Author

Julia Morin

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS); Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Childhood Education and Care; Psychology

First Advisor

Megan Schumaker-Murphy

Second Advisor

Anne Noonan

Abstract

The K-12 student population in the United States is becoming increasingly more diverse in terms of the cultural, linguistic, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds of its students, with the racial identity of the students being of particular interest to researchers now that students of color make up around 50% of the school children population (Pennington, 2003). Numerous studies in this area have indicated that in order to meet the learning needs of a diverse student body and make their educational experience more equitable, a teacher must take on a culturally responsive teaching approach. This teaching approach to education has proven to be effective with students from various backgrounds as it builds on both the strengths and learning capacity of the individual student; and creates an expectation for teachers to take responsibility for their students` success, communicate high behavioral and academic expectations address their implicit biases, and work on relationship building and trust within their classroom (Souto-Manning, 2018). However, White people account for almost 90% of both teachers and teacher students in America (Ladson-Billings, 1999), and countless studies have reported that these teachers are ill- prepared to become a culturally responsive teacher, let along be able to address their implicit biases (Jett, 2012). Since the Massachusetts school system is currently seeing an increase in the diversity of its student population, as well as serious issues with segregation making it more likely for teachers to have a class where most of its` children identify as minority students (Rocheleau, 2017), an early childhood teacher preparation college in the area was observed, specifically Salem State University. The courses within the teacher preparations were examined, specifically for the purpose of finding how embedded a culturally responsive pedagogy was in the required courses for graduation. The study then gives recommendations about how to weave culturally responsive teaching and/or principles of culturally responsive teaching throughout the courses within the program, so pre-service teachers will be professionally trained to be culturally responsive educators in their future schools.

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