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Title:Learning through listening: African American male teachers and their education and teacher career experiences
Author(s):Davis, Yolonda Dejuan
Director of Research:Pak, Yoon
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pak, Yoon
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Welton, Anjalé; Span, Christopher; Dunbar, Christopher
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Social cognitive career theory
African American
Teacher shortage
Abstract:Currently there is a shortage of teachers across the United States and the shortage for racially diverse teachers, particularly African American males, is continuing to decrease. This lack of representation of the African American male teacher population has implications for educational institutions. All students, teachers, staff, and administrators benefit from having African American male teachers in their schools. They are able to address cultural, educational, and social issues as it relates to their specific racial and gender background. All are able to learn and experience different perspectives and ways of understanding when diverse teacher populations exist in the schools. The African American male students particularly are able to have a representative of their racial and gender background that is often not represented in the teaching field. Recruiting and retaining African American male teachers is important for the future of education and it is particularly important for the African American male students. If these students are not experiencing someone that looks like them in this profession they may decide not to enter or question their worth as future educators. Educational stakeholders have to be specific in their strategies to diversify the teacher workforce and ensure that everyone is represented and appreciated in this space. This dissertation investigated the lived experiences of African American male teachers in Eythlyen, which influenced their decision to enter and remain in the teaching field. Eythlyen is a pseudonym for the Midwest inner city studied; its public schools are heavily populated by students of color, yet the teachers’ racial makeup does not equal that of the students. Using Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) as a theoretical framework, this phenomenological study includes motivations that African American males had for entering the teaching profession, significant factors during their teaching that made them want to continue on in the career, and it addressed the barriers that make them question their role and future in teaching. This study includes seven African American male teachers. All of the participants are currently teaching in different traditional public schools and charter schools in Eythlyen. Most of the participants have experience teaching in multiple grade levels and multiple schools in Eythlyen. Specifically, the African American male teachers explained themes around: (1) the barriers of African American male teachers; (2) African American male teachers and their persistence in the teaching field; (3) the role of mentorship and African American male presence; and (4) strategic recruitment and retention necessary to attract and keep African American male teachers. The themes presented topics, such as African American male teachers having to prove themselves, subjective evaluation systems, culture differences, stereotypes, being there for Black boys, and K-12 education experiences, amongst others. The research findings benefit educational stakeholders at the national, state, and local levels as they consider recruitment of African American males and retention strategies to address the needs of African American public school teachers.
Issue Date:2017-04-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Yolonda Davis
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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