Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (EdD)


Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum

First Advisor

Dr. Kim Cheek

Second Advisor

Dr. Pamela Williamson

Third Advisor

Dr. Wanda Lastrapes

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Derrick Robinson


Teacher preparation program agendas include culturally responsive teaching (CRT) due to the student diversity in modern elementary classrooms. Overwhelmingly, White, middle-class English-speaking women who may not completely understand their students' cultural backgrounds are teachers in those culturally diverse classrooms. In schools where Eurocentric values, assumptions, beliefs, and methodologies are being taught, many students of color are not performing well academically. Black teachers and teachers with a good understanding of students' cultural experiences and backgrounds have higher expectations and counter the racial stereotypes about Black students. This multiple case study examined how two teacher interns understand Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) and the influence of experiences inside and outside their teacher preparation program on their CRT understanding and self-efficacy for teaching Black elementary students. One intern was from a Predominately White Institution (PWI), and the other was from a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Each intern was interviewed twice and submitted a lesson plan they thought demonstrated their use of CRT. Data was analyzed inductively to determine themes, and then themes were aligned to Geneva Gay's CRT essential elements. Though the participants were from two different ethnic backgrounds and preparation programs, there were some similar experiences they believed prepared them to teach Black students. Results indicated that the participants’ experiences outside of teacher preparation influenced their cultural diversity knowledge base and ability to demonstrate cultural caring and build a learning community. Those two essential elements also contributed to their self-efficacy within the teacher preparation program, along with cross-cultural communication and cultural congruity in classroom instruction. Limitations included time restraints of the semester, which limited the number of cases and recruitment efforts. A general implication for PWI and HBCU and specific implications for the respective institution type are provided.