Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Yasha Jones Becton


Providing a culturally responsive learning environment that allows students and faculty to feel safe and welcomed is essential. This action research study examined the harmful impact of microaggressions in the school and how providing targeted and comprehensive professional development sessions helped faculty members be able to acknowledge and address microaggressions. The research study was conducted in a large elementary school in the northeast United States that serves approximately 800 students. The researcher worked with the school administration team to identify microaggressions as a problem of practice. The focus group interviews, and six-week professional development series aided in the participants’ journey through the conscious competence model as their understanding of microaggressions and how to acknowledge and address them helped faculty create a more culturally responsive learning community. The research study showed the positive impact of the professional development sessions on faculty being able to acknowledge and address microaggressions. The focus group interviews also identified the following themes: most student-to-student microaggressions were related to sexuality, most faculty-to-faculty microaggressions were related to race, unawareness of harmfulness of microaggressions and need for cultural responsiveness, lack of confidence in school system’s willingness to support those targeted by microaggressions, and exhaustion from dealing with microaggressions.


© 2023, Nicole Lauren Becker