Capstone/Dissertation Title

Two Teachers’ Thoughts And Feelings About Low-Income Students Of Color


Summer 8-6-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Vivian Johnson

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Paul C. Gorski

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Kaying Thao


The research question addressed in this study was, “How do two teachers describe their thoughts and feelings about their low-income students of color?” It documents two teachers’ descriptions of positive and negative ways of thinking and feeling about lowincome students of color. The research design for this study uses a semi-structured qualitative interview to gather data about the participants’ thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. The data was analyzed using an inductive approach to describe common themes in the interview transcripts. The two participants were elementary school teachers, each with at least eight years of teaching experience and three or more years teaching predominantly low-income students of color. The participants also had three or more years of extensive professional development with societal inequities related to race, class, privilege, and power. The two participants described positive perceptions and strategies to use with low-income students of color include: providing culturally responsive methods, participating in self-reflection, knowing and learning from families, and understanding privilege and access to opportunities. The two participants also describe that having negative assumptions, stereotypical beliefs, low expectations, and negative interpretations of behavioral differences are harmful ways of thinking about low-income students and students of color. Several different components were addressed in this literature review including: the impact of socialization on beliefs; working definitions of race, poverty, privilege, and culture; the nature of beliefs; the impact of teacher beliefs in the classroom; examples of negative teacher beliefs about low-income students of color; and examples of positive teacher beliefs about low-income students of color. One major finding of the study is that because teachers continue to hold negative beliefs toward low-income students and students of color, there is an immediate need for these harmful beliefs to change.

Research Methodology



Achievement, At-risk Students, Reflective Practice, Social Justice

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