Teaching Black Kids when Black Excellence isn't a Curriculum Priority - a Phenomenological Study

Letitia Y. Thornton, Georgia State University


This study examines the Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) strategies of culturally aware teachers who serve high populations of African American students. This study posits that teachers share the phenomenon of classroom CRP implementation through creative, and sometimes covert tactics. This phenomenon exists since cultural relevance is often omitted in curriculum norms. This study seeks to provide field examples of CRP, allowing stakeholders to evaluate them for their audiences.

The theoretical framework for this phenomenological study is Critical Race Theory in Education. CRT in Education explains why CRP is necessary, contributing to the rationale that learning environments should support its implementation. Data was collected through interviews and observations of four public high school teachers. Analysis was conducted through coding and pattern evaluation post interview. Results represent the common themes of sophisticated racism, cultural connections, and emotional availability.

The overall research question is: How do teachers teach African American students when Black excellence isn’t a curriculum priority?