Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Education

First Advisor

Howard C. Stevenson

Abstract

ABSTRACT

RACIAL SOCIALIZATION, STRESS, CLIMATE AND COPING:

AN EXAMINATION OF EDUCATOR PERCEPTIONS OF CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT AND MOTIVATION OF STUDENTS AND COLLEAGUES

Brian Tinsley

Howard C. Stevenson

Understanding and addressing school faculty stress experienced in primary and secondary school contexts is important in efforts to attract and retain capable teaching staff. With increasing student and staff diversity, issues of race are more present. Experiencing issues of race can cause stress for many teachers and administrators. The distress that results from racial interactions is referred to as “racial stress”.

Few studies have explored the relationship between racial socialization, race-related stress, and coping among K-12 educators. This study sought to understand how varied forms of racial socialization, as well as perception of school stress, and race-related stressful encounters effect faculty perceptions of their schools and how well they are able to manage their classrooms, motivate students, and motivate their colleagues.

The current study hypothesized that educator ethnic group membership, racial socialization, and racial stress would significantly influence perceived abilities to manage classrooms, motivate students, and motivate colleagues. Ethnic minority faculty reported statistically more experiences of racial socialization, higher perceptions of racially challenging school climates, as well as increased perceptions of discrimination against students of color by their colleagues.

Racial encounter educational preparation predicted educator perceptions of racial competence, racial coping, racial encounter problem solving, as well as an ability to motivate students and colleagues. Assertiveness concerning racial issues, racial competence, and racial encounter problem solving abilities predicted an increase in classroom management, as well as ability to motivate students and colleagues.

Hierarchical linear regression analyses demonstrated that higher perceptions of racial competence predicted increased perceptions of ability to management classroom and motivate students. Higher perceptions of racial threat and trauma predicted decreased perceptions of classroom management ability. Increased experiences of racial socialization and higher perceptions of racial competence predicted higher perceptions of ability to motivate students. Perceptions that school climates were encouraging of racial conversations, educator racial competence, and educator racial encounter problem solving ability predicted increased perceived ability to motivate teachers.

This study demonstrates how faculty experience and manage the dilemmas of teaching predominantly students of color in varied school climates where racial dynamics and encounters consistently occur. These findings have implications for education programs preparing faculty to cope with race-related stressful encounters in the classroom as well as aid in understanding the need to negotiate conversations around race-related concerns. Specifically, these findings reveal the importance of racial socialization – during childhood and educational preparation – in the role of readying educators to competently perceive, engage, and resolve racial issues.

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