Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Dr. Shonda Lemons-Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Pier A. Junor Clarke

Third Advisor

Dr. Teri Peitso-Holbrook


This qualitative study explored the experiences of teachers implementing culturally responsive teaching practices within four upper elementary mathematics classrooms. The teachers self-identified as being culturally responsive teachers who attended a voluntary district training on culturally responsive teaching. The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of upper elementary mathematics teachers' implementation of culturally responsive teaching. The research questions addressed were: In what ways do upper elementary mathematics teachers describe their understanding of culturally responsive teaching? How do upper elementary mathematics teachers negotiate culturally responsive teaching practices in their classrooms? This narrative inquiry allowed the researcher to co-construct stories with the participants about their experiences facilitating culturally responsive teaching in 3rd-5th grade mathematics classrooms. The data collection consisted of multiple semi-structured teacher interviews with open-ended interview questions, in combination with analyzing the researcher and participants' journals, classroom observation notes, and classroom documents to describe the experiences of each teacher. The researcher used the narrative approaches: thematic and performative for a thorough examination of teachers' experiences. Participants explored their understanding of culturally responsive teaching (CRT) as well as their experiences. An analysis of the data revealed that the participants' understanding of CRT included: a) cultural decontextualization of mathematics disadvantages minority learners; and b) culturally responsive teaching in mathematics is effective in promoting educational equity in diverse classrooms. The analysis further revealed that the participants negotiated CRT by: c) teaching the whole child in a positive and academically challenging environment; and d) promoting student engagement and success by in mathematics by connecting to students' lived experiences. The findings of this study have implications for school leaders and teachers who desire to support culturally responsive teachers or to become more culturally responsive in their mathematics classroom.

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