Date of Award

10-26-2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Carole Warshaw

Second Advisor

Adam Kosnitzky

Third Advisor

Leah Kinniburgh

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the reasons why African American middle school males are dropping out of middle school and the potential intervention strategies that can be used to keep them in school. African American males, in particular, have not been provided an effective public school education according to. Overcrowding and too few resources are problems in the schools, which have caused these students to feel alienated rather than being able to participate or feel a part of the real school world. Some express this through negative means. These African American male students feel that they are wrongly accused, told to be quiet in an unfair manner, and punished unjustly because of who they are.

Four middle school teachers and six eighth grade current/former students were selected to participate in this study. Participation was based on selected criteria within the Palm Beach County, Florida school district.

The methodological approach was a qualitative analysis consisting of classroom observation and participant interview to identify any inconsistencies with Hale's "Best Practices" strategies and their implementation The interviews were used to further investigate and determine the sources of the inconsistencies. A classroom observation indicator was developed reflecting Hale's "Best Practices" strategies for African American males in a classroom structure. Each strategy from the indicator showed the teacher's classroom style and structure and whether or not any of Hale's "Best Practices" strategies to assist African American male students were utilized in the classroom. Interviews were also conducted to obtain responses to the experiences of the teachers and students with regard to issues of &can American middle school males dropping out of school.

The analysis revealed two groups of students who understood that education is important. The analysis also showed where the teachers of these students did not consistently use Hale's "Best Practices" strategies in their classrooms to assist African American male students. Often teachers make assumptions that they are doing all they know how to do in assisting students, and they really are not instilling confidence or hope in these students.

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