Date of Award

Spring 3-25-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Leadership

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Clegorne

Second Advisor

Dr. Chinasa Elue

Third Advisor

Dr. Cathey Goodgame


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenographical study was to investigate high school teachers’ perceptions of cultural inclusion and the impact of teacher identity on the level of cultural inclusion in the classroom. This research study utilized semi-structured one-on-one interviews as the primary source of data and participant surveys and researcher notes taken during the interviews as the secondary sources. This study sought to address two research questions: (1) What can we learn from teachers' experiences at a southeastern suburban high school regarding the post-COVID perceptions of cultural inclusion in the classroom? (2) How does teacher identity affect cultural inclusion in the classroom?

The research questions that guided the study encouraged the participants to share their perceptions of their personal identity, teacher identity, culture, and cultural inclusion along with their lived experiences that inform these interpretations. The prominent themes that emerged from the data were: Application of Culture in the Classroom, Definitions of Culture, Concept of Identity, Application of Identity in the Classroom, and Barriers to Cultural Inclusion. The findings were interpreted through the lens of this study’s theoretical and conceptual frameworks, which included the Self-Efficacy Theory, the Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Theory, and the Social Construction of Reality Theory. Implications for future research and practice were also discussed.