Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Elizabeth Harry

Second Committee Member

Arlene Clachar

Third Committee Member

Jomills Henry Braddock II

Fourth Committee Member

Carlos F. Diaz


This study explored teachers' perceptions of intelligence of 11th-grade Black male students and how students themselves perceived their own intelligence in light of Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligence. Qualitative research methods were used to gain novel understanding of the students' and teachers' feelings, and perceptions as outlined in the research questions. Two versions of ecological systems theory provided the underpinnings for the framework of this study: 1) Brönfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory, and 2) Spencer's PVEST (Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory) model, which is an adaptation of the ecology model to Black students in the United States. In a large urban school district in the Southeast section of the United States, twenty-six students completed an online survey of Gardner's Multiple Intelligences. Seven Black male students were selected and interviewed along with ten of their teachers. The study found that despite the negative stereotypes toward Black males by society, the Black male students in this study interpreted intelligence to be multifaceted and perceived themselves as intelligent Black males. The teachers of the Black male students perceived them as intelligent and also interpreted intelligence to be multifaceted. The Black male students were resilient in debunking the idea that Black males were not considered intelligent in a society where negative Black male stereotypes abound.


Self-esteem; (Black) Ethnic Identity Development; Hypermasculinity; " Tracking; "acting White; Qualitative Research; Intelligence; IQ; Sociology; Psychology; Multicultural Education; Grounded Theory; Learning Styles; Stereotype Threat; Multiple Intelligences; Spencer's PVEST; Ecological Systems Theory