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Title Whiteness in a hidden space—unspoken but still there, in a private space, the classroom
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Discipline/Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of
University/Publisher University of Houston
Abstract The purpose of this study was to address what it means that so many Black students are taught by White female teachers. Specifically, this study examined the beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions of White female novice teachers in regards to their Black students. In doing so, it described the teachers’ educational backgrounds and experiences with Black students and what they perceive their role and professional responsibility to be in eliminating the Black-White achievement gap. Furthermore, this study evaluated the degree to which these high school White female novice teacher were aware of their own Whiteness and privilege, and were prepared to teach in classrooms where the student population consists mostly of Black students. The conceptual framework that guided this study was Critical Whiteness Theory, which has its origins in Critical Race Theory. Critical Whiteness theory places emphasis on the idea that White people are afforded certain privileges just because they were born with light skin. Three White female novice teachers who teach at the secondary level participated in this study Semi-structured interviews were conducted with each teacher to understand their beliefs about and perceptions about their Black students. Additionally, this study investigates how three White female teachers at the high school level understand the connections between their own Whiteness and its impact on their interactions with Black students in the classroom. All three interviews were recorded and then transcribed for analysis. The analysis process involved coding and classifying the interview data with the goal of highlighting the important messages and findings. The data were arranged and discussed systematically. There were several commonalities across the participants’ experiences. Specifically, all three teachers discussed their exposure to diversity, the mistrust Black students felt towards them, their decision to teach, their teacher education programs, the roles and responsibilities of the school and administration, what they believed to be the causes of the Black-White achievement gap, and their awareness of Whiteness and White privilege. These teachers demonstrated a genuine desire to see their Black students achieve academic success, however, what they each found most surprising was the degree of mistrust their Black students had for them because they are White. As a result, these White female novice teachers were placed in a situation where they were forced to reflect on their Whiteness and how this impacts relationships with Black students. The implications of this study will assist leaders at the collegiate level in designing courses that will address cultural competency and White privilege. In addition, this study will benefit educational leaders interested in cultural competency by recommending and supporting the necessity for developing ongoing professional development training that will assist teachers with becoming more culturally competent. Moreover, the information shared by the three participants in…
Subjects/Keywords Cultural Mismatch; opportunity gap; achievement gap; Whiteness; colorblindness; deficit thinking
Contributors Snodgrass-Rangel, Virginia (advisor); Lozano, Augustina (committee member); Long, Robert (committee member); Villarreal, Javier (committee member)
Language en
Rights The author of this work is the copyright owner. UH Libraries and the Texas Digital Library have their permission to store and provide access to this work. Further transmission, reproduction, or presentation of this work is prohibited except with permission of the author(s).
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:10657/1484
Repository houston
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2019-01-09
Note [department] Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of;

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…guilty of practicing colorblindness. Colorblindness is something that many White educators do, without understanding that they must go beyond that if they are to truly become culturally competent. Significance of this Study The researcher hopes to…

…Unintentional Bias Colorblindness. Within education, many White female novice teachers believe that they are not participating in racism by claiming to be colorblind. This is something that developed because few White female teachers understand what it really…

…means to claim colorblindness (Johnson, 2002). Johnson (2002) defined colorblindness as a way in which White teachers attempt to conceptualize their own race and the race of their students. Michael (2012) claimed this…

…argument that Americans should strive to be colorblind dates back to the Reconstruction Era and defined colorblindness as the act of pretending race does not exist or matter. Michael (2012) revealed this is a common approach to racial issues that…

…can negatively influence student achievement when it is practiced in classrooms. White female novice teachers often do not realize that by taking the colorblindness approach they are in fact hurting their Black students because their culture is an…

…perpetuate the problem of Whiteness in the classrooms further weakening the teachers’ ability to understand the needs of students of color (Michael, 2012). Another hindering aspect of colorblindness that White female teachers fail to recognize is…