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Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Thomas Nelson

First Committee Member

Harriett Arnold

Second Committee Member

Stephen Davis

Third Committee Member

Harriett Robles

Abstract

Research on beliefs and the differential treatment of students of color or minority students has documented teachers' actions and students' lack of success; but most has not focused on the contextual variables pertaining to specific settings and their effect on teachers' beliefs. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the beliefs that effective, experienced community college instructors identified as guiding their teaching in classrooms where students were culturally and/or ethnically different from themselves. A sample of 10 experienced community college teachers was selected from two different community college populations in Northern California. For this phenomenological study, data were collected through intensive, in-depth interviews. The interview questions were focused on teachers' beliefs regarding their role, teacher/student interactions with culturally and/or ethnically-diverse students, decisions about the curriculum and pedagogical practices they choose to use, and how their thinking about socioeconomic class affected their perceptions on the students' ability to learn and be successful. The beliefs that guided these effective community college teachers centered on four basic themes: mastery, voice, authority, and positionality. Each theme encapsulated the areas in which the respondents' beliefs affected the dynamics of their pedagogy to differently produce minority students' identities. Most of the respondents believed that mastery is a collaborative process by which knowledge is constructed. Students take up the narratives of their past through the stories and experiences of the present. It is a cultural recovery. Voice denoted the relationship between identity and difference. By retelling and accepting individual past experiences as valid, students' voices emerged. Beliefs about authority suggested that meanings are produced within relations of power that narrate identities through history, social forms, and mode of ethical address. In regard to positionality, respondents suggested that students who study their own ethnicities and histories gain some sense of those complex and diverse cultural locations that provide them with a sense of voice, place, and identity. They addressed the systemic violence of racism and difference by making ethnicity a site of differences in which identities are structured in relationship to the shifting terrains of history, experiences, and power. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Pages

154

ISBN

9780493155128 , 0493155120

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