Mona Aly


Spring 2023


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Maggie Struck

Content Expert

Tamer Abdel Hamid


This capstone project explores how middle and high school teachers can create positive relationships with Muslim students by using culturally responsive instruction. Educators must understand that Muslim students have unique cultural identities based on their religious beliefs. Regardless of nationality, language, skin color, or cultural background, all Muslims are bound by these Islamic cultural practices. These practices directly impact students’ academic progress, social life, and self-esteem. By familiarizing themselves with these cultural and religious practices, teachers can better relate to Muslim students and address their social and academic needs. I seek answers to this research question by discussing four main subtopics: First, I discuss the history of Islam and Muslims in America, the importance of knowledge-seeking in Islam, Islamophobia; and the influence of the media on Muslims worldwide. Second, I discuss some significant challenges Muslim students face in U.S. schools. These challenges include school curricula, hidden curriculums, teachers’ ethnocentrism, home-school relations, and instruction methods. Third, I define culturally-sustaining pedagogies from different perspectives and highlight the impact they can have on Muslim students’ education. Finally, I address some critical aspects regarding Muslim students' cultural and religious needs. These include accommodating the daily prayers and Friday prayers, fasting in Ramadan, Islamic holidays, dietary needs, modesty in Islam and wearing the Hijab, and gender separation. As my final product, I developed a one-week professional development for non-Muslim educators interacting with Muslim students throughout the school year. This capstone project was intended to serve as a mirror for non-Muslim educators to examine their biases and prejudices, as well as to use the wealth of knowledge and experience Muslim students bring to their classrooms rather than pressuring them to assimilate with White students through a White-centered curriculum. I built my professional development on the accommodations mentioned in Chapter Two. The literature covered in my professional development offers practical solutions and serves as an academic resource for stakeholders with similar concerns.

Project Type

Professional Development


Curriculum, Gender, Learning Styles, Multicultural Education, Culturally Responsive Instruction, Muslim Students' Needs, Teachers/ Teaching, Staff Development, Parent Involvement, Motivation








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