Voices of African American boys with behaviour problems: perspectives on schooling

E Bacon, F Jackson, Kathryn S Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


The authors examined the perspectives of African American boys on topics related to culturally responsive teaching, cultural discontinuity, and differential treatment. Participants in focus group interviews were 19 elementary and middle school students identified as having emotional and behavioral disorders or chronic behavior problems. Transcripts of the taped interviews were coded and analyzed for common themes. Students described good and caring teachers as those who provided assistance to them, did not give up on them, made them behave, and helped them stay out of trouble. The students' beliefs about the importance of earning respect from their peers, the importance of standing up for themselves in physical and verbal challenges, and the lack of reliance on teachers to resolve conflicts are not consistent with expected school behaviors and put the students at risk for conflicts and misunderstandings. Attitudes toward academic achievement varied by school, with students from one of the middle schools saying their peers valued achievement and students from the other two schools reporting peer pressure not to achieve academically. Students reported being treated differently because of their label, reputation, and race. Involving students and their perspectives in developing culturally responsive schools are discussed as well as implications for teachers and school personnel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalMultiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • african american students
  • behavior problems
  • elementary school students
  • middle school students
  • focus groups
  • academic achievement
  • at risk students
  • behavior disorders
  • interviews
  • peer influence
  • school personnel
  • culturally relevant education
  • student attitudes
  • racial bias


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