An Exploration of Implementing DuBoisian and Cooperian Educational Philosophies as a Foundation for the Development

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2022-08-24

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Abstract

The purposes of this study were to (1) explore the creation and implementation of an advanced study/dual degree high school curriculum to bolster the academic achievement of African American students, (2) understand the ideologies that historically girded the scholastic successes of Black students, and (3) explore the students’ perspectives of the program’s pedagogical principles in attaining both their high school diploma and associate degree. A qualitative approach was used to conduct this study, borrowing from several traditions including the case study tradition, which is frequently used to study pedagogical practices and pupil-educator relations, as well as hypothesis-generating ethnographic research using the grounded theory method. The grounded theory method allows the researcher to recognize limitations in the research practices while simultaneously linking its findings to existing theoretical concepts. The implementation of the program and its grounding principles were consistently reviewed and augmented and revised and shaped as the program evolved and grew. Ninety-five of the students in the initial cohort were asked to journal about their acceptance into the program and its implications for their educational and familial futures. While all remained in contact with the teacher-researcher every day during the first semester and the four years thereafter, 12 students of color were chosen at the end of the high school term to reconcile their overall experiences with their initial journal entries. Since they were experiencing the phenomenon uniquely and directly as the first cohort, they a primary source of knowledge regarding the program’s creation and implementation. Their subjective experiences helped to refine the curricula as we progressed throughout the initial school year and the entire high school experience. Four pedagogical practices were identified as most applied to encourage and promote better academic experiences for the students of color: (1) inclusive instructional approaches; (2) culturally consistent discourse and teaching strategies; (3) lessons on skill building to gird academic success; and (4) professional pedagogy. All of the strategies were anchored in the teacher-researcher’s desire to make the initial program a success thereby ensuring the success of the students. The study was motivated by a desire to reflect on historical pedagogical strategies designed and used by exemplar African American teachers and apply those practices to modern students of color. It was guided by the belief that if African American teachers during times of du jour segregation and blatant, systemic racial oppression could provide Black students with positive schooling experiences then those same philosophies and pedagogical practices could encourage and shape modern students of color in advanced-study programs.

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Keywords

Black Males, Latino Males, Students of Color, Advanced Placement

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