Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Tammy Gilligan

Abstract

English Language Learners (ELLs) represent the largest growing student body population in schools, yet among the lowest performing students in the United States with high dropout and grade retention rates (Waxman, Rivera, & Powers, 2012). Teachers are central in the process of improving academic success for English language learners; however, there is minimal information on teacher cultural belief systems in the educational context and about how their attitudes, views, and belief systems affect immigrant students (Hachfeld et al, 2011; Vedder et al., 2006). This current study sought to investigate how teachers’ cultural belief systems, whether multicultural or egalitarian, influences how they view their students and the type of information they would like to know about their students, particularly English Language Learners. Forty-four teachers participated in this study to see their thoughts and questions regarding fictitious students in four scenarios that increased in cultural distance. The participants were divided into two groups: Multicultural or Egalitarian. Data was analyzed using means and conducting independent t-tests to make comparisons between multicultural and egalitarian teachers. Results revealed no significant differences between multicultural and egalitarian teachers and the amount of cultural, personal, and academic questions asked about students. Teachers of both cultural belief systems asked more personal questions about the child such as interests, hobbies, family background, etc. than academic related questions (i.e. test scores, reading level, etc.) and culture related questions (i.e. language, religion, etc.). Information emerged from this study will help aid school psychologists with consultation. Implications of this study and recommendations for further research are included.

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Psychology Commons

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