Term

Fall 11-21-2016

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAEd

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Trish Harvey

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Stephanie Defrance

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

May Lee Xiong

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to provide information about the Karen culture and Karen newcomers to the United States. Emphasis is placed on Karen students who brought their culture into the classrooms or the schools. The study discussed culturally responsive teaching to support Karen newcomers. The literature review provided a foundation for the study by including research on effective culturally responsive teaching that will help eliminate cultural barriers between students and teachers and research on how to teach culturally responsive strategies to help Karen students to understand the content. A qualitative approach was used, including interviews and surveys with four regular classroom teachers, two current ESL staff members, and one educational assistant. The data showed most of the classroom teachers plan their lessons to capitalize on their students’ cultures and experiences in order to help students succeed in learning. In addition, teachers have applied culturally responsive teaching when they work with Karen students and they also use different culturally responsive strategies that meet with Karen students’ needs and cultures in order to support Karen students to be successful in their learning. The data also showed teachers learned about the Karen culture that will help them with planning the lesson plans and create cooperative classroom instructions that fit with students’ needs and improvement. The major conclusions of the study are culturally responsive teaching, cooperative instructional strategies, family partnerships, and resources are significant factors for creating a welcoming learning environment for Karen newcomers.

Research Methodology

Interview, Survey

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