A new $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences will allow researchers from the University of Missouri College of Education to develop new methods to help teachers become more culturally responsive.
Principal investigator Keith Herman, a professor in the Department of Educational School and Counseling Psychology (ESCP), along with co-principal investigators Wendy Reinke, ESCP professor, and Catherine Bradshaw, a professor at the University of Virginia, designed the exploratory studies based in part on a teacher training model called “Double Check.”
Double Check is a professional development program that helps educators infuse diversity and cultural inclusiveness into all aspects of the curriculum. The program is intended to help increase student engagement and reduce discipline issues.
“Double Check has shown a lot of promise as an intervention model, and previous studies have shown it improves culturally responsive teaching practices,” said Herman. “However, we discovered that some tools for giving teachers feedback about their practices were lacking. The goal of this project will be to identify more of these culturally responsive indicators, improve the feedback, and help teachers see even better results.”
As part of the grant, the researchers will conduct a series of six studies in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms that gather data by interviewing students and teachers, examining survey data, and observing classrooms. Additionally, parents will be hired as research partners in these discovery-oriented studies. Schools in Missouri, Maryland and Kentucky will be involved in the study, including schools in rural, urban and suburban areas.
“We’re excited about this project because it builds off a series of studies we’ve conducted,” said Herman. “We know that factors like reflective thinking and sensitivity to student culture can make a major impact for teachers and can help students succeed. The studies will help us define and focus the ways we could guide teachers to that success.”
The project, “Identifying Discrete and Malleable Indicators of Culturally Responsive Instruction and Discipline,” will be financed by federal funds (100%) with no additional funding coming from non-governmental sources. For more information, visit ies.ed.gov.