NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED535244
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 177
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-6103-9
Elementary School Teachers and Students Living in Poverty: Teacher Understanding and Pedagogy
McSheehy, Slade R.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Washington State University
The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the level of cultural proficiency and culturally responsive pedagogy of elementary school teachers who teach in schools that are predominantly White and have a majority of students who receive free and reduced lunch. Using Lindsey, Robert, & Campbell-Jones' theoretical framework of Cultural Proficiency and Irvine and Armento's framework of Culturally Responsive Strategies, this study explored whether the teachers' attitudes and practices were indicative of cultural proficiency or whether they were indicative of cultural destructiveness, culturally incapacity, or cultural blindness. This qualitative study used a modified approach to Seidman's three interview process. Twelve elementary teachers from three different schools were interviewed two times. The first interview focused on teachers' life histories. The second interview focused on the broad question, "What do elementary teachers working in predominantly White low-income communities say about their work?" The findings from this study suggest that teachers working in predominantly low-income non-minority communities view their varied life experiences as assets in their work. This study also draws attention to the positive and negative roles of the teachers' learned values. The values teachers learned in their childhood impact how they teach low SES non-minorities. Teachers in this study had received little or no training on poverty and its impact on schools. In addition, this study highlights the differences between culturally unskilled teachers and culturally adept teachers. Skill levels in cultural proficiency determined whether teachers were described as culturally unskilled or culturally adept. Culturally unskilled teachers neglected demographics or viewed them as a challenge. They used stereotypes to describe their students living in poverty. Culturally unskilled teachers' built classrooms based on a tolerance for diversity. Culturally adept teachers used demographics to inform their practice. They esteemed the diversity in their classrooms as well as leveraged low SES students' strengths. These teachers created classrooms different from classrooms based on tolerance. Their classrooms were transforming towards equity. Culturally adept teachers used five essential culturally responsive strategies in their classrooms. These teachers built positive relationships, developed personal meaning for students, promoted individual empowerment, set high expectations, and created learning communities. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A