Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Elementary, Middle & Secondary Teacher Education

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction, PhD

Committee Chair

Foster, Michele

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Chisholm, James

Committee Member

Meier, Terry

Committee Member

Storey, Angela

Author's Keywords

culturally responsive teaching; narrative pedagogies; storytelling; cultural responsiveness


Despite broad acknowledgement in education that culturally responsive teaching is essential to meeting learners’ needs, defining and operationalizing culturally responsive teaching remains a challenge. Along with being designed to meet the needs of students from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds who have traditionally been underserved, one commonly identified feature of culturally responsive teaching is building on students’ cultural assets to promote their learning. And while stories and storytelling are among the most common teaching tools, storytelling pedagogies tend to use stories to deliver content or to assess student learning. This dissertation explores collaborative story sharing as an approach to helping preservice teachers understand the implications and complexities of culture as it is lived. Building on a theoretical foundation of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, this dissertation explores a college course on cultural responsiveness, that the author taught in the Spring semester of 2020. The study is a theoretical thematic analysis of the stories students crafted and shared as an assignment in the course as well as their reflections on their learning and course experiences. The analysis identified a primary theme about the dynamism and complexity of culture; that theme was supported by secondary themes involving family, diversity, and personal agency. The findings suggest that collaborative story sharing can help learners from diverse cultural backgrounds to recognize and understand one another’s cultural strengths and experiences in ways that foster the asset perspectives of cultural diversity that are essential to culturally responsive teaching.