Date of Award

5-16-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Ariail - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Peggy Albers

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Flint

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Lindemann

Abstract

American and German educational systems have both experienced an increase of ethnic groups in the classrooms; however, in both countries the increase in ethnic groups is not matched by increases in the numbers of minority teachers (NEA, 2005). Therefore, challenges such as interracial tensions and conflicts, an increasing percentage of second language learners, and continuous gaps in achievement suggest that an increase in the numbers of minority teachers is imperative as the twenty-first century begins (Gay, 2000; Luchtenberg, 2004). These increases suggest a need for a more thorough understanding of minority teachers’ viewpoints as they serve as role models, mentors, and activists (Carrington & Skeleton, 2004). Two naturalistic case studies based on critical theory, critical race theory, and feminist theory will examine perspectives on, challenges of, and opportunities regarding cross-cultural issues among a German and an American minority teacher and their views on multicultural education. The following questions guided the study: 1) What are the challenges and/or support experienced by a German and an American female minority teacher who attempt to implement multicultural principles in their classrooms? 2) What are the similarities and/or differences experienced by a German and an American female minority teacher regarding the implementation of multicultural principles into their teaching practice? 3) To what extent are the teachers’ beliefs and actions shaped by their subject positions as minority females? During each two-month period of investigation, qualitative data methods such as observations, semi-structured interviews, daily field notes, lesson plans, telephone conversations, emails, and the researcher’s reflections were used to gather data. Data were analyzed using constant comparison methods (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) to identify codes and categories and to develop emergent themes. Analysis revealed following themes: life and classroom experiences, opinions related to differences and similarities, and participants’ subject positions as female. Both teachers’ experiences emphasized a culturally sensitive pedagogy toward minority students.

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