Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Jose W. Lalas

Committee Members

CarolAnn Franklin, Ed.D.

Carole A. Cobb, Ph.D.


culturally relevant pedagogy, culturally relevant and responsive instructions, literacy, writing, multiple literacies, multiple identities, voice, African American students


African American Studies | Educational Leadership | Teacher Education and Professional Development


African American students are underperforming in public education. Unfortunately, a lack of literacy achievement is at the forefront of this issue. Within the area of literacy, writing scores of African American children are plummeting across the nation on standardized assessments. The present study was designed to inform classroom practices about writing and writing instruction within the context of culturally responsive and relevant instruction in a diverse classroom.

Through a culturally responsive and relevant instruction (CRRI) lens, this research explored the experiences of four sixth-grade classroom teachers and 147 African American and Mexican American students within a large urban California school district. Utilizing a qualitative mixed-methods design, the research was divided into mini-cases to provide a descriptive account and draw conclusions about writing instruction. The two mini-cases consisted of two CRRI trained classroom teachers and their students, and two non-CRRI classroom teachers and their students. To triangulate the results, students' writing samples were scored on standardized rubrics to compare CRRI and non-CRRI students, which provided a complete comparative picture of students' writing experience. Data gathered from teachers revealed two emerging themes: instructional practices and desired outcomes. From the instructional practices theme, three primary attributes arose, namely (1) planning and preparation, (2) instructional delivery and (3) student support. In all, CRRI teachers believed writing to be a tool of empowerment, while non-CRRI teachers viewed writing as a tool for communication. Further, CRRI teachers viewed writing as a multi-dimensional tool for expression, maintaining identity, and empowerment. Consistent with CRRI teachers, CRRI students viewed writing as a tool for personal expression and a healing experience. Non-CRRI students felt writing was used to voice feelings and creativity. Pupil responses revealed four categories: writing perceptions, challenges, successes and the use of technology.

This research provided insights into the missing voice of teachers and students in curriculum, which is a useful construct in understanding the perspectives of teachers and students about writing and writing instruction. Future research is needed that focuses on the perspective of Mexican American students and the influence of CRRI in their learning. Implications for teachers included the need for teacher education programs to explore a comprehensive cultural approach to educating teachers with writing instruction, while attending to the impact of writing instruction on gender. Further, this study implies the need for a multidimensional approach to writing that can equip teachers to educate 21st century learners.


ISBN: 9781124826363