Date of Award

Fall 12-8-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Chair

Lilian H. Hill

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 3

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Ann E. Blankenship

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Abstract

This study used a quantitative approach to measure Mississippi secondary teachers’ understanding and their extent of using culturally relevant pedagogy to increase students’ literacy performance, specifically African American males. The researcher identified school districts with 50% or more African American students. The data collected in this study was used to compare reading high growth (40%) school teachers’ use of culturally relevant pedagogical teaching approaches to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in their understanding and frequency of using culturally relevant pedagogy to increase students’ reading performance. A 38-statement survey instrument was adapted from McKinley’s Strategies and Behaviors of Effective Teachers to quantitatively assess teacher perceptions and barriers experienced with embedding culturally relevant pedagogy into their classroom instruction. Two 5-point scales ranging from unimportant to very important and never to always were used to rate specific culturally significant teaching practices and measure teachers’ frequency of using culturally relevant strategies in their classroom. To test the hypotheses generated in this study, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine statistical significance.

The findings indicated that high and low performing school teachers reported that implementing nonverbal cues such as gestures and presentation style when communicating with students was the most important culturally relevant pedagogical practice for implementing in the classroom. But, technology was the most frequently used culturally relevant teaching approach that teachers used (n= 52) in almost all or in every class. The results from this study revealed that there was no statistically significant difference between high and low growth school teachers’ responses in their understanding or use of culturally relevant pedagogy. Research findings showed that culturally relevant pedagogy is important for increasing minority students’ achievement.

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