ERIC Number: ED442886
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-May
Reference Count: N/A
Classroom Cultural Ecology: The Dynamics of Classroom Life in Schools Serving Low-Income African American Children.
Ellison, Constance M.; Boykin, A. Wade; Towns, Donna Penn; Stokes, Almeta
This study was conducted to gain descriptive insights into the routines, practices, perceptions, and interactions that make up the everyday ecology of classrooms serving African American children from low-income backgrounds. A taxonomic scheme was devised for examining the realities of what occurs in classrooms. The taxonomy identifies five dimensions of classroom life: (1) social/psychological relations; (2) technical core of instruction; (3) physical structure and organizational routines; (4) discipline and classroom management; and (5) attitudes, perceptions, and expectations. Protocols were obtained from classroom observations in 21 elementary classrooms, in which 52 observations yielded 150 hours of direct observation in grades 1 through 6. Thirty-seven students from these classrooms participated in focus groups. Findings show the importance of the teachers' personality and early morning demeanor in setting classroom tone and the usefulness of group instruction in averting disciplinary problems. Also highlighted were the teachers' tone of voice and nonverbal forms of disciplinary and management techniques. Students in focus groups showed generally positive attitudes toward their teachers, and their responses demonstrated the importance of teachers' language and communication styles. Results also show that cultural themes associated with mainstream culture were more prevalent in the classrooms than cultural themes associated with Afro-cultural ideas. The results have implications for the development of a more extensive and inclusive effort to describe the experience of low-income African American elementary school students. (Contains 26 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Black Students, Classification, Discipline, Educational Environment, Elementary Secondary Education, Focus Groups, Low Income Groups, Protocol Analysis, Teacher Characteristics, Teaching Methods, Urban Schools
For full text: http://www.csos.jhu.edu.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk, Baltimore, MD.