Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)
School of Education
Connie M. Moss
alternative school, cultural mismatch, iatrogenic harm, urban education
A cultural mismatch among African American school students and their teachers, due to diverse values, norms, and expectations, often provokes inappropriate teacher response to student conduct, thereby inciting disruptive student behavior. The management of this diversity when the environment is devoid of a teacher's sensitivity to the student's life can impact students' behavior, and ultimately, initiate an alternative school referral. This study examines such student-teacher interactions through the lens provided by the analogous dynamics of iatrogenic harm, wherein an intervention by a medical or other specialist results in additional impairment or disease. This study intends to reveal, through the voice of the urban African American alternative school student, how a teacher's response to student behavior can inadvertently create a condition in the student that spurs problematic behavior. What is crucial to positive environment maintenance is the teacher's understanding of how culturally motivated actions can be construed as negative. Their choice to respond in a way that creates positive interaction can help strengthen the student/teacher relationship. Through stories of the researcher, participants, and other students, this study will qualify the unspoken, and glorify the lives of those who might otherwise not be heard.
Berger, V. (2006). Does Caring Matter?: A Qualitative Study of Urban African American Alternative School Students Perceptions of Their School Experiences, Past and Present (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from http://ddc.duq.edu/etd/17