"Natural Enemies" or Intentional Allies? Teachers' & Parents' Perspectives on Middle School Boys of Color
Lowe, Shasha Yolande
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This study examined the perspectives and “shared knowledge” of parents and teachers of boys of color. The following overarching research question guided this study: “What do parents and teachers want each other to know about their middle school son or student of color regarding academics, engagement, and behavior?” Additionally, it explored the challenges and opportunities for shared knowledge and understanding of their (respective) son’s’ or students’ academics and engagement. The methodology was qualitative in nature and the intent in conducting this case study was to describe, interpret, and explain the “shared knowledge” between these stakeholders at a predominantly minority middle school. A sample of seven parents and seven teachers from one school in a mid-Atlantic state participated in interviews and focus groups. Results indicated that parents and teachers of boys of color viewed each other as “intentional allies.” Results further showed that parents and teachers were aware of the challenges faced by boys of color in and out of school. That awareness was reflected in strategies that both groups employed to support, prepare, and protect their son/students. Lastly, the study found that teachers received no formal training in building parent-teacher partnerships, but gathered experimental knowledge on how to build those relationships. These findings have implications for teacher education programs, schools, parents, and teachers.