Title

DISCOVERY OF SELF:WHITE TEACHERS AND AWARENESS OF CULTURAL PROFICIENCY

Introduction

As America’s public schools become increasingly diverse, the teaching staff remains relatively homogeneous. This gap is even more apparent in California schools that serve large numbers of students of color, being taught by teachers who are predominately White and female. Because the population of Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers is predominately white and middle class, theorists recommend the self-discovery process of striving for cultural proficiency as a solution. Teacher cultural proficiency is a series of characteristics that are learned, honed, and constantly evolving to create a classroom that is culturally aware and culturally sensitive for all students. Although there is ample literature regarding multicultural education, there is limited research discussing teachers’ perceptions and experiences with cultural proficiency, especially white, female teachers who represent the largest population of teachers in California.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to further investigate teacher stories along their journey on the cultural proficiency continuum.

Method

Three teachers who embrace cultural proficiency and work in elementary schools in the a California central valley district, serving large populations of students of color were interviewed to further explore their experiences striving for cultural proficiency and implementing culturally aware practices in their classroom. Their stories were analyzed through the theory of critical whiteness.

Results

The results of this research suggest that the continued journey to cultural proficiency mirrors the theory and continuum suggested in literature. Teachers in this study understood the theoretical foundations of critical whiteness theory and cultural proficiency, but believed that the goal of cultural proficiency was one in which they will constantly be striving. The findings of this study address some of the culturally proficient themes of self-discovery, curiosity, experience and travel that contribute to their cultural proficient reputation.

Significance

Study in this subject and specifically in this area is still essential however the narratives of the White, female teacher in this study add to scholarship by giving examples of reputationally known culturally proficient teachers. These teachers represent a section of the California teaching population that is striving for cultural proficiency in their teaching practice. Their narratives add to scholarship by confirming the research on cultural proficiency characteristics.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Stockton campus, University of the Pacific

Format

Poster Presentation

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Mar 25th, 10:00 AM Mar 25th, 3:00 PM

DISCOVERY OF SELF:WHITE TEACHERS AND AWARENESS OF CULTURAL PROFICIENCY

DeRosa University Center, Stockton campus, University of the Pacific

As America’s public schools become increasingly diverse, the teaching staff remains relatively homogeneous. This gap is even more apparent in California schools that serve large numbers of students of color, being taught by teachers who are predominately White and female. Because the population of Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers is predominately white and middle class, theorists recommend the self-discovery process of striving for cultural proficiency as a solution. Teacher cultural proficiency is a series of characteristics that are learned, honed, and constantly evolving to create a classroom that is culturally aware and culturally sensitive for all students. Although there is ample literature regarding multicultural education, there is limited research discussing teachers’ perceptions and experiences with cultural proficiency, especially white, female teachers who represent the largest population of teachers in California.