Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Chantee Earl

Second Advisor

Dr. Pier Junor Clarke

Third Advisor

Dr. Martin Norgaard


This study examined the impact culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) on the continued participation of African American male chorus students in a choral classroom. Many high school choral directors have difficulty recruiting, motivating, and retaining male students in their choral classrooms. However, this study researched five 11th and 12th grade African American male students who continued to participate in my choral program. These students were freshman and sophomores when I became their new chorus teacher at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. I collected, analyzed, and compared data generated from interviews with each student participant. Researchers such as Ladson-Billings (1995; 2009; 2014), Gay (2002), Howard (2001; 2003; 2013), Kim and Pulido (2015), and others prescribe a theory of CRP as a recommended teaching strategy for African American students and students from cultures different from that of the teacher. This qualitative study using components of narrative inquiry to elicit stories from these five African American male participants (11th and 12th grade), determined that CRP had a significant impact on their motivation to continue participating in chorus.

Data was collected using the following protocols: semi-structured interviews, teacher lesson plans, choral handbook, curriculum mapping, concert repertoire, and parent emails. After a three week investigation, the goal was to successfully answer the following research question: To what extent has culturally relevant pedagogy influenced (or not) the continued participation of high school African American male chorus students in a choral classroom? During the narrative inquiry method of this study, the participants reflected on their high school choral experiences over the past three years and how those experiences impacted their continued participation in chorus. The data analysis process revealed several emergent themes between the five study participants. There were seven common themes shared between the study participants that matched tenets of CRP. However, the study revealed additional themes not related to CRP tenets.

The study revealed that a positive classroom environment could have lasting impacts on students. Four of the study participants expressed the desire to continue participating in music in some capacity beyond high school. This research expands on current empirical studies regarding CRP and teaching strategies to best educate African American students. Ladson-Billings (2014) expanded on her earlier research recommending that CRP is a teaching theory designed to equip teachers to best educate students from various cultures.

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