Singin' in a strange land: An ethnographic inquiry of academic disidentification among African-American male elementary students in the urban public school

Annette C Anderson, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Conventional societal wisdom dictates that a student's primary function for attending school is to attain the academic skills to acquire success later in life. However, among young male African American students in high poverty schools, this is an increasingly flawed and incomplete concept. In the face of the Code of the Street (Anderson, 1999), black male students begin to make complex life-altering choices, both conscious and unconscious, quite early in their academic careers. This ethnographic work suggests that the lethal combination of certain large-scale school reform efforts as well as an entrenched school culture have not actually been effective in improving educational outcomes for a wide majority of African-American students in poor urban public elementary schools, males in particular. Forced to survive in an educational environment that emphasizes a deeply ingrained culture of schooling, a well-meaning but weak instructional program, and strong competing socializations from within the school as well as in their immediate neighborhood, black boys turn to one of three academic disidentification strategies to adapt the purposes of school to the harsh realities of inner city life. ^

Subject Area

Black Studies|Education, Sociology of|Education, Elementary

Recommended Citation

Annette C Anderson, "Singin' in a strange land: An ethnographic inquiry of academic disidentification among African-American male elementary students in the urban public school" (January 1, 2006). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3225437.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3225437

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