The purpose of this paper is to examine the genuine but misguided efforts to address the behaviors of Pre-K students in a Texas public school. After espousing the concept of building strong children through correction, evaluation, and intervention in my role as assistant principal, I began to question how these methods tended to lead to pathologizing the behaviors of Black pre-kindergarteners in my school. In an attempt to find solutions to the children's perceived misbehavior, Pre-K teachers were charged with utilizing PBIS strategies and the RTI process for behavior. Social and emotional learning (SEL) was also considered. We discovered that SEL programs were too cumbersome and expensive and that all the approaches only seemed to reinforce teachers' deficit thinking. This paper concludes by making the case for the cultural practice of othermothering as a different approach to address the behavior and learning needs of Black children.

Author Biography

Marquita D. Foster

Marquita D. Foster is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Texas, where she serves as a field supervisor for clinical teachers and a teaching fellow in the Department of Teacher Education and Administration. Her dissertation study explores othermothering as a disruptive pedagogy to address the socio-emotional needs of Black students. Before pursuing her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, Marquita was an elementary assistant principal, and her experiences influenced her research interest in elementary education and the social construction of Black children. She has published articles in English Journal, the Journal of Ethical Educational Leadership, and Middle Grades Review.



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