Date of Award

Fall 12-13-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Secondary Education

Department

Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Scott Ritchie

First Committee Member

Dr. Ryan Rish

Second Committee Member

Dr. Sanjuana Rodriguez

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand the cultural identities of students in a twelfth grade English language arts classroom. Additionally, this study sought to explore and to better understand how implementing culturally relevant pedagogy in the English language arts classroom may enhance students’ literacy experiences, may empower the cultural identity of students, and may shape students’ perspectives of themselves and their peers. A case study method was utilized; there were five cases: teacher, four students, and whole class. Multiple interviews, classroom discussions, and student writings were used as data. The findings show that with the implementation of culturally relevant pedagogy in the classroom, there needs to be an intentional emphasis put on building cultural competence, the second tenet of CRP. This focus leads to students’ abilities and confidence in acting on the third tenet, challenging the social structures. Additionally, cultural competence leads to a deeper level of authenticity among the students; this enabled students to really see others’ cultural identities and how they inform and influence perspectives. Further research needs to be done in more schools, with more students, and over longer periods of time.