An Ethnographic Case Study Of School Administrators' Responsiveness To The Cultural And Educational Needs Of Afro-Caribbean Immigrant Students
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentEducation Administration and Supervision
ProgramDoctor of Education
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As the United States confronts increasing diversity, primarily attributable to migration and globalization trends, public schools are gradually becoming more ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse with groups including Black English-speaking students from the Caribbean. However, school personnel like administrators have the tendency to treat all Black students as one homogenous group of African-Americans. This ethnographic case study was designed to explore with a sample of urban school administrators their responsiveness to the cultural and educational needs of English-speaking Caribbean immigrant students. The goal is to describe and interpret the culture of Enwood High School through administrators' beliefs, values, actions, assumptions, and cultural artifacts in order to develop a better understanding of their responsiveness to the cultural and educational needs of English-speaking Caribbean immigrant students that will ultimately help to improve their learning outcome. The participants included 11 urban high school administrators and 3 classroom teachers from the Kinestor School District. The primary data collection method was participant observation augmented by in-depth interviews and document analysis. A student focus group interview was included as an additional supportive method. The data were coded and coordinated according to the conceptual framework and the research questions. Based on the conceptual framework, the study's findings were analyzed and interpreted as six theoretical reflections namely, colorblindness, ethnocentricism, unconscious habits and white privilege, ethnorelativism, unconscious culture and intercultural competence, and reversal defense. The research revealed that school administrators' behavior suggest a complex dichotomous culture where at the lower end of the cultural proficiency continuum, administrators who occupy the top of the leadership hierarchy generally responded to students' cultural differences with attitudes consistent with ethnocentricism, cultural blindness, xenophobia and superficial tolerance to cultural diversity. While at the upper end of the continuum, administrators who occupy the bottom of the leadership hierarchy generally responded to students' cultural differences with attitudes consistent with intercultural transformation and learning. Recommendations are advanced for current and prospective administrators, school personnel, and for further research to explore the cultural gap that exists between the lower and the upper end of the intercultural sensitivity continuum.