Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Susan Korach, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Douglas Allen

Third Advisor

Ellen Miller-Brown

Fourth Advisor

Kristina Hesbol


Achievement gap, Critical race theory, Culturally responsive teaching, Opportunity gap


The purpose of this study was to examine early career teacher practice and beliefs about students of color in their classrooms and the relationship between those beliefs and their classroom practices. In this study, seven teachers in the initial five years of their teaching career were interviewed and observed inside of their classrooms using the Quality Responsive Classroom Observation Protocol. The interview questions were developed to look at the beliefs, teacher preparation, and culturally responsive pedagogy of early career teachers. Data was then analyzed using the five tenets of the Critical Race Theory: (1) Centrality of Race and Racism; (2) Challenging the Dominant Perspective; (3) Social Justice; (4) Experiential Knowledge of Students; and (5) Transdisciplinary Perspective. The question that guided this study was: What is the relationship among teachers' cultural sensitivity, their understanding and commitment to culturally responsive pedagogy, and their actual pedagogical practice?

The study showed that the espoused beliefs of teachers are not consistent with the pedagogical practices observed in the classroom and that the race of the student does impact the experiences of our students of color within the classroom. The educational practices observed in the classrooms, when examined through the lens of critical race theory, did perpetuate the power of the dominant class. The implications for school leaders were also discussed to help improve future classrooms to meet the needs of our diverse students.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Michelle Steinberger


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

180 p.


Education, Educational Leadership