Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

"If you can't stand any Love and Attention, Don't Come Here": How Students and Teachers talk about Life in Classrooms Centered upon Cultural Teaching Missions and Practices

Dr. K. Nicola Williams.

This qualitative study is conducted to better understand how teachers and students talk about the characteristics of “cultural” teaching practices and missions, and how they play out in the context of the classroom. Specifically, this study presents an analysis of teacher interviews, classroom participant observations, and student interviews from two classrooms headed by two mission-centered teachers which reveal that cultural teaching missions involve a focus on the academic and social development of students within a specific context and for a specific goal relating to the students’ future in life. Characteristics of these two African-American teachers’ self-proclaimed “cultural” pedagogies are centered on their literacy-rich classrooms of predominantly African-American learners, and are constructed in this research from teacher interviews and classroom participant observations. In addition to analysis of teacher interviews and classroom participant observations, this analysis also incorporates analysis of how students in these classrooms described notions of teaching, academic tasks, teacher-student relationships and their teacher’s expectations based on their classroom experiences. Specific academic tasks and pedagogical techniques focused on literacy are described and analyzed. This study has implications for teachers, teacher educators, and the educational research community because it provides insight into the impact of cultural teaching missions and literacy instructional practices by incorporating students’ perceptions together with teacher perceptions and classroom participant observations of life in these settings.


Dr. K. Nicola Williams  (United States)
Assistant Professor in Literacy
Graduate School of Education
George Mason University (VA)

K. Nicola Williams, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Literacy at George Mason University where she teaches courses in the Masters Program in Reading in the areas of content literacy and teacher research. In conjunction with her work in literacy instruction teacher development, her research and service interests include the assessment of culturally responsive classrooms and schools and students' perspectives on teaching and learning, and community and after school mentoring and literacy programs for developing teachers and middle school girls.

  • Culturally responsive pedagogy-teacher assessment and development
  • Misson-centered literacy contexts
  • Students' perceptions of literacy tasks
  • Teacher education and development

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)