Developing a Culturally Responsive Action Team in Teacher-Led Schools

2021. By Michael Stewart.

Situated in a majority-minority school setting, this action research study focused on developing culturally responsive teaching (CRTchg) approaches in a group of Caucasian teacher leaders. Highly qualified teachers who determined the curriculum, professional development, assessments, and school-level policies were leading two alternative schools, but this group of predominantly majority teachers had difficulty relating to their African-American and Hispanic students and fostering student learning. Specifically, the intervention provided methods to encourage and support them on their journey towards implementing CRTchg. I developed interactive professional development workshops to introduce concepts from servant leadership. Additionally, I used culturally responsive school leadership and critical race theory as part of the professional development process to promote the implementation of CRTchg and foster a sense of self-efficacy for its use. In the study, I used a mixed-methods approach that included surveys, reflective journals, and interviews to gather data to determine how and to what extent professional development sessions for these teacher leaders affected their perspectives and teaching styles with respect to CRTchg. To understand better these effects, I explored six constructs including servant leadership listening; servant leadership awareness; servant leadership empathy; servant leadership building community; using CRTchg; and self-efficacy for employing CRTchg. Quantitative results indicated teacher leaders scores on the four servant leadership variables, increased significantly indicating they were more aware of cultural matters, listened more closely to students, were more empathetic, and engaged to a greater extent in building community with their students. Additionally, quantitative data showed significant increases in teacher leaders use of CRTchg and their self-efficacy for its use. Results from the qualitative data were consistent with those from the quantitative data and exhibited a high degree of complementarity, pointing to the same conclusions. Notably, as they progressed through the workshops, teacher leaders questioned educational and cultural assumptions that influenced their instructional practices and revised them as they began to implement CRTchg, which made their instructional practices more meaningful to students. The discussion focused on the complementarity of the data, understanding the results, limitations, implications for practice, implications for research, and personal lessons learned.

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