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LISTENING TO THE STUDENT VOICE: AN EXPLORATION OF By ABIGAIL L. FULLER A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2014
2014 Abigail L. Fuller
To my wonderful parents my loving husband, Isaac, and our amazing daughter, Noelle
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank God for creating His purpose in my life and for His favor and blessings in all that I do. I thank my dad for believing I had this in me and my mom for teaching me true faith and perseverance. Without her, I would have never believed I could do this. I am extremely thankful for the superior scholarship and leadership of my chair person Dr. Bernard Oliver I thank him for supporting my research. I also thank the members of my committee, Dr. Linda Eldridge, Dr. Erica McCray, and Dr. Eileen Oliver for their wisdom and guidance through this process I thank the school district research committee members and school administrato rs who granted me access to the voice I thank my brother Cpt. Josh ua Onuska, U. S. Marine Corp whose courage is far greater than mine, and who has unknowingly taught me to put life into perspective. Without teachers who held me to high expectations, I would not have been able to accompl ish the goals that have brought me to today. I thank my first grade teacher Ms. Sinclair, my high school English teacher Ms. Karwoski, and my undergraduate professor Dr. Pamela Soeder. I know t hey would all say knew those are the kinds of teachers all children need. I thank my husband for being both dad and mom at times so that I could attain this dream and for encouraging me to finish the race Because of his willingne ss to cook, change diapers and make ponytails, I could accomplish this g oal, and for that I will always be grateful. I must also extend my gratitude to my mother in law for her love and support through this process. Finally, I thank my beautiful daughter Noelle who created the passion inside me to conduct this study and to believe in its significance
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 10 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 14 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 15 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 15 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 16 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................ ................................ .................... 18 Culturally Responsive Teaching ................................ ................................ ............. 18 Culturally Responsive Teaching Defined ................................ .......................... 18 Making Culturally Responsive Teaching Happen ................................ ............. 23 A Shift in Thinking about Student Achievement ................................ ................ 25 Beliefs and Perceptions ................................ ................................ .......................... 27 Teac her Perceptions and Beliefs ................................ ................................ ...... 27 ................................ ................................ .... 33 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 40 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 42 Setting ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 43 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 44 Instruments Used in Data Collection ................................ ................................ ....... 49 Data Collection Procedures Used ................................ ................................ ........... 50 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 53 Researcher Subjectivity Statement ................................ ................................ ......... 56 Summary of the Methodology ................................ ................................ ................. 58 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 60 The Voices of Black and Hispanic Fourth Grade Students ................................ ..... 60 Case A ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 61 Case B ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 64 Case C ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 69 Case D ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 71 Listening Across Cases : Common Themes ................................ ............................ 73 High Expectations ................................ ................................ ............................ 74 Parental Involvement ................................ ................................ ........................ 75
6 Valuing Culture ................................ ................................ ................................ 75 Reactions of School Administrators ................................ ................................ .. 76 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 79 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 92 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ....................... 93 Revi ew of the Methodology ................................ ................................ ..................... 94 Summary of the Results ................................ ................................ .......................... 95 Discussion of the Results ................................ ................................ ........................ 96 Interpretation of Findings ................................ ................................ .................. 96 Implications for Practice ................................ ................................ ................. 100 Suggestions for Additional Research ................................ ............................. 101 Personal Reflection ................................ ................................ ............................... 102 APPENDIX A PARENTAL CONSENT FORM ................................ ................................ ............. 104 B STUDENT ASSENT FORM ................................ ................................ .................. 105 C EDUC ATOR CONSENT FORM ................................ ................................ ............ 106 D ADMINISTRATOR CONSENT FORM ................................ ................................ .. 107 E STUDENT INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL ................................ .............. 108 F EDUCATOR INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL ................................ ........... 110 G ADMINISTRATOR INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL ................................ 112 H PILOT STUDY STUDENT INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL ..................... 113 I PILOT STUDY EDUCATOR INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL .................. 114 J INDIVIDUAL TEACHER INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (CASE C) .......................... 115 K INDIVIDUAL STUDENT INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (CASE D) .......................... 122 L STUDENT FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (CASE D) .................... 125 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 131 BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 134
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Major Authors on Cultural Responsiveness in Schools ................................ .......... 41 3 1 School Demographics ................................ ................................ ............................ 59 4 1 Student Voice in Case A ................................ ................................ ........................ 80 4 2 Case A Teacher Responses ................................ ................................ .................. 81 4 3 Student Voice in Case B ................................ ................................ ........................ 82 4 4 Case B Teacher Responses ................................ ................................ .................. 84 4 5 Student Voice in Case C ................................ ................................ ........................ 86 4 6 Case C Teacher Responses ................................ ................................ .................. 87 4 7 Student Voice in Case D ................................ ................................ ........................ 89 4 8 Case D Teacher Responses ................................ ................................ .................. 91
8 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education LISTENING TO THE STUDENT VOICE: By Abigail L. Fuller May 2014 Chair: Bernard Oliver Major: Educational Leadership This study explored the phenomenon of how Black and Hispanic fourth grade students in four separate classrooms in Title I funded elementary schools view their teachers culturally responsive practices. Minority students and those from low socio economic status (SES) households are taught from a perspective absent of diverse culture and through a middle class, European framework (Howard, 2003). Their customs, traditions and values are ignored and they are forced to assimilate to the way o f American schools (Gay, 2010). Ensuring the needs of diverse learners are met is of utmost importance to educational leaders, yet limited research exists that incorporates their perspectives about their school experience. Realizing there is a problem with how schools are educating ethnically di verse students should call school leaders and teachers to ask about the nature of the s tudent teacher relationship, the curriculum, Billings, 1995, p. 483). Culturally responsive teaching is a means for fostering the achiev ement of all students, but especially that of minority groups which for far too long have been expected to conform to the Eurocentric schoo l system in America (Gay, 2000).
9 students were interviewed in ord er to gain insight into the culturally responsive practices that occur in their respective understanding the voice of the student was significant. Interviews with teachers and st udents were conducted a nd the study culminated with interview s of the school administrator s The interview responses were coded and several themes emerged. Similar to the body of research on culturally responsive teaching, holding high expectations for st udents, valuing parent involvement building relationships and promoting cultural awareness were common themes across the cases. The researcher uncovered that many of the responses by the teachers about their practices and by the students regarding their the key characteristics of Ladson (1995) theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. This study adds to the limited body of research on student perception of culturally responsive teaching and strengthens the f the student.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION From the emerge different ways of constructing knowledge, m aking sense of experiences, and learning (G ay, 2000). However unlike their students the majority of American teachers are White, m onocultural females who lack experience with individuals of other cultures. Cho and DeCastro In the United States, the number of school aged students from diverse backgrounds is increasing, yet, according to research, the majority of teachers and those in teacher education programs continue to be predominantly Caucasian, middle class and English monolin gual s As a result there is a cultural mismatch betw een students and teachers How will these teachers reach students who differ from them culturally, and are they ready, willin g and able to do so? The disparity of cultur al background betw een s difficulty for White teachers particularly in knowing how to create culturally releva nt pedagogy for diverse student populations (Seidl, 2007). The result is that some teachers have difficulty effectively educa ting stu dents of diverse cultures Wong (2008) points to the changing demographics in the United States and the need for teachers who can understand and relate to their stu dents. Unless teachers can respond to students backgrounds a s springboards for learning, their achievement will be stifled (Wong, 2008). Even teachers of color and teachers who have experienced a rich cultural upbringing may not be fully aware of how to utilize culturally responsive teaching practices because they
11 T h e racial and ethnic composition of the student population of a large school district in which the researcher is employed in the southeast ern region is 47% Hispanic, 3 7 % White, 12% Black, 2% Mixed race, 1% Asian and 1% Indian More than 6 4 % of the students are considered economically needy English is not the first language for 1 5 % of our students with more than 6, 5 00 students in the English Language Learners (ELL) pro gram. Colle ctively, these students speak 80 different heritage languages and hail from 114 different countries of origin. More than 4 9 % of our students live in non English homes, where English is not the first language and percentage increases to more than 5 4 % in grades Pre K through 3, where learning to read is so critical. 2013 ) According to the U.S. Department of Education National Cente r for Education Statistics (201 1 ): Between 1990 and 2010, the percentage of public school students who were White decreased from 67 to 54 percent, and the percentage of those who were Hispanic increased from 12 percent (5.1 million students) to 23 percent (12.1 million I n 2009, over 11 million school age children in the United States spoke a language other t han English, which is an increase of over six million students (USDOE, NCES, 2011). Given the growing diversity of th e student population served in U.S. schools, admi nistrators and teachers must acquire the knowledge and skills to successfully educate students of all races, ethnicities and cultures School leaders must also act to ensure that culturally responsive teaching practices are implemented in all classrooms. Utilizing the background knowledge and experiences students take from their respective cultures, teachers can foster meaningful learning opportunities for students (Ladson Billings, 1995; Gay, 2000; Howard, 2001). Culturally responsive teaching is a way to raise but especially that of minority groups, who have long been expected to conform to Euro centric school system (Gay, 2000). Minority and low socio economic
12 status (SES) students are taught from a perspective which l acks diverse cultural viewpoints and emphasizes a middle class, European framework (Howard, 2003). Their customs, traditions and values are ignored and they are forced to assimilate to the methodology of American schools (Gay 2010). Howard (2006) states: It is no mere coincidence that the children of certain racial, cultural, linguistic, and economic groups those who have for centuries been marginalized by the force of Western White domination are the same students who are now failing or underachieving a t disproportionat e rates in Howard (2006) suggests examining the achievement gap through the lens of school improvement instead of placing blame on student differences and lack of parental involvement. These gaps in minority student achievement persist even when educational scores as a whole improve. After reviewing the test data of the National Assessment of mathematics scores between Black and White students and between Hispanic and White students at all three age levels did not change (p. 14). The authors are observing an overall improvement in American student achievement during the four year period yet th e major area of concern is the significant gap between the performance of White students and that of minority students. With the implementation of the No Child Left Behind (NLCB) national educational initiative in 2001, policymakers and educational analyst s were pleased with overall achievement; however, NCLB showed no signs of improving the huge minority achievement deficit (Barton and Coley, 2010, p. 14). These a larming standardized assessment performance gaps ushered in the beginnings of culturally resp onsive teaching (Barton and Coley, 2010; Ladson Billings,
13 2007). Since teachers often do not represent the racial, cultural and ethnic diversity of the students they s erve, educators must develop and employ culturally responsive practices in order to culti vate learning. This approach has the advantage of enhancing learning without requiring a huge additional expenditure in equipment or personnel t may be time to try an approach that allows us to learn about how to improve schools w ithout expending additional resources, yet engaging those Ladson dispel s the myths related to low achievement of African American minorities and children of poverty and point s to the many factors related to the Black White student achievement gap Ladson Billings (2007) brings to light the need for more discourse and a shift in thinking to move forward and raise the achievement of all students with a specific emphasis on studen ts who contin ue to encounter school failure Of greater importance to this study is the increasing racial and ethnic diversity within schools and the significant cultural mismatch of teachers and students (Edwards, 2010; Toney, 2009). Several deficiencies exist in the understanding of this phenomenon Most research is limited to defi ning cultural responsiveness, noting the need for it in schools or listing k ey factors for cultural ly responsive teaching However, there is little research examining the infl uence of culturally responsive pedagogy on studen t achievement Educational literature frequently references the terms culturally responsive teaching, culturally relevant pedagogy and multicultural education; however, there is a need for additional resea rc h, particularly to how teacher s apply the principles of cultural responsiveness and the effect on student achievement Such research would help
14 practitioners develop and apply appropriate pedagogy Many of the studies embodying cultural responsiveness focu s primarily on the Black White achievement gap (Gay, 2002; Howard, 2003; Ladson Billings, 1995, 2007). However, r esearch conducted i n multi cultural rather than bi cultural environments will benefit both the field of research and the work of practitioners. Howard (2003) recognizes the need for additional research to support the development of culturally relevant pedagogy. He urges researchers to continue studying, discussing, reflecting and analyzing race and culture so that teachers may move closer toward using culturally relevant pedagogy with students. Purpose of the Study The perceptions of students, teachers and school administrators were compiled and analyzed in this qualitative study. The wa s to explore the percept ions students had about their teachers in the specific areas of culturally responsiveness and how tho se perceptions compare d to the tenets of cultural ly responsive teaching. The focus of the study was on gathering s about thei r teachers specifically rela ted to the tenets of culturally responsive tea ching. Qualitative research enable s researchers to accomplish a variety of goals, one of which is to understand cultural and historical perceptions. F or t his study the researcher was that events, situations, experiences, and actions have for (Gall, Gall & b eliefs a nd opinions about the i mportance of considering race, ethnicity and culture when instructing students from minority and low SES gro ups as well as the extent to which students have taken part in and/or observed cultural responsivenes s in school
15 Research Questions The study was guided by the followi ng overarching central question: 1. How do Black and Hispanic fourth grade students in three Title I funded elementary schools with predominantly Black and Hispanic students perceive their teachers cultural responsiveness in the learning environment ? The study additionally explore d the following related questions: 2. From the perspective of Black and Hispanic fourth grade students, what evidence of cultural responsiveness exists in their learning experience? 3. How do the perceptions of Black and Hispanic fourth grade students regarding their teachers compare to the characteristics of culturally responsive teaching? Significance of the Study If teachers do not proportionally represent the racial, cultural and ethnic composition of the students they serve, educators must integrate culturally responsive practices into dail y instruction in order to cultivate learning and guide student achievement A udience s who will benefit from studying this problem include school based personnel (includ ing administrators, guidance counselors, academic coaches, teachers and support personnel ), district based personnel (including superintendents and curriculum coordinators), school board me mbers and other decision makers, and members of the community such as parents, concerned citizens and even stu dents The study is necessary to improve the knowledge and practice of culturally responsive teaching. Sleeter (2011) argues that cultural responsivene ss is understood only superficially and that basic conceptions about it mask the necessity of me aningful change regarding the framework through which teachers provide high quality, culturally sensitive learning opportunities This study will add to the field of research by providing insight on the depth of understand ing of students and school staff.
16 Limitations Participation of respondents in this case study w as voluntary. T hus the participant interview data collected is not representative of all children who are Black or Hispanic or from low socio economic families. Given the nature of qualitative research, each case in this multiple case study provides rich, descriptive data for interpretation; however, the case study is limited because generalizations cannot be formulated from the findings Data were not considered generalizable to all fourth grade classrooms with culturally responsive teachers because the results may not be relevant for all students with culturally responsive teachers. The interpretations of results may be most limited by the inabil it y to provide transferability be part of that experience much like an ethnographer. Observation al data, or field notes, over a period of time would allow for triangulation of the data. Another limitation of the study involves the selection of participants. The sample discretion to choose which teacher at their site is culturally responsive bas ed on criteria provided by the researcher based on the literature substantially limits the teacher the reliance Addition ally, a highly effective teaching record was not included on the criteria that were given to the principals. With regard to selection of student participants, by inviting all students in the those consents that were returned for student participants severely limits the student sample. The sample is
17 limited to students who are responsible in returning their consent forms, while unintentionally overlooking all other students in the class.
18 CHAP TER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE The purpose of this study wa s to determine the beliefs and perceptions that students hold of their experiences with and observations of culturally responsive teaching. T his review of the literature present s an overview of researc h related to the study including the following topics: ( a) culturally responsive teaching theory, practice and implications for student achievement, and ( b) beliefs and perceptions of students and teachers as they pertain to cultural responsiveness in scho ols. Culturally Responsive Teaching A search f t of results, including qualitative and quantitative research, position papers and essays. The majority of the research is qualitative and lacking empirical evidence Overall the research is sorely lacking in responsive teaching, and no research exists to identify a causal link between the implementation of culturally responsive teaching an d student performance. This literature review organizes into subheadings which define and describe culturally responsive teaching, detail the shift in thinking needed surrounding the racial achievement gap, and present the research on perceptions of teache this discipline to provide support for this study The chapter concludes with a summary. Culturally Responsive Teaching Defined T he theories and definitions of culturally responsive teaching demonstrate some different understandings of the concept Several frameworks exist within the pedagogy,
19 and there is a wide variety of congruent, or sensitive pedagogy; teaching; instruction; multicultural education; and equity pedagogy, among ot 2008 p. 434). E ach term and researcher gives slightly different explanations as detailed in Table 2 1 he set of practices and beliefs shared by members of a particular group that dis (p.16). Culture refers to more than just the beliefs and customs of a certain group. When a person refers to his/her culture, he/she takes into account age, gender, socioeconomic status, geography, ancestry, religion, language, history, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability occupation, and other characteristics. Everything about a person weaves together to form the fabric of his or her culture. T his is the frame of reference that someone uses when understand ing experiences and making connections to learn and apply new information. Various researchers have arrived at their own definitions of cultural responsiveness as it pertains to education. Gay (2002) defines culturally responsive teaching ltural characteristics, experiences, and perspectives of ethnically diverse students as conduits for teaching Ladson Billings (1995 ) uses c ultura lly relevant pedagogy somewhat sy nonymously with cul turally responsive teachin g and sees it as a framework for fostering student achievement, building cultural competence and teaching students to identify and combat the inequities in society and schools. Some re searchers believe that when teachers insights and are not critical of them, they are facilitating culturally responsive practices in their classrooms (Bro wn Jeffy and Cooper,
20 2011). Others believe that a sign of culturally responsive teaching is when education becomes relevant to students bec persp ectives (Shealey, 2007). Many researchers agree that cultural responsiveness is a chieved when the construction of knowledge is embedded in a framework that requires students to draw upon their known cultu ral experiences. For example, student engagement is part of good teaching practices. However, components of student engagement such as interesting activities, hands on learning experiences and deliberate planning of interactive lessons are aspects of the preferred learning style in certain cultures (Gay, 2000). Therefore, using such techniques not only provide s students with the opportunity also more than cognitive and technic ). Teachers who are respective backgrounds are integral in helping them make sense of new material (Villegas, 2002, p. 28). Additionally, these tea sociocultural consciousness, hold affirming views of students of diverse backgrounds, see themselves as agents of change, understand and embrace constructivist views of learning and teaching, and know the students in their c Ladson nt A next step for positing effective pedagogical practice is a theoretical model that not only addresses student achievement but also helps students to accept and affirm their cultural identity while developing critical perspectives that challenge inequities that schools (and other institutions) perpetuate. (p. 469)
21 This pedagogy provides teachers with necessary direction in incorporati ng the cultures of students and provides student s with the opportunities to challenge social inequities. learning potentials of ethnically diverse students by simultaneousl y cultivating their Culturally responsive teaching is a product of and a complementary approach to the field of multicultural education ( Banks, 2013; Moore, 2007). Multicultural education is intended to trans form the school so that students from diverse backgrounds are treated equally in all aspects of school life (Gay, 2000). C ultural responsiveness theory falls under the multicultural pedagogy umbrella Culturally responsive teaching centers around the premi se that and backgrounds are strengths rather than deficits and can be used to shore up intellectual capacity, an (Moore, 2007, p. 28). Thus a culturally responsive classroom exudes care and conc ern for the student; it centers around the student not the teacher and supports the cultures of the learners. S unique strengths are i dentified, cultivated and used to foster s uccess in schools (Moore, 2007). unique languages, religious values, and different ethnicities are acknowledged as positive attributes. Indiv iduality is nurtured ; the differen ces of each child are celebrated and used as building blocks to success. The advantage of this design is that it 28 ).
22 Howard suggests that culturally responsive teaching may improve student achievement through the creation of lessons own cultural ident ities and realities (2003 ) however no studies exist which link student performance to the implementati on of culturally responsive teaching directly Howard (2001) suggests that true culturally responsive teaching requires aligning the entire Specifically, communication, teaching and learning styles and construction of knowledge must all be aligned with accomplish this goal, school leaders and teachers must educate themselves about the students and their various cultures Parhar and Sen soy (2011) define culturally responsive teaching as a practice upon cultural congruence of classroom practices, students will discover increasing 191 192). This approach asserts the value of focusing classroom reference (Parhar and Sensoy, 2011). These researchers suggest that when teachers have developed carefully designed lessons which allow students to construct their own meanings, they are met with success. Pairing evidence of culturally responsive teaching with components of the teaching and learning process that are standard in all classrooms, Siwatu (2007) states that a teacher who is culturally responsive displays certain characteristics across the pedagogy. Such teachers can incorporate culturally responsive practices within curriculum and instruction, classroom management, student assessment and cultural
23 enrichment and co mpetence. C ulturally responsive teachers can also students with the knowledge and skills needed to function in mainstream culture while simultaneously helping students maintain their cultural identity, native language, and connect ( Siwatu, 2007, p. 1086 1087) The common threads that exist among the responsive teaching presented in this section include: and cultural backgrounds, using those i nsights and experiences as a framework for learning, increasing cultural competence, and eliminating social injustice. For the purposes of this study, cultural ly responsive teaching practices will be defined as a means for teachers to activate the learning potential of students with diverse cultural backgrounds by validating, including, and building upon their cultural experiences and knowledge Making Culturally Responsive Teaching Happen In addition to knowing how culturally responsive teaching is defined in the literature, it is also imperative to know what literature exists on operationalizing the theory. The instruction should demonstrably incorporate facets of the being : his or her prior experiences, racial and ethnic identity, and cultural and commu nity experiences (Gay, 2010). Villegas and Lucas (2002) present the main characteristics of culturally responsive teaching and focus their work on preparing pre service teach ers to begin their careers as effective culturally responsive teachers. Such a teacher (a) is socioculturally conscious, that is, recognizes that there are in the soci al order; (b) has affirming views of students from diverse backgrounds, seeing resources for learning in all students rather than viewing differences as problems to be
24 overcome; (c) sees himself or herself as both responsible for and capable of bringing ab out educational change that will make schools more responsive to all students; (d) knowledge construction; (e) knows about the lives of his or her students; and (f) uses his already know while stret ching them beyond the familiar (p. 21) T he opinions and perspectives of teachers directly impact their willingness, ability and effectiveness in practicing culturally responsive teaching. Teaching in this manner means choosing to support all students in the classroom, hold ing them to high standards, and plan ning rigorous lessons to facilitate learning and cr eate engagement Teachers must display a willingness to also learn and grow in the culturally responsive setting. Moore (2007) created a list of questions that they should reflect upon. The following questions are designed to help teachers assess their own cultural biases and prepare for teach ing diverse groups of students. They ask teachers to reflect on their own practices as well as assess the student body they serve. (1 ) What support do the students need academically, socially, emotionally/mentally, and physically? (2) How will I prepare to effectively respond to these students and their needs ? (3) What racial or cultural biases do I hold, and how will I keep them from influencing my teaching behaviors? (4) What resources (personnel and organizational) are available to assist me in being a n efficacious culturally responsive educator? and finally (5) Am I culturally competent? (p. 28) As school personnel and leadership reflect together on these questions, conversations about practicing cultural responsiveness pedagogy and improving student t eacher relationships will commence. Morrison et al. (2008) reviewed studies conducted in the United States, India, Papua New Guinea, Canada and Australia. Their research focused on approaches to
25 maintaining social justice through culturally responsive te aching practices (p. 434). The goal of the others was concrete examples of means of 435). Teacher s practices cultural competence, and c ritical the three main themes of culturally relevant pedagogy. Subcategories were also created and in this way enabled the authors to organize concrete examples from classroom instruction and create their document to afford educators more examples of this pedagogy. A Shift in Thinking about Student Achievement The purpose of this subsection is to further note what the anticipated outcomes of culturally responsive teaching practices are and how they may improve student achievement and development No studies exist which present evidence of a causal link between culturally responsive teaching and student achievement. The achievement gap between White and racially/ethnically diverse students should call school leaders and teachers to ask about the nature of the student teacher relationship, the curriculum, Billings, 1995, p. 483). Edwar It is well documented that achievement gaps exist and persist across not only race, but also income and place of residency. These educational inequities deny millions of our children the opportunities to develop their unique abilities an d gifts, to find personal success, and to achieve economic well Banks frequently fail to help ethnic minority and low income students achieve because they ignore or try to alienate these students from their home and community cultures and languages Viewed as one answer to eliminating the
26 achievement gap, culturally responsive teaching has the potential to lessen the effect caused by the Parhar an d Sensoy, 2011 ). Because culturally responsive teaching can address poor achievement by minority students, the lack of representation of minority personnel working as school professionals and the absence of minority cultural perspectives embedded in pract ice, researchers have advocated for its inclusion since the 1990s (Parhar and Sensoy, 2011). R esearchers, educators and citizens alike are called to draw their focus to what may help underperformi ng students succeed. Ladson Billings (2007) suggests turning from deficit thinking to empower students. The focus is placed on what students can do and not what the research has historically shown that they cannot do. When we speak of an education debt we move to a discourse that holds us all accountable. It reminds us that we have accumulated this problem as a result of centuries of neglect and denial of education to entire groups of students. It reminds us that we have consistently under funded schools in poor communities wh ere education is needed most. It reminds us that we have, for large periods of our history, excluded groups of people from the political process where they might have a say in democratically determining what education should look like in their communities. And, it reminds us that what we are engaged as we reflect on our unethical and immoral treatment of our underserved population. (Ladson Billings, 2007, p. 321) Sleeter (2011) proposes four areas in which professionals display limited knowledge. These are substituting cultural for The problem with cultural celebration is that teachers separate culture from academic study. This approach contrasts w ith culturally responsive teaching, which promotes academic achievement and development while affirming the cultural identity of students (Sleeter, 2011). Unfortunately, cultures of diverse students are frequently
27 only celebrated rather than linked to stud ent develop ment. Sleeter sees culturally relevant pedagogy being trivialized when school personnel attempt to simplify it with tools like checklists for practices that are culturally sensitive and lesson plans that include some multi cultural elements. Ess entializing race, culture, or ethnicity also compromises s to respond to diverse student populations Sleeter (2011) define assuming commonalities within races, culture s or ethnicities that limit educators abilitie s to tap into each student Sleeter (2011) calls for additional rese arch to further understand how cultu rally responsive pedagogy operates in the classroom and how it relates to student achievement. Beliefs and Perceptions Understanding the attitudes and opinions of teachers has been concerning to researchers in many disciplines within the field. While the majority of literature on perceptions of culturally responsive teaching in schools incorporates the work and input of teachers for the majority little research has been done that investigates what students have to say about the i nclusion of their culture in teaching and learning. T his section which present s a synthesis of the literature examines the ideas and opinions of teach ers and students regarding culturally responsive practices in the educational setting and brings to light the call by researchers for more research incorporating the voice of the student. Teacher Perceptions and Beliefs Literature on teacher perception and belief in the area of culturally responsive practices in schools is continuing to grow as cultural responsiveness is gaining esteem among educational and ethnic studies researchers Most s tudies focus on teachers of African American students, and concentr ate on the problem of the Black White
28 achievement gap yet some major studies have influenced the field (Edwards, 2010; Howard, 2003; Ladson Billings, 2009, 1995; Toney, 2009; Walker, 2011). In a case study conducted by Decuir s perceptions were elicited on the effectiveness of the American Excellence Association, which is a program for enhancing culturally relevant practices at the high school and working to delete the racial achievement gap Sixteen individuals from ten differ ent high schools were interviewed. Focus group and individual interviews were conducted to collect data. After analysis using coding software the themes that emerged included : promoting African American academic achievement, creating a feeling of belonging and cultural competence, and developing critical consciousness through community service. Taking into consideration the limitations of their study, Decuir 00). Taking into account the perceptions of teachers first, their intent is to propose further research that incorporates student perception. Ladson Billings (1995) develop ed a theoretical framework for culturally relevant pedagogy. Within this framework teachers who engage in culturally relevant pedagogy exhibit high academic expectations for students, demonstrate cultural competence in schools. Through analyzing the inter views, observations, and group analysis of videotaped classroom instruction, Ladson Billings was able to formulate her theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. From this data, Ladson Billings developed specific criteria an ability to develop students academically, a
29 willingness to nurture and support cultural competence, and the development of a sociopoli tical or critical consciousness 1995, p. 483). Ladson was designed to report highly effective teachers of African American students and to dispr ove common perceptions about the continual low achievement on African American students (2009, 1995) Her qualitative study examined the perspectives, teaching, and reflectio ns of eight teachers over a two year per iod in Northern California These teachers were determined to be teachers of excellence by both par ents five were African American, three were whit e and all were female. They had been teaching for 12 to 40 years mostly with African American students. T hus, t heir reflections on what was important in teaching African Ameri can students was based on daily teaching experiences. During the ethnographic teacher interviews, they shared their range of knowledge, backgro u nd, and experiences The tea chers were not limited to a particular script but were welcomed to expand on any topic they thought had value. These areas i nclude d: family background an d education, perspectives on teaching, pedagogical theory, and s ocial issue s Data were also collected via classroom observations, notes, vide otape recordings, and reflective comments and clarification s provided by teachers. T he research collaborative conducted by the teachers was a particularly powerful portion of the study in w hich they examined their practices and those of their colleagues. This research collaborative examine and re think Regarding the communication a nd dialogu e as pertinent to the process of acquiring
30 knowledge, Ladson Ladson Billing s s the co ntinued need for revised and improved pedagogy to help meet the needs of all students with a particular emphasis on African American students. She also knows how pedagogy should be the center of investiga tion and how d ialogue among research participants is key to reflecting on practice and clarifying beliefs. Popp et al. (2011) conducted a study with a similar intent to Ladson Billings in which they sought to explore the characteristics of highly effective teachers of a t risk students. Case study research was utilized as it offers means to explore a phenomenon that cannot be as effectively explored with traditional research methods. A mixed methods data analysis approach was taken. Qualitative analysis was utilized for i nterpreting the responses from the interviews. through classroom observations and interviews with each teacher were conducted to note their perceptions and beliefs about teaching. From the perceptions of the teachers emerge d the following findings: affective and academic intertwined, assessment integral to meeting student needs, meeting basic needs of students, high expectations, and measuring success. The researchers present limited generalizability as a limitation of the s tudy, but they call for the study to be replicated with a larger sample in order to determine whether similar findings may be yielded. Toney (2009) conducted a qu alitative study which investigated how the backgrounds and experiences of teachers affect the ir teaching of A frican American students. Specifically the study focused on how teache
31 teach representative sample included four sixth grade teachers from a suburban middle school near a major Midwestern city The t eachers participated in interviews, observations and focus groups. Regarding the use of teacher observation as a data collection tool, Toney (2009) emphasized that classroom instruction, teacher actions and teacher student relations can all be detailed. Ad ditionally, researchers can observed in the classroom. T he the teacher can: develop instruction focus ing on students and that draws upon from their cultures, hold high standard s for all students and make use reflections (Toney, 2009) In another study examining the Black White achievement gap, Walker analyzes udents (Walker, 2011). The three areas of focus were perceptions of teachers, cultural competence of teachers and teacher The intent of the researcher was to analyze the data for evidence of deficit thinking. A qualitative study of 10 elementary school teachers in a large urban school district, the criteria for pa rticipants included teaching mostly African American students and having at least five years of teaching experi ence. The researcher used purposive sampling as a way to allow for rich, contextual data. A limitation of the study is the generalizability due to the small sample size. Teachers were selected through principal nomination, and data were collected through t he conduction of two semi structured interviews. Wa lker (2011) identified a common theme among the recorded perceptions of teachers. He
32 us levels and used that knowledge to assist in In another study, Parhar and Sensoy (2011) studied the cultural responsiveness of ten teachers in a Canadian school district. Although the researchers were not specifically seeking teachers of African American students, participants were nominated based on their effective use of culturally relevant pedagogy. The nominated teachers were required to self report that they employed a t least five of the aforementioned tenets to be considered for selection in the study. Five elementary and five secondary teachers were selected. T he study sought to discover how teachers who are committed to providing culturally responsive learning enviro nments describe their beliefs, perceptions and challenges in carrying out their commitment. Researchers found that t eachers who understand and follow culturally responsive practices are guided by its principles to advance the academic and social achievemen Parhar and Sensoy 2011, p. 192). The authors further explore the importance of culturally responsive teaching as they express ed the most valuable tenets of the instructional implications. Connecting prior learning from their native language and values is one practice that culturally responsive teachers employ regularly in cl assroom instruction. Parhar and Sensoy list additional attributes of cultural responsiveness in schools: teaching curric ulum from multiple perspectives, learning styles to make learning more meaningful; creating and maintaining high expectations and standards for all students; creating engaging, challenging, motivating and cooperative les sons; working to mold a community of learners in the classroom to
33 emphasize an inclusive setting; validating the personal identities of students in terms of culture; encouraging a caring and respectful learning environment that invites students to think cr itically about academics, social issues, and discriminatory structures; and building relationships with students that are built on mutual respect (Parhar and Sensoy, 2011). While many of the studies explore how culturally aware teachers can improve learni elie fs and perceptions often perpetuate the underachievement of m inority groups Ladson Billings identifies the most common teacher perceptions about minority and low SES students: p arent al apathy, limi ted student experience, lack of preparation to begin school and poor living conditions (Ladson Billings, 2007) Teachers must overcome these misconceptions before they can truly engage with culturally responsive pedagogy. Continued research can help school personnel to identify these attitudes and work t o shift these misconceptions. When studying the perceptions of teachers, of equal importance is that of students the individuals the professionals in the field are focused Minimal data on student perception has been gathered despite the increasing amount of literature published on the need and benefit of culturally relevant teaching for underrepresented students (Howard, 2001). If the cultural backgrounds of diverse students are to be used as the foundation on which learning is constructed and the experiences from which students draw to make meaningful connections, it is only logical to elicit their beliefs and perceptions regarding cultural responsiveness in schools. An are a of research that is particularly limited, studying what students have to say about how teachers can draw from unique cultural backgrounds and experiences is
34 vital. Howard (2001) stresses the need for hearing the voices of students to glean ways in which they learn best and how they feel about their own achievement. With all of the other reform initiatives and interventions, school personnel should be open to listening to input from students regarding what can help them achieve. School leaders and teachers should become more aware of how students from culturally and linguistically diverse and low SES backgrounds feel about how they can learn and develop best. In this way the voices of students, who know best their cultural backgrounds, can inform the curric ulum, instruction and classroom management decisions of school leaders and teachers (Howard, 2001). salience of culturally relevant teaching practices for ethnically and linguis tically diverse backgrounds of diverse students are to be used as the foundation on whi ch learning is constructed and the experiences from which students draw to make meaningful connections, it is only logical to elic beli efs and perceptions regarding cu ltural responsiveness Since this is a n area of res earch that is particularly limited, studying what students have to say is particularly vital. Howard (2001) stresses the need for hearing the to glean ways in which they learn best and understand how they feel about their own achievement s He states: While the discussions continue, increasing numbers of students continue to fall through the academic cracks, most of them from culturally and linguistically diverse and low income backgrounds. The shortcomings of numerous interventions and misg uided practices merit the creation of a space for students to offer potential solutions for what they believe works best for them in schools. (2001, p. 132)
35 Howard conducted a study of students in order viewpoints, perceptions, and interpretations of their schooling experiences at the center study was conducted during the 1997 1998 school year in a large elementary school in the northwes tern U.S. in four classro oms of African American students. The study examined student input gathered from interviews and classroom observations from classes of culturally responsive teachers. T he study included 17 students, of varying academic ability levels, who were each intervi ewed individually and as part of a focus group. Through these interviews, Howard hoped interpretation of the teaching practices and the extent to which the viewpoints were intended goals and (Howard, 2001, p. 136). Three themes emerged in the findings. The care of the teachers, family style classroom atmospheres, and lively educational opportunities were recurring comments from students about their teachers and s chool experiences. were able to note a difference in the atmosphere and pedagogy of their instructors and thus showed that such pedagogy can meet its intended goals. Student very valuable in determining whether and in what ways such culturally relevant practices are successful In a separate study that incorporated student input, Hughes et al. (2011) reported on the perceptions of middle school students. The au Rarely, if ever, have the voices of these students regarding culturally responsive practice and cultural 0). Like
36 Howard, these researchers see the value of getting the et al. (2011) write: It is important to obtain the perspective of students attending culturally diverse schools to determine if they perceive that cultur ally responsive instruction is being practiced and if they believe their classroom and school environments are welcoming and accepting of their culture and traditions. (p. 13) cally, and linguistically diverse middle school students with learning disabilities, including low income, ELL, and middle school in the southeastern region, these participants were enrolled in two special education resource classes ( and regula r education for other coursework ). Understanding student perception of culturally responsive teaching was one goal of the study O ther purposes included learning about student perceptions of : their own acculturation, cultural background and traditions, acceptance of their culture at school, and cultural dynamics of racial a nd ethnic groups at the school. The study was limited by several factors including no pilot testing of the stu dent questionnaire to determine reliab ility and validity, the sample size was considerably small, culturally responsive practices training was not part of the study, direct observati on of classroom environment was not cond ucted, and comparative data were not included. Calling for more research in this particular area, the researcher urges replication of this study to gain insight into how teachers can best meet the needs of students from diverse backgrounds (Howard, 2001) Additionally, emphasis was placed on continuing to actively support the voice of students regarding all aspects that affect their schooling (Howard, 2001).
37 Moore (2007) encourages school leaders to begin the journey toward effectively implementing culturally responsive practices with s rs will have a glimpse of the beliefs and perspectives of students and other members of towa rd students, inclusion of cultural background s and cultural relevance in teaching high expectations for all students. As mentioned previously, the majority of literature related to perceptions of cultural responsiveness in schools is qualitative and rich with interviews, questionnaires, o bservation, and focus groups. This approach promote s openness by communicating knowledge, beliefs and experi ences. in schools in their qualitative study in a city in Minnesota, in which they interviewed eight high school students. Of the sample, four were African American, three were Hispanic, ac ademic performance standards and expectations, including curriculum & student motivation; attendance and enrollment issues; bullying and related deportment issues, including consistency of application of discipline and expectations for behavior; equity and fair treatment in school; resources and their effect upon instruction and infrastructure; and diversity and the learning environment. making, and discipline were the most salient. Students noted inequalities in treatment by teachers and peers, available resources, how discipline was handled at the school, and
38 communication of low expectations. One respondent had very stark perceptions, yet the comments because the respondent could not provide that evidence. Thus, the researcher questioned the construction of her perceptions The female Hispanic student shared that her teachers demonstrate low expectations for her and believe that female Hispanic students will drop out of high school due to getting pregnant. While the researcher found that direct communication between teach ers and students about breaking down negative stereotypes would be beneficial. Chavez and Guido DiBrito (1999) assert that individuals from minority populations define race and culture in a very conscious way due to cultural and social influences. The authors identify two ways that race and culture are constructed, and these actually work in conflict to one another. They state: First, deep conscious immersion into cultural traditions and values through religious, familial, neighborhood, and educational communities instills a positive sense of ethnic identity and confidence. Second, and in contrast, individua ls often must filter ethnic identity through negative treatment and media messages received from others because of their race and ethnicity. (p. 39) This is a contrast to the racial identity construction of individuals who are white. T heir enculturation is seen as unconscious been constructed around their racial, ethnic, and c ultural frameworks, values, and priorities and then referred to ethnic identity 39). Racial and cultural identity development is a progression, which moves from the unconscious to the conscious. Ethnic identity is established through shared cultures, languages, religions, traditions, celebrations, and beliefs.
39 One recent study attempted to blend qua litative and quantitative methods as well as elicit ing both teachers se parate questionnaires and used the data to compare perceptions of teachers and students. The primary intent was to identify wheth er examples of cultural res ponsiveness were visible in three separate programs for African Ameri can students in a school district with a large population of Af rican American students Because the researcher asked participants to note their demographic inf ormation at the end of the survey, comparison of responses within and across ethni c and SES groups was anticipated Once pilot tested for reliability and validity, the surveys were administered to a sample of 152 African American students in ninth and tent h grade r s enrolled in three different high schools and 34 full time or part time teachers. One purpose of the study was to determine whether any tenets of culturally responsive teaching were more important than others. The survey included questions about s tudent perception s related to cultural identity, self esteem, curriculum responsiveness, relationships with teachers, program challenge, and cultural diversity. S tudents gave s trong agreement in dicators in all areas except student teacher relationships and self esteem. They had particularly positive views about working with students from other cultures and learning about diversity (Edwards, 2011). The significance, stud y are particularly valuable to the current study since there is little literature that goes beyond examining th e perceptions of school personnel. Because only African American students were administered the survey, it would be valuable to replicate the stu dy to elicit data from multiple racial and ethnic groups of students.
40 Summary Qualitative quantitative, and mixed methods studies have been conducted on teacher and studen t perceptions of their teachers, the majority being case studies in which semi stru ctured interviews were conducted. Overall, the research points to the need for more fieldwork in order to determine the perceptions and experiences of students regarding cultural responsiveness in schools. Limited studies addressing student perce ption demonstrate the need for more research that investigates the opinions and outlooks of students since their voice is often absent in the literature. Additionally, since so much of the research focuses on the Black White achievement gap, practitioners would find more multi cultural research valuable Morrison et al. (20 08 culturally relevant pedagogy in truly multi The current study focuses on g ain ing insight from students who school leaders and teachers would otherwise know very little about This elicits student input about how school personnel respond t o their cultural values and interests and allows educators to make learning more relevant This study will add t o the body of research that incorporates studies of perceptions since l imited research exists particularly regarding elementary age students
41 Table 2 1. Major Authors on Cultural Responsiveness in Schools Author Term Definition /Summary Gay, G. (2002 ) Culturally responsive teaching Diverse students will achieve better when their instr uction is designed with their lived experiences and cultural frames of reference in mind. Five elements required of practitioners of CRT include: developing a knowledge base about cultural diversity, including ethnic and cultural diversity content in the c urriculum, demonstrating caring and building learning communities, communicating with ethnically diverse students, and responding to ethnic diversity in the delivery of instruction. Howard, T. (2001 ) Culturally responsive pedagogy ituated in a framework that recognizes the rich and varied cultural wealth, knowledge, and skills that students from diverse groups bring to schools, and seeks to develop dynamic teaching practices, multicultural content, multiple means of assessment, and a philosophic al view of teaching that is dedicated to nurturing student academic, social, emotional, cultural, psycho logical, and physiological well 68). This Ladson Billing s G. (1995 ). Culturally relevant pedagogy Rests on three criteria: (a) students must experience academic success; (b) students must develop and/or maintain cultural competence; and (c) students must develop a critical consciousness through which they challenge the current status quo of the social order. (p. 160) A frame work for fostering student achievement, building cultural competence, and teaching students to identify and combat the inequities in society and schools culturally relevant pedagogy is a way for teachers and schools to value and draw upon the cultural mak e ups of students and tie them into the teaching and learning process. Brown Jeffy and Cooper (2011) Principles of c ulturally relevant pedagogy Identity and achievement identity development, cultural heritage, multiple perspectives, affirmation of diversity, and public validation of home community cultures which includes the social and cultural capital that students bring to school with them. Equity and excellence dispositions, incorporation of multicultural curriculum content, equal access, and h igh expectations. Developmental appropriateness learning styles, teaching styles, and cultural variation in psychological needs (motivation, morale, engagement, collaboration). Teaching whole child skill development in a cultural context, home school community collaboration, learning outcomes, supportive learning community, and empowerment Student teacher relationships comprised of the themes of caring, relationships, interaction, and classroom atmosphere.
42 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The purpose of the proposed study wa their teac In this chapter the design of the study is presented, and the setting, participants, instrumentation, data collection, data analysis and researcher subjectivity statement are described. This multiple case study gives Borg (2007) note ments that re create a situation and as much of its context as possible, accompanied by the Yin (2014) defines case depth and within its real world context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon A case can be defined by an individual, small group, an organization, space and environment, community or settlement episodes or encounters, event, or period of time (Miles et al., 2014), and the case in this study is defined by the small group of students and teacher in a classroom in which cultural responsiveness of teachers was explored. In previous studies on stude nt and teacher perception of cultural responsiveness, case study has allowed for the thorough investigation of this phenomenon and similar questions through interviews and observations (Howard, 2001; Hughes et al., 2011; Ladson Billings, 1995; Parhar and S ensoy, 2011; Soumah and Hoover, 2013; Toney, 2009; Walker, 2011). Throughout the research process, the researcher studied the data to find used to explain those phenomena ( Gall, Gall, and Borg, 2007, p. 451) that bring order
43 to the data. In Vivo coding was utilized to determine meaning from the data using the Provisional and descriptive coding were also used. Because the study seeks to explo become categories and codes. A case study is most appropriate in carrying out the purpose of the study and yielding research questions just as in the case studies presented in the literature review (Howard, 2003; Hughes et all, 2011; Ladson Billings, 1995 ) Setting This study occurred in three elementary schools in one large school district in the Southeast region of the U .S. These schools were chosen because of the ir large population of Black and Hispanic students. Black and Hispanic students happen to be the majority in these schools. In case study research the researc her usually conducts fieldwork by interacting with the research participants in their natural setting (Gall, Gall & Borg, 2007). T hese schools were also good research s ettings because the students have not made significant achievement gains compared to oth er elementary schools with similar demographics Each case in the study or classroom teacher and group of students at the specific school site, is referred to with an identifying letter. For example, Case A instead of the actual name is used to protect th e identities of the school district, schools, administrators, teachers and students School demographic information is provided in a table at the end of the chapter (Table 3 1). The schools are all located in an unincorporated community which is part of a large county in the southeastern region
44 A pproval to conduct this qualitative research study was granted by both the research committee of the d istrict school board and by the U Review Board (IRB). T he principals of each element ary school were then contacted by e mail introducing them to the study and inviting them to participate. They were provided all consent forms the parental consent (Appendix A) the student assent (Appendix B) the educator consent (Appendix C), and the ad m inistrator consent (Appendix D). They also received all the interview protocols for their review the student (Appendix E), teacher (Appendix F) and admin istrator (Appendix G) Principals from all of the schools granted the r esearcher access to their sit es for the teacher and student interviews. Participants Purposeful sampling was used to gather the sa mple in order to meet the purpose, which was to develop a detailed understanding of the beliefs and perceptions of Black and Hispanic upper elementary students. Participants were selected in a school district where the researcher is employed. Participants were ga thered based upon accessibility which was achieved by school principals who granted approval to conduct the study at their site. Sch ool administrators w ere invited to select a fourth or fifth grade teacher who demonstrated the tenets of cultural responsiveness, had favorable teaching evaluations and who had been tea ching a minimum of three years The researcher provided principals with the criteria from which a teacher could be identified as culturally responsive, and the criteria were based on key points from the literature (Brown Jeffy and Cooper, 2011; Gay, 2010; Gay, 2002; Howard, 2001; Ladson Billings, 1995; Toney, 2009; Villegas, 2002). Hispanic and Black students were intentional are often absent or included minimally in
45 the research which describes them. The grade level of students was dependent on whether the principal selected a fourth or fifth grade teacher who demonstrated culturally responsive practices The researcher asked each principal to identify a fourth or fifth grade teacher not limiting the pool to just one grade level, in order to widen the pool of potential participants. The researcher took into consideration the criteria that potential participants had to meet and did not want the number of teachers the principal could choose from to be too limited. For example, one of the schools had six f ourth grade teachers and six fifth grade teachers, yet many were not eligible as they were first year teachers. The principal at each elementary site select ed the teacher and provided that The principal in Case A recommend ed a specific fourth grade teacher for the researcher to contact, the principal in the school in which Case B and Case C took place responded with four names of teachers who were fourth or fifth grade teachers and p rincipal in Case D responded with the nam e of a fourth teacher who was willing to participate. The researcher cont acted those teachers recommended by the p r incipal in Case B and Case C through an e mail expressing the purpose and intent of the study and including the educator consent form as an a ttachment. The recommended teachers in Case A and Case D were both willing to participate, but before they affirmed their interest with the researcher, two teachers from School B had responded affirmatively With concern about h aving limited participation and to safeguard against any unforeseen issues with participants, the researcher decided to proceed with one teacher from two of the
46 schools and two teachers from the remaining school All of the instructors were fourth grade teachers. The case, or unit of analysis or aspect of the phenomenon to be studied, include d a very small sample of students and one teacher from four fourth grade classrooms from three different schools A sample of three to five studen t participants was need ed ; however, classroom in order to obtain the best results with securing participants These forms were provided to the student and parent in their home languages as determin ed by the teacher at the school site. As stated in the forms, participation was voluntary, no compensation was provided to participants, and consent could be revoked at any time. To allow for in depth and on going one on one and focus group interviewing, t he study called for b etwe en three to five students from each classroom The study chose to focus on interviewing students in intermediate level elementary school as oppose d to any other age of students for the reason that limited research on perception of students at this age exists. Although the body of research on accessing the voice of the student is limited, it is more so limited at the elementary level and more common at the middle and high levels. In the student perception study conducted by Lee et al (1983), second, fourth, and sixth graders were interviewed about their perceived school experiences. In a different study, Howard (2003) interviewed fourth and fifth grade teachers after interviewing and observing their teachers. While most literature th at incorporates student perception is conducted at the high school a nd college level, some research focuses on middle school. The intent of the researcher was to gain insight into what young learners have to say ab out their
47 school experiences. After pilot testing the original interview instrument (Appendix H) the researcher decided t h at fourth or fifth graders would be able to sufficiently articulate their perceptions through responding to interview questions With regard to selecting teacher participants homogeneous sampling allowed for identification of teachers who principals fe l t exhibit ed characteristics of culturally responsive teachers Specific criteria were outlined and provided to principals to aid them in selecting the teacher s most suitable for the research study. Principals were asked to identify teacher s who demonstrate most or all of the following: high expectations for all students; an awareness that race and culture make up who a person is and influence how li fe and learni ng are approached; respect f or diverse races, ethnicities, l anguages, cultures, background experiences and viewpoints; orientation to establish teacher student relationships and foster parent involvement; incorporation of multicultural curricula and stude process; classroom management style that is culturally sensitive; and care for students T he teachers also needed to be fourth or fifth grade teachers with at least three years of teaching experience and favo rable performance evaluations. Teacher participants were asked to com mit to interviews They also helped pass out and collect permission forms as well working with the researcher to schedule interviews Since each school site had at least one teac her participant, it enabled in depth p robing and data collection given the nature of qualitative study. Teachers also provide d consent with the understanding that participation wa s voluntary, no compensation wa s provided, and consent could be revoked at an y time.
48 The teacher in Case A was Caucasian and Italian American. A teacher for six years, she has taught at the current school for five years. She attended college in southwest Florida and her classroom was an exceptional student education cluster classr oom. Of the four student participants in Case A, two were Hispanic females whose parents were born in Mexico, one was a Hispanic male whose parents were born in Honduras, and one was a Black male whose ancestors were from Haiti and Jamaica. In Case B, the teacher was Caucasian from an English and Irish American background with eleven years of teaching experience. A teacher at this school site for four years, she grew up in a nearby town and had followed in the footsteps of her parents and sister to become a teacher. The student sample consisted of four girls and two boys, all of whom were Hispanic. This sample was composed of 2 Hispanic males with ancestors from Mexico, 3 Hispanic females with ancestors from Mexico and 1 Hispanic female whose parents were Pu erto Rican and Cuban. Cases B and C were situated in the same school site. In Case C, the teacher was an Italian American woman who was originally from the northeastern U.S. A concert musician in New York City as her first career, she had lived in Spain an d had been in the field of education for 22 years. Her husband is Spanish and she had taught students at the pre K through university level, including classes for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). A teacher at the current school for two years she had taught in other Title I schools in other districts. The student sample consisted of four girls and two boys. One Black female referenced her African American culture. Two Hispanic males were of Mexican descent. One female referenced being half Am erican and half Hispanic, and the other two females were born in Cuba.
49 Case D occurred at the third school site, with a teacher originally from the northeastern U. S. A teacher for five years, this was her first year at the school. She was Caucasian with Italian ancestors and was raised by a single mother. Student participants included one Black and Hispanic female who was of Puerto Rican descent, one Black student who was African American and Haitian, one Hispanic female from Cuba, and two Hispanic femal es from Mexico. Instruments Used in Data Collection Qualitative methods were used to conduct this study as it offered the researcher opportunities for collecting personal and detailed input from participants and yielded the most a ppropriate data: the views and words of actual students K ey challenges in carry ing out the study were to ask questions that would ensure participants would unrestricted. Therefore, research er created interview ques tions we re required (Creswell, 2012). The student individual interview protocol, included as Appendix E, consisted of a statement to participants explaining the purpose of the study and twelve questions with s ub questions for most to aid in prob ing when ne cessary The individual teacher interview protocol (Appendix F) consisted of a statement to participants and seventeen questions, six with sub questions for probing. Gall, Gall and Borg (2007) observe that interview s are more commonly utilized in qualita tive research than questionnaire s because they yield ended exploration of (p. 229). Because interviews are susceptible to bias, t he student one on one and teacher o ne on one interview protocols were pilot tested at one of the school sites wi th fourth grade students and a teacher who were not be part of th is study Gall, Gall, and
50 ambiguous 254). This pretesting reduce d threats to reliability and vali dity and indicat ed necessary revisions to the researcher. For example, after pilot testing the student interview questions, careful consideration was given to re wording and simpl ifying the questions. These revisions reduced confusion with the interview items that may have otherwise been too fo rmal for students to answer. During p retesting, the researcher asked the students to provide feedback on questions that they did not want to answer or did not understand. T he researcher realized that a definition or depiction of the word culture was necessary to ensure that students truly u nderstood the word so they could accurately answer items related to it. Therefore, prior to the interviews the researcher decided to read the book What is Culture? b y Bobbie Kalman before the instrument was administered In order to pre test the teacher i nterview protocol, a pilo t interview (Appendix I) was conducted with one teacher. T rincipals reviewed both instruments but no revisions resulted from their assessments. Data Collection Procedures Used A multiple case study was conducted that aligned with the intended purpose of the study (Yin, 2014) Each case is defined by the students and their teacher within each school site who were selected to collect data from. Therefore, four cases exist. The data collection process kept in mind the cul turally sensitive fra mework for qualitative research Framework places African Americans at the center, rather than o n the margin of the inquiry and allows researchers to situate themselves based on their own cultural (p. 271 ).
51 To begin the data collection process, an interview ranging from 30 5 0 minutes was conducted with each teacher. After the interview, each teacher was pro vided with the parental consent forms to be sent home with the students As the forms were returned to the teacher, interviews were then set up with the individual students. These i nterviews were considered an essential part of the study since some students were expected to be more willing to share personal beliefs a nd perceptions in a non group setting. These student interviews ranged from 7 15 minutes Before each interview, the students were asked for their assent The interviewer explained the purpose of the study, length of time needed to complete the interview, would be used and (Creswell, 2012). The student assent described the study in age appropriate language and included a definition of culture that fourth graders could understand Als book entitled What is Culture? by Bobbie Kalman. Providing this introduction to the concept of culture prior to the interviews proved to be beneficial in ensuring that fourth grade students could share their perceptions and experiences with culture. After analyzing information from specific respondents a small number of participants were chosen for focus groups based on the richness of description they provided in the initial interview s As themes emerged from student responses, the researcher investigated certain avenues of inquiry further to deepen understanding and provide a wealth of description. Statements made by participants that were found to be interesting, vague or en lightening were probed to encourage elaboration. This pattern followed the trajectory common to the work of qualitative researchers. Bogdan and
52 (p. 59). As the study evolved f ocus groups were conducted which allowed for advanced dis cussion which probed deeper us ing emerging questioning. F ocus groups we re advantageous. Since students were all in the same class and shared similar characteristics, they could statements and agree or disagree with reliable evidence. F ocus groups are typically conducted with between four to six participants (Creswell, 2012) so only one focus group at ea ch site was necessary. Teachers were interviewed prior to s tudent interviews in order to and explanations to Wh ere relevant, teachers responses were incorporated into th e questions being asked of st udents during the focus group interviews, which ranged from 25 to 35 minutes. The teacher in Case A preferred to respond to the interview questions through e mail. The researcher then conducted a follow up interview, asking the teacher to expand on the written answers. P arental consent form s were se nt home to all of her students and f our were returned. Those four students were interviewed individually by the researcher. After review of the transcripts from those interviews, the researcher selected three of the fo ur original participants for a focus group interview. In this focus group interview, students were asked clarifying questions about their statements in the one on one interview and were requested to reflect upon statement s taken from their help clarify their responses. Member checking occurred so that the researcher could be sure responses were understood correctly. In Case B six students returned their parenta l consents.
53 Individual interviews were conducted with all s ix students to identify participants who could provide thorough descriptions and were good candidates for follow up Beca use participants who we re able to express connections between their culture and school experience and could provide examples were considere d for more interviewing. Subsequently, f our pa rticipants were selected for a follow up interview. S ix parental consents were returned from the students in Case C and those students were interviewed individually. Three students were selected for the follow up interview. F ive of students returned par ental consent forms. All five participated in individual i nterviews and then three wer e chosen for additional interviewing in the focus group. The individual principal interviews were held last. After the researcher had time to conduct and analyze all teacher and student individual and focus group interviews, the principals were asked to re flect upon the findings and answer additional questions (Appendix G). Data Analysis I nterpret ational analysis (Gall, Gall, and B org, 2010 ; Miles et al., 2014 ) was used to analyze the data from the individual teacher, student, and administr ator interviews and the focus group interviews which involves elements in case study data in order to fully describe, evaluate, or explain the Audio recordings of the student and teacher interviews were transcribed and coded. The data were coded manually so the researcher c o uld on feel for it without the intrusion of a ma Data collected was analyzed and used to guide further and deeper questioning in focus group int erviews and not seen as just
54 a way of tabulating the data (Miles et al., 2014) The data obtained in each case was coded and used to gear questions Open coding and thematic data analysis resulted in emerging themes becoming evident. In vivo coding proved to be a valuable form of coding with regard to the purpose of this studies, but particul arly for beginning qualitative researchers learning how to code data, method of coding the researcher considered that the child and adolescent voices are often margina lized, and coding with their actual words enhances and deepens an Provisional coding and descriptive coding were also utilized. Provisional coding proved to be an appropriate choice because the litera ture on cultural responsiveness in schools presented many indicators that the researcher wanted to explore in this case study. These indicators are cultural competence, sociopolitical consciousness, high expectations for students, validating cultural diffe rences of students, parent/community involvement, incorporating the cultural backgrounds of students in the school experience, frames of reference for creating relevant pedagogy, and promoting cultural competence among students (Gay, 2010; Ladson Billings, 1995; Parhar & Sensoy, 2011; Villeg as, 2002). yield ed a wealth of qualitative data. Giv en the mass of raw data transcribi ng the interviews and makin g initial sense of the data. The data were transcribed and coded per case, or per student and teacher sample at each school site. All data from students in a single
55 were consi dered individually first. r eading the student individual interview transcrip ouse & Glatthorn, 2013, p. 236 ) To create meaning from data gathered in a study, Gall, Gall, and Borg nd when a pattern in the data is discovered, the researcher acros Raw data were also included as part of the multiple case study s ince that data represent of the participants. summarize segments of data smaller number of themes (p. 86). Therefore, t wo cycles of coding took place in the data analysis process. The first cycle consisted of reading and re reading transcripts while employing in vivo coding. Within the first cycle of coding, each student interview was read and keywords and phrases were noted in the right margin, which is one third of the page wide. The individual interview was read several times across different settings in order for clear in terpretation. As keywords and phrases reoccurred throughout the re readings, the researcher took these and created codes as necessary. The first student responses in the ind ividual transcripts and focus group transcripts met with those codes
56 or if new information was to generate additional codes. The researcher then moved on to analyzing the teacher interviews to determine whether that data could be coded within the already s tated codes or if more were to be generated. To begin to make sense of the codes and determine whether the codes could be formed into themes, pattern coding was used as a second cycle method for coding (Miles et al., 2014). Pattern coding is used to interpret the codes. The researcher clustered the codes that were similar in order to begin to interpret their meanings within the case and explore whether a theme emerged. Each case, or school site, had a small number of themes rang ing from three to five that emerged, which are referenced in the next chapter. The researcher kept in mind the central question and sub questions when generating codes and themes in an effort to not only explore students' perceptions but be able to com pare them to the characteristics of culturally responsive teaching from the research. Researcher Subjectivity Statement The desire to conduct this study stems from my background as an educator and intervention support specialist working with students of racial, ethnic cultural and socio economic diversity The qualitative research work I have undertaken is limited to graduate coursework and cogniti ve understanding; however, I have worked as a teacher for six years and as an intervention support s peci alist for three year s I am a certified teacher and certified educational leader In this study it was paramount for me to step out of the typical skilled and knowledgeable role of my occupation and re create as the focal point the value of the cultural bel iefs and perspectives of students and school personnel Tillman (200 6 ) the extent of their own cultural knowledge,
57 cross r ace and same race perspectives, and insider/outsider issues related to the p. 269). As a White, female professional in the field of education I related firsthand to the literature on cult ura l mismatch. Furthermore, my cultural experiences frame d my research interests, including urban school teaching internships, teaching at Titl e I federally funded schools for five years, completing graduate coursework on diversity and social justic e, and personally living a bi cultural life. Tillman (200 6) wri opportunities for res earchers to locate themselves in the particular experiences of African Throughout the research p rocess, the researcher took ll & Borg, 2007, p. 462) in a reflective journal This journal helped to provide a subjectivity audit which could systematically identify researcher bias. It brought to light the influence of my background and p erceptions and provided a means to separate t hem from the analysis o f the qualitative data Accustomed to another culture and its values, beliefs, celebrations, traditions, and so on, I am a White woman married to an African American man who is also a teacher. With an African American step son and a bi racial daughter, my perspectives about race and culture are very conscious and affect my interactions and relationships with others and my frame of reference for dec ision making. I have exp erienced the assumptions, mis conceptions and discriminatory effects related to my inter racial marri age as well as those towards my husband and step son. As a result, I am interested in further understanding the perceptions of Black students and other
58 marg inalized populations in school in order to address the social inequities that exist and work to provide relevant learning opportunities for students With my primary leadership experience within a school with a diverse population of students and a high pove rty rate, I had been disheartened over the years by the lack of cultural responsive practices I observed. However throughout the research process the signs of promise Gall, Gall, and Borg define reflexity as reflection that case study researchers use to identify their biases, attempt to take these biases into account in their interpretations, and seek to minimize their effects on da 2010, p. 350). Reflexity was practiced during the data analysis to minimize bias. Summary of the Methodology y responsive teaching practices i nterviews were conducted with Black and Hispanic fourth grade rs in a large southeastern school district With the listening to the of culturally di verse students, participants were asked about their experiences with teachers in the learning en vironment Follow up focus group interv iews with students and interviews with teachers and administrators allow ed for triangulation of the data. Coding was utilized by the researcher to reduce the data and determine themes. The researcher has considered how personal experiences may affect data collection and analysis
59 Table 3 1. School Demographics Case Demographics Case A (830 students) 95% economically needy 34% Limited English Proficient (LEP) 64% Hispanic 25% Black 9% White Cases B and C (1038 students) 92% economically needy 33% Limited English Proficient (LEP) 74% Hispanic 15% Black 8% White Case D (953 students) 97% economically needy 44% Limited English Proficient (LEP) 76% Hispanic 18% Black 4% White
60 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS As stated in Chapter 1, this study was designed to examine the thoughts, opinions and attitudes that fourth grade Bl ack and Hispanic students exhibit toward their teachers, who school principals nominated as culturally responsive teachers, and to further explore teacher practices and beliefs through teacher interviews This chapter reports on the results of the mu ltiple case studies and identifies cross case themes. A small sample of students from four fourth grade classrooms was interviewed at three Title I funded elementary schools in the southeastern U S The sample size in each classroom ranged from four to six students. recorded, transcribed and coded. The first round of interviews, which were the one on one interviews, yield ed an average of twelve codes per interview transcription. After also analyzing the responses from the focus group interviews, the researcher confirmed initial codes and derived additional codes for an average of fifte en codes per case, or school site To reduce the data t he researcher stu died the codes and collapsed the multiple codes into broader themes within each case. Specific themes included: holding high expectations for students, parental involvement, student e ngagement, challenge, cultural awareness, cultural acceptance, and care. T he cross case themes were: holding high expectations for students, parental involvement, and cultural awareness. The Voice s of Black and Hispanic Fourth Grade Students This section pre sent s the themes that emerged from student interviews. The interviews also yielded descriptive information which is presented on a case by case basis Each case includes student responses to the students par ticular perceptions In order to give the most exposure to the
61 perceptions, t he researcher included specific student responses in tables at the end of the chapter. Case A Case A took place at the school where the researcher is employed. The rese archer did not know any of the students, but has worked as a colleague of the teacher for three years. The students were eager to participate in the interviews, yet all demonstrated some hesitation in fully expressing their ideas I t was evident that they sometimes had difficulty articulating their thoughts. The researcher provided wait time; repeated, r ephrased or clarified questions; defined words as necessary; and reminded the participa nts that it was al l or come back to a que stion later. The researcher also provided non leading encourageme nt. For example, she would say thank you again for p are None of the one on one interviews or the focus group int erview concluded prematurely; however, participants to expand on their comments and provide examples to illustrate their statements was most limited in Case A Table 4 1 includes direct quotes from students that illustrate each theme within the ca se. A theme which emerged from this case was t h e importance of including parents in their school experience. When asked about the value of parental involvement, the teacher said it was education, t he student feels very proud. interview questions are included in Table 4 2. Parents could attend individual conferences with the teacher, contribute to studen t led conferences held twice a yea r in the classroom, participate in phone calls, or wri te notes back and forth with the teacher.
62 Regardless of the method of parent involvement, participants stated that their parents had communicated with their teache r and felt that such communication was important Some of these students mentioned ai t led conferences. One student explained, sc All students noted a sense of pride about their parents attending the student another student stated Students were asked about their perceptions of their When asked about what their teacher expected them to learn studen ts noted that the tea cher wanted them to do we ll in their subject areas, be good people and learn more. Unfortunately, they were not able to identify how they knew their teacher wanted them to do well. One student sha red that the teacher said he is f The teacher responded that the two major attributes her students need are knowing that she believes in them and knowing that she is dedicated to their success as students Believing in her students and motiva ting them to learn and do their best was most important to her. Students referred to their teacher favorably, yet their responses were limited in supply ing anecdotes in which she display ed high expectations for them. H owever, the was de fin itely evident in from the data that
63 these students value d the role of the teacher her positive influence her hig h expectations, and proof of her caring and belief in them. When it is essential to inquire about their cultures and ask how they are included in their learning experience. When as ked to describe their respective culture s students were eager to answer and had more to say than about any other area of questioning. Primarily, students shared information about their ancestry, religion, foods special sports, and celebrations that take place with their families. When asked why culture was knowing it Students could not recall a time when she asked them about their cultures specifically. While one student said that the teacher always cares for the students, he was not sure if she knew about his culture. When asked how their teacher incorporates other cultures into the classroom, they stated that the teacher let s them draw pictures and talk about their cultures. They shared that she focuses on American culture because she is American. The three students in the focus group interview were sure that their teacher would like to know about their cultures and that she would think their cultures are important. They said they would be happy to share information about their cultures if their teacher asked them. The final theme in this case is the acceptance of stud culture s Despite bei e she has no idea about our cultures, the students acknowledge d that they would like to share their cu lture with their teacher and fe l t confident that she would be intereste d in them Responding to a question about how
64 she gets to know her students, the t eacher explained how students completed surveys in the beginning of the school year and how she took the time to get to know them personally at every opportunity She did not identify any ways in which she familiarizes herself with the particular cultural backgrounds of he r students Likewise, the teacher did not identify any ways she incorporates the unique cultures of her students into the teaching and learning process. She was confident that the social s tudies curriculum and textbook served to discuss a nd in corporate culture, yet she did not note any specific examples She did explain that she asks students to write about themselves and share any p ersonal information during writing lessons and she saw this as a way for students to share their cultural b responses were confirmed by her students opportunities for students to share their cultures and of including culture into l earning opportunities In fact, students provided ideas about how th eir teacher could include more cultural activities. These included projects about their cultures and other cultures and in corporating and writing lessons. As one student said re, she could know us better All students agreed that their teacher value s s confirmed that she was aware of how shape who they ar e. Thus the theme derived from this case is cultural acceptance rather than cultural awareness or integration Case B In Case B, the researcher identified the following themes: s tudent engagement, parent involvement, challenge, care and cultural awareness T hese themes are referenced in Table 4 3 with specific student responses related to each theme. Students
65 in this case felt very excited to meet the researcher and begin the interviews. They seemed to be honor ed that someone took an interest in what they would have to say. When asked how they like to learn and which activities are most interesting to them in the classroom, students referred to group work at their tables, discussion with partners, fun writing prompts, listening to music and being able to talk while doing assignments. The teacher described several techniques for helping her students achieve: u tilizing Kagan cooperative learning structures, encouraging student discussion, balancing structure with a free and open environment, forgiving studen t mistakes and using them learn as educational opportunities providing students with specific praise, giving them rewards when they demonstrate success in the classroom, and incorporating goal setting One student explained that they often have instruct ion on the carpet by the front board, but if the teacher notices that the students are getting bored, restless or inattentive then she will give the students a stretch break and change the activity to get them reengaged. When the teacher provides a lot o f examples and a vocabulary word wall, students said they feel like they can complete their assignments. Students were asked about whether the teacher had ever spoken to their parents. Of the original six interviewed individually five said their te acher h ad met with their parent s during a student led con ference and/or scheduled parent conference. One stu dent stated that the teacher had never spoken to her parents but that her mom did meet the teacher during an open house prior to the start of the school ye ar. The overall feeling of students was that they wanted their parents visiting the school for conferences
66 and communicating with their teacher; however, some of the students said that they would be nervous if their parents and teacher me t to discuss a problem with their parents, she stated, embarrassed, so s he is sensitive to how they may react in certain situations. See Table 4 4 for he teacher said she e ncourages all of the students to bring their parents in to student led conferences and tells them If parents were coming in for student led conferences or to get an update from the teacher on n school, t hen the students reported that they would feel happy and proud Th ey feel their parents care about them and they agree that it is important for their parents to speak with thei r teachers, even if it is about a problem It was evident from student responses that t heir parents and other family members are so important to them that they want to show them what they are doing in school and how they are progressing. Students also want their families to be proud of their work Such student responses made p arent in volvement a theme in this case Students in this case all affirmed that their teacher had high expectations for them. When students were asked how they know their teacher believes in them and believes that they can accomplish their goals, one student state d student knows her teacher has high expectation s for her students because the teacher has told them that she has a son and that she tre ats her students the same way she
67 treat s her son. She requires the students to complete their assigned work and provides incentives to turn in their completed work. She does not permit students to turn in a Instead, she provides the students with the supports t o follow through with a task and feel successful when they complete it When asked whether it is necessary to have a teacher with high expectations, the students said yes and shared that teachers show they have high expectations when they provide students with a lot of challenging work. These students all agreed that they can learn more when they do more work and complete more challenging work. They explained how challenging work would help them pass the FCAT move through the grades, and have a better life. One of the students shared the idea that a teacher who is too funny and does not provide students greed and said such a teacher would probably have a class that misbe have s by Students had quite a bit to say about them which became another theme in this case. S tudents were asked how a teacher who holds high expectations for her studen ts would act Students shared that their teacher treats them the way she wants to be treated, encourage s them to go to their happy place when they are sad, is always there for them, does not yell at them, gives them second chances and provides a lot of wor k. One student gave an example of how she cares : Another student she says time to learn but no
68 accomplish their tasks because their teacher wants them to do a great job and helps them whenever they need it In her interview the teacher explained how she avoided embarrassing students, and they stated t hat she will talk privately with students when there is a problem. Cultural acceptance was t he final theme that emerged within Case B Students felt their teacher knew about their cultures but they w ere not sure how she knew One student faintly remembere d telling her teacher about her culture. All students openly shared about their cultural backgrounds. They did not recall examples including their culture in the classroom except for citing Spanish words in some reading boo ks and sometimes reading about di fferent cultures. One student stated that she did not want to learn about her own culture. She wanted to learn new things at school and wanted to learn about her culture at home; however, she did recall telling her teacher about her culture. Another student did not understand how the teacher c ould include her culture and stated that the Mexican culture belonged to her parents, not her One student mentioned that her religious b eliefs prevented her from participating in certain activities a nd that her teacher would provide different activities instead. Although the students could not provide specific examples as to how culture is imbedded in their learning experience or how they would like for it to be included, the data showed that students felt conf ident about cultures and felt that the teacher accepted them for who they are. When th e researcher asked how she meets the needs of her culturally diverse class from different homes, different ex
69 She explained how she respects the religious beliefs of her students by creating alternative assignment s to the mainstream Christmas holiday activities. She described her efforts to remain sensitive to different kinds of homes, experiences and cultures when planning her lessons and activities. She learns about fi ll out a form (which asks for any special information they want to provide) at the beginning of the school year. She also referenced activities she uses to understand to encourage mutual sharing of these backgrounds The s e activities in cluded: creating puzzles completing int erest inventories, and playing interactive game s Case C T he data on student perception in this case helped to identify its themes: student engagement, parent involvement high expectations and cultur al awareness. Specific student responses related to each theme are listed in Table 4 5. The students in this case appeared very confident when initially greeted by the researcher and remained confident throughout the one on one interview process. The three students selected for the follow up group interview were quite articulate ; they readily answered all questions and responded to probing by the researcher When asked how they liked to learn, students mentioned sharing their work with others, writing on wh iteboards, hearing music and partner and sh are activities. The teacher is trained in the Kagan cooperative learning model and is certified to train other teachers. She talked about providing students with ways to learn new information, share their ideas, and solve p roblems, and she stated that she gives continuous verbal and non verbal praise to students to keep them motivated When asked how their teacher celebrated their successes, the students gave parties, snacks, cheers, high fives and
70 s examples. ns of their learning environment illustrate their engagement in what their teacher has planned for them. See Table 4 6 for more specific student response data and Appendix J for the teacher interview transcript. Parent invol vement was another theme that emerged S tudents mentioned whether their pare nts had spoken to the teacher and described their thoughts about such communications One student shared that not only could the teacher share information about his progress with h is parent s, but the teacher would also learn about his home life All of the students reported that their parents attended the student led conferences All agreed that in watching out for the best interests of the student needs to let your parents kno The teacher it all T he students statements clearly demonstrated their belief that their teacher has high expectations. In the words of the teach know they need to meet them. B The students reported that their teacher repeatedly said they are smart, they can pass the grade and she expects improvement in their test scores, reading levels and grades. They also mentioned that she is always pushing them to learn more and perform to their best ability. The final theme in this case is cultural awareness. The researcher asked students to share details about their respective cultures, describe how their cultures were included in their classroom, and discuss how they would like their cultures to be included. The students freely shared information about their cultures, including
71 languages their family members speak, the countries their parents and/or extended family migrated from, special traditions a nd celebrations and important beliefs Similarly, the teacher shared a lot about her cultural background in the interview. She had lived and taught in Spain, Honduras, and Japan and was married to a Spanish man. She talked about he to the U.S. and her husband adjusting to a new culture. When answering questions, she often related her answers to her own cu ltural background and professional experiences. One student said it best: how culture is incorporated into the classroom, the students mentioned that t heir teacher sometimes sp eaks Spanish to the m, talks about cultures during social s tudies instruction an d lets students express different cu ltural backgrounds through academics as well as socially. For example, one student who was born and educated in Cuba said that she is glad h er teacher allows her to incorporate Cuban phrases into her writing because she can express himself more easily Case D T he data in the final case yielded the following themes: building relationships with students, high expectations o f students, parental involvement, and cultural awareness. Specific quotes within eac h theme are found in Table 4 7. The students perceived that their teacher took the time to build relationships with them. They believ e d that she knew what they liked and were inter ested in. One student described how the teacher placed a little note of encouragement on her desk, while another mentioned the classroom prize box filled with items the students can request.
7 2 keep them motivated to put forth their best effort The teacher confirmed th at she will write the students personal note s as well as give them some of their favorite things as rewards. She mo tivate them. The students and the teacher felt that special eve nts outside of the school day were important for helping them to know each other. The teacher believes the Table 4 8 provides more detail about view Appendix L. Holding high expectations for students wa s another theme identified in the research. S tudents confirmed these expectations when they described how the teacher pushes them to work hard and achieve. Providing them with chal lenge was a way of holding them to high expectations (see Appendix K for individual student interview transcript) One st udent observ ed that her teacher would not have provide d them a writing word wall and other learning activities if she did not have high expectations for them. was that was for her in school and l focus group students also agreed that She also tells them that they can reach their goals (see Appendix L for student focus group interview transcript ) S tudents also perceived parental involvement as very important One st udent joyous ly report ed that the teacher sometimes sends home certificate s of
73 accomplishment and that her parents are very happy with her when she receives one. Another student state d that her parents is for her to succeed in school. Described of the value of parental involvement Of the three students who took part in the focus group interview, one parent attended any school conferences. They all a greed that they want their parents to know how things are going for them in school. When the class read s a story that includes information about a diff erent culture, the st udents report ed that the teacher will identify the map and ask if any students have some thing to share about the particular culture. One student recalled a time when the teacher pointed to Haiti on the map and asked abo ut Haitian culture. This reminded the student of her Haitian father The teacher place s marker s on one map to identify countries that were discussed reading s Al though they could not provide rich description s in their statements, the student s in the focus group shared that the teacher accepts and acknowledges diverse cultures and ome together just like a family. They noted that she compares and contrasts cultures and that she lets all the students express special information about their cultures. Listening Across Cases : Common Themes This section explores the p th e themes which emerged from all three cases cultural r esponsiveness emerged in different ways. Likewise, e ach teacher said different
74 things about their students and offered different perspectives about what they needed for success While this study does not yield generalizable findings, the researcher found several cross case the mes. The following themes were common to all cases: holding high expectations for all studen ts parent al involvement, and cultural awareness. To varying degrees, all students referenced their t they could achieve at the same level as peers in the district The students valued p arental involvement, even though some students were nervous or scared if they were in trouble. Finally, the d ata collection yielded significant cultures and their at titudes toward using culture to help them learn Even though the degree to which students elaborated about cult ural factors varied among cases, they all perceived their Hi gh Expectations The tea chers consistently maintained that holding students to high expectations was imperative, and t his was confirmed by the Across cases students believed their teachers had high expectations because they assigned challenging work and pu shed students to reach their goals When asked whether the teacher had the same expectation s for all students, or thought that all students could do their best beliefs by expressin g clear expectations, explaining how to meet th os e expectations, and helping them to do so. Students also demonstrated their perceptions of their high expectations in responses about how teachers know their preferre d learning styles, evidence tha t their teachers believed in them, and celebrating their successes in the classroom. The following themes from within cases are part of the
75 larger theme, or support the larger theme, of holding high expectations for all students: building relationships, ca re, student engagement, and celebrating success. Parent al Invol v ement Not all of the students interviewed had parents who attended teacher conferences, but they all agreed that it was important for parents to be involved in their school experience. Those students whose parents had not had contact with the teacher stated that they would like such contact erceptions of parent teacher communication were mixed because many viewed parent conferences as punitive and negative in nature. However, even students who saw conferences that way ack nowledged that and weaknesses so parents are informed The students expressed fear and nervous ness if they were un sure of what information the teach er would share o r if they Their perceptions of stude nt led conferences, however, were much more positive; students demonstrated pride and happiness th at their parents had an opportunity to learn about their school experience. Val uing Cultur e Students did not hesitate to provide information about their personal cultural background s They were happy to share what they knew about their uniq ue backgrounds and experiences, and they displayed a sense of pride and engagement. They also s hared insight s about how they view and value culture related to their learning experience Teachers and students thought s aligned about the importance of valuing and embracing the personal backgrounds and home lives of students. Across all cases, students perceived that their teachers were interested in and accepting of their cultures, al though some students were not sur e if their teachers actually knew about
76 their cultures. Ove rall, the descriptions of how teachers included culture in the classroom were particular cultural awareness being included while others described classroom discussions about culture when rela ted to reading curriculum. The students also supplied i deas about how to include more culture into the school Reactions of School Administrators reactions to the finding another administrative designee was invited to participate in an interview. Principals in Cases A and D agreed to participate, however no reply was made by the principal at the third school after several attempts. In each interview the researcher read her analysis and conclusions, identifying the major themes. The administrator was asked to comment on each theme with an immediate reaction to the findings. The interview concluded with a question rel The interview with the principal in Case A took place at the school site and lasted approximately 30 minutes. The administrator agreed that each of the themes building relationships high expectations, parent involvement, and cultural awareness were critical to the success of students. He shared that building relationships is critical and that each teacher and student must work together to build that relationship, whether it is wri ting notes to the students, rewarding them for their efforts, or simply talking to the students. The principal added that this teacher in particular attended a ballet performance put on by the students at a nearby high school, which highlighted her efforts in attending school community events.
77 Regarding her high expectation for students, the principal acknowledged that teachers having rewarding classroom experiences. He technology, higher level questioning and thinking techniques, multiple opportunities for sharing, and other meaningful and engaging lessons in which students of all ability levels can feel validated. The principal affirmed involvement is critical. He emphasized the personal aspect involved with getting to know parents during extra curricular or community events at the school. He referenced taking the time to speak with parents at any chance possible and building partnerships despite language barriers. One student, the teacher, and the principal all referenced one National Honor Society awards program in which the teacher stayed late to support her supports and take the time to get to know th eir parents and families. awareness. He referenced the importance of a culture within the classroom so that all ust like a family. He noticed that it is very clear in this classroom that all students are respected and accepted. When asked about the value he sees in the work on student perception and listening to the voices of students, he stated that is very powerfu The interview with the principal in Case D took place at the school site and lasted The major themes ar e parent involvement, high expectations, and cultural acceptance.
78 With regard to parent involvement, she agreed that it is vital, and noted that it is important for teachers to not only rely on the two scheduled student led conferences but to also reach ou t to build relationships with parents at other times. She wants teachers to go above and beyond to make these connections parents. In the area of high expectations for students, the principal agreed that holding students to high standards allows them to wo rk toward reaching goals and striving for success. The principal mentioned the importance of providing focused feedback and praise so that students are aware of how they can reach these expectations. She stated that teachers should acceptance from this case, the principal shared that students love to share about who they are their cultural id entity, their classwork, and their interests any chance they get and that this should be welcomed. Although the teacher did not identify specific ways to this teache backgrounds are incorporated. The principal desires for each teacher to see the uniqueness that makes up every child, and if the teacher plans to include that in the learning environment then school becomes more relevant to students and they will show more success. Noting her value of the research on student perception, she stated that surveying the students is just as important if not more important than surveying the staff. She stated, closing, she noted that student achievement is of utmost importance and the students are one of the keys to it.
79 Conclusion This chapter presented the findings regarding Black and Hi spanic fourth al responsiveness The researcher interviewed a small sample of students in four teacher s classrooms A fter analysis of the data the cross case themes across the four cases were identi fie d as : holding high expectations, parental involvement, and valuing culture Prior to the emergence of the cross case themes the researcher careful ly review ed the coding to find themes within each case. Other themes specific to particular cases included: c are, challenge, cultural awareness and cultural acceptance.
80 Table 4 1 Student Voice in Case A Theme s Participant Responses Parent i nvolvement Parent attends parent conferences and student led conferences My parents want me to have a good future When my parents come in for a conference that means they know Teacher expectations She always cares for us. She helps us. better life Whenever we need help, she does the best she ca n do Before we do an important test, she reminds us of stuff we learned so we can all get a good grade Trusting Gives respect Better our future Culture Sometimes [teacher] lets us draw a picture about our culture. If we had to do any assignment about our culture that would be fun. If if she knew about our culture, she could know us better or she should include that in our work. Sh e can know us more. If every class has to come up with a culture, like a project about She can give us a little bit of language in our reading and our writing. My teacher has not asked me about my culture with my family in Haiti. You were born with it. You were born knowing it.
81 Table 4 2 Case A Teacher Responses Questions Participant Responses What are the key attributes your students need in you as a teacher? Dedicated to making them better Someone to believe in them Motivator s best for them How do you get to know your students? Surveys, especially at the beginning of the year Talk to them on a personal level Having that one on one you can get some one on one conversation out of them Picking them up from lunch, walking to lunch, picking them up from recess When do you know your students are successful? I know my students are successful when I see it in their faces. They light up and their whole att itude changes. They are not reluctant to answer questions and they want to elaborate on something. How do you celebrate the successes of your students? I celebrate their success with calls home, letters home, special incentives, and lots of verbal prais e. How do you view parent involvement? Parent involvement is crucial. If students see parents are involved in their schooling they take more pride in what they are doing. Student led conferences, parent conferences, phone calls home Teachers should always keep the parents up to date on how their child is doing. This way they are not blind side by anything. All parents are equal in my class. If they need translators, then they are provided. How do you think students view parent involvement? For some kids, not pay bills and stuff that maybe the job is more important than coming to school Some of them want to further You mentioned school is a place for them to get away. Why ? b to figure out how to get food. So how do you meet their needs? Being open. They can come talk to me one on one. They can write it down. We have guidance counselors and others at the school that they can talk to. In what ways do you incorporate, if any, the cultures of your students? I like going to their games outside of school, I like to go to their sporting eir beliefs they can get alternative activities or go to another classroom. In terms of the curriculum, do you feel sensitive? Yes, I think so. But I mainly teach writing. They could tailor their writing work toward their culture. If about what happens at home and things like that. Um, for Social Studies, I think it does a really good job differentiating and working with our population.
82 Table 4 3 Stude nt Voice in Case B Themes Participant Responses Student e ngag e ment work together at our table good to talk with partners reading books that have Spanish words, vocabulary all over the room, she asks us to grade ou rselves on how we understand it examples really help me plays music makes learning fun letting us learn and letting us have fun too yell or anything but she says time to learn but not in a mean way. talking. Parent c ontacts Whe n she says good things about you, that makes me feel proud. Kind of nervous because I might get in trouble. for her to know about how I know meeting with my mom is important. I would feel scared if I was in trouble but just for a student led conference I my behavior and how good I am in reading. Challenge she gives us bigger words, like when we do our writing, She tells us never give up, try your best and if you sti The teacher should give a lot of work. That means she really cares about us and she wants us to do better at our work. She challenges us. When she giv talking. Care I think that they should um like care about the kids like we care about her She told us every thing she tells her son, she does it to us because he goes to were her kid too. She told all of us several times that she cares about us. Treat the kids how you want to be t reated. Gives us a second chanc e Every morning she says this is a new day and you guys should do your best on everything from and then we all get happy back. She tells us never give learn but not in a mean way.
83 Table 4 3. Continued Themes Participant Responses Culture ce and where we come from and then we all get happy back. In reading we do have this 4.1 book and it talks about some of the history around the world.
84 Table 4 4. Case B Teacher Responses Questions Participant Responses What are the key attributes your students need in you as a teacher? Structure Patience Forgiveness Student talk Encourage students to be self textbook What do you think your students want in a teacher and school? To feel included To be accepted Enjoy the hands on part of school Feeling a part of something A place where they belong, where they know th ey fit it and they know they are liked When do you know your students are successful? The quality of work they produce Their whole affect changes How do you celebrate their successes? Tangible items Verbal praise Specific praise You have to celebrate even the smallest success to build some intrinsic motivation When it comes to culture and how that is incorporated into your classroom, how do you meet the diverse needs of your students? Realize they all come from different homes, different experiences, different cultures Be sensitive to needs How do you learn about In the beginning of the year, we do a puzzle activity where they write all about themselves and I have them write what are some of your customs, your traditions, how many people are in your family During the meet and greet I have a form for the parents and I ask them to fill it about their child. How do you incorporate the cultural backgrounds and experiences of your students into th e classroom? That one is tricky. We have a set curriculum that we have to teach. they feel like their way of living is accepted. Social studies comes to mind In core reading, they make references to what they do at home and I say oh tell me about it. them from the series or other times that are about a family from this culture How do you meet the diverse learning styles and behaviors? Present information visually YouTube clips environment where they feel secure enough to stay down on the carpet, and I always think of another way to do it.
85 Table 4 4. Continued Questions Participant Responses How do students know they are held to a high expectation? way job, you have to do an all the way job. You will have to do the work whether you ask for help or push it off to another day. I do a lot of Kagan, and they also know a lot of times they In terms of class room management, are there any ways that you are culturally sensitive? I use a clipboard where just everything is about good choices. You make good choices, you make not so good choices. You can see on the chart they where you start at the bottom and you have to work your way up, but with this you start in the middle. embarrass them. How do you include parents and families? Open door policy I give everyone a little magnet with my contact information so they can put it right on their fridge when they do come in. We have student reschedule. We try to get every parent in here for a conference one on do. O ur biggest thing is the language. With the student led conferences, I say to the kids this is to celebrate you. Just to celebrate you, so I think they like that, at least they are smiling a lot.
86 Tab le 4 5 Student Voice in Case C Themes Participant Responses Student e ngagement When you do something bad, she lets it slide She reviews things. She always doing cheers She gives us high fives and says great job We get parties We get a snack With music and mix pair share, you can actually move around and not just sit there and do nothing Sharing with partners is kinda fun Parent i nvolvement good in classes She needs to let your parents know getting lower. So parents know what to teach more at home. She can tell our parents how much we learned and how much we increased in our scores High e xpectations She pushes us a lot She told me she expects me to have a high reading level She wants us to work hard room I know you can pass this grade She teaches us that she actually cares She knows we work hard to achieve expectations for you and s he makes you feel like you really worked hard Cultural a wareness She accepts what we do from our culture She talks about cultures when w Sometimes she speaks Spanish We could all bring in different foods that go with our different cultures She lets us do things that we used to do in our countries The first day of school she asked me a lot about my culture She lets us play the way we played in our country or write the way we wrote in our country
87 Table 4 6 Case C Teacher Responses Questions Participant Responses What inspired you to become a teacher? I sort of well into it. I am a professional oboist by trade and I lived in New York and we say there that every musician has a day job. So I fell into teaching music actually. I started teaching in Miami and moved from New York to Miami actually and taught music and taught between two difficult schools. Project schools, Title 1. Loved it. Loved it. Title 1. Really rough. And I loved it and seeing the res ults I had with the kids and seeing that the kids really needed people that wanted to be there. It kind of made me change my career and say ok I need to do this. How many years have you been teaching? everything from Pre K to university. What are the key attributes that your students need in your as their teacher? They need consistency, which sounds really strange but they need somebody where they If I asked your students to describe you in five words, what would they say? of the very demanding. I have my high exp ectations and they know they need to What do you mean by high expectations? them up to fail but I tell them that I treat them as if I treat my university 10 your kids. If they know that, again it brings me back to the consistency, if they because you sit with them and you talk with them and yo u build that strong never going to set them up for failure, so I differentiate wherever I can but it lo wer level. In language, I might be talking to them in a different way to get myself clearly. What makes a teacher great? I think what makes a teacher great is you really n eed to empathize with the students and you really need to step aside and be really reflective and ok I need to be able to look outside and be able to say hmmm maybe the way I perc eive myself is not even the way my students perceive me, so you need to be big enough to do that and then adapt accordingly.
88 Table 4 6. Continued Questions Participant Responses How do you celebrate successes in the classroom? We do verbal celebrations, non verbal celebrations. We try to celebrate every success, even if a student raises a hand and gets the wrong answer I try to celebrate their motivation to share with the class and raise their hand and you had the courage to raise your hand and try and that is a good example for thank you, thank you for that. So even just a comment or a lit tle yeah every chance I get. What is the value of parent involvement? can see the difference in my students who have the parents that are there and really, not on them, but consistently there for them because you have to take into consideration the reality that a lot of these people work 15, 18 hour days and they may not even see their kids during the week. So yes parent involvement is huge. But if you can get the How do you incorporate the cultural backgrounds and experiences of your students? I try to get them to talk about their lives whenever we can and talk about their lives and celebrate the fact tha t we are all different, especially where religion the pledge a pull a lot of like holidays in and you know what do you celebrate in your country. My family is from Spain so I talk about what I do and what it was like growing u p in New York as an Italian American there. And so we try to celebrate diverse cultures anytime we can.
89 Table 4 7 Student Voice in Case D Themes Participant Responses Building relationships with s tudents If you had a big We have a prize box We get treats She buys us Justin Bieber and One Direction She helps us to do it step by step We get to do a bunch of projects, instead of just sitting there and looking around Make us more confident desk the next day and writes you c an do better, you know you can. Parent i nvolvement High expectations She sends this certificate home and the parents be so glad and we get to hang them up about it and they could also help me to learn about it. My parents really want me to succeed in school My parents would know stuff us and pushing us She always says we can do our best She challenges us with things that may be a little harder She says you can do it She says this goes for everybody in the classroom
90 Table 4 7. Continued Themes Participant Responses Cult ural a wareness She asks questions to learn about us Let us make a poster about different cultures and share about our lives and all that When When i t comes to social studies, everybody raises their hands and talks about culture and she lets us. I think we should have more games on culture so other kids can learn about other cultures On the walls, we could have different languages on it She wants the k ids who speak Spanish to teach her Spanish words my culture basically kinda like home to me different places on all of the cultures, and compares and contrasts them The way she sh ow us about our cultures like show us she care about what we do She does let us express our culture and if we have traditions, she does let us express that to everybody else because she wants us to come together just like a family and accept everybody beca use she wants us to be prepared for life. People are always going to be different.
91 Table 4 8 C ase D Teacher Responses Questions Participant Responses What are the key attributes that your students need in you as a teacher? Someone who is fair and consistent, somebody who is firm and motivating, and kind and empathetic. Especially our kids, somebody who shows an interest in their lives outside of school is a huge thing. What makes a great teacher? It was the teachers that really listened to their students and tried to make a connection outside of the academic, making a connection with your kids to motivate them. What ways do you incorporate the cultural backgrounds of your students into the classroom? I try to make a connection with our subjects when things come up in stories questions. What value do you see in parent involvement? Probably the most important thing. The hardest thing is the language barrier. But What do you think are the effects of poverty that these kids bring with them? I think one of our biggest hurdles is just that you know making sure basic needs are met. I think it is just so eye that emotional support and not getting fed and kids coming to school with clothes that are ri pped and sneakers with soles falling off, not having How do you celebrate student successes? We have a cheer of the week. We track student successes for reading and math tests. Lunch bunches and I do certificates and notes home and I write certificates and leave them on their desks. I try to be as positive as possible things.
92 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION upper elementary aged Black and Hispanic student s as they expressed their perceptions of their teachers responsive practices an area of research that is limited within the latest literature on cult urally responsive practices in schools Since school systems serve students from a diverse range of socioeconomic status es ethnic origins and cultural norms, teachers must be equipped to teach within a culturally responsive framework and not just the cult ural code they are accustomed to (Gay, 2002; Shealey, 2007) The increasing cultural mismatch between White teachers and a diverse student body creates a challenge for schools seeking to eliminate the racial achievement gap. Thus it can be very valuable to learn what students think about how teachers create positive learning environments, present culturally relevant pedagogy and help students conn ect their cultural backgrounds with their learning experience s (Gay, 2002; Howard, 2001, 2003; Howard, 2006; Ladson Billings, 1995). In this multiple case study the researcher sought qualitative data the words of students to explore the research questions T he researcher also looked for evidence turally responsive practices and explored how this evidence relates to the tenets of culturally responsive teaching Interviews with students and their teachers yielded the necessary data to address these questions and were coded f or emergent themes. This chapter includes a review of the statement of the problem, a review of the methodology, a summary of the results, a discussion of the results, and the personal reflection s
93 Statement of the Problem The findings are significant for teachers and administrators, who are work ing to improve student academic achievement and elimi nate the racial achievement gap. Even when educational scores improve as a whole, a gap in the achievement of White and mi nority students rem ains (Barton and Coley, 2010). Howard (2006) states the marginalization of students from certain racial, cultural, and economic groups who learn within a Eurocentric framework are f ailing or underachieving at disproportionate Teachers and administrators must lens, but be equipped to teach students of all r aces, et hnicities, and cultures through culturally responsive teachin g practices. T he demographics of U.S. students are shifting rapidly so teachers must find w ays to relate to students of different cultural backgrounds (Wong, 2008). They must respond to student their backgrou nds into their learn ing opportunities By 2010, the number of Hispanic students in public schools had nearly double d, going from 12 percent in 1990 to 23 percent, while the number of White students decreased from 67 to 54 percent (USDOE, NCES, 2011). S chool admi nistrators and teachers should reflect on how they can meet the needs of such diverse le arners. The cultural mismatch between teachers and students can no longer be ignored. By g athering information about perceptions of whether and to what extent their teacher s acknowledge, accept, include, and encourage culture in the classroom the study lets school personnel hear students This research allows
94 should be incorporat ed into their learning. Review of the Methodology T he researcher conducted a multiple case study, which yielded the appropriate qualitative data participant responses. The researcher interviewed students from four classrooms in t hree Title I funded school s in the s outheastern U.S The three schools feed into one of eight high schools i n the school district, are located in an unincorporated community in a large county in the southeastern region and are considered low performing schools as designated by school grades assigned by the st a Department of Education Principals were introduced to the study and asked to provide names of teachers in fourth or fifth grade who had favorable teacher evaluations had taught a minimum of three years and exhibit ed the characteristics of culturally responsive practices. These characteristics included: demonstrating high expectations for all students; an awareness that race and culture make up who a person is and influence how li fe and learning are approached; respec t f or diverse races, ethnicities, l anguages, cultures, background experiences and viewpoints; orientation to ward establish ing teacher student relationships and foster ing parent involvement; incorporation of multicultural curricula xperiences into the teaching and learning process; a classroom management style that is culturally sensitive; and caring for students One teacher from each school was selected who was willing to participate and best met the specific criteria. H owever, at one site the prin cipal selected two teachers who were both willing to participate. Therefore, four case studies were conducted. Parental consent forms were sent to the students in each of the classrooms to ensure
95 the minimum number of necessary participant s was secured Teachers signed informed consent and then participated in one on one interviews which ranged from 30 5 0 minutes. Once student participants were secured one on one interviews were conducted with each student who returned a parental consent form and signed the student assent. Thus each case had between four to six students who participated in individual interviews P d some students were selected for additional focus group interviews. In these interviews, students were asked t o expand on their initial answers and also answered qu estions formulated using responses from the teachers Member checking occurred within each responses. Both the student and the teacher interview protocols were pilot tested and revised accordingly. Data analysis included in vivo coding provisional coding and descriptive codin g and the researcher manually coded the data in two cycles (Miles et al., 2014) Once initial codes were established, the researcher researcher in the education field. In order to reduce the data, some codes within each ca se were combined as broader themes emerged. Codes were found within each case, which led to identified themes within and across the four cases. Summary of the Results As the students shared their beliefs and attitudes, several themes emerg ed from each case Case A, parent involvement, teacher expectations, and culture were the main themes identified after careful analysis of student and teacher responses. Tables 4 1 and 4 3 include stude n more detail. Four students participated in th e initial one on one interviews and three students were selected for follow up
96 questioning. Many of Case B included student e ngagement, parental involvement, challenge, care, and culture. In this setting, six students participated in the one on one interviews and four in the focus group interview. More specific participant responses are included as tables in the previous chapter (Tables 4 3 and 4 4). parent involvement, high expectations, and cultural awareness (see Tables 4 5 and 4 6) Six students participated in the individual interviews, and three were chosen for additional interviewin g as a grou p. In Case D the researcher identified the following themes: building relationships with students, parent involvement, high expectations, and cultural awareness (Tables 4 7 and 4 8) With six students initially interviewed one on one, three of t he students participated in the follow up focus group interview. Discussion of the Results Interpretation of Findings High expectations, p arental involvement, and cultural awareness were the three across all Cases and these were co responses stating these high expectations, supporting their nee ds, caring for them, and providing rigorous classwork. If all students were not held to high expectations with aligned support to help them work toward achievement, then it could be setting the students up for failure. The students themselves recognized th is problem; one student observed that Students do best when they have clear and attainable goals, and teachers need to explicitly state t he ir belief in students and their abilit ies to achieve at hi gh levels.
97 A teacher who is c ulturally responsive begins by acknowledging the importance of the s culture and establishing communic ation with the parents to help the student have a positive sc hool experience Stud ents across cases agreed that they want to see their teacher and parent s communicating. Student led conferences were confirmed by both the students and the teachers as an opportunity to show pride in the ir work, although everyone agreed that parents should also know about discipline problems and academic underachievement as well. Students perceived the i ncorporation of c ultural backgrounds in the classroom but it was mostly limited to occasional discussion s or comments about diverse cultures when presented in the curriculum. Students perceived that their teachers were interested in their cultural backgrounds, although not all students were sure whether their teachers knew about them. W unique cultures into their learning experience teachers offered limited responses. However, they all valued the diver se backgrounds demonstrated care and concern for cultural backgrounds cont ributed to learn ing styles and how they approach learning opportunities Howard (2003) suggests that culturally relevant teaching will only work if teachers avoid making judgments based on perceptions of race and culture. Instead they should idual profiles of previous attempts by schools have failed in meeting the academic needs of diverse learners and that the key to effective pedagogy ltural s
98 Gay (2000) states, class heritage contributes to the achievement of White students, using the cultures and experiences of Nativ e American, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, Latino ). When students are willing to speak with teachers about their cultures it allows teachers to know exactly how those culture s contribute to and affect their school experience. It could also help teachers avoid using their own cultur al frame of reference and pigeonholing students. Instead they w ould begin to understand students through frames of reference. Gloria Ladson qualifications by which teachers may be called cult urally responsive teachers. T h e teachers in this multiple case study each demonstrated varying degree s of cultural responsiveness. For e xample, all of the teachers displayed high expectations for students, expressed the value of parental involvement, and demonstrated an appreciation for and an acceptance of culture. E xhibit ing high academic expectations for students, demonstrating cultural competence empowering stu competency, and maintaining aware ness of social inequities in schools are the underpinnings of Ladson ( 1995 ). Afte r analyzing the responses of the teacher in each case the major characteristic of culturally responsive teaching most frequently displayed by all the teachers was high academic expectations for students Students and teachers did not report that teachers demonstrated cultural competence and enabled thei r stud cultural competency, yet each case varied considerably. Only the teacher in Case C
99 displayed evidence of sociopolitical or critical consciousness in which she mentioned she would stand up against social injustices in the school setting and tho se passing judgment on her students. Many researchers agree that the cultures of students are being ignored when stude nts are forced to assimilate a middle class, European framework (Gay, 2010; Howard, 2003). Us ing a culturally responsive approach with cultura lly diverse students enables teacher s Jeffy and Cooper, 2011). Students should also be given opportunities to draw upon their own cultural backgrounds in order to make sense of the material prese nted. Gay (2000) se es students but especially for racially, culturally, and economically diverse students who usually demonstrate underachievement. In addition to the central question of the study exploring how Black and Hispanic culturally responsive practices the study a lso explored what evidence their perceptions showed of culturally responsive teacher practices and how their perceptions of compared to the characteristics of culturally responsive teaching. While the four teachers in this study did not display all of the of them hold promise for future developments in this area While the findings in this multiple case study are not gene ralizable to other fourth grade classrooms cannot be ignored Teachers and administrators in all schools can use the study to gain insight
100 Implications for Practice There remains work to be done in the study of culturally res ponsive teaching knowledge, practice, and effectiveness in eliminating the racial achievement gap. S chool administrators and teachers should consider the results of this study and how the responses might reflect s imilar student teacher relationships in their schools. The themes reported across cases are evidence of culturally responsive practices in four separate cases in one school district; however, all of the teachers and students identified evidence of developi ng high expectations for all students, promoting backgro unds. Therefore, students in these cases do perceive that teachers hold them to high expectations just as they say, as well as providing rigorous classwork to them, and support ing students through the learning process. St udents also perceived that culturally responsive teachers valued parent involvement, took the time to reach out to parent s and felt that they could impro ve in school with parental support and involvement. Finally, all students perceived teachers as acknowledging cultural and incorporating some aspects of culture. School administrators should a sk teachers to follow similar practice s in their respective schools and to determine whether their students have similar perception s regarding their teachers. District coordinators and school administrators should consider the findings of this study when planning professional development and coordinating programming for students. Likewise, those administrators supervising teachers should consider the qualities of the culturally responsive teaching and hold teachers to clear
101 expectations in this area. Distr ict coordinators and principals should evaluate the current status of culturally responsive practices in their schools and discuss ways for continued success and/or improvements. Suggestions for Additional Research Further research is needed to understand the levels at which schools are effectively practic ing culturally responsive teaching and also to identify barriers to the effective utilization of these practices. School personnel must explore how cultural responsiveness enhances the learning opportunities of students who have historically demonstrated low performa nce and disengagement. Researchers wanting to replicate this study should carefully take into account the limitations of the study and seek to remedy them in a future study. Teachers backgrounds can u s ed to activate learning and engage students in the learning environment and process. Below are some future research questions to c onsider: 1. How do Black and Hispanic students in schools with predomina ntly White environment? 2. How do fourth grade Black and Hispanic students in three Title I funded elementary schools with culturally responsive teachers perform academically compared t o fourth grade Black and Hispanic students with a teacher who does not demonstrate culturally responsive practices? 3. How do African American students in Title I funded elementary schools with responsiveness in the learning environment? 4. How do Black and Hispanic sixth grade students in three Title I funded elementary schools with predominantly Black and Hispanic students perceive nt? 5. How do Black and Hispanic 5 th grade students in a classroom with a culturally responsive teacher perform on standardized assessments compared to Black and Hispanic 5 th
102 Personal Reflection Saldana (2013) st In keeping with this idea, I have made several observations. I found that conducting this multiple ca se study has been extremely enlightening in terms of perso nal impact. I inves ted more passion in the study than expected and was impressed by the power I Throughout the student interview process, there were moments in wh ich I was nearly brought to tears. Peering into the eyes of a student while listening to his/her freedom expression and noting the power of connecting to The pride throughout the interview pro cess helped confirm the to than whether or not any new phenomena were revealed. Following this initial work explor ing student culturally responsive qualities I am eager to conduct further research A ny researcher would be remiss in failing to discuss areas for improvement or lessons learned from the study, including ( but not limited ) to developing, co nducting, analyzing and reporting. As a novice interviewer, I found that member checking was vital to the accuracy of the data analysis. Altho ugh member checking can prolong an interview Since I have experie nce as a teacher and understand the intellectual development of upper elementary age students, I felt the need to affirm their responses to make them feel at ease with sharing. H owever, it is particularly easy to lead interviewees when speaking wit h children and this would have had
103 Therefore, member checking was an essential part of ensuring the quality of the research. Finally, the most significant piece of this research process for me wa s in adding to the discourse on culturally responsive teaching and creating a platform for the voice of the student to be heard the voice of the girl who says her teacher holds her to high expectations and challenges her, the voice of the boy that says ho w important it is that his teacher and parents work together to support him in school, and the voices of many young students that say race and culture matter and are an integral part of who they are and how they experience in school
104 APPENDIX A PARENTAL CONSENT FORM Dear Parent/Guardian: I am a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Administration & Policy at the University of Florida conducting research on culturally responsive teaching practices The purpose of this study is to explore what students think of their learning experience and whether their responses relate to the main concepts of culturally responsive teaching Th e results of the study may help teachers and school leaders better understand the student and allow them to design instructional practices accordingly. These results may not directly help your child today, but may benefit future students. With your permissi on, I would like to ask your child to volunteer for this research. P articipating children will be interviewed only by me in individual interviews and then in focus group interviews. Not only will I ask your child a series of questions, but I may also ask your child to clarify or elaborate on his/her responses. Interviews will be audiotaped and the recordings will be accessible only to the research team for verification purposes. At the end of the study, the tape will be erased. Although the children will b e asked to state their names, their identity will be kept confidentia l to the extent provided by law We will replace their names with code numbers. Results will only be reported in the form of group data. Participation or non participation in this study will not affect the children's grades or placement in any programs. You and your child have the right to withdraw consent for your child's participation at any time without consequence. There are no known risks or immediate benefits to the participants. N o compensation is offered for participation. Group results of this study will be available in January 2014 upon request. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me or my faculty supervisor Questions or concerns about your ch ild's rights as a research participant may be directed to university I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily give my consent for my child, _________________, to participate in study of their I have received a copy of this description. ____________________________ ___________ Parent / Guardian Date ____________________________ ___________ 2 nd Parent / Witness Date
105 APPENDIX B STUDE NT ASSENT FORM Hello Student: I am a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Administration & Policy at the culturally responsive teaching practices. Perception s are thoughts, opinions, ideas and the way you see things in your life all around you. Culture is your customs, traditions, what you believe and value and the experiences you and your family have in life. I would like to find out what you think about thes e two things and how they affect you in school. The purpose of this study is to explore what you think about your learning experience. The results of the study may help teachers and school principals better help them to design instructional practices accordingly. With your permission, I would like to ask you to volunteer to be interviewed. You will be interviewed only by me in individual interviews and possibly in group interviews. I will ask you a series o f questions, but I may also ask you to explain what you mean. You can stop the interview at any time, and you do not have to answer certain questions if you do not want to. You came will not be included in any of the report. Participation or non participat ion in this study will not affect your grades or placement in any programs. You have the right to withdraw consent at any time without consequence. This means you may choose to no longer participate. There are no known risks or immediate benefits to the p articipants. No compensation is offered for participation, which means you will not receive any special rears or payment. Group results of this study will be available in January 2014 upon request. Do you have any questions? Are you willing to participate in this study?
106 APPENDIX C EDUCATOR CONSENT FORM Dear Educator: I am a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Administration & Policy at the culturally responsive teaching practices. As part of my research I am conducting an interview, the purpose of which is to learn about how educators use cul turally responsive teaching practices. I am asking you to participate in this interview because your supervisor has identified you as a culturally responsive teacher. Interviewees will be asked to participate in an interview lasting no longer than 45 minut es. The schedule of questions is available to you in advance by request. You will not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer. Your interview will be conducted at the school after I have received a copy of this signed consent from you. With y our permission I would like to audiotape this interview. Only I will have access to the tape which I will personally transcribe, removing any identifiers during transcription. The tape will then be erased. Your identity will be kept confidential to the ext ent provided by law and your identity will not be revealed in the final manuscript. There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this interview. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and m ay discontinue your participation in the interview at any time without consequence. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me or my faculty supervisor Questions or concerns about your child's rights as a research participa nt may be directed to university Please sign and return this copy of the letter in the enclosed envelope. A second copy is provided for your records. By signing this letter, you give me permission to report your responses anonymously in the final manuscript to be submitted to my faculty s upervisor as part of my course work. ___________________________________________________ I have read the procedure described above for the educator interview. I voluntarily agree to participate in the interview and I have received a copy of this descripti on. ____________________________ ___________ Signature of participant Date I would like to receive a copy of the final "interview" manuscript submitted to the instructor. __ YES / NO
107 APPENDIX D ADMINISTRAT OR CONSENT FORM Dear Principal: I am a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Administration & Policy at the culturally responsive teaching practices. As part of my research I am conducting a n interview with each principal, the purpose of which is to learn about the perspective of educators on culturally responsive teaching practices. I am asking you to participa te in this interview because I would like to share with you how these students and the teacher you selected as culturally responsive responded. Interviewees will be asked to participate in an interview lasting no longer than 45 minutes. The schedule of que stions is available to you in advance by request. You will not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer. Your interview will be conducted at the school after I have received a copy of this signed consent from you. With your permission I would like to audiotape this interview. Only I will have access to the tape which I will personally transcribe, removing any identifiers during transcription. The tape will then be erased. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law and your identity will not be revealed in the final manuscript. There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this interview. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and may discontinue your par ticipation in the interview at any time without consequence. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me or my faculty supervisor Questions or concerns about your child's rights as a research participant may be directed to u niversity Please sign and return this copy of the letter in the enclosed envelope. A second copy is provided for your records. By signing this letter, you give me permission to report your responses anonymously in the final manuscript to be submitted to my faculty supervisor as part of my course work. _______________________________________________ I have read the procedure described above for the educator interview. I voluntarily agree to participate in the interview and I have received a copy of this description. ____________________________ ___________ Signature of participant Date I would like to receive a copy of the final "interview" manuscript submitted to the instructor. __ YES / NO
108 APPENDIX E STUDENT INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Interviewer Name: Interviewee Name : Location: Date: Time: responsive Do you have any questions about the informed consent form you completed? This inter view may last approximately 15 3 0 minutes and it will be recorded to insure the accuracy of participant responses. You are encouraged to speak openly and freely as your responses will only be used to deepen understanding and inform teaching and (Begin audio record) Questions (with probes if necessary) 1. What does your teacher expect you to learn and be able to do? 2. How do you know? 3. What do you expect to learn or be able to do? 4. How do you feel about school? a. Do you like school? Why or why not? b. Are you shown respect? What does respect mean to you? 5. In your opinion, wha t makes a teacher great? a. What does he/she say and do? b. How does he/she act when teaching, when interacting with students, when interacting with parents? 6. When do you feel successful at school? a. How do you act/feel when you have achieved? b. How does your teacher successes? 7. Does your teacher hold high expectations for all students in your class? a. How do you know? What are some examples? b. Does she have the same goals for all students? c. Does she think all students can do thei r best? 8. When I introduced this study to you and I asked you if you were willing to volunteer for this interview, I explained the study and I explained culture your shared beliefs with your family, opinions, customs, traditions, the ways you and your famil y do things, sports, ways you celebrate, the clothes you wear and the foods you eat. Tell me about your culture. a. (Probe for as much detail in each of the areas as possible). 9. What does the tea cher do to include your (insert identified culture here ) culture into the classroom and into your learning experience ? 10. How would you like for your culture to be included in your classroom?
109 a. Does your teacher know about your culture? b. Would you like him/her to know about your culture? c. What would you like him/her to know? 11. Has your teacher ever spoken with your parents? a. Have your parents attended school conferences? b. How do you feel about your teacher and your parent speaking? c. Do you think it is important for your teacher and your parents to speak? d. Do you do better, worse or the same in school when your parents and your teacher speak? 12. Is there anything else you would like for me to include? audiotaped, but I would like to summarize or clarify a few things you said for my own record).
110 APPENDIX F EDUCATOR INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Interviewer Name: Interviewee Name and Title: Location: Date: Time: The purpose of this study is to deepen the understanding of beliefs and perceptions of culturally responsive teaching practices in schools. about the informed consent form you completed? This in terview should be completed in approximately 30 6 0 minutes and it will be recorded to insure the accuracy of participant responses. (Begin audio record) Questions (with probes if necessary) 1. What inspired you to want to become a teacher? 2. How many years have you been teaching? Tell me about your teaching background. a. University internships, diverse teaching experiences, subjects/grades 3. What are the key attributes that your students need in you as a teacher? 4. U sing only five words, how would your students describe you? 5. In your opinion, what makes a teacher great? What makes a school great? 6. When do you know your students are successful? a. How do they feel/act when they have achieved? a. How do you celebrate their succ esses? 7. What expectations do you have for your students? 8. How do you meet the diverse learning needs of your students? a. Can you explain some engaging lessons/activities? b. How do you come to know what they need? How do you plan for what culturally diverse stude nts need? c. How do you know they have learned? 9. In what ways do you incorporate the cultural backgrounds and experiences of your students? a. In terms of classroom management, are there ways you are culturally sensitive? b. When choosing curriculum and planning lessons, how is cultural diversity accounted for ? 10. What value do you see in parent involvement? 11. Describe how teachers should interact with and include parents and families. 12. How do you include parents/families and their cultural backgrounds? 13. Can you please give me the approximate demographic composition of the students in your class? 14. About how many students in your class would you say receive free/reduced lunch?
111 15. What effects of poverty are evident in the lives of your stu dents? a. How does that affect their learning and school experience? b. How do you handle that /accommodate for those needs? 16. Is there anything else you would like to share with me about responding to cess? 17. Would you be willing to tell me about your own racial and cultural identity? a. Race, ethnicity, cultural, lived experiences that have shaped who you are? but I woul (Member check and then end audio record).
112 APPENDIX G ADMINISTRATOR INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Interviewer Name: Interviewee Names and Titles: Location: Date: Time: you have any questions about the informed consent form you completed? This interview may last approximately 30 minutes and it will be recorded to insure the accuracy of participant responses. You are encouraged to speak openly and freely as your responses will only be used to deepen understanding and inform teaching and Questions (with probes if necessary) 1. You selected from your fourth and fifth grade teachers who has been teaching at least th ree years, has had favorable teaching evaluations and who demonstrates most of the following characteristics: high expectations for all students; an awareness that race and culture make up who a person is and influence how life and learning are approached; respect for diverse races, ethnicities, Languages, cultures, background experiences and viewpoints; orientati on to establish teacher student relationships and foster parent involvement; experiences into the teaching and learning process; classroom management style that is culturally sensitive; and c are for students. I interviewed insert number of students and their race/ethnicity here in his/her class, and now I am going to share with you responses (Share responses now). a. What are your initial reactions to this information? b. How will this inform your practice? 2. One of my main purposes in this study was to add to the research base on student perception and to tap into the perceptions of some of our neediest kids in this district. Talk about the va administrator ? 3. Would you like to share any other comments? and for making your school site, teacher and student accessible for this study It has been audiotaped, but I would check and then end audio record).
113 APPENDIX H PILOT STUDY STUDENT INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Interviewer Name: Interviewee Name: Location: Date: Time: used in any of the report. Do you have any questions about the informed consent form you completed? This interview may last approximately 15 3 0 minutes and it will be recorded to insure the accuracy of participant responses. You are encouraged to speak ope nly and freely as your responses will only be used to deepen understanding and inform teaching and (Begin audio record) Questions (with probes if necessary) 1. What does your teacher expect you to learn and be able to do? 2. How do you know? 3. What do you expect to learn or be able to do? 4. How do you feel about school? a. Do you like school? Why or why not? b. Are you shown respect? What does respect mean to you? 5. In your opinion, what makes a teacher great? a. What does he/she say and do? b. How does he/she act whe n teaching, when interacting with students, when interacting with parents? 6. When do you feel successful at school? a. How do you act/feel when you have achieved? b. successes? 7. How does the teacher experiences into the learning process? 8. How would you like for your culture to be included in the learning process? 9. Are you willing to provide me with your cultural identity? Race, ethnicity, culture? 10. Is there anything else you would like for me to include? audiotaped, but I would like to summarize or clarify a few things you said for my own d then end audio record).
114 APPENDIX I PILOT STUDY EDUCATOR INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Interviewer Name: Interviewee Name and Title: Location: Date: Time: The purpose of this study is to deepen the understanding of beliefs and perceptions of culturally responsive teaching practices in schools. about the informed consent form you completed? This interviewee should be completed in approximately 30 6 0 minutes and it will be recorded to insure the accuracy of participant responses. (Begin audio record) Questions (with probes if necessary) 18. What inspired you to want to become a teacher? 19. How many years have you been teachin g please tell me about your teaching background? a. University internships, diverse teaching experiences, subjects/grades 20. How do you meet the diverse learning needs of your students? a. Can you explain some engaging lessons/activities? b. How do you come to know what they need? c. How do you know they have learned? 21. In what ways do you incorporate the cultural backgrounds and experiences of your students? a. In terms of classroom management, are there ways you are culturally sensitive? b. When choosing curriculum and planni ng lessons, how do you account for cultural diversity? 22. What are the key attributes that your students need in you as a teacher? 23. Using only five words, how would your students describe you? 24. What is the importance of parent involvement? 25. How do you include pa rents/families and their cultural backgrounds? 26. Is there anything else you would like to share with me about responding to 27. Would you be willing to tell me about your own racial and cultura l identity? a. Race, ethnicity, cultural, lived experiences that have shaped who you are but I would like to summarize or clarify a few things you said for my own understa (Member check and then end audio record).
115 APPENDIX J INDIVIDUAL TEACHER INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (CASE C) Names have not been used to protect the identity of participants. ( AF = Abigail Fuller, interviewer ; T C = Teacher, Case C) AF: The purpose of th used in any of the report. Do you have any questions about the informed con sent form you completed? This interview should be completed in approximately 30 60 minutes and it will be recorded to insure the accuracy of participant responses. (Begin audio record) What inspired you to become a teacher? TC: I sort of, well, fell into it. I am a professional oboist by trade and I lived in New York and we say there that every musician has a day job. So I fell into teaching music actually. I started teaching in Miami and moved from New York to Miami actually and taught music and taught between two difficult schools. Project schools, Title 1. Loved it. Loved it. AF: TC: Yeah, Title 1. Really rough. And I loved it and seeing the results I had with th e kids and seeing that the kids really needed people that wanted to be there. It kind of made me change my career and say ok I need to do this. AF: How many years have you been teaching? TC: ve taught from Pre K to university so abroad for about 12 years. AF: You lived in Spain, you said? TC: little bit in Japan. AF: What all have you taught and what are you certified in? TC: Pre K to university. So I was teaching at CUNY in NY and universi ty in Spain. AF: And what did you teach? TC: CUNY I taught English as a Second Language. You know, the remediated courses and then in Spain I taught linguistics and morphos. AF: Did you ever teach pre service teachers at all? TC: oking towards. Although I do a lot of professional development and then in Spain I was head of foreign languages and I would do professional development although it AF: Do you do professional development here? TC: I do, for Kagan training. AF: Have you gone through the full certification?
116 TC: AF: What are the key attributes that your students need in you. TC : ow that there is a constant in AF: And if I asked your students to describe you in 5 words, what would they say ? TC: Nuts. (Laughing). of the kind and understanding. AF: TC: for them and t and you build that strong on a lower level. In language, I might be talking to them in a myself clearly. AF: Now you said you sit with them and you talk with them to build that re lationship. What kind of things do you talk about or ask them? TC: We talk about everything. We might talk about what they do at home, what they ate for dinner, if they even got dinner, you know, who are they staying with, I tell them about my life a lot. They know me inside and out. Obviously not too personal things, but they know I have two kids, they know my husband is from Spain. I talk a lot about a second language issue that I had when I king Spanish and having to learn English. You start to identify with them on a very personal level. Having to leave a country that I loved and come for a better life, which is what their parents did. You just sort of bond with the kids. And then they just start telling you things. What are your worries? What are you worried ood that says well go tell a responsible adult and then they tell you something and then you say oops I AF: So what I am hearing you say is that they trust you? TC: AF: This question has two parts: what makes a teacher great? What makes a school great?
117 TC: I think what makes a teacher great is you really need to empathize with the students and you eat teacher but they need to be able to look outside and be able to say hmmm maybe the way I perceive myself is not even the way my students perceive me, so you need to be big enough to do that and then adapt accordingly. And what makes the student great i s that they have to want to learn, ya know they have to get that desire and motivation to be here and ya willingness to learn. AF: Do you believe they can? TC: Absolutely. AF: And do you believe all kids want to learn? TC: is what a good teacher can do. Most kids, most people would rather be out doing whatever they this, and with t know I get that bright eyed face because I love what I do but I mean you jus t give them the tiniest taste of success and then they want to do more. AF: How do you celebrate successes in the classroom? TC: We do verbal celebrations, non verbal celebrations. We try to celebrate every success, even if a student raises a hand and ge ts the wrong answer I try to celebrate their motivation to share with there yet but you had the courage to raise your hand and try and that is a good examp le for other So even just a comment or a little yeah every chance I get. AF: Do you know how students want to be celebrated individually? Like what their p reference is? TC: You can get that like throughout but it probably takes me the first semester to get to know them that well. But some students will respond with a sticker and some with food. Some people, I have happy guys, and when I see them doing somet hing well I animal crackers and those are my how about I call your m AF: Oh, so you call the parents? TC: Yeah. so you keep one half and you keep the other one and it tells wha t they were good at. AF: What is the value of parental involvement? TC: I can see the difference in my students who have the parents that are there and really, not on them, but consistently there for them because you have to take into consideration the reality that a lot of these people work
118 15, 18 hour days and they may not even see their kids during the week. Or I had a student whose progression and just attitude about everything as opposed to another student that I had whose parents were home. And they might not see him every day but they did make sure that the sister was looking in and then the sister would report to the mom and then on the weekends they would that here. And a lot of on too. But if you can get the pare AF: What ways do you include the parents coming into the school or any lessons that you do or anything you have going on? TC: The parents know that they can always come in and that my door is always open. I do make pare f what her foster mom did for her volunteers you have to be careful because they have to be fingerprinted and then it gets really complicated because a l because of immigration issues going on so, but yes I definitely involve the parents. They come in rking on it. AF: Do you have parent conferences with every parent? TC: feel like they have to take a day off work to come in. Unfortunately, due to t ime constraints with love to be able to call into the how great your kid is doing, I mean you always add a positive in, I mean you never start with a negative, but really more the challenges, but we really should turn it around but due to time constraints. AF: What do you do in the beginning of the year to elicit parent involvement and even meet the parents? TC: We have an open house and so we encourage all the parents to come in at that open house and turnout, well probably almost half of my class turned out for open house. AF: TC: They vary. I have parents who are very supportive and I have parent s who will tell their children you know your responsibility is to be a good student because you need to get an education. And I and when I call them to say they AF: TC: ting that other half of the support you need. AF: How do you incorporate the cultural backgrounds and experiences of your students?
119 TC: I try to get them to talk about their lives whenever we can and talk about their lives and celebrate the fact that we pledge a holidays in and you know what do you celebrate in your country. My family is from Spain so I talk about what I do and what it was like growing up in New York as an Italian American there. And so we try to celebrate diverse cultures anytime we can because I had three girls come up to me and ask can we have lunch with you, and they want to learn to say hello in as many languages as possible and the poste r is hanging right back there. Every time we read something that has to do with, well ReadingStreets is very culturally diverse in that well where the Hispanic is concerned because they do pull in folk tales from other areas and the kids do get a kick when they hear Spanish words in the literature. And we talk about well where does that come from and there was a story on Mexico and how many people come from here well I do, well I come from Cuba, ok e we get. AF: You mentioned Hispanic culture, are there any others that you see within the reading curriculum that you see? TC: myself pulling in supplementary material. And even you know even Caucasian literature as well s very Hispanic centered which is fine but then I almost feel like what about the other cultures. And if I was Haitian Creole I might culture of if I was White Am erican, Caucasian, why is there nothing of my culture in the readings. AF: So when do you incorporate other texts? How would you pull that into your lessons or other activities? TC: I might do it as a supplemental activity. I might do it in guided reading. I have a poem of the month so I pull it into the poem of the month, well this poem is from such and such or where do you think this poem is from, can you write a poem like this one, why is it different. Because we are so locked into the curriculum that we have to lose, we have to get creative as to how and AF: When it comes to classroom management, do you find the need to be culturally sensitive and/or are you? TC: Absolutely. I think everybody needs to be held to the same expectations as far as it being a high expectation but for example I would go really with calling parents, actually I learned this, I had a really bad experience my first year of teaching, I was teaching music and I taught the emotionally handicapped kids and you know this kid was super violent and I had to call the kid because of what he did and the parents were Haitian and the mom actually came to the school with a big Afro comb and made him stand with his hand palm up and slapped him until, I stopped it, I mean I was horrified and that was as a first year teacher and I was like whoa and the classroom teacher was there and the aide was there, and they were like that is to be expected because they are would have found another way around it. So having that brusque of an introduction of cultural because the issue or the reason to call the parent is not the punish the child but it is to correct the behavio r that is incorrect in the most constructive way. I find with my Haitian children that if I call parents. I find other ways, even the threat of calling the par ents, gets them on track sadly enough.
120 AF: TC: think that every family is different. I guess because I am Italian Italian have to differentiate within that culture. But again, if I need to generalize I would say yeah I am judgments about anybody. AF: meeting the needs of diverse learners, how do you um come to know TC: coo to be able to know how to answer and ask a question. With academics, all your touch points, your exit cards, benchmark AF: Behavior. TC: Behavior, you see that rig ht away and then you just adapt. If they need to move their seat. I have have a high expectation for him to learn, yes, but do I expect him to sit down in a c hair like I can, AF: Do you know how many students in your class are on f ree and reduced lunch? TC: I have everybody except one. So out of 22 kids, 21. AF: What affects do you see from the poverty that is in this area? TC: for because a little girl she had one shirt to get her through the week. You can see the ones who dressed, have their iphon you have to kinda just look and you can tell the ones that are not primmed properly or their whole affect is different or the look on their face, you can just see..you can just tell after this long of being in it, you just know the kids that are the needy ones, who are always hungry. AF: shelter, the consistency at home, the food, the clothing? TC: Probably with my, I have a really needy class this year, probably 65 70 percent. As far, and more, i That was last year for me. I had quite a few. Whoops, I had a kid, but the emotional side is a biggy. But as far as food goes, about
121 k now that they need their cereal. I mean I could choose a sticker but I know they need cereal or animal crackers so I can kinda meet their needs. AF: TC: After I took a deep breath and sw how many parents have your spoken to about the kids? Where are you getting your information? Can you give me some statistics to back up your information? Um, then depending on what that just a teacher who surmises because the population we have, oh those would have an earful to say because they do care and you need to take into consideration that not everyone can put food on the table for their family and you see I worked in Honduras so you see people are not driven to leave their at why did they come here and then what did they have to do in order to survive and then from there you AF: up in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, culture in your class? T C: I have probably about 85 percent Hispanic students and the rest Haitian Creole. AF: Do you have African American students? TC: No. AF: Would you tell me about your race and cultural identity? TC: White, Italian American. AF: Thank you very much for your participation in this interview. Is there anything else you would like to add? TC: No. (End audio record.)
122 APPENDIX K INDIVIDUAL STUDENT INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (CASE D) Names have not been used to protect the identity of participants. (AF = Abigail Fuller, interviewer; ES = Elementary Student, Case D). AF: ideas and the way you see things in your life all around you. Culture is your customs, traditions, what you believe and value and the experiences you and your family have and celebrate in life. I would like to find out what you think about these two things and how they affect you in school. The purpose of this study is to explore what you think about your learning experience. The results of the study may help teachers and school principals better understand your experiences and not be used in any of the report. This interview may last approximately 15 30 minutes and it will be recorded to insure the accuracy of participant responses. You are encouraged to speak openly and freely. questions? ES: No. AF: ES: She expects us to use many descriptive words in our writing and wow words. AF: ES: Her goal for us is to do very well in school and get good grades and do very well in life and have a good career. AF: How do you know that? ES: AF: How does she push you to do your best? ES: than the other 4 th graders. AF: Do you like to be challenged? ES: Yes, because I feel like it makes us more smarter and it makes us feel t hat she really does trust us. AF: What makes a great teacher in your opinion? ES: AF: What else? ES: That she always give us anything that we need for success an with new ways to keep us on track but also have fun as well. AF: Neat. So what ways does she celebrate your success?
123 ES: We have homework hero. We have if you do three weeks of homework in a row without stopping then you get a homework pass and for five weeks in a row you tell her something you like, normally on the weekends, and she buys you something that you asked her for. AF: When do you feel successful in school? ES: AF: ur best or met your goal? ES: When she each time when we come in the morning, she would always write it down on the AF: Does your teacher have the same expe ctation for all students in the class? ES: better readers so if that person is embarrassed she will keep it a secret. AF: I see. Does she have high expectations fo r all the kids? Does she think all kids can learn and do their best? ES: Yes. AF: How do you know? ES: AF: What else does she do? How do you know that she believes everyone can accom plish their goals? ES: subject, then she will always ask that student to help the other student because she always thinks the kids will explain it better. AF: Tell me about your culture. ES: culture and if we have traditions she does let us express that to everybody else because she wants us to come together just like a family and accept everybody because she wants us to be prepared for life and how life is. AF: How is life? What is life like? ES: People are always going to be different. You never know who you are going to run into. You always want to be prepared beca AF: Interesting. Has your teacher ever spoken with your parents? ES: No. AF: Would you like your parent to have a conference with your teacher? ES: I guess so. AF: Yeah? Why would you like that?
124 ES: Because my parents really want me to succeed in school, and even if I have a cold or something they help me to get through the cold so that I can come back to school cuz they put education AF: Do you think you would do better or worse if your teacher and your parent had a meeting and talked about you? ES: I think I would work better b grades and so they can like talk to me about it and they could also help me to learn about it. AF: Those are all the questions I have for now. Is there anything else you would like to add? ES: No. AF: Thank you. (End audio record.)
125 APPENDIX L STUDENT FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (CASE D) Names have not been used to protect the identity of participants. (AF = Abigail Fuller, interviewer; S 1 = first s tudent, S2= second student, S3= third student, Case D). AF: When I interviewed you individually you guys told me that you think your teacher is fun, can you tell me why you think your teacher is fun? What kinds of things does she do? S1: She does homewor k heroes where if we have homework three weeks in a row or five weeks in a AF: What kinds of things does she buy you? S1: Direction. AF: What else makes her fun? S 2 : She, she um, we have a prize box and when your birthday comes she lets you pick out the prize something out the prize box. AF: W hen it comes to reading, math, science, writing, how does she make learning fun? S2: In science she makes it fun because she like gives us treats for experiments and like in science lot of things, instead of letting just one turns. AF: You mean materials? S2: Yes. AF: Ok. Alright, well also when I interviewed you individually yesterd ay you all told me about your culture and you all have a different culture. Thank you for sharing that. Does your teacher know about your culture? S1: Yes. S3: Yes. AF: How does she find that out? S2: She asks questions to learn about us, like what do we do in Cuba. Like she might ask us what did we do on a long break, or over Christmas break, where did we go and things that we shared. So AF: How else does she find out about your culture? S1: AF: I saw that by the rea ding table. Anything else? How does she get to know your culture?
126 S3: In social studies. AF: How does she get to know your culture? S3: Cuz in social studies, when it comes to social studies, everybody raises their hands to talk about culture and she lets us. AF: Would you like your teacher to know more about your culture? S3: Yes. S1: Yes. S2: Yes. AF: How do you think she can learn more about your culture? S2: Um, I think maybe like having more games on culture so other kids can learn about other cultures. AF: How else? S3: She can know more about my culture, like whenever on the walls, we could have different types of languages on it. We can make a poster. Anytime like now we read a book in Spanish, she wants the get to learn different languages. AF: Do you like to talk about your culture with other people or keep it to yourself? S2: I kinda like to keep it to myself. I kinda lik e to share it sometimes. I like to share it b/c I also want AF: Is your culture special to you? S2: Yes S1: Yes. S3: Yes. AF: Why? S3: My culture is special to me be c ause kinda like home to me. My culture is most important to me I love it b/c I get to speak the my dad teaches me and my grandma. AF: Any other reasons? S1: My place is special to me be c ause to be. AF: Why?
127 S1: Be c ause ching me it. c ause AF: So why is it more comfortable for you? S1: All of my family is still there. AF: Do you go and visit? S1: AF: What do you guys want your teacher, your friends, even your Principal to know about your culture? S1: To explore new langu a ges, and learn about other people. I want my principal to know about me AF: What do they know? S1: about me. AF: What culture does your teacher focus on or show in the classroom? S3: Mostly she focus o n English and Indian cultures be c ause t focus on one main culture, she focuses on all of the cultures, and compare and contrast them. AF: S3: No. AF: Do you think your teacher thinks your culture is important? S3: Yes. S2: Yes. S1: Yes. AF: Why do you think that? S1: Sometimes be c ause t. I wanna go there sometime. be c ause about our cultures like show us she care about what we do, if we wanna go to college, about our AF: What do you think? S2: AF: Now I want you to tell me a little bit more about your teacher. When I tell you, I want you to shout out one wo rd to me that describes your teacher. Ready. Go.
128 S1, S2, S3: Nice, supportive, cool, awesome, kind, loud, care for another, very smart, has a squeaky creepy b/c sometimes she stares at us with her eyes wide open, fast talking, organized. AF: You guys mentioned today and in your other interviews, that she cared for you. That she showed she cared for you and can you tell me about it? S3: She cared b/c when I went into the bathroom to throw up she cared and she send me to the nurse so she really cared. AF: Thank you. Some other examples? S2: When, if you were in the National Honor Socie ty, which I am and you had a big event coming up either perform or whatever it is. AF: How do you know she cares about you with that? S2: Be c ause one time w hen we were doing a ceremony here for the NHS, she was sitting right next th grade. I went with her and like she helped her with the tooth. A F: Any other examples of how you guys know she cares about you? S3: sit there. AF: Ok. Any other examples? S1: Yeah. If someone bullies us or something she goes speaks with their teacher or the office or AF: So when I asked you guys yesterday about parent conferences, you guys said your parents S3: But mine spoke over the phone. AF: What about open house or meet the teacher? S2: Mine were here for that. S3: No. AF: What about student led conferences? S3: AF: So when I interviewed you last time you all said that you would like for your parents to come in or talk on the phone. Why is that important that you want your parent and your teacher to have kind of a relationship of involvement?
129 S1: doing awesome. AF: So how does that help you? S3: So my parents can, well she sends this certificates home and the parents be so glad and we get AF: So why else do you think it is important for your parents and your teachers to be involved? S2: they can help me. AF: S2: need to know. AF: Do you think kids do better o r worse or the same when their parents talk to the teacher? S3: I agree with her be c ause talked to her in a while. AF: S3: Yeah. AF: And what do you thin k? S1: do better if the teacher calls their mom. AF: Why do they do better? S1: Because your parents are probably going to sit down and tell you n ot t o do this and study and say have to do better in school. AF: So yesterday you guys said that your teacher had a high expectation for you and thinks you can do your best. How do you know that? S3: I know that because she always like gives us quizzes that might be closer, similar to the FCAT or the benchmark. AF: But how do you know? S3: Be c ause she try to pass all our tests. AF: But how do you know that she knows you can pass it? S2: pushing us. pushing us and pushing us till we get it. Yeah, reach our goal.
130 AF: Ok, is there anything else you all would like to tell me? S1: No. S2: Huh uh. (End audio record .)
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134 BIO GRAPHICAL SKETCH Abigail L. Fuller was born in Beaver, P A T he daughte r of Robert and Kathleen Onuska, Abigail is the second of four children and attended Rochester Area High School She moved to Naples, FL in 200 5 to teach first grade after attaining her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in e lementary e ducation and d ance with a minor concentration in s pecial e ducation from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. While teaching elementary school, she also attended Florida Gulf Coast Un iversity, where she received her Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in educational l eadership in 2007. Abigail is employed as an Intervention Support Specialist and Compliance Liaison at a Title I funded elementary school in Collier County. Her certificati ons include: Educational Leadership K 12, Exceptional Student Education, Elementary Education K 6, preK through 3 rd grade, and Physical Education. She has taught first and fifth grades, and has experience teaching in inclusive settings. She is a member of Collier County Excepti onal Student Education Advisory Committee She resides in Naples with her husband Isaac, and their daug hter, Noelle (2) Aside from working and studying, she enjoys attending church, entertaini ng family and friends, and volunteering for The Naples Players community theatre group, The Naples Shelter for Abused Women and Children, and the Make a Wish Foundation Upon completion of her Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program in May 2014 Abigail wi ll continue her role in public education, and hopes to conduct further research in the areas of student perception of t cultural mismatch between students and teac hers, the role of race in schools and related social justice issues