Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Swafford, Jeanne

Committee Member

Durrington, Vance

Committee Member

Adams, James

Committee Member

Tompkins, Renarta

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Educational Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems, Leadership and Workforce Development


The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore and analyze the nature of and rationale for classroom pedagogical and management strategies used by two effective female, Caucasian teachers who taught predominantly low socioeconomic, African American students. Teachers’ perceptions about the cultural and linguistic differences between low socioeconomic African American students and themselves were studied, as well as how these differences influenced their teaching and management strategies. Ladson-Billings’ (1994) work on culturally relevant pedagogy and Weinstein, Curran, and Tomlinson-Clarke’s (2003) and Brown’s (2003) models on culturally responsive classroom management served as conceptual frameworks for this study. Qualitative data were collected using classroom observations and teacher interviews. Findings from the study indicated that these two teachers built positive, mutually respectful relationships with their students to better understand their students on a personal level, delivered explicit behavioral expectations and classroom lessons, taught students the importance and applicability of lessons, demanded quality student performance, and possessed high expectations for student achievement. Both teachers selected pedagogical and classroom management strategies based on the individual academic needs of the students. Nevertheless, these teachers had difficulty identifying cultural and linguistic differences between themselves and their students. Therefore, cultural and linguistic differences did not directly influence teaching strategies they selected. However, these teachers inadvertently used culturally relevant pedagogical strategies without being aware of their own cultures and their students’ cultures. Finally, these teachers did not understand the important role that students’ cultures play in the classroom. Contrary to the findings of previous research, this study demonstrated that effective Caucasian female teachers do not need to understand the general cultural characteristics of African American students. However, on a specific individual basis, if the Caucasian female teacher understands the child, then she can successfully utilize pedagogical and classroom management strategies that will ensure the child’s academic success.