A qualitative analysis of selected black male students interfacing with writing literacy

Chapman, Iris Thompson.   University of South Carolina ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  1991. 9214927.

Abstract (summary)

Research has shown that many negative factors such as poverty, low self-esteem, prejudices (real and imagined), lack of education, and absences of good role models affect young black males as they approach manhood. Perhaps a lack of quality education disenfranchises black male students more than all other factors in combination. Their literacy skills keep them on the periphery of the academic experience.

This study, employing the ethnographic techniques of observing, recording, and interviewing, assessed the writing processes, beliefs, features, and practices of five young black males who either had failed the writing portion of the South Carolina Exit Examination or had shown potential for failing it. They had been placed in a Developmental English Laboratory for remediation purpose. Results were very much consistent with what earlier research states about basic writers. Prewriting is not a normal part of their writing process, and their revisions are surface edits. The participants used grammatical features of Black English Vernacular. Cultural features in their writing were apparent: cultural vocabulary and conversational tone were used regularly by only one of the participants.

One revelation was that the participants rarely chose the narrative as one of their discourse modes or functions. Although they used the expressive mode most of the time, they tried to explain the event, rather than narrate it. Also, titles were extremely important to them as titles guided what they saw or how they reported it.

Testing functioned as a major part of the context under which the participants and the teacher operated. It shaped all writing instruction and intervention.

While the unit of study was small and therefore not generalizable to a large population of young black males, the research certainly suggests that academic socialization, academic monitors, and self-regulatory strategies are critical to selected young black males' success in writing literacy and academic success at large. Also, the study points to the failure of school and home for much of the poor academic achievement of some young black males.

Indexing (details)

Secondary education;
Language arts;
African Americans
0533: Secondary education
0290: Linguistics
0279: Language arts
0325: Black studies
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Education; Language, literature and linguistics; basic skills
A qualitative analysis of selected black male students interfacing with writing literacy
Chapman, Iris Thompson
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 52/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
University of South Carolina
University location
United States -- South Carolina
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL