Description: The problem of not enough African American males enrolling in masters level teaching programs was addressed in this study. This phenomenological study examined the experiences of African American males in master of arts teaching (MAT) programs to understand why they enrolled and what factors led to persistence throughout their program enrollment. Six African American males currently enrolled in MAT programs in the southern, southwestern, and western regions of the United States participated. Data gathered for each participant included an individual, semi-structured interview and a demographic survey. Audio-recordings were used to capture the fullness of the interviews, and transcription software was used to code, analyze, and sort the data to help identify themes. This study looked through the lens of Strayhorn’s graduate student persistence and Albert Bandura’s self-efficacy theories. Factors that influenced African American males to enroll into a program were (a) education as a necessary credential, (b) desire to give back to society, (c) minority scholarship support, (d) making a connection to passion, and (e) desire to enhance teaching skills. External and internal factors were identified as assisting the males to persist within their programs. Academic institutions and policy makers may find the results useful for understanding the unseen educational barriers likely to limit African American males from enrolling in MAT programs, the issues likely to occur during the process of obtaining the degree, and the factors likely to be assistive to them for achieving program completion.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Smith, Dantrayl