Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Culturally Responsive Instruction, Collaborative Inquiry Team, Critical Race Theory

Major Advisor

Dorothea Anagnostopoulos

Associate Advisor

Sarah L. Woulfin

Associate Advisor

Mark Kohan

Field of Study

Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)


Doctor of Education

Open Access

Open Access


This participatory action research case study examines how experienced teachers build their understanding and practice of culturally responsive instruction through participating in a collaborative inquiry team (CIT). The nation’s public schools enroll an increasing diverse student population. Culturally responsive instruction (CRI) has shown promise as a mean to raise student achievement, especially student populations from marginalized groups and cultures. This study examines whether and how participating in a CIT can support in-service teachers in developing their understanding and practice of CRI. Research questions were designed to identify the tools, resources, and processes of a collaborative community of educators that can shape teachers’ receptiveness, understanding, and practice of CRI as well as, how teachers’ racial identities shape their participation in the group and effectiveness of CRI. The study employs a participatory action research methodology and draws on interviews with individual participating teachers and field notes and transcripts of nine CIT group sessions.

I find that a CIT can create a safe space for teachers to authentically reflect on their practices and learn from one another. This can lead teachers to unpack their own cultural biases and develop critical consciousness. I also found that cultural proficiency is a prerequisite to being able to engage in this work. These findings have implications for developing effective peer-based professional development for culturally responsive instruction.