Jake Ruppert


Summer 2021


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Jenna Kotula, Matthew Millslagle

Content Expert

Jonathan Linne


The research question addressed in this study was, How can Using Culturally Responsive Instruction in a Social Studies Classroom Contribute to Student Success? Topics explored in this Capstone included using Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP), teaching a student centered class, being aware of the economic and social inequalities some of your students may face, and utilizing other effective teaching practices. Part of the project consists of a two week unit on the American Civil War that is infused with Culturally Responsive teaching practices that the author learned about from an extensive literature review. The author was influenced by teaching experiences in many diverse schools where students of color often were taught lessons that they could not relate to. Over a few years, the author worked with students of color that did not feel that social studies classes acknowledged the history of people from a variety of racial backgrounds. As a result, the students often became disengaged and failed to reach their full potential. Oftentimes, the author did not see students of color fully engaged in the social studies classroom until the teacher took a chance and adopted CRP. This study finds that CRP needs to be used in the increasingly diverse nation that is 21st century America. It also concludes that students need to see and learn about people that look like them in the social studies classroom. Another key takeaway from this project is that social studies teachers need to lecture less and let students learn from one another through guided small group discussions. Due to this study, the author believes that there needs to be a radical change in how social studies is taught across the nation. If teachers, schools, and administrators fail to realize this, a troubling racial opportunity gap in America will continue to exist.

Project Type









School of Education Student Capstone Projects

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Education Commons