Perceptions of Black and Latino High School Males Regarding their Attitudes Towards Schools and of Hopefulness

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Billy, Antoine
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The purpose of the study was to discover and give voice to the perceptions of Black and Latino adolescent males regarding their school attitudes (attitudes toward school, attitudes towards teachers, motivation/self-regulation, goal valuation, and academic self-perception) and their level of hope (agency and pathways) for the future. This mixed methods study used an explanatory sequential approach to understand the quantitative and qualitative data. The results of a multiple linear regression revealed that four independent variables: motivation/self-regulation, agency, attitudes towards teachers, and pathways, R = .729, R2 = .532, F(4, 242) = 68.256, p < .001, effect size = 1.137, large, predicted academic self-perception. Qualitative themes included the following: intrinsic motivators support overall success, students want to be supported by educators to succeed, role models are essential, and schools should offer courses, clubs, and career tracks that will interest students. These results should be used to construct a positive school culture and inform teaching practice.
It is an honor to write this section. There are so many people to thank throughout this journey that started in 2013. I had only two children then and they were 1 year and 6 months old. It was a balancing act starting from then. First, I would like to thank God for the strength and perseverance he gave me to continue. He has blessed me beyond what I ever expected for my life. My expectations for myself far underwhelmed His. I would like to thank my advisors, Dr. Pauline Goolkasian and Dr. Marcia Delcourt. Dr. Delcourt, your attention to detail and perfectionist mindset is only rivaled by mine. Your feedback pushed my thinking and allowed me to see what I may have believed was great, was not the best that I could be. I appreciate your refusal to accept mediocrity. I can relate to that mindset. Dr. Goolkasian, your persistence to finish the work and flexibility to work with me during my family’s crazy schedule is much appreciated. Family first was modeled by you and your actions. You, also, refused to accept mediocrity and pushed me to think further with my research. You inspired me to keep going, even after taking time off to learn how to be a high school administrator. Thank you both for all that you have done. Thank you to my mother and brothers who understand firsthand the inspiration for this work. Ma, you inspired all your boys to be better than the generation before, take care of our children, and keep God first. The expectations by your sayings, “If you are going to be a teacher, you might as well be the principal….and if you be the principal, you might as well be the superintendent” inspired me to keep striving to help others. There was no such thing as being ok. Greatness was the standard and you believed that each one of us could and would attain it. Akheem, I appreciate you making it through the incident when you were a teenager. As I walked from the hospital, I changed my life from that moment and thanked God you were alive. You told me to stop crying and it inspired me that if you can do it, I can do it as well. Thank you for your strength and perseverance through any obstacle. Adonis, I appreciate your candor and straightforwardness. I am often reflective when I hear your point of view. Your willingness to see the other side and push the status quo inspires me every day. The work ethic that I have is due to you working with me to be great when we were little. Thank you. Finally, I want to give the biggest thanks to my family. Peyton, you are strong and kindhearted. You have so many gifts, but you push me every day to be great. As I was writing this dissertation, you asked “You are not finished yet?” This inspired me to push through, even when I was tired. Paris, you are so intelligent and willing to question anything. You, too, inspired me to finish by asking if I could pass you the ball, when I finished my work. Thank you for your understanding. Phoebe (Phoebe-cake), I learned to always push save when I was working around you. Although you did not know, your inspiration came from you emulating me. You would say “Da (Daddy) computer” and then get your toy computer. While doing this, you pointed out the letters on your computer. To my children, I push you to greatness, because greatness is in you. There is nothing that you cannot accomplish in this world. You have all the gifts possible to do whatever you put your mind to. I have saved the best for last. Kimberly, there is no me without you. Thank you for your tough love and ability to challenge me. I have finished because you pushed me. I aspire to push others to greatness, but you push me and our family to greatness. You are special to me, and I thank you for being you.