Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Randall F Clemens

Second Advisor

Stephen Kotok

Third Advisor

Catherine C DiMartino


With Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, the policymakers continued to emphasize both excellence and equity for the students with high learning standards for their pathways to college (Darrow, 2016). Despite increased attention, national statistics showed that the student achievement gap between ELLs and non-ELLs had not been closed since 1998. To better understand the current status of such student academic achievement gap and provide support to ELLs who were from different cultures, the study incorporated the work of Gay and Ladson-Billings and examined factors influencing student learning. Utilizing a phenomenological methodology, this study was designed to acquire a better understanding of the culturally responsive attitudes and practices of teachers and their influences on the student-teacher relationship, classroom culture, and Korean ELLs’ learning experiences. Through the purposive sampling procedure, the researcher recruited all Korean ELL students and all possible teacher populations related to Korean ELLs’ learning. The data was collected through a series of student and teacher interviews, observations, and student focus group sessions. The study aimed to explain the significance of teachers’ culturally responsive teaching on the student-teacher relationship, classroom culture, and students’ perceptions of their language learning experiences. This study would be significant to the field since Korean ELLs were overlooked due to the high achieving of non-ELL Asian students.