Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Amy Donnelly


Culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995a; Gay, 2010) and culturally sustaining pedagogy (Paris, 2012; Paris & Alim, 2014; Ladson-Billings, 2014) are urgent needs in classrooms because of the diverse student population teachers serve. This research is grounded in critical race theory (CRT) (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Bell 1995) and culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) (Gay, 2010; Gay & Howard, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 1995a & 1995b) as lenses to interrogate a White pre-service teacher’s internship in the United States and a study abroad (Cushner, 2007; Keengwe, 2010; Malewski, Sharma, & Phillion, 2012) experience in Ecuador. During a 25 day study abroad that included daily teaching in a small, rural, community in Ecuador, along with weekend excursions around Ecuador, a White pre-service teacher and White researcher engaged in learning about culturally relevant practices. Upon returning to America, the researcher studied what impact, if any, the study abroad experience had on a pre-service teacher's implementation of culturally relevant practices during a pre-service teacher internship and the researcher’s understanding of culturally relevant pedagogy. The researcher acted as the pre-service teacher’s supervisor (Faltis, 2011; Akbasli, 2010) and worked alongside her. This qualitative (Lincoln and Guba, 1985), two-part, study spanned study abroad and an individual's teaching internship in a Title One school. The three findings that emerged from a qualitative analysis provided evidence about how culturally relevant pedagogy develops and the struggles, including grappling (Jiang & DeVillar, 2011; Killick, 2012; Bennett, 2004), that occurred during the processes of sustaining children’s culture in the classroom while supporting their learning. The study also considers the stages (Bennett, 2004; Hammer, Bennett, & Wiseman, 2003; Helms, 2014; Banks, 1981) of an individual's becoming culturally relevant. The research concludes with implications for university faculty and pre-service teacher supervisors and ways pre-service teachers can develop their culturally relevant pedagogy.


© 2014, Melanie G. Keel

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