Title

Teachers, Study Circles and the Racial Achievement Gap: How One Dialogue and Action Program Helped Teachers Integrate the Competencies of an Effective Multicultural Educator

Publication Date

1-28-2007

Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Claire Halverson

Abstract

Study Circles, a dialogue and action process, brings together teachers, parents and students from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to talk about the racial achievement gap. This study asks: how does the experience of participating in Study Circles bring teachers closer to integrating the competencies of the effective multicultural educator? Using a pragmatic design, including surveys and individual interviews, this research examines how participating in Study Circles changes teachers’ skills/behavior, knowledge and attitudes. These changes are then critically evaluated through a lens which views multicultural education as a movement for social change.

Through participating in Study Circles, teachers: increased their comfort with talking about race, ethnicity and stereotypes, were inspired to improve their cultural competency, developed close relationships with parents and students, and gained insight into parents’ hopes and expectations for their children. From their improved understanding of the racial achievement gap, teachers actively involved themselves in efforts aimed at removing the racial, ethnic and linguistic barriers to student achievement.

This research may be applicable to U.S. American schools where the majority of teachers are White and/or where a racial achievement gap persists. This study may also be useful to anti-racism practitioners, staff development teachers or trainers, as well as the multicultural education, dialogue and deliberation fields.

Disciplines

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision

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