This study was conducted to explore three questions: (1) Do students of different cultures react differently to actions teachers use in their efforts to maintain classroom control? (2) To what extent do these students' behaviors fit the general patterns identified for their cultural groups? and (3) Do students who do not share the dominant school culture have a more negative attitude about their class than students whose home culture is similar to that of the teacher and the majority of students? The study was limited to interactions involving handraising and the maintenance of silence. A third-grade, urban classroom provided the setting for the study. Twenty-three students were the subjects: seven white, seven Hispanic, and nine black. The teacher was a white male. Interviews were conducted with students, the classroom was observed, and students responded to a questionnaire on their opinions of the class. According to observed student reactions, children from all three cultures obeyed the teacher in most cases. Some variation was observed in the amount of interaction across cultures: Hispanics interacted the least often, and blacks the most often. Black and white children interacted with the teacher more than twice as often as Hispanic children. The observations did not produce the kinds of incidents expected from reviewing literature on general behavior patterns of the three different culture groups. The students who did not share the dominant school culture did not have more negative attitudes than the other students. Suggestions are made for replicating the study with recommended modifications. (JD)
Paper presented at the Annual Colloquium of the Council of Graduate Students in Education (1981).