Improving Literacy for Elementary School Black Boys through Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Professional Learning Communities
Black boys often underperform in English Language assessments. Strive for Excellence Academy (SFEA, a pseudonym) was a Title I school serving more than 500 students in Grade 2 and Grade 3 in an urban/suburban city in New York State. The achievement gap for third-grade Black boys was found to originate in their second-grade classrooms. Anecdotal observations revealed that avoiding time spent sitting in the principal’s office coupled with culturally responsive approaches to teaching and learning made a difference for the Black boys at SFEA. Using an Improvement Science approach, three root causes were identified: 1) inadequate teacher skills and knowledge to support black boys, 2) lack of culturally responsive pedagogy and materials, and 3) over-referral for discipline. Three areas were identified to leverage improvement: 1) culturally responsive pedagogy; 2) a professional learning community; 3) curricula, materials, and resources. Two Plan-Do-Act-Study (PDSA) cycles were created: 1) a book study on culturally responsive teaching and 2) a Professional Learning Community. This research study used a mixed-methods approach to address these issues and explore the efficacy of the two PDSA cycles. Teachers actively engaged in exploring and shifting their own beliefs, values, and mindsets around Black boys; they were able to look at implicit bias and microaggressions openly and honestly. Teachers enthusiastically integrated new culturally responsive practices into their existing teaching practice, creating inclusive classrooms, using words of affirmation, and utilizing culturally representative texts. Increases in scores for reading comprehension were statistically significant.
Educational leadership|Pedagogy|Teacher education
Holloman, Bridget, "Improving Literacy for Elementary School Black Boys through Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Professional Learning Communities" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29169819.