Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Michael J. Wavering

Committee Member

Mounir A. Farah

Second Committee Member

Felicia F. Lincoln

Third Committee Member

Christian Z. Goering

Abstract

The purpose of this study was exploring seventh, eighth, and ninth grade teachers' attitudes and beliefs in response to classroom diversity and how that is reflected on their instruction, learning styles, communication patterns, instrumental materials, and assessment patterns in math, science, and social studies subject areas. In this mixed-method research, the designed survey consisted of 59 questions based on Likert scale and obtained information of ten demographic factors. The survey was delivered in two formats (online link and hard copy) to the participating schools in three urban school districts in a Mid-South State. The survey data were analyzed by using both frequency distribution to report descriptive statistics and percentages, and analysis of variance (ANOVA) techniques to identify possible significant differences related to the demographic factors.

Face-to-face semi-structured interview and classroom observation instruments were employed to collect the data provided by teachers who completed the survey and agreed to be interviewed and observed in practice. The interview instrument consists of ten open-ended

questions, while the interviews and observations were transcribed and coded for further analysis and presented under each theme in order to provide more comprehensive data and better understanding of the teachers' attitudes and beliefs.

The results showed the attitudes reported by the participant teachers on seven main themes namely value student's culture and language, inclusion, teachers' beliefs, teachers' expectations, training and preparation, learning needs, and teaching methods/teacher-student communication patterns. These themes were developed and modified essentially to serve the purpose of this research that were found to be effective as suggested by literature and previous researches.

The analyzed results identified the teachers' positive and negative attitudes. The participants exhibited positive attitudes reflected their awareness, understanding, and appreciation of culturally and linguistically divers (CLD) students' cultures, experiences, and

language. They welcomed CLD students' inclusion in their subject area classrooms, and held high expectations for all of their students. Simultaneously, they exhibited negative attitudes

towards integrating multicultural contents, assessment patterns, utilizing students' first language, applying different learning styles, using different communications patterns, and meeting the different learning needs of CLD students. Additionally, the results identified some significant differences related to the demographic factors.

In conclusion, the research findings identified some possible issues behind teachers' negative attitudes to serve this population of students. In addition, limitations and suggestions for future research were presented.