Date of Award

Spring 3-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Bice

Second Advisor

Dr. Cindy Vitale

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of professional development on educators’ cultural awareness. Twelve teachers and six administrators from two different school districts participated in eight weeks of professional development in an attempt to improve their relationships with minority students. During eight weeks of professional development, participants took part in dialogue designed to increase their cultural awareness. The content of these sessions included (a) reading the book, The Dream Keepers (Ladson-Billings, 1994), which is about culturally relevant teachers of African American students; (b) discussing the book’s content with peers; (c) discussing topics with guest speakers; (d) discussing ethical dilemmas; (e) discussing participants’ opinions of the resources distributed during the professional development and how the resources could assist them in the educational environment; and (f) critiquing participants’ own performance using resources provided for them in the professional development. At the beginning and end of the eight weeks of the professional development, teachers and administrators in each district completed a survey on cultural awareness. This survey was designed to determine changes in personal and professional attitudes and opinions resulting from the professional development. The hypothesis of this comparative study stated that if teachers from two similar districts engage in professional development on cultural awareness, then the effects of the professional development, as evidenced by survey results, will cause them to become more culturally aware. After administering the eight weeks of professional development the study found that the participants from both districts One and Two showed a statistically significant change in their cultural awareness as evidenced by the pre and iii post intervention surveys. Of the participants completing the post surveys, most felt that they learned from the professional development and that they would be able to use the information to interact with students. The professional development on cultural awareness could be used to create cultural awareness in any school setting with similar teacher/student demographics.

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