Social Studies Teachers’ Perceptions Regarding the Effectiveness of Multicultural Teaching



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Background: Researchers have indicated that many social studies teachers’ educational beliefs come from their experience, which may exclude cultural awareness of multicultural student populations. These social studies teachers may not always be motivated to adjust their teaching strategies to integrate Multicultural Education. The problem is that social studies teachers’ resistance to embrace multicultural pedagogy based on their individual beliefs may have played a role in maintaining inequitable educational practices. Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how social studies teachers' beliefs regarding the effectiveness of multicultural education influence perception, attitude, judgment, and behavior in the classroom. Research Question: What are social studies teachers’ perceptions regarding the effectiveness of multicultural education teaching? Methods: The researcher used the case study approach in this study. Using purposeful sampling, four currently certified practicing Texas high school social studies teachers were chosen to participate in this study. The three forms of qualitative data collected consisted of a survey (demographic and open-ended questions and a seven-point Likert scale), an audio-video interview, and an audio interview. Data collection was conducted in sequential order to build upon information that emerged from the last phase. The participant researcher performed data analysis in this study by reviewing the information and documenting emergent ideas and themes. The deductive coding approach was used to consolidate the data into themes to respond to the research question. Results: The five original themes identified in this study were multicultural education, (regarding embracing students’ culture to cultivate school settings), culturally responsive pedagogy, (regarding dimensions of culturally responsive teaching), social justice and equity, (regarding fairness and responding to the individual student’s needs), empathy (regarding teacher-student relationships), and professional development, (regarding guidance how to practice cultural awareness). Two additional themes emerged from my data collection, social studies teachers’ values, influences, and dispositions, (regarding the impact of the teachers’ background), and social studies teachers intrinsic motivation, (regarding the personal initiative to seek out professional development relating to multicultural education dimensions implementation without being mandated to do so). Analysis of all seven themes in this study answered the research question of what social studies teachers’ perceptions regarding the effectiveness of multicultural education teaching were. Conclusion: This study provided evidence that in today’s diverse public-school districts, social studies teachers should not rely on their race, background, or education credential to be culturally aware teachers. Social studies teachers should be intrinsically motivated to obtain appropriate multicultural education professional development, be willing to adjust their pedagogy, and implement themes of multicultural education to support equity pedagogy for all students.



Multicultural Education, Empathy, Social Justice and Equity, Professional Development, Cultural Responsive Pedagogy