The schooling of African-American male students: the role of male teachers and school administrators

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries]On: 20 December 2014, At: 22:07Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>International Journal of InclusiveEducationPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>The schooling of African-Americanmale students: the role of maleteachers and school administratorsLionel C. Howard aa Department of Educational Leadership, Graduate School ofEducation and Human Development , The George WashingtonUniversity , Washington , DC , USAPublished online: 24 Jun 2011.</p><p>To cite this article: Lionel C. Howard (2012) The schooling of African-American male students: therole of male teachers and school administrators, International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16:4,373-389, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2011.555093</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>International Journal of Inclusive Education</p><p>ISSN 1360-3116 print/ISSN 1464-5173 online 2012 Taylor &amp; Francis</p><p></p><p>The schooling of African-American male students: the role of male teachers and school administrators</p><p>Lionel C. Howard</p><p>Department of Educational Leadership, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, The George Washington University, Washington DC, USATaylor and FrancisTIED_A_555093.sgm(Received 18 March 2010; final version received 30 March 2011)10.1080/13603116.2011.555093International Journal of Inclusive Education1360-3116 (print)/1464-5173 (online)Article2011Taylor &amp;</p><p>Drawing on interview and informal observation data collected from eightadolescent African-American boys residing in an urban community and attendingan urban charter school, this paper describes and explores their relationships withAfrican-American male school personnel. This paper highlights how adolescentAfrican-American boys experience and make sense of their interactions withteachers, school administrators and staff, as well as discusses the implications forschool engagement and masculine identity development. The boys narrativesreveal relationships that are confrontational and strained, as well as respectful andcaring. Furthermore, they highlight the ways in which masculinity is being shapedthrough the reciprocal-posturing of adult males.</p><p>Keywords: adolescents; African-American boys; African-American maleteachers; teacherstudent relationships</p><p>Introduction</p><p>Research focusing on the educational experiences of African-American students hasspotlighted the myriad ways in which they experience schooling across grade level,school type and context (e.g. Hudley and Graham 2001; Reid and Moore 2008;Strayhorn 2009; Wigfield and Eccles 1994; Wood, Kaplan, and McLoyd 2007). Suchresearch has raised our awareness of the educational challenges and underachievementexperienced by African-American students. National statistics have also revealed thedisparate educational outcomes and experiences. In 2008, the National Center forEducational Statistics (NCES), reported that the percentage of African-Americanstudents who drop out of high school (9.9%) is twice the rate of White and AsianAmerican students, 4.8% and 4.4%, respectively (US Department of Education,National Center for Education Statistics 2010a). Disaggregated by gender, it wasreported that 11.1% of African-American female students dropped out of schoolcompared to 8.7% of African-American male students and 4.2 % of their Whitefemale counterparts (US Department of Education, National Center for EducationStatistics 2010b). It has also been reported that African-American students have alower probability of going directly to college than non-Hispanic White high schoolgraduates, 58% and 69%, respectively (US Department of Commerce, Census Bureau2008). Furthermore, it was reported that 19% of African-American students</p><p>*Email:</p><p>Vol. 16, No. 4, April 2012, 373389</p><p></p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f C</p><p>olor</p><p>ado </p><p>at B</p><p>ould</p><p>er L</p><p>ibra</p><p>ries</p><p>] at</p><p> 22:</p><p>07 2</p><p>0 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>completed a bachelors degree compared to 37% of White and approximately 56% ofAsian students (US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics2010c).</p><p>Although educational research and national statistics have revealed the educationalchallenges and disparities of African-American female and male students, this paperspecifically focuses on the schooling experiences of African-American males. Giventhe extant educational research on African-American males revealing alarming trendsin their level of underachievement, disengagement and dis-identification with school-ing, and over-identification as learning disabled (Hosp and Reschly 2003; King 2000;Osborne 1997; Wood, Kaplan, and McLoyd 2007), it seems especially important tocontinue to research their schooling experiences to have a more balanced understand-ing of African-American male students and their experiences. Although such studieshave called for and contributed to increased efforts to support the educational trajec-tory and outcomes of African-American boys, they simultaneously have contributedto a limited understanding of the ways in which they experience school and a percep-tion of chronic and extreme educational challenges (Davis 2003, 520). Even more,educational research often falls short in capturing the complexity of developing a posi-tive academic identity when the barriers to success (structural and cultural) outnumberthe factors that are most likely to contribute to academic success and engagement(Ferguson 2000; Lopez 2003; Noguera 2008). For African-American boys, theprocess of academic identity development is even more complex as they simulta-neously negotiate their racial and gender identities which are often framed by stereo-types and pathology (Ferguson 2000; Gibbs 1988; Moore and Stuart 2005; Noguera2008; Osborne 1997).</p><p>In response, several initiatives are underway to address the racial and gender gapin achievement. Such initiatives include, for example, single-gender schools and all-male academies. There has also been a call for a greater presence of African-Americanmale teachers (Williams 2001), which is largely motivated by research linking socio-emotional, academic and personal challenges experienced by adolescent African-American males to the lack of role models, limited access to mentors and fatherabsenteeism (Bryant and Zimmerman 2003; Chmelynski 2006; Taylor 1989). Accord-ingly, African-American male teachers are often framed as the panacea to a range ofchallenges African-American male students are likely to encounter within an educa-tional setting.</p><p>Although much is known about the impact of studentteacher relationships onstudent academic engagement, sense of belonging and achievement (e.g. Gregoryand Ripski 2008; Monzo and Rueda 2003; Murray 2009; Murray and Malmgren2005; Oates 2003; Pianta, Hamre, and Stulman 2003), far less is known about theimpact African-American male teachers have on the educational experiences andpersonal development of African-American male students (Lewis 2006; Lynn 2006).Moreover, even less is known about the nature and context of these relationshipsfrom the student perspective. Recognising the gap in knowledge, this paper seeks toadd to the extant literature in its investigation of the role of male school personnel inthe schooling and socialisation of adolescent African-American male students. Inparticular, this paper describes African-American male students relationships withAfrican-American male teachers and school personnel and discusses the implicationsof these relationships for academic and identity development. As a part of a largerqualitative investigation of adolescent African-American boys gender socialisationand identity development, this paper prioritises the student perspective in an effort to</p><p> L.C. Howard374</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f C</p><p>olor</p><p>ado </p><p>at B</p><p>ould</p><p>er L</p><p>ibra</p><p>ries</p><p>] at</p><p> 22:</p><p>07 2</p><p>0 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>further an understanding of the ways in which relationships are experienced by aselect group of adolescent African-American boys and the unique impact these rela-tionships likely to have on identity development (i.e. gender, race/ethnicity, etc.) andacademics.</p><p>African-American teachers impact on student learning and achievement</p><p>Much of the research on studentteacher relationships has focused on relationshipsbetween teachers (mostly White) and students of colour, very young children, andstudents identified as at-risk because of academic underperformance, socio-emotional and/or behavioural problems (Baker 1999; Goodenow 1993; Gregory andRipski 2008; Murray and Malmgren 2005; Pianta, Hamre, and Stulman 2003). Giventhe majority White teaching force in the USA, an underlying topic of much of theresearch is the racial dynamics within the studentteacher relationship (Gregory andRipski 2008; Stevenson 2008). Regardless of framing and foci, however, the researchon studentteacher relationships has consistently found that supportive and positiverelationships with teachers promote positive adjustment, social and emotional health,and contribute to increases in academic striving and performance among students,especially those most at-risk (Murray 2009; Murray and Greenberg 2001; Wolley andBowen 2007).</p><p>In spite of these positive outcomes, it is important to investigate the role of teachersand students racial/ethnic identity, their congruency, and the impact on studentteacherrelationships and educational and psychosocial correlates (Oates 2003). Research hasshown that when students of colour are taught by teachers from their own racial/ethnicbackground they tend to perform better academically and show improvements in theirpersonal and social development. These teachers are also more likely to employ culturallyresponsive teaching practices, and to have high expectations for students with whomthey share similar racial/ethnic and cultural backgrounds (Foster 1994; Irvine 1990;Ladson-Billings 1995; Monzo and Rueda 2003).</p><p>Although much has been learned about the experiences of African-Americanteachers and the implication for student achievement in general, the research hasbeen disproportionally limited to the experiences of African-American female teach-ers (e.g. Dixon 2002; Foster 1997; Ladson-Billings 1994; Mitchell 1998). Few stud-ies have investigated the ways in which African-American male teachers contributeto the schooling experiences of African-American students in general and males, inparticular (Lynn 2006). Nonetheless, the increased emphasis on recruiting and retain-ing African-American male teachers is, in part, related to the belief that African-American students need such role models (Lewis 2006), are more likely to be firmdisciplinarians who establish positive learning environments (Kunjufu 2002, inLewis 2006, 225), and provide an alternative example of who African-Americamales can become beyond an athlete, entertainer and inmate (Lewis 2006, 226).These beliefs rest upon the stereotype that African-American boys are wayward,resistant to rules and regulation, and lack the ability to self-regulate (in terms ofbehaviour), all of which have been attributed to the lack of positive male influence.While the benefits of having an African-American male teacher and/or schoolpersonnel seem logical and theoretically reasonable, there is little empirical evidencesupporting such claims.</p><p>In the following pages, the voices of adolescent African-American boys arepresented as evidence concerning the impact African-American male teachers and</p><p>International Journal of Inclusive Education 375</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f C</p><p>olor</p><p>ado </p><p>at B</p><p>ould</p><p>er L</p><p>ibra</p><p>ries</p><p>] at</p><p> 22:</p><p>07 2</p><p>0 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>school personnel likely to have on their schooling and developing sense of self. Theirstories speak to the importance of context (namely, socio-cultural) and relationshipsin understanding behaviour and identity development. Their stories also speak to therelational dynamics operating within an educational context that undoubtedly impactstheir educational experience and achievement. The presented narratives provideaccess to their relationships with school personnel, relationships that seeminglyinfluence the many parts of their identity. To this end, qualitative methods of inquiryare used to investigate the relationships of a select group of adolescent African-American males and the male school personnel, predominately African-American,with whom they encounter in the course of a typical school day. Furthermore, thismode of inquiry appreciates the ways in which my identity and educational experi-ences as an African-American male who attended a small suburban public high schoolwith no African-American male teachers or administrators informs the researchendeavour. In particular, it accounts for the ways in which my identity and experi-ences influence how I engage and relate to the boys and adult males, my reading andinterpretation of the boys narratives, and my commitment to giving voice to a groupof students who are often marginalised.</p><p>Methodology</p><p>Participants1</p><p>Eight African American boys attending a predominately African American publiccharter school, Angels Academy, were recruited for this research study.2 The boyswere purposely selected from a pool...</p></li></ul>