Teachers’ practices that contribute to the success of African American males
African American male students continue to fail at overwhelming rates in America’s public schools. This is not a new problem; however, such continued failure cannot be ignored. The purpose of this study is to examine teaching practices that contribute to the academic success of African American males. The study was designed as a qualitative study, using culturally relevant pedagogy as a conceptual framework, to explore students’ and teachers’ perspective about effective teacher practices. To establish an understanding of what teachers are doing to help students be successful in high school and beyond, a practical qualitative study of teachers and their practices and students and their experiences was conducted. This study was guided by three research questions: 1) What are the teachers’ practices that successful African American male students say contribute to school achievement? (2) What are the teachers’ practices that teachers say contribute to African American male school achievement? and (3) How do these practices lead to student success, as explained by the students and the teachers they identify as successful? Furthermore, the research examined Ladson-Billings criterion for culturally relevant teaching and evidence of it through the themes that emerged from data analysis. Four schools from three districts located in central Alabama were selected for the study. The participants in this study were selected by the principals and/or guidance counselors from the four schools and were eight former high school students and seven teachers identified by participating students. Data were collected primarily through interviews. The study findings showed how the characteristics of culturally relevant teaching aligned with practices and themes that emerged from students and teachers’ data analysis. The findings and conclusions of this study suggest that what teachers do profoundly affect student achievement and that when teachers implement culturally relevant pedagogy, students feel accomplished. This research allowed me to identify practices that teachers can employ when working with African American male students. Implications of this study suggest the need for school leaders (teachers and principals) to make African American students feel valued by acknowledging them and their uniqueness and for administrators to devise a plan (a recruitment plan) of how to get more African American male role models in their schools. Recommendation for future research is highlighted in the study.