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Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Novice Teacher Persistence: An examination of perception and persistence


A key indicator of novice teacher efficacy is how adept teachers believe themselves to be with respect to impacting students’ behavior, motivation, and achievement. Culturally relevant pedagogy has been proven to improve education outcomes in all three of these areas. This explanatory sequential, mixed-methods study examined culturally relevant pedagogy, novice teacher efficacy, and novice teacher persistence in an effort to understand the potential ways each area can impact the other two. Proper teacher training in culturally relevant pedagogy may increase general teaching self-efficacy and novice teacher retention, improving education outcomes for the most at-risk students. As such, this study used an explanatory sequential mixed methods approach to understand the possible relationships between novice teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs around culturally relevant pedagogy, their overall perceptions of themselves as qualified, effective teachers, and their decisions on whether or not to persist at their site, in their district, or in education altogether. The study found little variance between novice teachers’ confidence levels on both the Culturally Relevant Teaching Outcome Expectancy scale and the Culturally Relevant Teaching Self-Efficacy scale when data was aggregated by age group, sex, or years of teaching experience. Mean self-efficacy scores showed the greatest difference between the 26-35 age group and the 36-45 age group and between White and non-White respondents. While further investigation is required to delve more deeply into these differences, there is an implication that older teachers and teachers of color are inclined to greater confidence levels with regards to implementations of culturally relevant pedagogy. Interview data brought forth six key themes connecting to influences pushing novice teachers towards and away from culturally relevant practice; these themes can be organized into internal and external factors. Internal factors include ambivalence, critical consciousness, and self-reflection. External factors include relationships, time, and school culture. Other significant findings show novice teachers who have strong support for engaging with and reflecting on implementation of culturally relevant practices are more likely to pursue opportunities to practice and improve their culturally relevant practice. Results of this study provide insight for district administration and teacher leaders to guide the organization of teacher induction and teacher training programs. Limitations of this study, including the short time period for data collection and the limited sample size, will be discussed.

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