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Notes from the Back of the Room: Problems and Paradoxes in the Schooling of Young Black Students

Karolyn Tyson
Sociology of Education
Vol. 76, No. 4 (Oct., 2003), pp. 326-343
DOI: 10.2307/1519869
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1519869
Page Count: 18
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Notes from the Back of the Room: Problems and Paradoxes in the Schooling of Young Black Students
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Abstract

This article examines common teacher practices and black elementary-age students' responses to these practices in considering processes of social reproduction in schools. In an ethnographic study of two all-black schools, the author found that both schools expressed a strong commitment to creating a positive and self-affirming learning environment for black students, with an explicit emphasis on building self-esteem as a means of enhancing academic performance. However, both schools also unwittingly undermined that commitment by suppressing what were deemed inappropriate behaviors and conveying messages of black cultural deviance to students in the interest of discipline and conformity to particular "mainstream" cultural norms.

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