Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Identifying New Sources of African American Male Pre-Service Teachers: Creating a Path from Student-Athlete to Student-Teacher

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Identifying New Sources of African American Male Pre-Service Teachers: Creating a Path from Student-Athlete to Student-Teacher

Article excerpt

This qualitative research study examined the experiences of one African American former college athlete and two athletic department academic advisors at a BCS Division University in the Southern Region of the United States. Given the catastrophic shortage of African American male K-12 teachers, the participants of this study were interviewed to examine the experiences of student athletes as they relate to exposure to teaching as a possible profession early in their academic career. Retrospective interviews were used Key themes that emerged from this study were: Incorrect Advising of student-athletes, Perceptions of the Academic Structure of Teacher Education, and, Exposing Student-athletes to Possible Careers. Recommendations for practice based on the data from this study were made to generate a pathway from student-athlete to student-teacher in big-time college athletic programs.

Keywords: teacher recruitment, African American males, student-athletes

As the student population in American public schools becomes increasingly diverse, the continued homogeneity of the teaching force is more apparent. The marked overrepresentation of White, middle-class women in the education profession has been and continues to be a subject of considerable debate that has engendered great interest in the question of equity (Hill-Jackson & Lewis, 2008; Landsman & Lewis, 2006); drawing particular attention to the dismal percentage of African American male teachers. While research has perpetually documented the need to increase the presence of African American males in the classroom (Lewis, 2006); less is known about the means by which this can be effectively accomplished.

A burgeoning, yet relatively novel, body of literature offers a rather unique approach to resolve the shortage of African American males in the teaching profession. The research in this area suggests that because existing strategies used by teacher preparation programs have been, largely, unsuccessful in increasing the number of African American male pre-service teachers; a more innovative approach to recruitment should be implemented - one which requires teacher preparation programs to partner, or collaborate, with university athletic departments in an attempt to gain access to a larger pool of African American male prospects (Lewis, Bonner, Byrd, & James, 2008).

In furthering this idea of partnership, the study sets out to provide insight on how teacher preparation programs can aid in the diversification of the teaching profession via the process of recruiting African American male student-athletes specifically those which express a career interest in teaching or coaching. Using retrospective interviewing techniques, data on one African American high-profile football player and several professional academic advisors affiliated with the university athletic department, were gathered and analyzed. The major finding from the analysis reveals that in establishing a pathway from student-athlete to student-teacher, it is imperative tìiat there be greater collaboration and communication between tiie teacher preparation programs and their affiliated athletic departments. Recommendations on how to strengthen the relationship between these two departments and, therefore, increase the number of student-athletes becoming pre-service teachers, are offered.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Recruiting Student-Athletes

Student-athletes are required to make a major life decision in choosing a college to further their education and refine their athletic abilities (Klenosky, Templin, & Troutman, 2001). The strategies that major athletic programs employ to recruit student athletes to campus has many implications for the success these students experience in die realm of athletics. According to Funk (1991), recruiting is a key activity across all levels and NCAA division sports - particularly at die Football Subdivision (FBS) level, formerly known as Division I. …

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