Open Access Dissertation
Date of Award
Curriculum and Instruction
Gina L. DeBlase
UNDERSTANDING THE IN-SCHOOL LITERACIES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MALES THROUGH A SOCIOCULTURAL PARADIGM: IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
AARON M. JOHNSON
Advisor: Dr. Gina DeBlase
Major: Curriculum and Instruction
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
There has been great debate about the reasons why African American male students reject the institution of school and school related content. Furthermore, data from multiple sources, including, national and local assessments and governmental studies, document a gap in achievement and school retention rates between African American students and their White counterparts. The data substantiates the notions that African American males have an aversion to the pedagogy of their teachers, schools’ environments, and the cultural mores and values of the institution of school that often run counter to their home or community values. This study explored how immersing teachers in a book club model of professional development could encourage them to use the practice in their classrooms and to use literacy as a means to connect students to the institution of school and school-related content. The book club model is heavily anchored in Vygotskian theory, and this study used Vygotsky’s social learning theory as a foundational theoretical framework while exposing teachers to a professional development series that encouraged them to address their perceptions of students by participating in inquiry about their instructional practice. Accordingly, teachers were asked to reflect on their pedagogy, text selections for their African America male students, and their thoughts about the nature of literacy and its components. The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) to engage teachers in professional development aimed at providing evidence-based literacy strategies to use with their students; and 2) to assist teachers to make connections between their perceptions of their African American students and their pedagogical decisions. The history of African Americans in this country, Supreme Court cases related to school desegregation, and the sociopolitical ideals of this nation were used as a backdrop to contextualize the current academic pandemic that faces African American children. This study used Tatum (2005) as the guiding text and his nesting ground framework was the main construct upon which the activities, conversations, and solutions were grounded. It was understood that human thought is varied and nuanced; therefore, it was necessary to employ a qualitative methodology using a sociocultural paradigm to understand how to improve teachers’ understandings of their students. Also, a robust data collection methodology was used to ensure that the findings could answer questions of validity and reliability.
Johnson, Aaron M., "Understanding The In-School Literacies Of African American Males Through A Sociocultural Paradigm: Implications For Teacher Professional Development" (2016). Wayne State University Dissertations. 1451.