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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




School of Education and Human Services


As the demographics of the United States continue to diversify, teachers must implement culturally responsive instruction in their classrooms to reach all students. This qualitative case study used the theoretical framework of Ladson-Billings’ culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) to examine how a White, Advanced Placement English teacher selected class literature, how her class of mostly 12th-grade students of color (one White student) responded to the book Native Son by Richard Wright, how the students saw themselves in the characters, and how they expressed their feelings during class discussions and assignments. The data collection was composed of teacher interviews, interview transcripts, classroom observations during the Native Son unit, student focus groups, and observational field notes. The teacher developed numerous effective teaching approaches for her ethnically and culturally diverse student body, allowing her students to make cultural connections through a variety of literary genres. The teacher felt that she chose culturally responsive literature with great care for her students. Several students believed that the teacher genuinely cared about them and took great measures to select culturally responsive literature that reflected their culture, identity, and life experiences. Still, others felt that the book selections did not represent them or their cultures because there were no authors of Latinx descent. Also, most students expressed frustration with society and what they saw as the perpetuation of systematic racism, societal stereotypes, and inequality in their community and beyond. This study’s findings show implications that underline the value of adolescents perceiving themselves in literature through a positive perspective and the significance of teachers using culturally relevant practices in daily instruction.

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