Through their eyes : the cultural and structural factors that shape the academic performance and behavior of young black boys
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Numerous scholars (Allen, 1992; Cuviet, 2006; Howard, 2014; Wood, Hilton, & Lewis, 2012) have pointed out that the challenges of Black boys in school might be better explained by examining how and why Black boys succeed in school through their individual experiences and voices. In this dissertation, a phenomenological study was utilized to explore the factors perceived by eight elementary-aged Black boys and their seven parents believed to contribute to their academic and behavioral success in late elementary school. The researcher conducted one student focus group, eight individual student interviews, and one parent focus group from Black boys identified as not doing well in school academically and behaviorally. The data revealed four themes: (a) Visualizing Success (definition of success, perceptions of failure, ego, teacher, family/community, and personal motivation), (b) Cultural Weapons (stereotypes, identity, and race), (c) Making a Way (access and opportunity), (d) The Teacher Matters (race, relationships, oppression, teacher perceptions) and (e) The Rules Only Apply to Us. The results from the study reflected that the success of Black boy is heavily influenced by family encouragement and motivation, teacher-student relationships, stereotypes, and the community.
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