Elementary teachers' perceptions of and experiences with culturally responsive pedagogy and diverse students' achievement
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The purpose of this heuristic case study was to develop a thick, rich description of the culturally responsive pedagogical practices of teachers and to describe what instruction looks like when students are engaged in learning that addresses their unique cultural needs. For the purposes of this study, culturally responsive pedagogy was defined as instruction that provides authentic learning opportunities for all students by using students' prior knowledge and cultural backgrounds to make sense of the world, while using their strengths to enhance their learning and their academic achievement. Case studies of five culturally responsive teachers located in a Midwest suburban school district were utilized to investigate the research questions. The central question for this study was: How do elementary school teachers apply culturally responsive pedagogy to address the unique needs of diverse learners? Sub-questions that were explored in this study included: (a) What perceptions do elementary school teachers have about the use of district- and state-level curricula to support culturally responsive practices? (b) What culturally responsive instructional strategies do elementary teachers use in their classrooms?, and (c) How do elementary teachers perceive that their culturally responsive pedagogical practices are reflected in the achievement of diverse students? Teacher interviews, classroom observations of the study participants, and participant reflection journals were utilized for data collection and analysis. The primary method of data analysis was the six basic phases in the heuristic process of phenomenological analysis: (a) initial engagement, (b) immersion, (c) incubation, (d) illumination, (e) explication and (f) creative synthesis (Moustakas, 1990). Five themes were identified in the data: attitudes, environment, curriculum, teaching strategies/instruction, and family and community involvement. Attitudes were defined as the emotional aspects of a teacher's psychological functioning. Environment was interpreted as the foundational culture of inclusion, which permeated everything that occurred in the school setting. Curriculum related to what was being taught in the classroom. Teaching strategies/instruction focused on how the material could best be taught to all students. Family and community involvement emphasized the partnership between those who impacted the child's world outside of school and those who impacted the child while they were at school.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Literature review -- Methodology -- Findings: the sotry behind the data -- Conclusions and recommendations -- Appendix A. Culturally responsive education continuum -- Appendix B. Journal prompts -- Appendix C. Interview questions -- Appendix D. Field observation template -- Appendix E. Informed consent for participation in a research study-consent for journal entry, interview, and observation -- Appendix F. Participant recruitment letters -- Appendix G. Overview of culturally responsive education