Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher

Second Advisor

Maria Salazar


Teachers, Culturally responsive teaching, Education reform


Currently there is an increasing focus on teacher quality in educational reform, a lack of empirical research on exactly what culturally responsive teaching looks like, and a great deal of confusion on how teacher dispositions may be important in education. This study seeks to examine what great teachers believe, intend, and do while examining their dispositions in the process.

Three research questions guided this study: 1) What are the intentions and beliefs of culturally responsive teachers? 2) How does culturally responsive teaching operationalize? 3) What are the dispositions of culturally responsive teachers? To respond to these questions, I use Educational Criticism and Connoisseurship, a qualitative research method developed by Eliot Eisner (1998). Educational criticism is comprised of four dimensions: description, interpretation, evaluation, and thematics.

The findings suggest that there are similarities in the intentions, beliefs, operations, and dispositions of culturally responsive teachers. However, it was readily apparent that culturally responsive teaching operationalized differently for different teachers, leaving us to recognize that we cannot simply give teachers a checklist to ensure that great teaching manifests. Further, the study revealed that while the participants sought to reach the aims of what many culturally responsive scholars seek, they are confused by the label resulting in unintended consequences. This leads to the suggestion of evolving the label culturally responsive pedagogy to personalized pedagogy. Finally, the study recognizes the controllable and uncontrollable contexts of education. This has broad sweeping ramifications for policymakers and administrators, as they must recognize in their hunt for identifying what quality teachers do, there are a number of elements outside of teachers‘ control that affect students‘ educations.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. This work may only be accessed by members of the University of Denver community. The work is provided by permission of the author for individual research purposes only and may not be further copied or distributed. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Bradley M. Conrad


Received from author

File Format




File Size

306 pgs