the teacher was going to do next and/or the plans the teacher had for them. For instance, Ms. M told her students at the beginning, We are going to start off with mixed numbers and I dont start off with something easy. She then proceeded to tell them, So me people start off school day one with a worksheet adding, subtracting, well here you are doing fractions on day one. Right? So that means we are working in the back of the book and we going to go all the way to the front. Basically I dont even much tea ch the front of the book because at this point you in the fifth grade and you should know how to add and you should know how to subtract. Okay? Consequently, the students had a general idea of what was to come during the year in math class. Ms. M also sh ared her plans regarding class time. She shared, We are going to try it with music too, referring to changing mixed numbers to improper fractions. She would also prompt them with statements like, We are going to move on to something else and next thin g we are going to do is the math dance. She also voiced both her thought process regarding her plans and the reasoning behind them, like when she said, We are going to have to keep reviewing until you understand what unlike fractions mean. Ms. B woul d also share her plans and the reasoning behind them with her class. When she was reading a story to the class and had engaged the students in a conversation about the main character Nathaniel. She stopped the conversation and said, I am going to put his name up here
170 and show you how he spells his name. In another instance she said, O kay I have a big important question for you guysand I am going to get a piece of paper to write down your answer More frequently however, she prompted her students on w hat was to come. She revealed what topics were upcoming with statements like We are going to talk about that, and then what kind of job a hero can have She also told students the schedule for the day like when she said, I am going to start off playing a little game and she signified transitions saying, Now we are going to change hats and we are going to get to be scientists. She also indicated to the students the order in which she would be calling on then, I am going to call on Donovan and then yo u. At times Ms. B shared her process about her thoughts in general or her decision making process. For instance, she began to tell the class that she was going to read them something and then stopped midsentence and said, OopsI dont see my water. When I start reading I always get thirsty. In an additional instance one of the students shared her name which was unfamiliar to Ms. B. Ms. B stated, Boy I cant wait to see these names written down. See I have forgotten your name already. What is it? At an other point, she disclosed her thoughts about where to teach from, umm lets see. Next week I want to work over there, but I am trying to thinkyeah lets work over here. In communicating their thought processes to their students, Ms. And Ms. M provide d a window through which they revealed more about themselves, who they were and how they thought. Rules, directions, and assignments were provided with an explanatory context as to their purpose, and the purpose always related to something that would benef it the students. In providing this context for their students, the students could see that almost every decision, rule
171 and assignment was intended to benefit the students in some way and was not just the teachers whim. Sharing their imperfections Parallel ing Ms. B and Ms. Ms tendency to share their thought processes with their classes, they also revealed their imperfections to their students or allowed their students to teach and/or correct them. Consequently, they disclosed to their students that they we re not all knowing, that they too made mistakes and at times needed assistance. For instance, Ms. M asked a student to put on one of the CDs to song four for a math activity and the student was taking a long time. Ms. M approached her and the student tol d her it can only go up to two on this one. Ms. M asked her, Which one? The student opened up the CD player to show her the CD. Ms. M stated, There it is pointing to the CD and said number four. The student softly said, It doesnt go up to four it only goes up to two. Ms. M asked her, Is it two? It might be two. Try two. At another point Ms. M was up at the board referring to a problem on the board and asked the class, What is five times two? The students hesitated and Ms. M looked at the board and saw that the board read X 6. She said I mean five times six. Im sorry Ms. B was good natured about admitting her mistakes and allowing her students to correct, often laughing and smiling in the process. For example on a number of occasions when she was trying to learn the students names, the students corrected her. In one situation, three students had similar names and she confused them and the students told her she got it wrong. Ms. B did not shut down their correction, but instead facil itated it when she said, What did I say wrong? A student pointed and gave the correct name Michaela. Ms. B repeated the three names and turned to the students for feedback. The students answered, yeah, and Ms. B said, Okay, okay, now I get it. In another instance she went around the room and stated the name of each student. She messed up and the student said, No, its not Becca as she smiled. Ms. B
172 smiling replied, I mean Lani. I am sorry, and laughed. When Ms. B was telling the class that the y were a family and said, I am the fake mother and you are the fake children. One of the students replied that they werent fake and said, We are children. Ms. B smiled at the student and agreed, You are children. Well I am the mother so I guess we w ill be alright. Ms. B also shared her thought process when she made a mistake. Ms. B messed up when writing the word self -discipline on the board and pointed out her mistake to the students and said, When I make a mistake a lot of times I like to circ le it so I can look back and see what it was. By Ms. B and Ms. Ms acceptance of correction and disclosures of mistakes, they stepped off the pedestal of teacher and potentially became more relatable to the students as just a human being. Being playfu l The students were given insight into Ms. B and Ms. Ms personalities through the teachers playful interactions with their students. Though both women were committed to their students learning and were serious when needed, they also made sure to have fu n and laugh in the process. Whether it was through playfulness in presenting and checking comprehension of an academic topic, joking with students as a way of breaking the ice, or sharing their softer side; Ms. B and Ms. M periodically interspersed their class periods with humor and laughter. Ms. B revealed her softer, playful side to her students in a variety of ways. During clean up time one day, Ms. B started singing, Da tada dad a, and shuffled her feet around dancing. The students responded by lookin g at her initially in awe and then broke into smiles. She reviewed students names on the second day and when said one of the students names, Donovan, and Donovan shook his head no. Ms. B tilted her head and smiled at him and exclaimed, Yes it is! The students in the room along with Donovan smiled and some slight giggling was heard. Ms. B then said smiling, If it is not Donovan then it must be pumpkin pants! All of the students, including Donovan, started laughing. Ms. B also showed her
173 playfulness t hrough facial expression as well as her words An interaction that exemplifies this occurred during the opening name activity after a student missing her two front teeth introduced herself. Ms. M: I have a question for you Lani. What happened to your tee th? Class: Laughter Ms. M: You came to school without your teeth today? Lani: M y teeth came out and the fairy took it (laughing as she said it) Ms. M: Have you ever heard of such a thing? (Looking around at the other students, mouth open wide, eyebrows up) You better tell those fairies to give them back Y ou need your teeth. Class: Laughter Ms. M: That is outrageous. Lani: It gave me a dollar. Ms. M: You sold your teeth. (Mouth open wide, eye brows up) Dont you think you are going to need your teeth? Oh mymy goodness gracious I have never heard of such a thing (eye brows furrowed). Any body else here sell their teeth? Class: Laughter (hands raised and smiling) Kayla: I did Ms. M; Ohh, (hands up to her face to cover her mouth) that is terrible Th e lighthearted interaction depicted Ms. Bs good-natured personality and was enjoyed by both Ms. B and the students as evidenced by their laughter and smiles. From the outset Ms. M too hinted at her playfulness when she introduced one of the new teachers w ho would be occasionally helping out in the class as our new kid on the block and asked the class, Are you ready for us? She also told her students her lighter side when she shared her views on learning and teaching by disclosing, Learning is noisy a nd I am noisy. Not only was Ms. M willing to get noisy in her interactions with the students and let them be noisy when she asked for it, but Ms. M also joked playfully with her students in the context of academics. She asked her students one day, Let m e see the hands of those who have learned something so far. All of the students raised their hands. Ms. M waved her hands in front of her, scrunched up her face smiling and said, Oh boy am I good, as she snapped her fingers.
174 Ms. M also tried to playfu lly trick her students on a number of occasions. For example, she was going around checking individuals comprehension and pointed to a student and asked him a number of questions in a row with regard to numerator and denominator. She stated top and he a nswered numerator and she stated bottom he answered denominator. She kept asking him with a smile on her face and as she did so students giggled and smiled, the student continued to answer correctly. She stopped quizzing him and smiled and clapped as she walked away from him. The student threw back his head, sighed and then smiled. Similarly, she was quizzing the class saying top and bottom repeatedly and they were responding correctly, and then she tricked them by saying numerator and they repe ated numerator instead of top. Ms. M smiled widely and said, Ahhhh, and the class laughed and smiled at their mistake. She also showed her playful side when she was relating a right angle to a cheerleader who says Give me an L because she changed t he pitch in her voice, tilted her head exaggeratedly and drew out the phrase. In revealing their playful sides, Ms. B and Ms. M showed their personalities and brought fun and laughter to the learning environment. Though tasks needed to be accomplished and information presented, during that process, the students were still given opportunities to have lighthearted, friendly teacher -student and teacher -class interactions. Summary How Ms. B and Ms. Ms developed relationships with their students appeared to be tied to their transparency and their efforts to join with their students. They each shared themselves with their students by allowing students to hear their thought processes, see their fallibilities, and see their softer, more lighthearted side. Through t heir words and their actions Ms. B and Ms. M expressed to the students that their classroom did not consist of the class and the teacher, but instead that they were a unified community of learners. Instead of being the teacher, they
175 became Ms. M and M s. B; real people with thoughts, feelings, and imperfections who the students could connect with and relate to in the classroom. While they maintained their authority and the hierarchy between themselves and their students, they joined the students and be came members of the classroom learning community. Facilitating Conditions for Relationship Building The importance of physical and psychological safety in the learning environment and the development of relationships have been cited repeatedly in the educa tion literature (Brown, 2003, 2004; Delpit, 1995; Diaz Greenberg, 2001; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Weinstein, 2003; Wilson & Corbett, 2001). Ms. B and Ms. M created conditions within their classrooms that could facilitate relationship development between the t eacher and their students in that the students knew what was expected and could be certain that their teacher would maintain control of the classroom and keep them safe. Ms. B and Ms. M did this through clearly establishing classroom procedures and expecta tions, requiring respect and order in the classroom, and by eliminating processes of shaming in their classrooms. Expressing Clear Procedures and Expe ctations Ms. M and Ms. B each concentrated on communicating concrete classroom procedures and expectations regarding assignments and acceptable behavior. Though the expectations could be viewed as strict and unyielding at times, the students knew from day to day what was expected from them and could depend on that. For example with regard to assignments, Ms. M gave a homework assignment that consisted of the students writing a whole page of particular multiplication tables. She told the students, Dont come to me and say I didnt know I had to write the whole page. But you do have to write the whole page and I accept no excuses. She also stated repeatedly what was expected when students completed math problems with statements like, When you are doing your math in this class you have to prove your answer so
176 that means you have to show your work. You dont j ust look at it and write 18 like I did, you have to go back and show how you are coming up with your answer. She also demonstrated what she meant when she said show your work by going up to the board and writing out what she wanted to see on their pape rs. Classroom procedures and behavioral expectations were a focus in both classrooms. On the first day of class Ms. M articulated her basic rule to the class. When I am talking, you do what? she asked. The students answered, Listen. Ms. M continued, Okay. Are there any questions? For the new students while I am talking you do what? A couple of students answered, Listen. Ms. M replied, You listen, and then paused and said, Unless you want to teach this class. With regard to her talking she also stated, While I am talking what are you supposed to do with your pencil? Put it down because you cannot write while I am talking. Also, math work was to be done with pencil, You do not write with ink in here, with an ink pen, supposed to write wit h a pencil. Another of her rules related to the students pushing up their chairs and she told them, Keep your chairs pushed up because I do walk, and this was constant throughout the video. Ms. M followed up on her rules consistently. Thus, for example if students did not have their chairs pulled up, Ms. M would loudly tap their chair or sternly direct the student to pull it up. Ms. B also clearly stated what she wanted behaviorally from her students. She expressed the need for her students to raise t heir hand if they wanted to be called on. She reminded them, Remember, we are going to do what when we want to share something? and the students answered, Raise your hand. She also stated, I dont call on people that are jumping up and down. The fi rst time she had the students read aloud what she wrote on the board they shouted and thus she directed, When everyone reads, I want you to read at a softer voice. In one
177 instance a student left the classroom to go home without telling her. Ms. B shared her concern and her expectation with the class when she said, I dont want anyone to leave here wi th anybody unless you say Ms. B I am leaving now. She then had the class to repeat it. Requiring Respect and O rder In addition to the clear procedures an d expectations, Ms. B and Ms. M endeavored to constantly maintain respect and order within their classrooms. Ms. B showed her students that disrespect towards one another would not be tolerated by quickly addressing instances of disrespect. For example, sh e did not allow students to interrupt one another and thus the interrupting student would be addressed with a statement like, Excuse me honey, you are interrupting, or Do not answer for other children in this classroom. Ms. B also required her student s to give each other think time and advised them, When someone is thinking it is best to be nice and quiet because when you get on the hot seat and I am waiting for you to say something you want to be able to think. Ms. B also demanded that her students give one another their attention if a classmate was talking. Ms. B would say things like, No hands while people are talking, and Attentive listening to X. Ms. M expected an extremely quiet classroom during the class time unless she was engaging the students in answering questions individually or chorally as a group. Therefore, in the few instances in which students talked amongst themselves Ms. M would quiet them with a statement like, And I shouldnt hear any talking. Ms. B however, did not requi re a silent classroom, but instead allowed the volume in the classroom to rise and for students to move around the classroom during seat work if students remained on task. However, Ms. B did not tolerate disorder and any disorder was quickly addressed. In one instance, Ms. Bs students were excitedly shouting out answers to the questions that Ms. B posed. Ms. B had to stop the students and stated. There is too much answering out and yelling out. You guys have to calm yourself
178 down and use your self -discipl ine and raise your hand. If the students were having side conversations with one another she would state, I am going to wait until it is quiet in here, or I have to wait until everybody stops moving around. Consequently, as depicted in the examples, students in both Ms. M and Ms. Bs class could be certain that their class would not get out of control or disrespect tolerated. The maintenance of order and respect were further reinforced when the teachers quickly redirected the behavior of individual s tudents who were off task or not following the rules, or bothering a classmate. The students who witnessed their classmates being redirected were again assured that they would be respected and the class would be controlled. Using Non -shaming Consequences A unique condition that emerged from the data was the lack of shaming demonstrated by either Ms. M or Ms. B. Regardless of whether a student was not paying attention, answered a question incorrectly, interrupted, or was talking to a neighbor at the wrong ti me, neither Ms. B nor Ms. M shamed or ridiculed them for their behavior or answer. Wrong answers were responded to with respectful correction or directed to the correct answer. For example, when a student gave a wrong definition, Ms. M did not shame him, but said, No, no. Thats not right. Open up your journal and read it. Another student did not give an answer in a complete sentence and Ms. M prompted him, Think about how you are supposed to tell me what a mixed number is. Though she had already expr essed the procedure for saying definitions multiply times, she did not denigrate him, but instead gave him another chance. Likewise, Ms. Bs students had been using the words mine and mind interchangeably and thus she was going over the difference betw een the two. She had given multiple examples and then asked the students to tell her the difference. One student stated back to her one of the examples incorrectly when she said, You say it is mind can you give it back. Ms. B did not humiliate her but
179 respectfully corrected her saying, Nope, it is not mind it is mine. Also, when students were off task, Ms. B and Ms. M did not berate them or punish them, instead redirected students back to the task through non -verbals such as tapping the students p aper or through words of encouragement like concentrate. When a table of students was getting loud in Ms. Bs class, particularly Tyreek Ms. B did not single him out but when over to the table and said this table needs to quiet down. Especially somebod y whose name I am not going to say. Ms. B not only did not shame students who were off task or not following directions, she also made an effort to prevent or stifle shaming among students. In one situation, Ms. B noticed a students zipper was down and called him over and whispered something in his ear that was inaudible and then told the student to turn that way and he turned his back to the class and zipped up his pants. He returned to the group smiling. In another instance, some of the students wer e calling attention to the fact that one of their classmates may have peed in her pants. Ms. B responded by saying, You guys know what? Becca and Erin, that is personal. We dont yell that out loud. We go to the teacher. Another time Ms. B was asking th e students who liked school. All of the students raised their hands except one and a classmate called it to everyones attention. Ms. B turned to the student and asked him, Do you like it sometimes? The student shook his head no and she asked, Never? He replied, I dont like school as his classmates stared at him. Ms. B then turned to the class and said, You know what? He is here and even if he doesnt like it he might enjoy some things while he is here. As she said this, she smiled slightly a nd nodded her head at the student. Consequently, not only did Ms. B refrain from shaming, she made sure her students did not shame others, and as in the example above, even normalized the students opinion.
180 Summary The creation of a learning environment in which students can feel safe appears to be a necessary condition for the development of relationships between the teachers and their students. Without such an environment, some students may be hesitant to share themselves and their knowledge with others f or fear of the consequences. However, Ms. M and Ms. B created conditions within their classrooms which facilitated the development of psychological safety by setting clear expectations and procedures as well as consistently maintaining order. The students knew the rules of the classroom and what the teachers would and would not accept. If they or a classmate broke these rules, they could be sure that the teacher would respectfully and sternly address and redirect their behavior. Moreover, they did not have to fear being berated or shamed by Ms. M or Ms. B, as neither teacher lost control of her temper or shamed a student in her class for giving a wrong answer or not following directions. Consequently, through their words and actions, and lack of shaming words and actions, Ms. B and Ms. M created psychologically safe classrooms which could facilitate relationship development between themselves and individual students as well as themselves and their class as a whole. Student s Affective Responses An agreed upo n definition of psychological well being has not been identified nor has a list of observable behaviors depicting psychological well -being of students in the classroom been developed. However, in examining student responses in the videotapes to the individ ual student interactions with the teacher and the students responses to the teachers interactions with the whole class as well as teacher transparency, four cat egories of student response s emerged. Three of these categories are subsumed under the positive emotions enumerated by Frederickson (1998) which she suggested could be linked to aspects of psychological well -being: joy, interest,
181 contentment, and love. The fourth category, demonstrated specifically by Ms. Bs students, was their tendency to seek out opportunities to connect with her on an individual basis. Demonstrating Joy Though the researcher cannot definitively say that the students experienced joy and happiness during their time in either Ms. B or Ms. Ms classroom, there are a number of observ ed student behaviors that appeared to reflect joyfulness. The most easily identifiable were the students smiles and laughter that were observed repeatedly in each teachers class. Students smiled and giggled in response to praise such as when Ms. B clappe d for a student who got answered a difficult question correctly and said We need to give you your props or when Ms. M congratulated a student for getting a perfect score on her test by patting the students shoulder and saying good job. The smiling and laughing continued when Ms. B and Ms. M were playful and joked with the students. The students at times would respond with giggles, but at other times the laughter was much more pronounced. For example, when Ms. B was joking with the class about losing th eir teeth and getting paid for it, students were laughing so hard they were throwing back their heads. Similarly, when Ms. M students were doing the math dance and reached a point where they had to freeze, students laughed out loud as they had to hold th eir body position depicting perpendicular lines. Students also smiled in response to being able to share their knowledge with the teacher, such as when Tyreek grinned ear to ear as he shared movie lines with Ms. B and when two of Ms. Ms students smiled as they were given the opportunity to go to the board and teach a classmate about perimeter. The students joyfulness was also demonstrated in how they related to each other and their teachers. In Ms. Bs class, there were only two instances of teasing by students that were observed and other than that the students positively interacted with one another either at their tables were they participated in seatwork or when they were in the large group semi circle. For
182 example, when Ms. Bs students were sitting at their tables working on their projects they could be heard asking each other questions about their drawings or laughing at each others jokes. In the large group they gave each other feedback on their self -discipline, clapped for each other after a righ t answer was given, and smiled at their classmates when one was selected for a special job, like when Ms. B allowed Kayla to write on the board and said here you write it. They also laughed with one another, like when Lani is kissing the Polaroid picture of her self and Ms. B, smiling asked Who is kissing their own picture? Lani, threw her head back and laughed as the class laughed with her. While Ms. Ms students did not get many opportunities to engage with one another on an individual level, the stud ents did help each other when directed by Ms. M. For example, when one student was struggling with the concept of area, Ms. M said to his classmate help him. Another example is when Ms. Ms students collectively laughed along with their classmate after h e was playfully quizzed by Ms. M and had answered the questions correctly. Of course the students were not always laughing, smiling and positively interacting with their classmates. There were times when students pouted or started to emotionally withdraw, but the pouting and the withdrawals were often short lived as Ms. M and Ms. B sought to draw the student back into the classroom. After these efforts, students were seen re -engaging with the material and with their classmates and teacher. Demonstrating Int erest Ms. M and Ms. Bs students displayed their interest in academic learning through their demonstration of mastery of the academic task and active participation in the learning tasks. The students mastery and comprehension was illustrated when they suc cessfully answered questions, completing assignments and did well on tests For instance, Ms. Bs students successfully finished their projects depicting themselves in the afterschool program and as a grown up and successfully presented their pictures to t he rest of the class by sharing their pictures in complete
183 sentences. Ms. B even noted their presenting abilities, Wow, good presentation. Ms. Ms students displayed their mastery of the mathematical concepts when the assisting teacher reported to Ms. M that of the all the tests she had graded thus far (approximately 90% of the class) nothing under 90. One 90, one 95, all the rest one hundreds. The students interest in learning was demonstrated by the students on task behavior, their participation i n activities and their attempts to answer questions. Both teachers students stayed on task the majority of the time. Staying on task was determined by observing an absence of off task behaviors when the students were told to take notes, practice math problems, work on projects, or listen to the teacher. While determining from the videotapes if the students were listening was not always possible, the students in both classes kept their eyes on the teacher while she was talking and often adjusted their bodie s when their teacher moved around the room. In instances when students got off task, they were re -engaged immediately by the teacher. For instance, when Ms. M approached a student who had his math journal closed when the class was supposed to be taking not es, she opened his journal and asked, Where is volume? And you are sitti ng here with you book closed? He responded by beginning to write in his math journal. The amount of student participation in the teachers classes was quite high. On numerous occasi ons, in both Ms. Bs and Ms. Ms classes almost every student in the classroom could be seen raising their hand in response to a question (see Figure 4 6 and Figure 47 respectively). Ms. Bs students wanted to answer her questions so much that they jumped up and down, wiggled in their seats, waved their hands in the air, and shouted ooh ooh. Ms. B often had to remind them I dont call on people who say oooh. When the students were not chosen they would often sigh or could be heard saying uhhh in di sappointment, but were then seen with their hands up trying to answer the following question. While not nearly as frequently, on a few
184 Figure 4 6. Ms. Bs students raising their hands demonstrating interest Figure 4 7. Ms. Ms students raising their hands demonstrating interest
185 occasions the students in Ms. Ms class also would wave their hands in hopes of getting called on. In one situation, Ms. M referring to a problem on the board asked how are they related? One student was so engaged that she r aised one hand to answer and with the other hand put up three fingers, the correct answer. Interestingly, individual students participation did not appear to wane even after they answered a question wrong or spoke incorrectly and were corrected by their t eacher. On a number of occasions, the students can be seen moments later with their hands up again in response to a question. For instance, Ms. B commented to her class I think we need more boys, dont you? A student replied There are more boys than gi rls. Ms. B with her eyebrows furrowed, looked at the student who was smiling and asked there are more boys than girls? The student laughed, leaned forward in her chair and replied no as she started to point and count students. She was not shut down by the interaction, but remained engaged. Similarly, in Ms. Ms class a student made a multiplication error when giving an answer to the class. On the next problem on the board, 2 X 2 X 2, the same student again made a mistake and gave the wrong answer. Ms M asked her How did you come up with six? Two, four, six? Is that what you did? Therefore, even after getting a question wrong in front of the class, the student still attempted again thus displayed her interest and investment. Ms. Ms class as a whole also participated consistently as they were expected to respond chorally to Ms. Ms questions. The students level of enthusiasm fluctuated when responding chorally at times but they always responded nonetheless. The students were so used to responding cho rally that sometimes Ms. M had to stop them when she wanted an individual to answer. For example, when a student gave the wrong definition, Ms. M directed him to open up your journal and read it. The class as a whole began to read the definition, and Ms. M had to
186 stop them and say No, I want Javon to do it. Instances where Ms. Ms students interest and engagement were the most evident were when music or dance was incorporated into the lesson. When the students changed mixed numbers to improper fraction s with the music the students would answer more loudly and some student could be seen bobbing their heads to the music. Similarly, many of Ms. Ms quieter students would become more engaged when performing the math dance as demonstrated by their smiles, th eir exaggeration of the movements, and how they bounced to the beat of the music. Two instances in Ms. Bs classroom illustrate the level of engagement and interest of her students. In the first, Ms. M was holding up pictures of insects and one of her students, Erin, was correctly naming each one. With each correct answer, Erin who was kneeling on her knees, would shift back and forth and lean in closer and her smile would spread wider across her face. Ms. B said This girl knows her insect and Erin kept smiling and wiggling in excitement. In the second instance Ms. B had divided up the students into two groups based on the number of syllables in their names and was having the students guess the rule. The students jumped up and down in order to be given an opportunity to guess the rule, yet they were unable to guess correctly. Ms. M told them I am going to give you a hint if you dont guess it in two guesses. A number of students sighed in response and one student shouted out please dont. The student s responses clearly articulate the students engagement in and enjoyment of the learning activity. Demonstrating Contentment and Self Love The students in Ms. B and Ms. Ms classes either through their behaviors or a lack of negative behaviors demonstra ted a general contentment while in their classrooms as well as a love for and belief in themselves. Contentment for the purposes of this study can be conceptualized as evolving when situations are viewed as safe and as having a high degree of
187 stability (El lsworth & Smith, 1988) and the reflection on successes and the creation of a new sense of self through integrating recent events (Frederickson, 1998). The students of each teacher demonstrated their contentment and feelings of safety in their classes throu gh the absence fighting and arguing with their peers or their teachers. The students did not have to defend or protect themselves from others as Ms. M and Ms. B did not lose emotional control or act out in anger towards their students. The students did not display signs of shock at having their behavior re -directed when they were off task or not following directions which appears to indicate an understanding of the class procedures and expectations. The students responded to teacher re direction by immediat ely following the teachers directive. For example, in Ms. Ms class a student was fiddling with the eraser for the white board that was on her table though Ms. M had directed the class not to touch them earlier in the class time. Ms. M approached her and took the eraser from the student and said Why dont you keep your hands off of that? The student did not pout but followed Ms. Ms directions and Ms. M replied Thank you maam and continued the lesson. Similarly, when Ms. M was trying to make an annou ncement, she directed the class eyes on me. Becca knelt on the ground instead of sitting in her chair and Ms. B responded you do not do things like that. Please sit down like I just asked you. Becca immediately sat down in her chair as she scratched her head and turned to face Ms. B. The students did not talk back to the teachers, complain or argue when directed by their teachers, but followed the teachers directions quickly. As described, contentment also relates to the integration of successes into ones sense of self. Though such cognitions cannot be directly observed, some behavior sequences of the students seemed to reflect integration of successes. For instance, one of Ms. Bs students, Kim, was an active participant in class but displayed beha viors of low confidence, like covering her
188 mouth when she talked and looking down when she answered. Ms. B stopped the class one day and shared Kims project with the entire class and explained how she was so proud of her and how Kim was able to follow d irections. As Ms. B did so Kim smiled, laughed and covered her mouth, looking down occasionally as if embarrassed yet pleased. However, a few minutes after her public commendation, Kim was seen walking around the class with her shoulders back, her head up and her hand away from her mouth, helping other students with their projects. In another example, Donovan had looked in the magnifying glass and said that he saw a bee with his head ate off. Ms. B turned her attention to him and gently grabbed his arm sa ying No. When you are doing science you cant say somebody ate their head offyou have to say only what you see. You have to say I observe. Say I observe a dead bee. Donovan said it correctly and then the two return to the magnifying glass with some other students. Ms. B then gave Donovan another chance to respond and in front of his peers and with a smile on his face, Donovan correctly stated what he observed in the magnifying glass. Physical manifestations of pride and self -love were also depicted i n Ms. Ms class. Students sat taller in their seats or slightly smiled upon responding correctly to a one of Ms. Ms questions. Additionally, when the class was told on a number of occasions to give yourselves a hand, multiple students clapped with enthu siasm. When Ms. M asked her students did you learn anything today?, the students responded with a boisterous Yes! and proceeded to share the different concepts they had learned that day. A student even left the class smiling one day saying to Ms. M, t hat was easy to which Ms. M replied I like hearing that. Two of the most illustrative examples involve students who were asked to demonstrate their knowledge to the class by going to the board. Ms. M called Paul to the board to show the class how to wri te out the process of changing a mixed number to an improper fraction. He slowly walked to the board
189 with his shoulders slumped and his eyes down. However, after correctly showing how to complete the problem and receiving a good job from Ms. M, he walked back to seat more quickly and with his shoulders back, his eyes still down. In the second example, Ms. M pretended one of the students in the class had no idea what perimeter [was] and called Zachary and Sara to the front of the room to teach the concep t to him. Without hesitation they jumped into an explanation of perimeter and even used the board to draw figures to further explain the concept. The students correctly explained and demonstrated perimeter without soliciting the help of Ms. M and stood tal l as they fielded questions from the student Again, while one cannot be certain how the students integrated their success into their sense of self, some of their outward behaviors appeared to depict that the students potentially felt pride regarding their accomplishments. Seeking Connection The response of some students responses to Ms. Bs and Ms. Ms efforts to create relationships was to seek out more connection with their teachers. Not only did the students continually raised their hands excitedly to be given a chance to share what they knew with their teacher, but some students would seek out opportunities to interact with her in other ways as well. During times when Ms. B was not leading the class as a large group, students would approach her and she usually responded by stopping what she was doing and giving the student her full attention. On numerous occasions as she was checking the progress of other students, individual students would bring her their projects to show their work and she would give them her undivided attention and give positive feedback like Ooh, that is fancy. She would also ask them questions about their pictures once they showed them to here Is this you as an adult? Students would walk away from the interactions smiling and one student even walked away and did a little dance. At other times students brought up unrelated topics in order to have a one on
190 one interaction with Ms. B and/or to impress her. For example, one student initiated a conversation with her while he was working on his project by saying I know six plus five. Ms. B stopped what she was doing turned to him and said What? The student hesitated and then said Nine. Thus, even though he did not really know the answer, it appeared that he just wanted to engage in a personal conversation with Ms. B. Another way Ms. Bs students tried to connect with her was though helping her with simple tasks. Any time Ms. B would ask for someone to volunteer to do something for her, numerous hands would go up and from time to time students shouted out Me! Students exhibited their disappointment if they were not chosen, like when Ms. B chose a student to get her bag, two other students frowned at not being chosen, and one student said aw, man. Students even asked her for opportunities to help her as on two different occasions when two different students interrupted her interaction with another student to ask Can I collect the markers? and can I be your helper? Interestingly, as the days continued the students voluntee red to do tasks she asked for in greater numbers and with more fervor. On their third day together, Ms. B, indicating their projects, asked Who would like to collect these for me please? Every student in the class raised their hand to be chosen. Conseque ntly, whether it was to engage Ms. B in a seemingly random conversation or to help her around the classroom, the students sought out any chance to interact and connect with Ms. B and form an even stronger relationship with her. Conclusion These two cultura lly responsive, master teachers developed relationships with their low income, African American students and used these relationships to facilitate student learning through a process of creating emotional connectedness with their students and creating cond itions that facilitated relationship building The students corresponding responses to the
191 teachers efforts appeared to reflect positive emotions and positive behaviors Ms. M and Ms. B created emotional connectedness through connective teacher -student in teractions, teacher -class interactions, and their willingness to join the class community and share themselves In these interactions both teachers expressed their belief in and intense commitment to the students and conveyed that the students were of value and were worth the teachers investment. The series of connective interactions along with the teachers transparency and a safe environment appeared to facilitate the development of teacher -student and teacher -class relationships as well as student s pos itive affective responses Figure 4 8 illustrates the oretical model that emerged from the findings and depicts how each major dimension is related to one another. The dimension of emotional connectedness impacts and is impacted by the facilitating conditio ns dimension As Ms. M and Ms. B shared themselves through their playfulness and voicing their thought processes and connected with their class and their students, they made the environment safer because students experienced or witnessed the connections an d the teachers investment in the students. Similarly, as Ms. B and Ms. M created a safe environment through rules, expectations, and the lack of shaming interactions, the students could feel more comfortable sharing themselves and their knowledge with the teachers and thus connect with their teacher. As such, there appears to be a reciprocal process between these two major themes. The result of the relationship between emotional connectedness and the safe environment is the students observable positive af fective responses. Figure 4 9 illustrates a more detailed depiction of the inter dependent relationship among teacher -student connection, teacher -class connection, and teacher transparency. Each theme is linked to the other and can impact the other. For example, Ms. M and Ms. Bs transparency and joining with the class facilitates relationship development by the teachers ability to be more
192 authentic and genuine in interactions with their students and class, thus suggesting that the interactions where conne ctive. Yet, on the other hand, the previous connective interactions with individual students and the class could also influence each teachers willingness or ability to be transparent and authentic within the classroom. Furthermore, Ms. M and Ms. B connect ions with the class as a whole may have created the space for the teacher and student to connect on an individual level. The student may have felt more comfortable having seen their teacher invest in the class and could have possibly been more open to teac her -student interactions In conclusion, all of the dimensions and themes that emerged from the data appear to play an integral part in the relationship development process between these culturally responsive teachers and their low -income, African American students. These teachers demonstrated their full investment in their students and their dedication to their students academic progress as well as their students overall development as human beings. Each taught and interacted with their classes with fluid ity, making it seem almost effortless as they attentively respond to their students, respectfully redirected and re-engaged students, and demonstrated a belief in their students. The responses of their students to these teachers efforts were overwhelmingl y positive as the students demonstrated behaviors that depicted joy, interest, contentment, and self -love. Absent from the student responses was anger, yelling, arguing, name calling, acting out and symptoms of psychological distress. Ms. M and Ms. Bs cla ssrooms were instead filled with smiling and laughing students who engaged with one another and the academic material, stayed on -task, participated in activities, and demonstrated pride in themselves.
193 Figure 4 8. Model of relationship development and relationship use to facilitate learning Students Affective Responses Facilitating C onditions Emotional Connectedness Teacher student connections Teacher class connections Teacher transparency Clear procedur es Requiring respect Non -shaming Joy, Interest Contentment & Self love Seeking connection
194 Figure 4 9. The relationship among the themes of emotional c onnectedness Teacher Transparency Teacher Student Connections Teacher Class Connections
195 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Existing research highlights the significance of the teacher -student relationship and its association with students academic achievement, and pro -social behaviors (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Hamre & Pianta, 2001, 2005; McAllister & Irvine, 2002; Noddings, 1992). Several qualitative studies hav e revealed that African American students feel the most connected to and motivated to work for teachers who show that they care for them (Howard, 2001; Irvine, 2002). Researchers have also reported that the quality of the relationship is particularly impor tant in the education of low income, culturally diverse students and is a n aspect of culturally responsive educational practice (Ladson Billings, 1994, 1995; Wilson & Corbett, 2001). However, there is a dearth of research describing how culturally responsive teachers develop and use these relationships (Bondy Ross, Gallingane & Hambacher 2007; Foster, Lewis, & Onafow o ra, 2003, 2005). The theory that emerged from the findings of this study reveals a multi -faceted process by which the two master teacher s created a sense of emotional connectedness and a safe environment for their students. Although aspects of this theory have been reported in previous studies of culturally responsive teaching and African American pedagogy, in this study a model of the int er relationships among the various aspects is presented. To illustrate the model, rich descriptions of how these two master teachers interacted with and communicated with their students and how their students responded were provided. The inter relationsh ips among the various themes and the concrete illustrations of the strategies used are significant findings The themes and sub -themes will be discussed regarding their relevance and how they relate to existing research.
196 Prior to discussing the findings ho wever, the researcher would like to note that although the findings presented in this research study depict the culturally responsive practices of these master teachers, these master teachers are not perfect and they too struggle in the classroom. The work of master teachers is a very difficult, labor intensive process and these practices have been developed and refined over time. Teacher -Student and Teacher -Class Connections Though the research literature repeatedly talks about the importance of the teache r -student relationship and its connection to positive student academic outcomes, some teachers are unsure as to how caring for students can be implemented in the classroom (Weinstein, TomlinsonClarke & Curran, 2004). As pointed out by Weinstein and her c olleagues, teachers often conceptualize caring and relationships in warm, fuzzy terms in which they are supposed to be only nurturing, nice, and not push the students too hard. Additionally, teachers cite numerous obstacles to such relationship building like having many students, the focus on standar dized testing, and the demand to cover the curriculum as obstacles to relationship building. However, the findings of the current study demystify the relationship building process. Ms. M and Ms. B revealed tha t developing a relationship with students entails not only connecting with individual students but with the class as a whole. They depict multiple ways of connecting with students, and thus demonstrated flexibility in how teachers might be culturally respo nsive in developing their relationships. This does not mean that already busy teachers have to add another task to their days. Ms. M and Ms. B showed that relationship building is not a separate task that a teacher does in addition to teaching. Instead th eir relationships with students were developed in the context of the teaching process. Thus, it is not always necessary to set aside time to build a relationship
197 with a student or the class. Instead relationships can be built through a series of positive teacher student or teacher -class interactions that occur naturally in the classroom. The teacher -class connections that emerged from the data of the classrooms of Ms. B and Ms. M depicted communalism, a central feature of African American culture (Boykin, 1986, 2001; Hale, 2001; Murrell, 2002) While each student was seen as an individual and relationships were built with individual students, each teacher also stressed the significance of the individual student as a member of the class as a whole. Ms. B an d Ms. M conveyed that everyone was connected to everyone else in the class Through their actions, both teachers emphasized the concept: I am because we are; and because we are, therefore, I am (Mbiti, 1970), a phrase that reflects the collectivis tic nat ure of Africans. Consequently, each teacher took measures t o emphasize that her class exist ed as a community and that she was invested in the class community. Also, because they were a community, the teacher and the students would together co -construct the norms and curriculum of the class (Lee, 2005). These master teachers ability to balance attending to their individual students and the class as a whole while still implementing their lesson plans appears to be a relevant skill set of culturally responsi ve teachers. It relates to Lowmans (1984, 1994) discussion of the negotiation between the task focus and the relational component in classrooms. Attending to students includes taking the time to listen carefully to the thoughts and feelings of individual students as well as assessing and responding to the emotional and cognitive states of the class as a whole. Brown (2004) noted that listening to students is a powerful way of establishing relationships with i ndividual students. Relational C ultural theory ( RCT) also asserted that feeling heard and responded to can be empowering (Spencer et al., 2004; Surrey, 1991a, 1991b). In addition to listening to the students, the teachers empathized with the students, and acknowledged and
198 accepted their feelings. There is an absence in the literature regarding how teachers are attentive to their class as a whole, and yet this was an area in which the teachers responded in terms of the classs level of engagement, understanding of the material, and need to adjust lesson p lans. Given that low income, culturally diverse students, particularly African American students, are often marginalized and discriminated against in schools settings (F isher, Wallace & Fenton, 2000; Perry, 2003; Wong, Eccles & Sameroff, 2003) being truly listened to and having ones feelings recognized are significant. Such actions can make the students feel important as the students are given the attention that they deserve. These feelings can then further motivate the students to become engaged partic ipants in the learning process. The engagement then often leads to the students doing better academically because they care and because someone cares about them (Delpit, 2006; Hollins & Spencer, 1990). This can also be related to the importance of communal ism in African American culture, as these students may care more about making their teacher proud and benefitting their group than their own gains. One of the sub-themes that was particularly evident in the data with both teacher -student interactions and teacher -class interactions relates to the teachers messages about the belief in and their high expectations for their individual students and their class. This parallels the existing culturally responsive literature which has highlighted the importance of holding high expectations for African American students (Brown, 2003, 2004; Gay, 2000; LadsonBillings, 1994; Wilson & Corbett, 2001). Howard (2001) an d Bondy and her colleagues (2007) have noted that caring is demonstrated when teachers expected their st udents to succeed and communicated their belief in their students. Unfortunately, African American students are often seen as intellectually and culturally inferior which impacts tea chers expectations (Perry, 2003). Thus, in accordance with Mertons (1948) self -fulfilling prophecy, these students may meet these low
199 expectations. However, the self -fulfilling prophecy can work in reverse, such that when high expectations are communicated, students rise to meet such expectations. Thus, believing in students a nd holding high expectations may serve to motivate students and help them believe in themselves as learners and capable human beings. This is crucial to their ability to achieve academically and set and reach goals. While the expression of these expectati ons and beliefs in the abilities of individual students and the class were evident, the master teachers in this study went beyond merely stating these expectations. Similar to the findings noted by Delpit (1995) these teachers conveyed an intense commitmen t to and investment in their students. They provided their students with encouragement and support, but also challenged them to meet the teachers high expectations. They demonstrated a willingness to do everything in their power to help their students suc ceed. This intensity and commitment to African American students may be related to the teachers own African heritage and the African American philosophy of education. This philosophy is rooted in the historical struggle of African Americans beginning wit h their enslavement and prevention from receiving an education. The philosophy highlights the importance of education in the statement freedom for literacy and literacy for freedom as education was linked to African Americans ability to view their identity as a free people (Perry, 2003 ). This remains relevant today, as Lee (2005) articulated that academic achievement is intricately linked to issues of political and economic empowerment, not simply for individuals, but rather for the national African Ame rican community (p. 55). Perry (2003 ) asserted that this philosophy, as well as the actions of African Americans throughout history, provides a counter -narrative which opposes societys view of African Americans capabilities and dedication to education. Perry noted however that students belief in the significance of education can be negatively impacted
200 when teachers overtly or covertly express a disbelief in students academic capabilities. Therefore, it is imperative that teachers express and act on their beliefs in the student. It is important to note that whether a teacher is African American or not, he or she can still fully commit him or herself to their students success. This wholehearted investment can serve as the extra push that a student or a group of students need and appears essential for relationship development. The students experience of the teachers commitment to them and their learning can facilitate the students reciprocal commitment to the teacher, their relationship, and the learnin g process. An area that is heavily discussed within culturally responsive pedagogy relates to the use of culturally diverse students existing knowledge, culture, skills, and competencies in instruction (Gay, 2000; Moll & Gonzalez, 2004; Murrell, 2002; Nie to, 2004a, 2004b; King, 2004; Tharp Estrad a, Dalton & Yamauchi, 2000). The relational aspects of culturally responsive educational practices are often relegated to the use of culturally congruent communication styles (Brown, 2003, 2004; Bondy e t al., 200 7 ; Delpit, 1995, 2004; Gay, 2000). These teachers used instructional methods and communication styles that were based in the African American cultural theme of verve and communalism including the use of dance and music, performance, storytelling, verbal expressiveness, and call and response (Boykin, 1986, 2001; Foster, 1995; Hale, 2001; Lee, 2005; Murrell, 2002; Perry, 2003). They also built upon the strong emphasis of family and kin within the African American culture (Boykin, 1986, 2001; King, 2005; Murel l, 2002). These teachers efforts to connect the curriculum, and school in general, to the students lives and knowledge bases reflects a relational component and a basis for relationship development. The use of culturally responsive pedagogical methods involves the teacher s know ing their students and their students community. It also involves investing the time and
201 energy into creating culturally responsive lessons that facilitate their low income, African American students achievement and overall succes s. Furthermore, in making these efforts these teachers affirmed their students culture and lived experience and conveyed a desire to make the students learning experience a positive one in which the students can maintain and build off their cultural iden tity. A theme that does not appear to have been addressed sufficiently in the existing culturally responsive literature concerns the manner in which these teachers re -engaged students. Both Ms. M and Ms. B made efforts to re -engage students on an academic task as well as expend time and effort in re -engaging individual students who became emotionally withdrawn. These teachers conveyed that each student was an important member of the learning community and that their disengagement had an impact on the teacher and needed to be attended to and addressed One particular interaction illustrated the manner in which culturally responsive teachers re -engaged students. This instance occurred between Ms. B and her student Donovan. Ms. B expressed her disappointment i n Donovans description of his behavior in school that day and said, You didnt yell at the teacher? I dont want to believe that I hope I dont hear that again. The personalization of Ms. Bs comment appears important in that she self -disclosed how h is behavior impacted her and thus demonstrated her inve stment in him. This relates to Relational Cultural theorys mutual empathy and mutual empowerment in which both of the individuals are impacted by the thoughts and feelings of the other (Miller & Stive r, 1997; Spencer et al., 2004). Also, Donovans reaction to her comment seems significant in that it appeared that he became upset that she was disappointed in him, thus reflecting how not reaching her high expectations impacted him. However, when Donovan began to withdraw, Ms. B pursued his emotional and relational re -engagement with fervor, resulting in Donovans re -engagement. This series of
202 interactions depicts that personal and reciprocal nature of the teacher -student interactions and the impact that the relationship can have on the student. As this example depicted, these teachers communicated that each student in the class was important and a valuable member of the class and that the students learning and emotional well being were significant. Feelin g attended to at such a personal level and feeling important serves to connect students with their teachers and facilitate relationship development as students feel truly cared for by their teachers. This again links to how students try harder when they fe el that a teacher cares about them (Delpit, 2006; Hollins & Spencer, 1990). These efforts reflect the teachers commitment to the students and the communalistic nature of African American culture and the phrase I am because we are; and because we are, the refore, I am (Mbiti, 1970). Being Transparent and Joining Concepts relating to t eacher transparency have been discussed in the writings of hooks (1994) as she relates the importance of the teacher maintaining her sense of self and sharing herself with her students. This idea is integral to the theory that emerged from this studys findings. Bondy and colleagues (200 7 ) found that culturally responsive teachers are personal with their students, but they related this to teachers sharing information about thei r personal lives and using humor. However, the current findings indicate that teacher transparency goes beyond sharing personal information, and involves as noted by hooks (1994) sharing themselves in terms of their thought processes, imperfections, and their playfulness. These teachers revealed themselves to their students so that the students did not only know facts about the teacher, but knew the teacher as human being with thoughts, feelings, and fallibilities. This relates to Relational C ultural theo rys key relational process of bringing more of oneself into the relationship through authenticity (Jordan, 2001; Jordan & Hartling, 2002).
203 These teachers made an effort to join with the class community instead of remaining as a separate entity. Therefore, it appeared that the teacher no longer conceptualized it as me and my students but as we. The we is again part of an emphasis on communalism and the belief in the interconnectedness of people (Boykin, 1986; King, 2005; Lee, 2005; Murrell, 2002). It also reflects the African -centered epistemological belief in socially constructed learning (Hale, 1986, 2001; Murrell, 2002) and how students not only learn from teachers but teachers can learn from students (hooks, 1994; Murrell, 2002). Consequently, in the act of being transparent and joining the classroom community, the teacher is presenting herself not only as a teacher, but as a relatable human being who demonstrates a desire for an authentic relationship with her students. It is important to note tha t the process of joining and being transparent does not necessitate eliminating the hierarchy that exists between the teacher and the student nor does it require the teacher to abandon her authority. Researchers have noted that maintaining authority is imp ortant in culturally responsive practices with African American students (Brown, 2003, 2004; Bondy et al., 2007; Delpit, 1995, 2005), as both teachers in the current study were able to do. Thus, these findings suggest that culturally responsive teachers ar e able to maintain a balance between being transparent while simultaneously upholding their authority. Facilitating Conditions for Relationship Building These findings indicate the significance of creating an environment and conditions that facilitated re lationship development between the teacher and her low income, African American students. These teachers made an effort to set clear expectations, required respect and order in their classrooms and did not shame their students regardless of the circumstanc e. In doing so, the teachers provided a safe environment in which the students could bring themselves more fully into the classroom and their learning experience, as well as become more available in their relationships.
204 The importance of creating a classr oom environment in which culturally diverse students feel safe physically and psychologically and thus prepared and able to perform at a high level has been echoed by numerous researchers (Brown, 2003, 2004; Delpit, 1995; Diaz Greenberg, 2001; LadsonBilli ngs, 1994; Weinstein et al., 2 004; Wilson & Corbett, 2001). Specifically, researcher s have stress ed the need to communicate explicit expectations for behavior, the rationale for rules and procedures, as well as respectfully and calmly repeating requests an d administering consequences (Bondy et al., 2007; Brown, 2003; 200 4; Delpit, 1995; Weinstein et al., 2004). Therefore, while the findings regarding creating safety are not new, the fact that they have emerged again from data of culturally responsive teache rs indicates how crucial and vital these conditions are for student learning and relationship building between teachers and students. Student s Affective Responses What has been absent in much of the previous literature regarding culturally responsive educational practices are the responses of the students. Howard (2001) interviewed students of culturally responsive teachers and the students overwhelming reported how imperative a caring relationship was between the teacher and the student. The findings of t his study, however, highlight the positive responses of students to the teacher -student and teacher -class interactions, the transparency of the teachers, and the development of conditions contributing to the safe environment. Students were repeatedly obser ved demonstrating behaviors that depicted the positive emotions of joy, interest, contentment and love in the classrooms of these culturally responsive master teachers. Absent from these classrooms were students who were acting out, yelling at or arguing w ith the teacher or one another, fully disengaged, or not completing their assignments. However, these classes provide a counter -narrative to the cultural and intellectual inferiority of this group of students assume d by some (Perry, 2003) and substantiate the importance of culturally responsive teaching practices.
205 In conclusion, this study illustrated the significance of relationship development and its impact not only on the academic achievement of students, but on their psychological well being as well. Relationship development in the classroom between culturally responsive teachers and low income, African American is a multi -faceted process. However, when the various facets are attended to, students demonstrate actions indicating positive emotions Frede rickson and colleagues note that positive emotions are often associated with psychological well -being (Frederickson, 1998; Frederickson & Joiner, 2002). This is particularly important given the influence of psychological well -being on students learning (E dwards & Mullis, 2003; Sciarra & Seirup, 2008) and the research showing that culturally diverse students often experiences symptoms of psychological distress in school (Choi, Meininger & Roberts 2006; Fisher et al., 2001; Wong et al., 2003) Limitations There are some limitations inherent in the studys design and methodology These limitations can be grouped into four main areas: the method of data collection, selection of setting, selection of participants and method of data analysis First, the sole f orm of data collection used in the study was that of videotaped observations of master teachers This limits the research to only what was observed, with little information about the purpose, intentionality, or awareness of the teachers or students sequences of behavior Moreover, it limited the opportunity for member checking to increase credibility It also precluded the methodological triangulation of the data with other data sources, thus limiting the trustworthiness of the study Furthermore, data we re not collected assessing the students psychological well -being prior to and following their time with the master teachers, thus the master teachers impact on the students psychological well -being can only be inferred from what is observed in the stude nts behavior
206 Additionally, as noted by qualitative researchers using videotaped data and visual methods, the data obtained was limited by the angle and perspective of the camera and to whatever fell in the scope of the video cameras lens (Mason, 2002; Ratcliff, 2003) Sound was also limited by the proximity of the teacher and the students to the microphone and thus some conversations were indecipherable. Additionally, the presence of the camera in the classrooms may have impacted both the behaviors of t he teachers and the students However, because of the continuous filming over a period of days, the novelty and noted presence of the video camera may have decreased over time The videotapes analyzed for this study depicted interactions between master te achers and their low -income, African American elementary school students. Consequently, the findings are specific to elementary aged students. While the researcher selected two different classroom contexts with different aged low -income, African American elementary students to provide breadth to the findings, this could also be viewed as a limitation There were differences in the organizational context between Ms. Ms classroom and Ms. Bs classroom As mentioned, Ms. Ms class was videotaped during their mathematics period, and thus, per state requirements, there was specific material that required coverage and particular goals and objectives that Ms. M had to ensure that her students met In contrast, Ms. Bs class was part of an afterschool program in w hich there may have been more flexibility in terms of topics to be covered and goals and objectives to be met Moreover, there was a developmental difference between the students in the two classes, with Ms. Bs class consisting of first through third grad ers, and Ms. Ms class consisting of fifth grade students These differences in structure and student development may have influenced the teachers dispositions towards the students and the differences in the teacher student and teacher class interactions It is also important to note that Ms. B was recorded
207 teaching students who voluntarily participated in the afterschool program Consequently, the students participating in the afterschool program may have certain qualities that were uncharacteristic of th e school population as a whole thus limiting the transferability of the findings However, transferability is not the sole focus of qualitative inquiry (Glesne, 1999) and the findings of the current study can be confirmed through replication of the current study in similar settings and/or similarly aged students. Another limitation involves the selection of the teacher participants Both teachers were African American teachers tea ching African American students; thus it cannot be determined whether sharing similar cultural values and experiences impacted how these teachers developed and used the relationships to facilitate learning Moreover, as both teachers were women, it is difficult to ascertain the significance of the role of gender within the relation al processes Also, Ms. M was selected by a Center for Learnings professional development project because of the empirically documented mathematical gains of her students However, Ms. B, taped for Foster and colleagues (2003, 2005) research project, was identified and nominated as a master teacher by principals and administrators for her ability to teach low -income culturally diverse students The nomination process did not indicate that it involved providing empirical evidence substantiating the effect iveness of the Ms. B prior to her selection. Nonetheless the low -income, African American students of Ms. B who participated in the after school program did show empirically documented academic gains in math and reading as well as improvement in student engagement and behavioral outcomes (Foster et al., 2003, 2005) Finally, although measures were taken by the researcher to limit researcher biases through the use of theoretical memos, peer debriefing, and triangulation of the interpretive process, the res earcher was the primary investigator, and thus her subjectivity and bias in all likelihood influence the data analysis
208 process. For example, the researcher was not looking for negative processes of relationship development that may have been present nor di d she look for practices that actually perpetuate educational hegemony. Implications Implications for Theory As indicated in the discussion of the findings, many of the themes and sub themes that emerged from the study data have been cited in previous lit erature regarding culturally responsive educational practices. Moreover, aspects of certain existing theorie s, such as Relational Cultural t heory (RCT) and culturally responsive classroom management (CRCM), correspond with the emergent theory. However, the unique features of the theory that emerged from this studys findings are the combination of various themes and subthemes about relationship development as well as the inclusion of student s affective responses Thus, this theory provides a more comprehe nsive model of culturally responsive relationship development that teachers engage in with their low income, African American students. To illustrate how this theory provides greater information about this subject, the similarities and differences between this emergent theory and Relational C ultural theory and culturally responsive classroom management will be described. Relational C ultural theory (RCT) was considered initially as a possible theoretical perspective for teacher -student relationship developme nt for this study However, it was eliminated because of its focus on outcomes of growth fostering relationships and limited information concerning relational processes. Moreover, it was not created for use in the context of a classroom. The findings of the current study further illuminate the limitations of the theory and its application to culturally responsive relationship development between teachers and students. Nonetheless, certain aspects of RCTs key relational processes such as mutual empathy,
209 mut ual empowerment, and authenticity are similar to processes depicted in the current theory. These processes are reflected in facets of the themes and sub themes of attending to the individual, encouraging student voice, and transparency which are parts of t he emergent theory. These similarities include (a) teachers giving students the opportunity to express their fe elings and thoughts and responding empathically (Jordan & Hartling, 2002); (b) teachers acknowledging students experiences and needs and allowing these to impact the relationship and the teacher (Spencer et al., 2004); (c) teachers encouraging students voice and authenticity (Spencer et al., 2004); (d) teachers increasing their own authenticity by bring more of themselves into their relationships with students (Jordan, 2001; Jordan & Hartling, 2002); and (e) student responses of joy, interest, contentment, love, and seeking relationships which parallel RCTs increased zest, empowerment, self -worth, clarity, and connection (Miller, 1986a, 1986b). As noted, the fact that RCT was developed for use within counseling precludes it from addressing the many intricacies occurring within the classroom context. In particular it fails to address an important aspect of the current theory which involves the tea cher -class interactions and the importance of the classroom community. Furthermore, RCT does not seem to reflect the intense belief of the teachers in student capabilities nor the level of investment in ensuring the success of students. Finally, because of its development for use in counseling, RCT cannot and does not address how relationship development and the use of relationships in facilitating learning are so closely intertwined. Consequently, although the new theory parallels some of the relational pr ocesses of RCT, the new theory appears to more thoroughly describe the complex process of relationship development between culturally responsive teachers and their low income, African American students.
210 While RCT was not developed specifically for use in t he school context, the theory of culturally responsive classroom management (CRCM) was created as a framework in which teachers could relate to and manage their culturally diverse students in a more culturally responsive manner (Brown, 2003, 2004; Weinstei n, 2003, 2004). As a result, CRCM does stress listening, believing in students and holding high expectations, the creation of a learning community, the use of familiar communication styles, respectful guidance of behavior, and creating a safe learning envi ronment (Brown 2003, 2004; Bondy et al., 2007; Weinstein et al. 2003, 2004). However, CRCM differs in that it does not address many of the other key components of the emergent theory. CRCM, as its name suggests was created to help teachers understand beh aviors in a cultural context and manage their classrooms in more culturally responsive, effect ways (Weinstein et al. 2003). As it has developed further it incorporates more relational aspects (Bondy et al., 2007; Brown, 2003, 2004) but it views relations hip development as one piece of culturally responsive relations with students. It conceptualizes the creation of relationships as separate from holding high expectations and culturally congruent communication. In contrast, the theory emerging in this study conceptualizes believing in students, holding high standards, and using familiar communication styles as integral parts of relationship development. These are vital processes used by culturally responsive teachers in developing and using their relationshi ps in their instruction of their low -income, African American students and thus these relationships cannot be developed without them. Another key difference is CRCMs focus on relations between the teacher and individual students. CRCM emphasizes the impor tance of daily interactions and communications between the teacher and their individual students (Bondy et al. 2007; Brown, 2004). They do not acknowledge the importance of teacher -whole class interactions and their role in relationship
211 development. The nature of the classroom context provides teachers with a multitude of opportunities to positively interact with the class as a whole. The findings of this study indicated that teachers often conveyed their pride in the students and commitment to the student s success through teacher -class interactions However, CRCM does not emphasize culturally responsive teachers investment and efforts to ensure student success, nor does it discuss teachers efforts to praise and encourage their students. In addition, CRC M only briefly talks about the teachers self -disclosure, and this self disclosure is described in terms of the teacher sharing facts and information about him or herself. The new theorys theme of teac her transparency focuses more on how the teacher share s her thoughts, feelings, playfulness, and imperfections. Thus, the teachers did not disclose personal information, but instead shared who they were with the students as a participant in the learning community and as a human being. Finally, CRCM differs fr om the emergent theory in that the new theory discusses the student s responses to the culturally responsive relational practices of their teachers. Therefore, while CRCM is a helpful theory, the theory emerging from this study highlights several important areas that were not addressed by CRCM. As indicated in the comparisons between existing theories, the new theory offers a more in depth model for how culturally responsive teachers develop and use their relationships with their low income, African America n students to facilitate student learning. The new theory highlights the multilevel process of relationship development and shows the reciprocal nature between creating teacher -student and teacher -whole class emotional connectedness and creating classroom conditions and norms that facilitate relationship development. Moreover, it clarifies how emotional connectedness is integral not only to the relationship development between the teacher and individual students, but in the teachers interactions with their class as a whole and in
212 the teachers willingness to be transparent with their students. The theory also suggests causal links between teacher -student connectedness, the creation of a safe learning environment and student s positive affective responses. Rather than being conceptualized as a step by step framework in which each component must be mechanically followed, the theory depicts a model which emphasizes key components for relationship development between culturally responsive teachers and their students. Although the two teachers in the study had very different styles of interacting with their students (one being very stern and business like, the other being more nurturing) the same messages were conveyed and the student s affective responses appear ed to be the same. Furthermore with regard to emotional connectedness, one teacher interacted more frequently with individual students, while the other interacted more frequently with the class as a whole Consequently, if one envisions emotional connected ness as three intersecting circles of teacher -class connection, teacher -student connection, and transparency (see Figure 5 1), each circle can be vary in size based on the teacher. What appears critical is that all three components are present and intentionally cultivated by the teacher Finally, it must be noted that this theory remains tentative d further research is needed. Nonetheless, this theory implies a need for a more expansive conceptualization of culturally responsive relationship development, and it adds to the existing theoretical base regarding effective teaching practices with low income, African American students. Implications for Practice The findings of the current study on the key aspects of teacher student relationship development also ha ve implications for school counselors and for teachers. In particular, these findings suggest implications for the preparation of school counselors and the preparation of teachers, as well as implications for current counselor and teacher practice.
213 Implica tions for school counseling p ractice The findings of the study indicate some important implications for school counseling practice. E quipped with a better understanding of how culturally responsive teachers develop and use relationships to facilitate stude nts learning, school counselors can advocate for the implementation of such practices in their schools. School counselors need to advocate for their low income, culturally diverse students who are underachieving and may be experiencing psychological distr ess in schools. They need to advocate for a learning environment which is conducive to the success of all students, which as the research indicates, could be facilitated by more culturally responsive practices. Consequently, this may include communicating with the administrators at the school regarding culturally diverse students experiences and the need to make changes in educational practices and the curriculum The advocacy may also need to occur at a district, city or state level as well given that som e district-wide and state -wide policies relegate the curriculum and procedures that propagate Eurocentric based education. As mentioned in the professional counseling literature, one of the most influential ways that school counselors can influence the sc hool experiences of low -income, culturally diverse students is through their role as consultant (Amatea & West Olatunji, 2007b; Bemak, 2000). The findings of the study emphasize and describe the relational component of culturally responsive educational pra ctices with low -income, African American students. Given school counselors relational expertise and multicultural training, it is imperative that they collaboratively consult with teachers regarding these findings concerning culturally responsive relationship development. Of importance is that the school counselor partner with the teacher as a co -expert. To gain buy in from the teacher, the school counselor must acknowledge the teachers expertise and the value of the teachers knowledge base in the proces s of presenting that they have something to offer from a relational standpoint. Through such a relationship, both the school
214 Figure 5 1. Variability among the themes of emotional connectedness. A) More teacher -student connecti on. B) More teacher -class connection Being Transparent Teacher Student Connections Teacher Class Connections Teacher Student Connection Teacher Class Connections Being Transparent B A
215 counselor and the teacher can combine their expertise to create culturally responsive classrooms in which all students can succeed. In addition to the need for school counselors to collaboratively consult with individual teachers, school counselors can also serve as a consultant by creating professional development initiatives centering on culturally responsive educational practices Although many teachers recognize the discrepancies in achievement and want to do somet hing to minimize such discrepancies, many teachers may not be aware of how the cultural context of their classrooms may be impacting culturally diverse students Therefore, school counselors could begin by creating a faculty -wide guided reading initiative in which to raise the facultys awareness about the Eurocentric basis of U.S. education and the potential for cultural discontinuity. Using books such as Ladson Billings (1994) The Dream Keepers or Hales (2001) Learning While Black the faculty could be put into smaller groups and the school counselor could facilitate discussions about the teachers reactions. The reading groups could be supplemented by the school counselor leading or co leading with a master teacher an interactive school -wide professional development series on educational hegemony and culturally responsive educational practices. Pertinent topics to cover in such a professional development series include: (a) hegemony and its potential impact on culturally diverse students school experie nces; (b) raising teachers consciousness and cultural awareness through experiential activities, cultural immersion experiences, and cultural panels; and (c) concrete information regarding culturally responsive instruction and pedagogy, as well as this stu dys findings regard culturally responsive relationship development processes with low income African American students.
216 Given that large group professional development activities do not always create an environment where teachers feel comfortable opening up regarding their own ideas and questions, small group professional development initiatives are also necessary School counselors could serve as the group facilitator for small groups in which teachers could have a more intimate and safe environment in which biases and assumptions regarding low income, culturally diverse students could be explored. In these groups, school counselors could initiate opportunities in which teachers examine d and reflect ed on their own relational and instructional practices a nd their outcomes Additionally, such a small group could also strengthen collaboration among the teachers as well as with the school counselor on ways to be more culturally responsive relationally and instructionally. Implications for school counselor pre paration The professional school counseling literature heavily stresses the need for school counselors to be involved in decreasing the existing discrepancies in achievement between low income, culturally diverse students and their more affluent White peer s ( Amatea & West Olatunji, 2007b; Brown & Trusty 2005; Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008; Lee, 2005). Yet, some school co unselor education programs fail to present material regarding some of the systemic influences on these discrepancies. Specifically, there is a need to promote school counselors cultural awareness regarding the Eurocentric basis of U.S. educational practices and how such practices may be at odds with low -income, culturally diverse students home cultures They also need to be informed of how these experiences of cultural discontinuity may be linked to these students academic underachievement and psychological distress In addition to a better understanding of the context of the problem, school counselors need training regarding the educatio nal practices that minimize cultural discontinuity and students experiences of psychological distress School counselors need a basic knowledge of
217 culturally responsive educational practices and how these practices have been linked to increased academic a chievement and psychological well -being. Because these practices are anchored in instruction, school counselors may conceptualize these practices as solely the purview of teachers and teacher educators. However, the current findings, along with the findings of other researchers indicate a strong relational component in culturally responsive practices (Bondy et al., 2007; Brown, 2003, 2005; Weinstein et al 2004) Consequently, given their interpersonal relationship training, school counselors have competencies that can be used in conjunction with teachers expertise in curriculum and instruction. Furthermore, the findings of this study are particularly important because they provide school counselors with specific content knowledge regarding how culturally responsive teachers develop relationships with their low -income, African American students in the context of the classroom. School counselor training also needs to further ground school counselor trainees identity within the American School Counselor Ass ociation s National Model Many school counselor trainees might conceptualize their responsibilities as a school counselor as providing direct services to students. The roles of leader, advocate, and consultant may be perceived as secondary and thus not ar eas of focus However, the ASCA model (2003) clearly emphasizes school counselors responsibilities for leadership, advocacy and consultative role s as foundational to their schools academic mission Consequently, school counselor training must stress thes e roles in their preparation programs and demonstrate how these roles ensure the academic, personal/social, and career development of all students. Moreover, counselor education programs must highlight how these roles are becoming increasingly important g iven the fact that such a large percentage of culturally diverse students are underachieving (Planty et al., 2008) and that many of these students may be experiencing psychological distress in schools (Choi et al., 2003;
218 Fisher et al., 2001; Wong et al., 2006). While direct services, may be of assistance to some students, school counselors who also focus on being a leader, advocate and consultant may be able to make a bigger impact on culturally diverse students underachievement and school experiences In addition to emphasizing their broadened responsibilities and roles, school counselors must be further equipped to perform these roles Some of school counselors hesitancies in implementing these roles may be due to the fact that they do not feel they have the necessary skills to serve as a leader, consultant, or advocate in the school Consequently, school counselor training should include additional leadership training To facilitate such training school counselor preparation programs could partner with educational leadership preparation programs. The integration of leadership training would provide school counselors with a skill set that would equip them to be more capable of initiating systemic, school wide change efforts and professional development in itiatives centered on culturally responsive educational practices Similarly, even though the consultation role within professional school counseling is not a ne w one, many school counselors may not feel comfortable providing consultation services to teachers within their schools. There is a fear that teachers will resist listening to their suggestions and perc eive that the school counselor i s attempting to take on the role of the expert in the teachers classroom. School counselor training programs must t herefore facilitate school counselors acquisition of collaborative consultation skills. In particular, training needs to stress the reciprocal nature of collaborative consultation and teach school counselors how to develop a collaborative consultative relationship with teachers. Additional course assignments focused on consultation and its implementation should be added to school counselor courses and a counselor teacher consultation requirement should be included in students practicum and
219 internship expe riences Such a requirement would re emphasize the importance of the consultative role as well as give students an opportunity to develop their skills as a consultant while still receiving supervision With such increased consultation skills and content knowledge regarding culturally responsive relationship development, school counselors will be more equipped to collaboratively consult with teachers to positively impact low income, culturally diverse students academic achievement and experiences in the cla ssroom. There is also a need for school counselor education programs to partner with teacher education programs Such a partnership could be powerful in multiple ways First it will model for school counselor trainees, as well as pre -service teachers, the importance of these two professions collaborating. Each profession has an expertise and skill set that could benefit the other and their integrated expertise could powerfully impact the achievement of low income, culturally diverse students. Second, couns elor educators, as well as school counselor trainees must obtain a better understanding of the ways that master teachers develop relationships with their students There are intricacies to teaching and to all that a teacher manages within a school day As emphasized in the finding of the current study, relationship building within the context of a classroom can be very different from relationship development that may occur within a school counselors office Often, in states that require teaching experience for school counselors it is assumed that the counselors learn the specific relational complexities of classrooms However, there is a growing trend for school counselors to go directly in to counselor preparation programs without gaining teaching experienc e Moreover, it is not always guaranteed that teacher preparation programs address relational processes Consequently, it is important that school counselors grasp that it is not possible for teachers to give each student individual attention for long peri ods of time
220 Instead within the context of the classroom, as the findings suggest, relationships often develop based on a series of distinctive teacher -student or teacher -class interactions Given this studys findings which emphasized group cohesion and creating a sense of communalism in the classroom, it is important that school counselor trainees not only receive content regarding the significance of such an atmosphere, but that they experience it themselves As a result, counselor educators must also m odel some of the whole class relationship building processes implemented by master teachers, so that the school counselor trainees actually feel the impact of the processes in their classrooms. This understanding of the context will help school counselors more easily collaborate with teachers concerning feasible culturally responsive relationship practices that can be implemented within their classrooms. Implications for teacher preparation and p ractice Although this study was conducted to facilitate schoo l counselors understanding of culturally responsive relational practices so as to enhance their ability to collaboratively consult with teachers, the findings of the current study also have implications for teacher preparation and teaching practice. As me ntioned in the implications for counselor preparation and practice, there is a need for a partnership between counselor education and teacher education. Such a partnership would enhance both teachers and school counselors understanding of each others profe ssions as well as facilitate collaborative efforts between the two. This partnership is important for teacher training because counselor education has already developed means in which to enhance counselors self awareness and multicultural competencies. Te acher education can use counselor education as a basis for increasing the cultural awareness of pre -service teachers. The importance of cultural competency and multicultural awareness is evident throughout the findings of the current study. In order for te achers to truly believe in their students and hold high standards for their students, they need to explore their biases and
221 assumptions regarding low -income, culturally diverse populations. To facilitate developing the teachers increased awareness and the skills in working responsively with culturally diverse students, there should be increased multicultural coursework required for teacher certification. Such coursework would provide teachers with more training regarding culturally responsive educational p ractices and their implementation. The findings of this study also indicate implications for teacher practice. There is clearly much to be learned from master teachers and their ability to implement culturally responsive educational practices and build rel ationships with their students. Consequently, school districts need to identify culturally responsive master teachers and compensate them for mentoring new teachers. As part of this mentorship, the new teachers need to be given the opportunity to observe m aster teachers during the school day to learn from their instruction methods and relational practices. Such mentorship would give new teachers concrete examples of culturally responsive educational practices and the chance to discuss these practices and th eir implementation with teachers who have successfully done so. Similarly, schools should invest in hiring an extra staff person, perhaps a former master teacher, who could serve as a consultant regarding the culturally responsive pedagogical practices and lesson plans This person could work alongside the school counselor who collaboratively consults with teachers concerning culturally responsive relationship development In addition, to be culturally responsive, teachers need an understanding of their students culture, their students families, and their students community. Living in the community in which one teaches could facilitate this understanding, thus housing or financial grants should be given to encourage teachers to live in the communities in which they teach Lastly, schools should require that teachers and other school personnel participate in professional development activities which center on increasing teachers cultural awareness and
222 the development and implementation of culturally responsive educational practices within their classrooms. Recommendations for Future R esearch In addition to the implications for practice and theory, the results of this study suggest implications for research. Using video tapes of culturally responsive master teachers, the researcher was able to gain an abundance of data regarding the relationship building processes of these teachers with their low -income, African American students The analysis of the videotapes was enhanced by the software program Studiocode This software simplifies the qualitative data analysis process of videos by allowing researchers to code instances within the video of certain behaviors. This gives the researchers the capability of viewing all of the instances within a code such that the instances can be compared and contrasted, as well as more richly defining the code itself. Moreover, one could also use this software to examine frequencies of behaviors by counting instances of behaviors, the total time of certain behaviors, and the perc entage of total time of the video This basic data can be exported to statistical programs and statistical analysis can be conducted Given the numerous capabilities of the software and the wealth of data that video tapes can provide researchers in educati on and in counseling, the Studiocode software appears to have the potential to facilitate future qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method research surrounding culturally responsive teachers and beyond. The theory that was developed by the researcher pro vides a model that describes how two culturally responsive teachers developed and used their relationships to facilitate learning The study examined the relational process of these teachers with their low -income, African American students in the context o f a fifth grade math class and an afterschool program for first through third graders As a result, future research should be conducted to determine whether the themes and sub themes of the theory can be applied to other teachers engaged in teaching low -in come,
223 African American students in other contexts In particular, it is important that counseling researchers investigate the relational and interactional processes of culturally responsive elementary school teachers across academic subjects and secondary teachers teaching across class periods of different students Such studies may reveal whether the relational practices vary based the age level of the student or the academic subject matter Also, given the large percentage of White or Latino teachers and the fact that the current study examined the relational processes of two African American teachers, a similar study needs to be conducted examining how culturally responsive White, Latino, Native American, and/ or Asian -American teachers develop and use rel ationships with their low income, African American students to see if the findings differ Similarly, future research should examine the relational practices of culturally responsive teachers with other culturally diverse student groups as well as with Eng lish language learners. As discussed, culturally responsive educational practices have been linked to increases in culturally diverse students academic achievement and decreases in problematic classroom behaviors (Foster et al., 2003, 2005; LadsonBillin gs, 1994; Pransky & Bailey, 2002; Vogt, Jordan, & Tharp, 1993). However, teachers are often determined to be effective and culturally responsive based upon peer or administrator nomination. Teachers effectiveness with culturally diverse populations has be en substantiated through students scores on achievement tests as well as teacher reports or parent reports of students performance and behavior (Foster et al., 2003, 2005; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Pransky & Bailey, 2002) Such assessments indirectly sugges t a teachers cultural responsiveness but do not quantitatively measure the teachers culturally responsive educational practices. Therefore, there is a need to develop and validate a classroom based observation rubric which teachers could use to s elf asse ss the extent to which they feel that
224 they are engaging in culturally responsive practices in their classrooms. A rubric could serve as a professional development tool for teachers and a medium through which school counselors could consult with teachers. Q ualitative research, including the current study, suggests that culturally responsive practices may impact students psychological well -being (Cummins, 1996; Diaz Greenberg, 2001; Ladson-Billings, 1994) To further verify these findings a line of inquiry specifically examining the psychological impact of culturally responsive teachers on their culturally diverse students is still needed First, a quantitative study is needed to measure and compare the psychological wellness of culturally diverse students of teachers who have been identified as culturally responsive and those who have not. It would be important that in such a study utilize culturally sensitive and developmentally appropriate instruments to assess the psychological wellness of the students. S econd, a phenomenological study could be conducted investigating the experiences of culturally diverse students in the classrooms of culturally responsive teachers Thus, in -depth interviews could be conducted with a number the students focusing specifical ly on the students psychological experiences in the classroom of these teachers Additionally, given the research suggesting that culturally responsive teachers can have a positive psychological impact on culturally diverse students, there is a need to i dentify in what ways these teachers are doing so Thus, a quantitative study could be conducted by counseling researchers to develop and validate an instrument that identifies and assesses the psychological interventions of culturally responsive teachers. Such an instrument could provide further understanding of what these teachers are doing in their classrooms that positively affects their culturally diverse students psychological outcomes
225 In addition to the need for future research that continues to examine culturally responsive teachers, culturally responsive educational practices, and their impacts on student outcomes, there is also a need to investigate how to facilitate school counselors partnerships with classroom teachers regarding teaching pract ices. Though called to serve as a leader in the academic mission of their schools (ASCA, 2003), school counselors may lack the confidence to do so. Thus, the researcher and a colleague (Cholewa & West Olatunji, 2008) noted a need to investigate ways to suc cessfully promote school counselors leadership skills In particular, it was suggested that researchers evaluate existing leadership training initiatives that have been incorporated into school counselor education programs. The identification and implement ation of evidence -based leadership training practices in school counseling programs could better equip school counselors to make an impact on instruction as well as the academic and psychological outcomes for low -income, culturally diverse students. An int ervention study could also be conducted to examine ways to facilitate collaborative partnerships between school counselors and teachers. These partnerships are important in order to integrate the school counselors relational expertise with the teachers i nstructional expertise; both of which are influential in the learning process. For example, a mixed methods study could be conducted investigating the outcomes of an intervention in which school counselors and teachers were required to work collaboratively on the creation and implementation culturally responsive educational practices. Using pre and post test surveys and an interview schedule, researchers could explore how the school counselor and teacher viewed the school counselors role Additionally, re searchers could assess the school counselors confidence and self -efficacy in serving as a collaborative consultant, as well as assessing the teachers feelings of comfort and confidence regarding the consultation and implementation of culturally responsive practices
226 Moreover, student outcomes could also be measured to assess the impact of the collaborative consultation on students academic achievement. Conclusion The findings of this study have yielded a multi -faceted theoretical model that describes how culturally responsive master teachers develop relationships with their low income, African American students and use these relationships to facilitate the learning process. The model depicts how teacher transparency, their connecting interactions with ind ividual students and the class as a whole, and their facilitation of a safe learning environment appear to be linked to student s positive affective responses These findings are particularly important given the documented underachievement of these student s and the fact that some low -income, African American students experiences in school can even cause them psychological distress. Thus, with a better understanding of this relationship development process, school counselors can more effectively consult with teachers to help them develop strong relationships with their low income, African American students that may facilitate the students academic and personal success.
227 APPENDIX VIDEO RATING SHEET Video: (type the video you have analyzed here, i.e. Ms.B 10 3001, 1031 01 or 11 0101 OR Ms. M 8 14, 8 15, or 8 17) Teacher Behaviors What kind of behaviors do you see the teacher doing that facilitates relationship development? Include both verbals and non -verbals. (The columns expand as you type so type as much as you need.) Minute segment on video (may be multiple) Description of Teacher Behavior Your thought process Student Engagement /Disengagement Behaviors What behaviors (including verbals and nonve rbals) do see the students doing that would indicate engagement or disengagement and/or establishment of teacher/student relationship? Minute segment on video (may be multiple) Description of Student Behavior Your thought process
228 Teacher Student Interaction What behaviors do you notice in both the teacher and the student with regard to interactions between them? Minute segment on video (may be multiple) Description of Student Behavior Your thought process Miscellaneous Minute segment on video (may be multiple) Description of Student Behavior Your thought process Overall Observations/Thoughts/Comments:
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252 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Blaire Elizabeth Cholewa pu rsued her Bachelors of Arts in psychology and religious s tudies from the University of Virginia, graduating with distinction in 2003. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Blaire spent a year as an Americorps volunteer, living and working in a boys group home in Baltimore, Maryland. Her experiences in the boys group home led her to pursue graduate studies in the Department of Counselor Education at the University of Florida where she was granted direct entry into the Ph.D program and given an Alumni Fellowship. In 2006, Blaire received her Master of Education and Spec ialist in Educa tion degrees in school counseling and g uidance while also completing the coursework to qualify for licensure in mental health counseling. Blaire decided to pursue her doctorate in mental health counseling; consequently her dual training has provided her cl inical experiences in Alachua County Public Schools as well as CDS Behavioral Health and the Alachua County Crisis Center. Her research agenda is focused on improving the school experiences of low income, culturally diverse youth and their families She ha s published her research in Professional School Counseling and presented her research in professional conferences including the American Counseling Association (ACA), National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) and the Southern Association for Couns elor Education and Supervision (SACES).