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Identifying the attitudes and traits of teachers with an at-risk student population in a multi-cultural urban high school

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Purpose - To identify the attitudes and traits of teachers with an at-risk student population in a multi-cultural urban high school. Design/methodology/approach - A research team consisting of doctoral students and their faculty advisor used an appreciative inquiry model to identify attitudes and traits of teachers who supported effective teaching in an urban high school with a high at-risk student population. Findings - The research team's findings indicate that those perceived as effective teachers were culturally responsive, sought small successes, encouraged students, flexible, and caring. They also formed meaningful relationships with students, had caring attitudes, and viewed themselves as difference-makers. The research team also found a number of non-supportive teacher attitudes and traits: blaming, racial attitudes, frustration leading to inflexibility, co-dependency leading to encouraging the neediness of students, and lack of respect for the contributions made by the surrounding community and parents. Originality/value - Teachers, administrators, and counselors agreed that forming relationships and caring for students were at the core of the attitudes and traits of effective teaching. Moreover, teachers with effective attitudes and traits were seen as having the ability to integrate into the school and surrounding community's culture to encourage students to succeed in school.
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Keywords: African Americans; Attitudes; Hispanics; Racial Discrimination; Students; Teachers

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2005

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