Date of Award

Fall 10-10-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Julie M. McCann, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Corey McKenna, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

La’ Toya Thomas-Dixon, Ed.D.


The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the teaching experiences of White educators working with African American students in rural elementary schools. The findings offered insight into the following questions: (a) How are White teachers prepared to teach African American students? (b) What are the cultural competence abilities of White teachers at rural elementary schools? This study occurred in a predominately White community in the Midwest and involved three schools from the same district. The target group included nine White participants. Research methodology included individual interviews, researcher’s journal, and a self-assessment survey. The interviews were recorded on an iPhone and transcribed. Data analysis involved coding to identify themes related to the research questions. Through analysis, the results discovered themes that corroborated with previous research about multiculturalism and culturally-responsive teaching. The most important theme of the study is the lack of White teacher preparation programs and professional development. The results indicated that the nine participants did not feel prepared to teach African American students, nor had they received professional development. The challenge to close the opportunity gap between African American and White students will continue if White educators are not prepared to teach students from different cultures.

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