Intercultural Competence and Practice: The Contribution of Teachers' Beliefs, Values, and Attitudes to the Implementation of Culturally Responsive Practices and Mandated ELD Professional Development

Deborah C. Ormsby, University of Denver


Public school teachers in the State of Colorado are required to complete 45 hours of English language development (ELD) training to ensure that they are properly supporting the English learners in their school. The literature suggests that teachers’ beliefs, values, and attitudes (intercultural competence) toward English learners matter in their receptiveness to the training and their ability to engage in and implement culturally responsive practices. In order to understand how the ELD training might actually impact a teacher’s ability to support English learners, a mixed methods design comprised of the administration of Ponterotto’s Teacher Multicultural Attitudes Survey followed up by teacher interviews regarding their practices was utilized to answer the question: How do culturally responsive teachers' beliefs, values, and attitudes contribute to their implementation of culturally responsive practices? This study was organized around Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity and Geneva Gay’s Culturally Responsive Teaching model and used them to make sense of the collected data, analyze the findings, make recommendations to impact teachers’ levels of intercultural competence, and implement professional development in a manner which increases teachers’ use of culturally responsive practices. Additionally, recommendations were made to inform and support school and district leadership in their actions to develop and grow culturally responsive practices in their school and district to ensure this work impacts every student.