There’s a Rhythm to Our Method: An Endarkened Narrative of Four Black Women Teachers’ School Discipline Practices
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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Due to Black women teachers’ cultural and historical legacies, Beauboeuf-Lafontant (2002) suggested that Black women’s form of care is often demonstrative of a womanist ethic of caring, which is defined by three characteristics (a) an embrace of the maternal, (b) political clarity, and (c) an ethic of risk. This approach is particularly salient as it relates to Black women teachers’ disciplinary practices with Black girls in the classroom, as it emphasizes the importance of reconceptualizing what we mean by discipline. Thus, the purpose of this qualitative study was to employ Toliver’s (2021) Endarkened Storywork (narrative inquiry) and Beauboeuf-Lafontant’s (2002) womanist caring as a method to explore Black women teachers’ approaches to school discipline. Specifically, this study was guided by two questions: 1) In what ways do Black women teachers embody a Womanist Ethic of Care as it relates to their described discipline practices? Specifically, how do Black women teachers embrace the maternal/othermothering, express political clarity, and engage in an ethic of risk in their discipline practices with Black girls? 2) How does Black women teachers’ embodiment of a womanist ethic of care contribute to discipline strategies and practices that are beneficial to Black girls’ learning and development? (Milner, 2020). Analysis revealed that the teacher-participants embodied a womanist ethic of care by using pedagogical, intellectual, and identity-centric ways of knowing to engage in aspects of mothering, sociopolitical consciousness, and spirituality and empathy, to affirm the social- emotional needs of their Black girl students. In addition, discipline was conceptualized as providing caring and healing forms of (re)lationship, (re)covery, (re)solution, and (re)presentation that honored the political realities of their Black girl students. Recommendations and implications for research and practice are also provided.