Examining the influence a culturally familiar reading task has on students’ reading performance and self-efficacy: A mixed methods study
Kelley, Heather M.
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The changing cultural composition of the United States necessitates preparing teachers to be able to meet the needs of students from a multitude of cultures. In 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau has projected that the Hispanic population in Texas is increasing rapidly, and consequently, teachers will be asked to deliver high quality instruction and ensure student achievement for this growing population. Current research has indicated that the achievement gap between White students and Hispanic and African American students are very real across disciplines (e.g. math, science, reading, language arts). This achievement gap between racial groups is of central concern and has left scholars with the need to investigate potential factors that may be causing Hispanic and African American students to fall behind in achievement or perform poorly. This mixed methods study aimed to investigate utilizing culturally responsive pedagogy as an approach to teaching and increasing achievement for culturally and linguistically diverse students. The purpose of this study was twofold. First, this study was designed to add to the existing knowledge base regarding the effectiveness of culturally responsive teaching practices. More specifically, culturally responsive pedagogy was utilized in the form of a reading task to examine its influence on students’ recall and reading comprehension performance. Second, this study was designed to inform educators about the relationship between culturally responsive pedagogy and self-efficacy beliefs. Results of this study indicate that a culturally familiar reading task increased achievement in recall and reading comprehension scores. This study also found that a culturally familiar reading task did significantly increase reading self-efficacy beliefs. A thematic analysis revealed that students attributed their reading self-efficacy beliefs based on their ability to relate to the reading task, their interest level, and the perceived difficulty of the task. The results may have implications for the school setting in that culturally responsive pedagogy can increase academic achievement and reading self-efficacy. This study demonstrated that culturally responsive pedagogy is beneficial for culturally and linguistically diverse students and can be utilized as a pedagogical approach to enhance learning.