All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Gary Peters

Advisory Committee Members

Loucrecia Collins

Boyd Rogan

George Theodore

Alan Webb

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Education (EdD) School of Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to illuminate teachers’ experiences with African American males in gender-specific classrooms in an urban school setting in an inner-city school system in Alabama. The central question, “What is it like to be a teacher of African American males within a gender-specific classroom?” guided this qualitative study. This question spawned several sub-questions: (1) “What characteristics are common in an African-American male gender-specific instructor?”, (2) “What strategies do successful African-American male gender specific instructors use in their teaching?”, (3) “What types of administrative support are useful for African-American male gender-specific instructors?”, and (4) “What types of training produce a successful African-American male gender-specific instructor?” The literature reviewed for this study allowed the reader to see the difficulties faced by African-American males in urban public schools. Critical Race Theory was the theoretical framework for this study because it brings to light the social injustices of race, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs and cultural differences. The review also explored the legislation and regulation which enabled the explosive growth of single-gender classrooms over the last decade. This was followed by a short section on the controversy regarding the unique structure and function of the male brain in comparison to the female brain, as well as differences in sensory organs and hormones, and whether these justified single-gender programs. The participants included five gender-specific instructors and three administrators at three school sites. These educators had over 10 years of experience each in working with students. The administrators and teachers were interviewed for about 45-60 minutes. Later, the gender-specific teachers were observed in their classrooms for approximately three to six hours. This method of study made it possible to apprehend the first-hand experiences of teachers who instructed African-American males in a public school setting in a predominantly African-American urban school district. After an extensive analysis of teacher interviews and observations, four themes emerged: Teacher characteristics, teaching strategies, administrative support, and teacher training. As well, this study generated both programmatic and research recommendations to possibly support more effective implementation of gender-specific classrooms and schools in an urban school district.

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