A Study of African American Student Trust and Engagement in High School
Evans, Dwayne E.
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This study explored the significance of African American students’ trust of teachers and its impact on student engagement in school. It also focused on the potential impact of teachers’ race on student-teacher trust relationships. Research for this study used a cross-sectional approach. Interviews were conducted with 22 students of various engagement levels in the 9th and 11th grades and with 9 administrators, all from 3 predominately African American high schools. The study also draws on documents on community characteristics, discipline, and student achievement. Students’ reports about trust relationships varied in terms of the quality of the relationships they shared with teachers. Those students with high quality trust relationships spoke of how their trust relationships with their teachers were supportive and important to their life at schools. Some saw a connection between trust and paying attention in class and becoming more involved in sports and activities. Most of these students were high-engaged. Most low-engaged students, on the other hand, did not report high-quality trust relationships with their teachers. Most of these students did not experience trust relationships with their teachers in the same way as their high-engaged counterparts. Teachers’ race was not found to play a significant role in these relationships for either high- or low-engaged African American students.