Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Vicki S. Collet

Committee Member

Kathleen Collins

Second Committee Member

Freddie A. Bowles


Cherokee, critical thinking, culturally responsive pedagogy, literacy instruction, Native American secondary students, Native American studies, secondary writing instruction, visual arts


This study focuses on the effects of culturally responsive pedagogy as it is implemented in a high school classroom with Native American students. This mixed methods case study collects, analyzes and synthesizes both quantitative and qualitative data within an overall formative and experimental design approach to measure the effects of culturally responsive pedagogy on students’ writing and their attitudes about writing. The study identified specific approaches to literacy instruction that hold promise for engaging Native students. Furthermore, findings from the study reveal the use of visual art as a particularly powerful tool that extends students’ meaning-making skills, leading to more robust, substantive writing. This study also identifies an integrative approach to place-based education and art as a catalyst for student engagement in classroom writing tasks. The study concludes with a list of suggested instructional practices for engaging high school Native students in writing and for extending student thinking through writing tasks that utilize a culturally responsive and intertextual approach.