Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educ Foundations & Leadership

Committee Director

Steve Myran

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh

Committee Member

Ian Sutherland

Abstract

The purpose of this case study was to describe middle school leaders’ conceptualizations of caring teacher behaviors for African American middle school students. The qualitative case study focused on school leaders’ conceptualizations/identification of critical incidents (Flanagan, 1954) of care for African American middle school students. Noddings’ (1988) plan of action for implementing an ethic of care, including modeling, dialogue, practice, and confirmation, was used to inform the study. Data were collected through interviews, discussions of identified incidents of care, and observation documentation from the middle school leaders participating in the study.

Themes identified from the study included: build relationships, identify and respond to students’ needs, create an emotionally safe classroom environment, and extend contact with students. Results indicated that middle school leaders’ conceptualizations of care were reflective of Noddings’ (1988) plan for implementing an ethic of care. One subtheme, communication with students, revealed the use of purposeful side conversations as an effective way to engage in dialogue with students regarding behavioral issues and other concerns. This is reflective of research on care for African American students, since these students want teachers who do not embarrass them or punish them unfairly (Casteel, 2000). Adding purposeful side conversations to Noddings’ (1984) dialogue component may be a way to reframe the narrative of dialogue to accommodate the care needs of African American middle school students.

ISBN

9780355916980

ORCID

0000-0001-6073-4370

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