Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

First Advisor

Aisha Haynes

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore how teachers perceive the impact of socioeconomic class and culture on student/teacher interactions and to identify specific strategies that may be implemented to bridge cultural divides between students and teachers. To do this I employed a qualitative action research design incorporating semi-structured interviews, recorded dialogue, and researcher generated questionnaires. Together with two collaborating teachers, I examined teacher views of sociocultural influences on student/teacher interactions and identified cross-cultural strategies to implement in bridging sociocultural divides between students and teachers.

Study participants reported that participation in interviews and group dialogue made them more aware of how socioeconomic class and culture can create barriers to effective student/teacher interactions. Qualitative analysis of data revealed that study participants felt that socioeconomic and class differences between students and teachers presented both challenges and opportunities. Personal relationships were viewed by study participants as an important means of developing trust and overcoming sociocultural divides. Strategies identified for implementation were seen by participants as supporting student/teacher exchanges and building of relationships. Selected strategies include student authored autobiographies, narrative writing on cultural themes, arts-based exercises, and student/teacher dialogue.

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