Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Educational Administration and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Susan Korach, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Douglas Allen

Third Advisor

Kent Seidel

Fourth Advisor

Susan Brookhart

Fifth Advisor

Christine Moroye

Sixth Advisor

Elliott Asp


Culturally responsive teaching, Culturally responsive pedagogy, Race and ethnicity in education


Hawley & Nieto (2010) indicate that students’ race and ethnicity influence teaching and learning in two important ways: how students respond to instruction and curriculum, and teachers' assumptions about how students learn and how much students are capable of learning. Research has indicated that the most significant factor in student success is the classroom teacher (Goldhaber & Brewer, 1997; Gordon, Kane, & Staiger, 2006; Jordan, Mendro, & Weerasinghe, 1997; Marzano, 2007; Nye, Konstantopolous, & Hedges, 2004; Rivkin, Hanushek, &Kain, 2002; Rockoff, 2004; Rowan, Correnti, & Miller, 2002). Teacher professional development regarding culturally responsive pedagogy has been promoted to help teachers address this achievement gap (King, Artiles, & Kozleski, 2009; National Education Association, 2005; Singleton, 2005). The purpose of this study was to explore teacher journeys toward cultural responsiveness and explore how teachers described and demonstrated their understanding of culturally responsive pedagogy and training on their practice. In this case study, three teachers who had voluntarily participated in culturally responsive training were interviewed and observed in their classrooms. Gay’s (2002) five elements of culturally responsive pedagogy—cultural understanding, curriculum, caring and relationships, communication, and instruction—served as a framework for data analysis and were used to examine how these teachers demonstrated culturally responsive teaching practices. Additionally, the influence of ongoing professional development that focused on equity and culturally responsive pedagogy was explored. Key findings revealed the following: many culturally responsive strategies had become a part of teachers’ personal theory-in-use (Argyris & Schön, 1974), and the teachers articulated a cognitive shift or change in mindset (Dweck, 2007) regarding race and equity. It was also noted that teachers trying to become more culturally responsive in their practice made efforts to build positive relationships with their students and create positive learning environments. Their action revealed an understanding about the need to balance social supports and academic press. The findings support the notion that culturally responsive teaching differs from “just good teaching” (Ladson-Billings, 1995 p. 159) in that it requires teachers to regularly reflect on instruction and be intentionally responsive to student needs in the classroom. The study also revealed the tension teachers perceive between culturally responsive pedagogy and teaching with a mandated curriculum.

Publication Statement

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Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Krista Keogh

File size

149 p.

File format





Education, Multicultural education, Middle school education