All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Lynn D Kirkland

Advisory Committee Members

Lois M Christensen

Janie Hubbard

Jenna M Lachenaye

Michele J Sims

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2020

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education

Abstract

This study explored how three Black female educators characterized their personal narratives regarding their teaching experiences. Guided by a social justice framework, this study attempted to show how Black women’s identities have been co-created, how their perceptions of success have been formulated, and how perceptions of academic success have helped them frame their pedagogy for diverse students. Because limited research has examined how Black female educators in exurban areas situated their perceptions and pedagogy to facilitate the needs of diverse students, this study added to the limited knowledge. Purposeful sampling was conducted at the site and participant level. The research sites represented school districts where the teaching force was mainly White and female, the school populations were increasingly diverse, and there were limited numbers of educators who were racially, culturally, or ethnically diverse. The participants were purposefully chosen because they identified as Black female educators at these sites. Study participants had lived experiences which mirrored those of their students. Their high self-efficacy allowed them to believe that their experienced successes were transferrable to their students (Sosa & Gomez, 2012). As they recognized and catered to the strengths rather than the weaknesses of their students, they bridged students’ home life with that of the school and proved to be valuable resources to students and schools alike (Emdin, 2017; Gay, 2002; Ladson-Billings, 1995; Nieto, 2012). Qualitative research was used to understand how participants constructed their words, interpreted experiences, and attributed meaning to those experiences (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). The central question in this research study was: “How do three Black female educators characterize their personal narratives as they facilitate the needs of diverse students? Using an interpretive method which considered what was seen and heard during individual interviews, the data was analyzed and coded (Lichtman, 2013; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Through data analysis, research questions were addressed, and four themes were acknowledged. Direct quotes coupled with rich, thick descriptions (Geertz, 1973) were used to describe participants’ beliefs and experiences. From the analyzed raw data, the guiding research questions were thoroughly addressed while further questions for thought and study were identified.

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