Expectations Divergence: Exploring White Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices at a Diverse Suburban High School
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This qualitative study was designed to explore how primarily White educators describe their beliefs about student opportunity and achievement. In order to develop more equitable teaching practices, this study provides insights into the multi-dimensionality of teacher beliefs and expectations. Biases, prejudices, and socioeconomics inequities underlie the social context of teaching that guides practice, influences decision-making, and shapes what type of classroom interactions are valued. Teachers insensitive or unfamiliar with the needs of diverse learners make the understanding of required knowledge and skills difficult. This case study design examined the experiences of educators at Heartfelt High School (pseudonym), undergoing reform in a suburban district in the northeastern United States. Archival data, collected in the 2011-2012 school year as part of a previous study of school reform effort, included semi-structured interviews collected from 10 participants at Heartfelt. Participants were teachers and administrators. Using a constant comparative method, the present study examined these educators and teacher beliefs. The researcher used an inductive process to make meaning of the archival data, allowing research questions to emerge concurrently with the constant comparative analysis focused on classifying data using the cloud-base program Dedoose. To understand the educators’ descriptions, an Expectations Divergence framework emerged to recognize tensions in teacher beliefs. Administrators must be cognizant of teacher beliefs, knowledge, and behavior as a starting point to alter teacher practices. In order for this change to happen, administrators must work with teachers to achieve social justice for all students.
Neill, Rebecca Anne (2017). Expectations Divergence: Exploring White Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices at a Diverse Suburban High School. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from