Purdue University Graduate School
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Investigating Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices in First-Year Composition

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posted on 2021-03-01, 21:22 authored by Rebekah E SimsRebekah E Sims
University writing programs increasingly serve student populations of growing diversity: more international students, first-generation students, disabled students, racial and ethnic minority students, and LGBTQ+ students, for example. Instructors thus teach in classrooms with many cultures and subcultures represented. Amid increasing demographic diversity, many writing programs seek to internationalize. In this dissertation, I investigate the current state of Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) in a university writing program as a potential avenue for internationalization. Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) is a social-justice-oriented, transformative approach to education that views cultural diversity as a resource, restructuring education settings to affirm students’ identities and home cultures. I evaluate CRT among a sample of 10 instructor participants and their students, propose a CRT assessment method, and suggest implementation of CRT as a sustainable, just, and resource-efficient method for writing program internationalization. I implement a mixed-methods research design that draws on both observational and self-report measures of CRT. Results indicate that instructor capabilities for CRT fall along a developmental spectrum. This developmental spectrum provides a useful model for assessment of CRT in a writing program context, as well as a basis for developing the CRT capabilities of instructors at both individual and programmatic levels.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • English

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Bradley Dilger

Additional Committee Member 2

Manushag N. Powell

Additional Committee Member 3

Tara Star Johnson

Additional Committee Member 4

Irwin Weiser