Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Michael Sampson

Second Advisor

Lisa Bajor


The goal in this qualitative phenomenological study was to discover the experiences of middle school teachers as they pertain to culturally responsive pedagogy, student engagement, and student growth. Participants who taught culturally diverse students in Grades 6–8 were recruited from public charter middle schools in an urban district in the mid-Atlantic region. The study was guided by three research questions focused on teachers’ knowledge of culturally responsive pedagogy and its impact on student engagement and achievement within the classroom. The research questions were answered using a combination of instruments, including a short-answer demographic questionnaire, open-ended interviews, follow-up interviews, a researcher journal, field notes, audio recordings, and video recordings designed to gain rich data about the lived experiences of the participants in relation to the nature of the study. Research findings indicate building student relationships, curriculum autonomy or flexibility, and providing students with exposure were the emergent concepts for the culturally responsive teacher participants. Implications are that culturally responsive pedagogy can support student engagement and achievement among culturally diverse learners.

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