Margaret D. LeCompte, PhD
The two separate strands of my research
are epistemological and methodological issues in educational research,
and problems of school success and failure, both at the individual and
organizational level. I have been interested in how problems of education
are posed and how they can be solved most effectively, and in how communities,
scholars, and educators can work collaboratively to address issues jointly
identified as significant in contemporary education. I also have investigated
how schools fail to serve children who do not fit the mold,
whether they are of color, from language minority backgrounds, have divergent
talents and interests not rewarded in public schools, or are culturally
different from the mainstream. Related interests include reforms that
seek to change school organization and culture so that such children are
more successful in school.
The Urban Arts Initiative
This is an evaluation of an eight city, multi-site collaborative project
to identify, support, and mentor emerging community artists and community
arts organizations. In this new project, my focus is on the value
added to communities, organizations, and individual artists as a
function of participation in the initiative.
Arts, Identity and School Culture: Arts Focus
Since 1996, I have studied teachers and students who do not fit the mold in a public middle school whose three arts strandsvisual arts, theater and dance, and musicprovide an intensive arts immersion through study in year-long, daily 90-minute blocks. Arts Focus also transforms the school curriculum, as the arts are integrated across the curriculum. I focus on relationships between school culture and the culture of the arts as they affect and transform a public school, and on the impact of arts participation on the identities and roles of teachers and students in the program.
The Culture of Change in School Emergencies: Fort Brandon High School
With the exception of independent and charter schools, most reforms must take existing institutional structures for granted. Begun in 1999, this project examines the impact on teacher roles and practices of an emergency that stripped away all standard givens of school life by closing a high school summarily. Closure made problematic space, time, work, and prerogatives for teachers as they moved to temporary and dispersed quarters, created new schedules, and tried to maintain stability for students. We examine the emergence of new patterns and their persistence once the school reopened.
Learning to Be American Indian: The Learning Circle
Most culturally sensitive curricular programs for non-mainstream children focus on celebrating one discrete cultural group, an approach increasingly less viable in multi-ethnic, culturally diverse communities. The Learning Circle, an after-school enrichment program for urban American Indian children with mixed tribal and ethnic heritages, has evolved a uniquely multi-tribal curriculum; I examined its development and impact on the community it serves from inception of the project in 1993 to its integration as a locally funded project in 1999.