Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Jodi Kaufmann

Second Advisor

Deron Boyles

Third Advisor

Richard Lakes

Fourth Advisor

Joyce E. King

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine how an African American teacher in an urban school used reflection to inform her pedagogical practice for her second grade, African American students. In this research, reflection functioned as a response to technical rationalism, a theoretical perspective that relies solely on scientific processes, calculability, and empiricism to determine norms and prescriptions for practice. Practice that emerges solely from technical rationalism often disregards the needs of urban, African American students. As a reflective pedagogical practice has long been theorized as a method to combat injustice through conscious rationalization, in this autoethnographic study, the researcher examined the possibilities of reflection as a response to technorationalism. Autoethnography is a research methodology that allowed the researcher to write from a personal and self-analytical viewpoint as researcher and subject. Data was generated over a nine-week academic quarter. Crystallization was used to allow for the generation of multiple genres of data, which increased opportunities for constructing meaning and examining the complexities of the research question, as well as for discovering new aspects of one’s relationship to a topic. Through reflective daily journaling the researcher chronicled classroom experiences and her responses to those experiences. The data was analyzed thematically. Within each theme, data was further analyzed through writing as a method of inquiry. Data was represented through poetry, narrative writing, and photographed images. The data suggested that reflective practice provides practitioners opportunities to extend beyond mere technicism in order to consider and respond to the needs, interests, and backgrounds of individual students. Through this study the researcher found that her subjectivities, inclusive of the technorationalism, which she critiques, influenced her reflective practice. She found that reflective practice frequently provoked her to confront her own assumptions, as well as change or modify both her thinking and responsiveness towards students and practice. The findings of this research indicate that reflective practice serves as a viable response to technorationalism, thus enabling the practitioner to construct meaning for practice that is not available through sole adherence to technorationalism.

INDEX WORDS: Autoethnography, Character Portrait, Journal, Pedagogy, Poetry, Reflection, Reflective Practice, Self-Study, Subjectivity, Technical Rationalism, Technicism, Urban Education

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