Virtual Connections: Teacher Beliefs and Practices Enacting Culturally Relevant Practices in a Virtual Freedom School


Secondary and Middle Grades Education

Document Type


Publication Date



Despite well-documented benefits for students—particularly students belonging to minorized groups—all tenets of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) are rarely fully enacted in practice. This study examines the interrelationship between the race-related beliefs of Servant Leader Interns (SLIs) who facilitated class sessions during a summer, Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom School program and their subsequent instructional practices. We also documented the relationship between these beliefs, practices, and students’ self-reported experiences. In particular, we drew on the interest convergence and understanding of racism tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) to inform our grounded theory analysis using constant comparative methods to integrate data collected through SLI interviews, virtual classroom observations, and student surveys. We observed high alignment between SLI’s race-related beliefs and their instructional practices. However, despite some slightly more positive experiences among students taught by SLIs with more evolved race-related beliefs, ultimately many of the same programmatic structures that helped SLIs deepen their understanding of racism (and its connection to their lives) ensured that all students benefited from the enactment of CRP-aligned curriculum, assignments, and family involvement activities.

Journal Title

Urban Review

Journal ISSN


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)