Preservice teachers' responses to student behavior : exploring the effects of racial implicit bias, cultural competence, and racial identity




Smith, Shontell

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The overidentification of Black students for exclusionary discipline has been a concern within education research for decades. The ability to address this concern is dependent upon identifying the factors that influence why teachers choose to utilize exclusionary practices more frequently with Black students. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between three cultural constructs, racial implicit bias, cultural competence, and White racial identity, and their individual and collective influence on preservice teachers’ responses to student behavior. Due to concerns with power, racial implicit bias was not included in the final analysis. Data from 123 preservice teachers were evaluated within this study. Correlational analyses revealed significant relationships between cultural competence and three of the four racial identity statuses. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the effects of each racial identity status and cultural competence on the likelihood of participants using exclusionary methods with Black students. Findings showed that participants were not significantly more exclusionary towards Black students. Also, White racial identity status and cultural competence did not significantly predict preservice teachers’ likelihood of using exclusionary discipline. However, racial identity status did have significant effects on cultural competence. Conclusions highlight the nuances that shape these relationships and discuss alternative explanations that might explain how racial identity and cultural competence affect teachers’ disciplinary decisions. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.


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