Talking academics, practicing care : a student-centered analysis of caring in academically promising, low-income high schools

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Smith, Pamela Ann, 1955-

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This student-centered analysis of caring in three academically promising, low-income public high schools in Texas used an instrumental case study design (Stake, 1998) to investigate students' perceptions and experiences of receiving care in high school. The analysis also examined the teacher and administrator practices that contributed to students' experience of receiving care, and considered the resources that supported the adults' caring practice at the three schools. Archival data consisting of open-ended interviews with students, teachers, administrators, and school staff were analyzed qualitatively. Results suggest that caring should be evaluated in context. In the high school context students experience care through having their teachers' and administrators’ help and support with academics. Results also suggest that students experience caring through teacher and administrator behaviors and attitudes that respond to their developmental needs. That is, they experience care when adults at school establish a style and pattern of interaction similar to "authoritative parenting" (Baumrind, 1987). Recognition from adults in the school is very important for high school students, and especially salient for low-income and minority adolescents who often receive negative and discriminatory feedback from the community.



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