It’s the Right Thing to Do: The Voices of Seven White Culturally Responsive Professors of Education
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Many scholars have noted that the lack of diversity among professors contributes to the imbalanced success rates between White students and students of color. They argue that it is important for professors to be culturally responsive so that they can understand their students’ cultural differences and how those differences impact their learning. A substantial amount of literature has been written on defining culturally responsive pedagogy and theoretical and practical approaches to reaching students of varying backgrounds. However, there is a void the voices of the experiences of White professors, which can inform others about significant issues concerning culturally responsive teaching in higher education. The goal of the study was to explore what motivates white educators to become culturally responsive, their processes of transformation and how have they transformed self and pedagogy as a result. This qualitative study focused on seven White culturally responsive professors (3 men, 4 women) who specialized in adult education, higher education and other related education fields. The researcher used thematic analysis to determine the ways in which White educators deal with the issue of race in their classroom and also other differences such as but not limited to class, gender, nationality, and language. The data revealed that there were four broad themes: personal convictions, processes of transformation, components of culturally responsive teaching and challenges to being culturally responsive. These themes highlighted the motivations of the professors to pursue cultural responsiveness as means of teaching, factors that led to their transformation, specific concentrations in their instructional practice and the internal and external difficulties they faced. The findings indicated that the participants in this study were motivated primarily out of their strong convictions about education, in particular, the belief that it was their moral obligation to be culturally responsive in order to create a better society. Secondly, the data uncovered that the influence, collaboration, and support of like-minded peers inspired and encouraged them to grow in cultural responsiveness. As the professors changed in their understanding about sociocultural differences and equality, their pedagogy transformed to match their values. The findings also suggest that White professors have experiences that are different from their colleagues of color and that culturally responsiveness requires deep reflection, critical and deliberate pedagogy and emotional stamina. The last chapter is provides implications and recommendations for future research, policy and practice.
Jenkins, China MeKel (2015). It’s the Right Thing to Do: The Voices of Seven White Culturally Responsive Professors of Education. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from