Dissertation Defense – Brandon Lewis
30 Pryor Street Southwest
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303
A Du Boisian Approach: How Does Double Consciousness Manifest in the Experiences of Black Males in an Urban Teacher Preparation Program
by Brandon Lewis
The Black experience is complex; often portrayed as a double consciousness or a tension between two warring ideas that penetrate the soul. Such duplicity can leave Black people perplexed regarding how to navigate in a White world with one dark body. This study explored the experiences of Black males in an urban teacher preparation program as they negotiated their double consciousness in order to understand how race and gender impact teaching and learning in urban schools. Four case studies were conducted representing self-identified Black male graduates who were part of a cohort of pre-service teachers. Data generated from coursework were used as a heuristic for introspective analysis by each participant and complemented by semi-structured interviews. The study illustrates the complex factors for Black males developing as culturally relevant responsive teachers and provides voice to the challenges Black males face while navigating in a capitalistic system that has historically denied equitable access. The research found that prior experiences with double consciousness perpetuate Black males’ oppression and forces them to see their perceived selves through their White counterparts’ and supervisors’ eyes. Double consciousness has a two·ness that causes distrust of those that are perceived to be oppressive while also inspires individuals to ‘be the best’. Cohort communities are a great way to facilitate a community of learners but if not managed carefully can lead to racial and ethnic separation. After graduating from the teacher preparation program, the Black males did not remain consistent with their cultural responsiveness but were charged to use the teaching profession as a means to create positive change for others. Findings from this study hold promise for helping teacher education programs develop experiences for Black males that capture and cultivate the unique embodiment of two clashing identities — American and Black.