High School Students of Color in the U.S. Speak about Their Educational Experiences: Schooling, Culture and Pedagogy

Lydiah Nganga, John Kambutu, Reed Scull, Keonghee Tao Han


This phenomenological study examined the experiences of high school students of color (n = 33) living in a rural, predominately White state in the United States of America (U.S.) Drawing data from in-depth interviews and questionnaires, qualitative analysis revealed that participants experienced heightened levels of academic, cultural, and social isolation. Data also revealed that learners’ histories, cultural traditions, validation of race/ethnicity and personal stories were missing in classroom instruction particularly in social studies curricula. Other findings indicated that caring and empathetic teachers helped to mitigate some of the negative experiences that students experienced, thus creating space for academic success. Therefore, this study concludes that teachers’ dispositions such as care and empathy, are critical aspects of culturally responsive pedagogy that can meet the needs of diverse learners. Finally, this study offers implications for classroom teachers and teacher educators.


Students of color, race, cultural education, culturally relevant teaching

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