Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Urban Head Start teachers' classroom interactions with Black male preschoolers identified as "challenging" or "externalizing": Opportunities for teaching self-regulation
by Nunley, Patricia L., Ed.D., Mills College, 2012, 166; 3554707
Abstract (Summary)

At the earliest grade levels, young Black males, who have been identified by their teachers as "challenging" (in psychological terminology, exhibiting externalizing behavior), have the same disproportionate rate of school suspension and expulsion as their older counterparts (Gilliam, 2005; Lewis, Butler, Bonner, & Joubert, 2010; Stewart, 2005). For this qualitative dissertation study, a theoretical construct, entitled the RGPV Factor, was developed for the purpose of defining the unique developmental pathway of young urban Black males. The RGPV Factor, an acronym for Race, Gender, Poverty, and Violence, is an ecological model theory that considers the synergistic effect of each of these factors. The study explored the classroom interactions between classroom teachers and a subset of urban, Head Start, Black male preschoolers who had been teacher-identified as "challenging." Within the context of these interactions, the teacher's observed and self-reported efficacy in assisting these students in self-regulation mastery was accessed. Three data points were used to measure teacher efficacy with this student group: classroom observations, the self-report Student Teacher Relationship Scale (Pianta, 2001), and teacher interviews. Consistent with the literature (Kesner, 2000; Saft & Pianta, 2001), teachers were found to generally have poor quality relationships with these young Black male students. These negative relationships do not provide the assistance required for young children to master the skill of self-regulation.

Additional unexpected findings also emerged: Not all teachers fully understood the concept of self-regulation, and, in fact, some of these Head Start teachers did not meet the federal standards level for English language proficiency. Further, some of the teachers did not exercise sufficient authority over their students (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2010). The study findings clearly show that programs are needed to prepare teachers for working with young, urban students. The findings also strongly support the need for additional studies that critically assess the effects of a rapidly diversifying teacher workforce on the school experiences of vulnerable Black male students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zirkel, Sabrina
Commitee: Donahue, David M., Moore, James L., III, Perez, Linda M., Zirkel, Sabrina
School: Mills College
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Black studies, Early childhood education, Teacher education
Keywords: Black male preschoolers, Boys, Challenging or externalizing behavior, Classroom interactions, Head Start, RGPV factor, Self-regulation, Urban education
Publication Number: 3554707
ISBN: 978-1-267-95092-5
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