Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Pickle, Judy||Musial, Diann

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Teaching and Learning


Effective teaching--United States--Case studies; Youth with social disabilities--Education--United States--Case studies; Academic achievement--United States--Case studies


This study, a replication of the Ladson-Billings' study, identified effective teaching practices that increase achievement of at-risk African-American and Caucasian students. Fourteen educators, representing teachers of 1st through 12th grade, were identified by 23 students enrolled in the Upward Bound Program. The teachers were placed in one of three groups, based on the cultural background of the nominating students—all African-American, all Caucasian, or both cultural groups. Students and teachers in the study were interviewed to find teaching practices they considered to be effective. Teachers completed a survey regarding their beliefs about effective teaching practices. The study showed that effective teaching practices were culturally generic because the teaching practices were found to be effective for the two different cultural groups of students. Because both groups of students shared a common characteristic of being at-risk, the practices may have been effective because the practices met the learning needs of at-risk students. The teaching practices mentioned by both teachers and students were similar to the teaching characteristics found in Ladson-Billings' study. The practices were found to be effective for different grade levels within a variety of curriculum content areas. The characteristics of the practices were process-oriented and building of student-teacher relationships. The practices included holding high student expectations; having high esteem for students, self, and colleagues; teaching in a caring, consistent disciplined environment; developing a community of learners within the classroom; and connecting the learning environment with the students' world. A few of the teachers considered learning and teaching as a continuous evolution. No consistent evidence from this study indicated whether teaching practices increased student academic achievement when working with the nominated teachers. Students admitted that a teacher's effective instructional practices may not be reflected in better student grades. An implication from the study is that because students were found to be so perceptive and articulate in describing effective teaching practices, schools may want to consider student feedback regarding the continuous improvement of instructional practices. Feedback from a diverse student population would help educators find practices to develop the relationships that motivate students to learn.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [129]-132).


[viii], 152 pages




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