Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Tammy Slater


This study investigates what schoolteachers think they need to know about their students in order to successfully teach them. From a particular context of teachers in an urban Midwest school district, the perceptions of local practicing teachers were compared to a model constructed from literature and research on culturally relevant pedagogy, a field that centers on bridging the gap between home and school cultures so that all students may be academically successful, not just those students whose cultures coincide more closely to school culture. Four main knowledge areas were identified and used as the model for this study's methods: Language and Communication knowledge, Instructional knowledge, Culture and Community knowledge, and Critical Perspectives knowledge. Drawing from these four areas, teachers were asked for their perceptions of the knowledge they need regarding their ethnically diverse students through the use of a survey and follow-up interviews. The data were analyzed to see how important teachers viewed the knowledge and how familiar they were with the knowledge. The findings are beneficial in regards to identifying areas of culturally relevant teaching knowledge that may need more attention in this particular context of teachers responding to a diverse student population. Implications and recommendations for professional development are given for teaching ethnically diverse students. The research questions guiding this study are the following:

1. How familiar are teachers with the types of knowledge that the literature suggests they need to know about their culturally diverse students in order for successful culturally relevant teaching to occur?

2. How important are these types of knowledge to teachers?

3. Do teachers view their own knowledge base of and adaptability to ethnically diverse students as partially the reason behind their academic success or failure? 


Copyright Owner

Anna Maria McCourt



File Format


File Size

282 pages

Included in

Linguistics Commons