In search of cultural themes and their expressions in the dynamics of classroom life

A. Wade Boykin, Kenneth M. Tyler, Oronde Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


This qualitative study investigates the existence of cultural themes in classrooms serving low-income African American students. A classification scheme categorizing classroom dynamics that evidenced cultural themes is developed and used to record teachers and students' behaviors. Four hundred sixty classroom observations are specified to either a mainstream or Afrocultural ethos. Results support the home-school cultural misalignment argument. There are more observations of mainstream classroom behaviors than Afrocultural ones. Mainstream cultural themes emerge from teacher-initiated behaviors, whereas Afrocultural themes are most often recorded as student-initiated behaviors. Instrumentation limitations and implications of the observed cultural dissonance between teachers and students' behaviors are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-549
Number of pages29
JournalUrban Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • African American student achievement
  • Culturally relevant pedagogy
  • Culture
  • School culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Urban Studies


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