Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Gina L. DeBlase


Teaching in a large urban district has been historically described as a complex task and with the growing number of diverse students, the challenge continues to grow. The challenge is now coupled with major budget shortfalls. Across the nation public schools are struggling to keep the doors open, and provide basic supplies for students and teachers. Despite looming layoffs, closing schools, consolidations, and increased academic demands, there is a group of teachers in every urban district that consistently get results. The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify the beliefs, backgrounds, and classroom practices effective language arts teachers used consistently with African American middle school students.