Karen J. Noordhoff

Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction

Physical Description

1 online resource (xiii, 314 pages)


Culturally relevant pedagogy -- Study and teaching (Elementary), Elementary school teachers -- In-service training, Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Elementary), Multicultural education -- Study and teaching (Elementary)




Children from many culturally diverse backgrounds do not achieve in mathematics at the same rates as their counterparts from the dominant White, European-American culture (Gay, 2010). This so-called achievement gap is an artifact of an educational system that continues to fail to provide equal learning opportunities to culturally diverse children (Ladson-Billings, 2006; Nieto & Bode, 2011). Teachers who employ culturally responsive teaching (Gay, 2010) may help to close this opportunity gap and hence, the achievement gap. This study investigated, "How do elementary teacher candidates perceive teaching mathematics in a multicultural environment"; Using a critical constructivism research paradigm, this qualitative instrumental multiple case study involved a questionnaire, two interviews and a focus group with four elementary teacher candidates enrolled in a one-year teaching licensure program. The study examined elementary teacher candidates' images of mathematics and diverse students and the relationship between those images and their perceptions of teaching mathematics in a multicultural environment. The study concluded that the participants', images of mathematics, learners, and the teaching of mathematics were interrelated. The participants struggled to understand how students' diversity based on group membership (e.g., culture) influences a mathematics classroom and their teaching. However, on the basis of these participants, teacher candidates who hold a conceptual image of mathematics could be more open to adopting culturally responsive teaching than teacher candidates who hold a procedural image of mathematics. The study recommends the integration and modeling of culturally responsive teaching throughout all teacher education coursework.

Persistent Identifier