Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

Second Reader

Katherine Lewis, PhD


This study explored how teacher perceptions of professional development (PD) on culturally relevant teaching (CRT) and a lack of student voice impede authentic implementation of CRT. Culturally relevant teaching involves utilizing student backgrounds and voices to shape curriculum and pedagogy. However, a review of the literature revealed that student voice is largely missing in CRT research. Additionally, teacher responses to PD were not frequently discussed in studies exploring implementation of CRT. The purpose of the study was to better understand student desires for education and teacher responses to PD on CRT. Research was conducted at a 7-12 public school in Northern California. Four teachers and three students were interviewed, and two students participated in a focus group. After analysis through coding, narrative analyses, and analytic memos, the findings suggested there was a void between teacher’s understanding of CRT and student desires for what CRT should include in the classroom. While students and teachers had similar understandings of the meaning of CRT, students desired more representationally diverse academic content and recurrent lessons on social emotional learning. An additional void in communication appeared to exist between teachers and administration regarding the perceived effectiveness of the mandatory school-wide CRT training. Two teachers had negative reactions to the PD and did not feel comfortable sharing their frustrations with administration. Overall, findings suggest that schools should create more explicit avenues for students to share their desires and feedback with staff. Additionally, training on CRT should take place through bottom-up PD rather than a top-down approach.

IRB Number