Teacher Perceptions of a Culturally Responsive Classroom

Laura Sundberg, Augsburg College


Through the use of qualitative research methods, and a literature review of multiple scholars, this paper explored teacher perceptions of culturally responsive classrooms. The intent of qualitative research methods is to describe and clarify human experiences as it appears in people's lives (Polkinghorne,2005). Geneva Gay (as cited in Bazron, et. al. 2005, p. l) defines culturally responsive teachings in the following way: "using the cultural knowledge, prior experience, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning more relevant and effective for them." For the purpose of this study, teachers were interviewed to gain insight about how they viewed culture, how they regarded the importance of being culturally responsive, and how creating a classroom that is culturally responsive provides all students with an equal learning opportunity. Five teachers at a school in Northern, VA participated in this study to discuss their perceptions of a culturally responsive classroom. Seven themes emerged from the findings. The themes were: culturally responsive curriculum, academic and social benefits of a culturally relevant curriculum/classroom, culturally responsive classroom resources, barriers of creating culturally relevant classroom, facilitators of creating culturally relevant classrooms, creating home-school connections, and the importance of administrative support.