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Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Kristen Perry


Through a multiple case approach, this qualitative research study examined how teachers' beliefs on family collaboration and cultural competence related to their family collaboration practices within Culturally Responsive Instruction. The learning theories of Communities of Practice (Lave &Wenger, 1991) and Transformative Learning (Mezirow, 1978), and Critical Consciousness (Freire, 1979) were used as the lens to analyze the data. Teacher interviews and classroom observations were used as data sources. The study found that teachers’ perception of cultural competence impacted their classroom practices. Teachers who worked hard to intentionally change their cultural competence awareness into family collaboration actions appeared to be more successful to work with ELs and EL families than teachers who understood cultural competence as only getting to know families. Also, the teachers’ disorienting experiences challenged their old ways of thinking and doing which resulted in transformation in their preexisting assumptions about themselves, their students, and families. They thus were able to translate their understanding of cultural competence into changing family collaboration actions. The findings highlighted the importance of community of practice. Teachers who had collaboration across multiple communities of practice made better practical engagement as a team than teachers who participated in only one community of practice. The first group participation resulted in positive transformative learning experiences to grow their family collaboration and fostered a perspective shift. The study also found that teachers who made efforts to overcome the inevitable constraints to family collaboration appeared to be more successful to enhance their family collaboration. Further, the data demonstrated that teachers’ beliefs toward cultural diversity, shaped by their own past experiences, contributed to effective family-school collaborations. Teachers who intentionally changed the ways to collaborate with families appeared to be more successful than teachers who understood family collaboration as getting to know families. The first group demonstrated connections between their family collaboration beliefs and actual classroom practices.

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