• A Painting of Cultural Mismatch: A Case Study Exploring thee Relationship Between Teacher Perceptions of Black English and Their Instructional Choices

      Evans, Amberly; Tift College of Education
      Most U.S. Black students experience a cultural mismatch when they attend U.S. public schools, which usually subscribe to Eurocentric Anglo-Saxon cultural norms, as seen throughout the curriculum, literature selection, and rules and norms. One consequence of this mismatch is lower mastery level performance of Black students on standardized national reading and mathematics assessments than their White peers. Thus, the current education system is oppressive toward Black students, for it denies access to a culturally and linguistically affirming education that reflects and sustains their cultural ways of being. This research aimed to better understand current teacher perceptions of Black English use in the classroom and how those perceptions influence instructional decisions made by teachers of Black English-speaking students. Applying the principles of a case study with elicitation and traditional interviews and document analysis, the researcher studied six elementary teachers of Black English speakers. The major conceptions identified across participants’ responses were that teachers held positive perceptions of Black English use outside of school but struggled to transfer those same perceptions to their instructional decisions. More often teachers viewed their role as responsible for equipping students for the future and obligated to teach prescribed standards and curricula to promote students’ academic success. As a result, their instructional choices more often privileged linguistic varieties aligned with White Anglo-Saxon norms—the curriculum. Consequently, rather than employing asset-based teaching, they asked Black English speakers to “erase” their Black English use to better meet the expectations of school. This often looked like writing and speaking Mainstream American English rather than Black English. Therefore, teachers’ instructional choices often resulted in deficit thinking results, which notices a cultural mismatch but upholds dominant culture while viewing cultural differences as unsuitable for the setting. Study findings suggest implications for curriculum designers and teachers to create spaces for Black students in the curriculum and classroom to fully see, hear, and represent themselves to take advantage of opportunities to fully be present in their education experience. Future research recommendations include exploration of the role and influence of professional development, curriculum redesign, and teachers’ choices on Black English speakers’ self-development and identity.
    • The Lived Experiences of Black Families Surviving Child Sexual Abuse by Known Perpetrators

      Dunkley, Danielle Ilene; College of Professional Advancement
      Child sexual abuse (CSA) within Black communities is understudied. Most studies have focused on quantitative data studying the psychological consequences of CSA. Furthermore, many studies do not explore the experience of Black CSA survivors of known perpetrators. This study used interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to interview Black adults who have been sexually abused in their childhood by individuals within their family or who were closely associated with their family. Using semi-structured interviews, participants were asked to share about their experience as a CSA victim, their disclosure process, coping strategies, and the impact of CSA by known perpetrators on their family system. This study used Spaccarelli’s (1994) transactional framework for understanding CSA outcomes. The transactional framework for studying how Black families experience CSA by known perpetrators highlight particular dynamics within Black families that contribute to the propagation of CSA, disclosure or nondisclosure of CSA, its impact on the Black family system, as well as cognitive appraisals and coping strategies utilized by this population. The research findings inform prevention and treatment efforts within Black communities. Findings of this study are specific to the participant group and are not generalizable to all Black families or survivors of CSA. Future research should seek to identify strategies for preventing CSA, eliminating barriers to disclosure, reducing negative impacts of CSA, and increasing resiliency within Black communities.