A case study of African American students' engagement responses to oral-based literacy instruction: The Oral Narrative Engagement (ONE) approach
The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of African American students' engagement responses to oral-based literacy instruction using the researcher-developed, Oral Narrative Engagement (ONE) Approach. This study is important since, in the past several years, literacy educators have noted the prevalence of young adolescent students--particularly African American students--developing negative attitudes about and resistance towards literacy learning. Although considerable research has been done on literacy engagement and response to multiethnic literature, the topic of literacy engagement as it relates to African American students and engagement responses to oral-based literacy instruction has received little attention.
This hybrid case study used both quantitative and qualitative methods. It sought to extend previous research by examining the engagement responses of four African American case participants' engagement responses to oral-based literacy instruction to determine which of 12 engagement indicators were most relevant to African American youth. The treatment used in this study was the Oral Narrative Engagement (ONE) Approach. This approach was embedded in the context of diverse genres of oral narratives from the African American oral tradition that were selected based on the concepts of culturally conscious literature (Sims, 1982). Specifically, genres explored in the ONE-Approach included: personal experience oral narratives; African and African American folktales; African American narrative poetry; choral reading; and song lyrics selected from hip-hop culture. All genres were presented orally (and in combination) based on shared themes.
Results of quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed that the case participants most frequently exhibited three engagement indicators: (1) disruptive behavior (lack of); (2) social efficacy; and (3) intrinsic motivation. These findings are discussed in terms of previous research on literacy engagement, culturally relevant pedagogy and multiethnic literature, and research on oral-based literacy instruction. This study extends previous research by identifying engagement indicators most relevant to African American students and providing insight on the benefits of using multiple forms of literacy (such as oral-based strategies) during literacy instruction.