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ERIC Number: EJ852360
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
The Detrimental Impact of Teacher Bias: Lessons Learned from the Standpoint of African American Mothers
Cooper, Camille Wilson
Teacher Education Quarterly, v30 n2 p101-116 Spr 2003
In this article, the author discusses African American mothers' beliefs about the negative impact that teacher bias can have on students' self-esteem and academic achievement. She draws from in-depth interview data to highlight mothers' opinions of, and experiences with, teachers they characterize as "unqualified" and "uncaring." The data stem from a qualitative study of African American mothers' educational views, experiences, and choices. The data shed light on how these mothers perceive teachers as powerful figures who can undermine their efforts to provide their children with equal, educational opportunity and a positive sense of racial identity. The mothers' sentiments accord with growing bodies of research and critical theory that stress the influential nature of teacher ideology. In addition, the narratives of African American mothers challenge prior research that questions the caring nature of low-income and working class parents of color and doubts the extent to which they value education. Data resoundingly show that the mothers whose standpoint is discussed in this article deeply care about their children's schooling. In fact, their shared conviction that educational attainment is vital to their children's success contributes to their efforts to find competent and caring teachers--even if it requires them to exit the traditional public school system, despite their limited socioeconomic means. Consequently, the author draws from feminist theory to underscore the importance of teacher education programs training social justice educators to be knowledgeable about the positionality of the students and families they serve. She stresses the need for teachers to recognize schools as sites of political resistance, which they must work to improve. This requires that teacher education programs offer ongoing opportunities for their students to examine their beliefs, acknowledge and overcome their biases, and understand the relationship between teacher ideology and practice. It also warrants that educators and school reformers capitalize upon parents' strengths and heed their input to better educate children. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California