Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Date of Defense

11-15-2018

Graduate Advisor

April Regester

Committee

April Regester

Carl Hoagland

Brenda Bredemeier

Theresa Coble

Abstract

All children in the United States have the right to an equitable education, regardless of gender, religion, class, race, culture, language, or dis/ability. The literature demonstrates that financial, educational, and legal outcomes are disproportionately negative for those students falling outside of white able-bodied norms and that educational institutions often perpetuate exclusive policies and practices that disproportionately impact culturally linguistically diverse students with dis/abilities. A critical examination of the sociopolitical and contextual factors that fortify the barriers faced by marginalized groups highlights the need for a culturally responsive approach to educating students with multidimensional identities.

To serve the needs resulting from the shifting demographics of today’s classroom, educators are tasked with implementing educational practices that are responsive to the unique constellation of diverse learners in their classrooms. Unfortunately, the practice of cultural responsivity is not actualized by simply following a prescribed list of strategies or implementing a specific curriculum, rather, implementation is predicated on building a critical consciousness willing to examine the cultural discord and power differential reproduced and maintained by educational and societal institutions.

This study employs the theoretical framework of Dis/Ability Critical Race Studies (DisCrit) to examine how teachers perceive their ability to implement culturally responsive educational practices (CREP) for their Culturally Linguistically Diverse (CLD) students with dis/abilities, (e.g. Emotional Disturbances, Intellectual Disabilities, and Learning Disabilities). The focus of this research is not only the experiences that inform teachers’ perceptions of preparedness to implement CREP and the actions taken by teachers to implement CREP in their classrooms, but also on the described understandings and meanings of dis/ability, race, culture and language as examined through DisCrit theory. Using qualitative research methods, interviews of twelve teachers of culturally linguistically diverse students with dis/abilities were conducted and analyzed, producing a total of eleven themes addressing the influence of life experiences, formal educational and training experiences, created meanings and understanding, and actions taken toward implementing a culturally responsive educational practice for their culturally linguistically diverse students with dis/abilities.

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