Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Urban youth culture: Finding engagement in city school spaces by listening to youths' education values
by McCoy, Patricia, Ph.D., New York University, 2011, 276; 3454480
Abstract (Summary)

To learn and succeed in high school requires students' engagement. However, it appears that something about public high schools in urban areas prevents many students from achieving this goal. Research suggests there may be a values mismatch between the youths' values, and the enacted values of public school. I explored if, and how urban youths have their own education values. Moreover, in what ways are the values of the public school congruent with - or in conflict with - Black and Latino youths' own education values. This study found that youths do hold their own education values. The twelve participants in this study are Black or Latino youths who are from high-poverty, disadvantaged communities in New York City. These youths say they liked to learn and wanted to graduate.

However many students - like those in this study - either drop out, or transfer out of their school. Specific reasons for this are unclear. Each first attended a School A (usually a zone school), but left. Later each re-enrolled in a School B, (a Transfer School), from which they graduated. This enabled students to compare two different schools' values, and how they are congruent with - or are in conflict with - their own education values. Using a qualitative interview, I explored ways in which the two different schools' values affected the youths' learning. Researchers such as Shalom Schwartz describe 'values' to be life goals, as well as the guidelines used to achieve them. Thus values - specifically the youths' education values - can be implemented by schools and teachers to help youths become more motivated in school. Further, the narratives of these youths suggest that when the schools' values are brought into closer alignment with their own education values - this mismatch is reduced. In this way, schools can become more attuned to urban students. Furthermore, it may increase the students' motivation and enhance their school engagement.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mayher, John S.
Commitee: Kirkland, David E., Nero, Shondel
School: New York University
Department: Teaching and Learning
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education Policy, Educational psychology, Teacher education
Keywords: Education values, Engagement, Urban education, Urban youth, Youth culture
Publication Number: 3454480
ISBN: 9781124640310
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