Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Secondary & Middle Grades English Education


Department of Secondary and Middle Grades Education

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Anete Vasquez

Second Advisor

Dr. Jillian Ford

Third Advisor

Dr. Kristie Smith


This qualitative study takes a phenomenograpichal interest in the experiences of students in a school district that responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by using digital tools for instruction and to support a culturally relevant learning experience. Previous research focuses on teacher beliefs and the benefits of multiliteracies as they intersect with Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, but few studies have analyzed the experiences of students who are the prime beneficiaries of culturally relevant instructional practices. The thick description in this study was aimed at optimizing student voice, especially the voices of students of color. Also, the aim of the research was to consider how digital tools may have enhanced the learning experiences of students. The voices of the students in this study were amplified as their experiences were targeted in this narrative. Student voices were also amplified in this study to reveal the instructional practices of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy that supported student learning. The research also sought to uncover practices that may deter students from participating in their learning environments as agents of change and progress. The study revealed how students process inclusivity and how personal connections can be enhanced with the intentional use of digital tools in the classroom. The study also revealed the idea that digital tools can foster the “critical critique” as part of culturally relevant pedagogies. Finally, and most significantly, the study unveiled some of the critical mishaps that occur in the classroom when students' social discourses are not regarded as assets in school environments.