“This Is Where I Want To Be:” Pedagogical and Integrative Practices of African American Learning Communities and Their Impact on Students

  • Tess Hansen


This qualitative study explores pedagogical practices and student responses in three community college learning communities targeting African American students. Using classroom observations, instructor and student interviews, and student focus groups, the study examines how instructors teach in race-based programs and how students respond to these pedagogies. The study uses a conceptual model that integrates retention theory, critical race theory, and integration of instruction and student services theory. The study finds that culturally responsive pedagogical and classroom management techniques result in enhanced student perceptions of themselves as capable learners. Students also report developing a sense of African American identity through the experience of the curriculum and the racially homogeneous community of learners. This research has implications for policy and practice at community colleges by providing evidence that race-based programs are crucial for the academic and social integration of African American students into academia. The study also recommends that structural changes be made to community college practice, including integrating the role of student service professionals into curriculum design.