The reading achievement of low-socioeconomic-status (SES) Black students has tended to lag behind the achievement of their higher-SES-Black and White counterparts beginning in kindergarten, with the gap widening as the students advance in grade. According to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, Blacks, children of the poorly educated, and children who live in impoverished communities are much less likely to write "good, expressive papers" than are students who live in affluent communities. Educators have begun to demand that successful teaching practices be studied so they can be modeled. Studies have shown that the teacher is the most important variable in determining students' reading achievement (Bond and Dykstra, 1967; Harris and Morrison, 1969). Inferences about what more-effective teachers do have grown out of many correlational studies of groups of teachers (Tikunoff, Berliner, and Rist, 1975; Soar, 1973; Stallings and Kaskowitz, 1974; Brophy and Evertson, 1974; Kean et al., 1979; Madden, Lawson, and Sweet, 1976). This study provides an ethnographic description of one innercity classroom in which the teacher has been consistently successful in teaching reading and writing to low-socioeconomic-status-Black students. Mildred Gray, the fictitious name for the teacher who is the focus of this study, has not only consistently helped low-SES-Black students to become competent readers, but has also assisted them in writing as well as the average student in Grosse Pointe, Michigan--one of the most affluent communities in the country. Over a period of two years, her classroom was studied in the context of the school and the school system of which it is a part. An in-depth, narrative description is given of a day in her classroom, and this is viewed in the context of how the school year began and ended. Conclusions are drawn and relevant research is cited that supports and conflicts with these findings.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 44-04, Section: A, page: 1042. Thesis (Educat.D.)--University of Pennsylvania, 1983.