The Role of Culturally Responsive Teaching, Multicultural Education and Teacher Self-efficacy: Am I Reaching My Students?

Numerous studies have documented the importance of the classroom teacher, the personal and professional experiences that the teacher brings to the classroom, and teacher professional development in improving schools for diverse students. Teachers with high self-efficacy feel good about themselves and their students. They feel that their work is important and that their work with students will have a positive and long lasting impact on student learning. This study examined the relationship between the possible affects that culturally relevant pedagogy and responsive teaching strategies can have on the self-efficacy of teachers in working with students of color. This qualitative study involved up to two in-depth interviews with six teachers. An analysis of the data uncovered that teachers had a lack of coursework and subsequent training in culturally responsive strategies and culturally relevant pedagogy. The study also revealed that the teachers enjoyed working with students of color and had a moderate to high sense of self-efficacy. Though the teachers encountered challenges in working with their population of students, they each felt that they could make a positive difference with their students. The results showed that although there was evidence of good teaching and pedagogical practices in these classrooms, the practices and pedagogy were not reflective of those documented in classrooms that regularly demonstrate and embed culturally responsive teaching or culturally relevant pedagogical practices that move students toward advocacy as viewed through a social justice lens. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.