Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Jose W. Lalas, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Greg Hamilton, Ed.D.

Christopher Hunt, Ed.D.


education, culturally relevant curriculum, student engagment


Educational Leadership


This dissertation begins using Pierre Bourdieu (1979b), Gloria Ladson-Billings (2009), and Jean Anyon (1980) as a theoretical framework to examine how culturally relevant curriculum influences student engagement. This qualitative study utilized narrative inquiry to examine the effect of culturally relevant curriculum and student engagement. Four research questions were used in interviews of students, parents, teachers, and administrators, and were as follows: To what extent does culturally relevant literature influence student engagement with academic material in fourth grade? What common themes related to culturally relevant curriculum emerge when observing and listening to authentic voices of parents and fourth graders? Based on research findings of this study, what curricular and instructional recommendations can be made related to the influence of culturally relevant curriculum on student engagement in fourth grade? Does culturally relevant literature engage students more than traditional curriculum in a fourth- grade classroom? Social and cultural capital is demonstrated through all three themes of school culture, curriculum, and instruction. Used as a tool to guide pedagogy, teachers and administrators were able to form trusting relationships allowing for more behavioral and affective student engagement. Using authentic voices from the 14 interviews, two themes emerged from school culture, including relationships and identity; three themes emerged from curriculum, including making connections, human resources, and physical resources; and three themes emerged from instruction, including communication, support, and interactive environments.


© Angela Duran

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781339946207