Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

School of Education

Abstract

Discussions and debates about the educational system in the United States continue to center on curriculum and school reform. However, many children in America's public schools suffer from existing "life hazards" including social isolation, poverty, neglect, drug abuse, violence, school failure, and the breakdown of traditional family values and nurturing. This qualitative study focused on 10 African American female teachers and their perceptions of caring in the classroom and themselves as caring teachers. It is important to collect and share the experiences of African American females and how they define and practice care in their classrooms. Understanding teachers' perceptions of care is significant because it can provide data that will begin to reveal the complex nature of care as well as provide some pathways to understanding how to care for low-SES urban students of African descent in educational settings. The women's narratives of their teaching experiences were analyzed to learn about their perceptions of themselves as caring teachers as well as their perceptions of how they practiced care with their students and the values imparted to them. The study was limited to the experiences of teachers working in low-SES urban schools with students of African American descent. The stories, feelings, perceptions, and experiences of these women elementary teachers of African descent have helped to understand how they view the role care can play in serving the educational needs of low-SES urban students of African descent in educational settings. Findings indicated caring in the classroom was essential to be an effective teacher and for students to learn, grow, and succeed in the future. Caring was thought to go hand in hand with teaching and if you did not care the participants did not think you could be an effective teacher. Teachers did not think accountability and high stakes testing affected what they did in the classroom to care for their students. Teachers thought it might be easier for females to demonstrate caring than males, but did not imply males could not be caring teachers it was just easier for females due to their mothering nurturing nature. Caring was an essential part of the make up of these teachers, they had many examples in their lives of caring adults, and wanted to pass on this sense of caring to their students so their students would also care for others when they become adults.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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