Spring 2017



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Vivian Johnson

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Vivian Johnson

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Ryan Anderson


In a qualitative study of an inner-city, diverse classroom, this Capstone looks at the question: How do students describe their reaction to culturally relevant pedagogical strategies designed to build engagement, trust, and mutual respect in a culturally diverse classroom managed by their Caucasian teacher? The Capstone shares some personal stories of the researcher and looks at the existing research about the importance of relationship building, particularly within the realms of trust and mutual respect between students and teachers. This particular Capstone focuses deeply through the eyes of race and culture in the classroom, especially examining the realities of lack of teacher diversity, which contrasts the diverse student populations which flourish in American cities. The research shows that, in this specific study, techniques to build relationships, within the realm of culturally relevant pedagogy, did prove to be effective in increasing student perceptions of positive classroom relationships with their teacher, despite racial and cultural differences. The research is conducted in an inner city classroom with a large Hmong and Karen population, and a significant African American population, which factor heavily into the research and the results.

Research Methodology

Action Research


Achievement, At-risk Students, Social Justice, Teachers/ Teaching