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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Poonam Arya


This research was based on culturally relevant pedagogy, a teaching method that promotes academic and cultural achievement in environments where student dissatisfaction and antagonism are prevalent. Educational accomplishment, cultural competence, and social consciousness were the foundations of this philosophy (Ladson-Billings, 1994, 1995, 2009, 2014). Critical race theory was also used to inform the research (CRT). This idea enabled me to examine learning and culture from a social, racial, and historical perspective. CRT recognizes the influence of culture and history on people's perceptions.

This mixed-methods study aimed to learn about and understand the opinions of African American ELA middle school teachers concerning culturally responsive pedagogy. This study also wanted to know how these African American middle school ELA instructors use culturally appropriate pedagogy to implement literacy activities in their classrooms. The study looked at how African American teachers' ideas have been affected by their personal and professional experiences and influenced their teaching approach. The hope and intention of this study is that the insights provided by these African American ELA middle school educators will enable greater understanding and realization of the need to use culturally relevant practices in urban middle school ELA classrooms to enhance the school experiences of African American children, because the concept of culturally relevant pedagogy is on the rise in society and in many minority school districts.

The use of a case study as a research technique was judged appropriate because the goal of this study was to analyze and comprehend instructors' attitudes about culturally relevant teaching. This design allowed me to use a survey, in-depth semi-structured focus group interviews, teacher observations, and instructional artifacts to provide a thick, rich description of African American middle school teachers' beliefs about CRP and to gain insights (Glesne, 2006) into how they implement literacy practices in their ELA classrooms based on those beliefs. Five teachers were chosen in this case, and each, along with their ELA classrooms, formed a bounded system or case.

The data was triangulated, and five key themes emerged about teachers' ideas about CRP and how they execute literacy strategies based on those beliefs. They emphasized the need of 1) drawing on personal experiences to influence education, 2) having high academic standards for students, 3) utilizing relevant curricular resources, 4) recognizing and comprehending student culture, background, and surroundings, and 5) teacher reflection.

This study adds to the corpus of knowledge about teacher views, CRP, CRT, and urban education. There is a need for more research into teacher beliefs and how they influence literacy classroom activities. Exploring how teachers of all races and disciplines can become culturally relevant educators by using culturally relevant pedagogical practices and strategies in their literacy classrooms is critical for urban students and all students globally, because African American teachers play such an important role in the types of educational opportunities their African American middle school students receive in the classroom.

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