Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Joel Meyers

Second Advisor

Kenneth Rice

Third Advisor

Don E. Davis

Fourth Advisor

Emily Graybill


Though cultural humility is emerging as an important quality for helping professionals across many fields of research, it has been minimally explored in the context of primary and secondary education settings. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the implications of cultural humility for the professional development of teachers and to investigate the impact of cultural humility for teachers who instruct children with cultural backgrounds that differ from their own. A theoretical argument for incorporating cultural humility into teacher professional development programs is presented. This theoretical perspective is examined by extending a recent systematic review of research on inservice training to address teacher cultural responsiveness by incorporating the construct of cultural humility into this review. Review findings suggest that while the literature on teacher professional development for cultural responsiveness is growing, there are still many methodological and theoretical concerns that limit the evidence-based nature of this type of professional development for teachers. A key finding is that cultural humility may be a construct that can strengthen the research and practice of professional development addressing culturally responsive teaching.

To further investigate the potential importance of cultural humility in education, an empirical study was designed to develop a data base about the importance of cultural humility for teachers who instruct students with cultural backgrounds different from their own. An adapted measure of cultural humility was used along with measures of teacher-students relationships and externalizing behavior. Data were collected in a racially and socioeconomically diverse school district. Students were asked rate their teacher’s cultural humility as well as the quality of their relationship with the teacher. Results suggested that teacher cultural humility is a statistically significant, positive moderator of the relationship between students’ perceptions of teacher-student relationship quality and externalizing behavior. The magnitude of the moderating effect was significantly stronger with boys. Implications are considered for research and the development of strategies to use cultural humility to promote culturally responsive teacher student relationships with students from culturally diverse backgrounds.


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