Are schools ready for Joshua? Dimensions of African-American culture among students identified as having behavioral/emotional disorders Academic Article uri icon


  • African-American learners often achieve limited academic success in classrooms designed for learners demonstrating challenging behaviors. Self-contained settings are often void of culturally responsive pedagogy. This qualitative study examined the demonstrated behavior of African-American youth in a small urban elementary school setting. Field notes, observations, and interviews were analyzed to examine the demonstration and affirmation of expressive individualism, one of the nine dimensions of African-American culture. Coping strategies were also examined. African-American learners often displayed culturally socialized behaviors that were not affirmed by classroom teachers in academically engaging manners. Their culturally sanctioned modes of expressive individualism were asserted through dissembling, game playing, and defiant coping strategies. As a result of these demonstrated behaviors, students were seldom academically engaged beyond working quietly with a focus on behavioral compliance. 2002 Taylor & Francis Ltd.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education

author list (cited authors)

  • Webb-Johnson, G.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Webb-Johnson, Gwendolyn

publication date

  • November 2002