Date of Degree

5-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Urban Education

Advisor

Philip M. Anderson

Keywords

multicultural education; participatory action research; professional development

Abstract

This dissertation studies the impact of Participatory Action Research (PAR) as the format for professional development of teachers in the domain of multicultural education. The study was conducted in a public elementary school, hereby known as Queens Multicultural, within the New York City Department of Education. Using PAR as a guiding framework, eleven teachers at Queens Multicultural created the Multicultural Education Participatory Action Research (MEPAR) group to develop an approach to address multicultural education at the school level. PAR was found to be an effective form of professional development that allowed staff members to engage in deep and rich discussions about multicultural education, curriculum, and pedagogy. Through this experience, MEPAR teachers gained insight into what multicultural education means and how making small changes in their teaching practices could address four out of the five Dimensions of Multicultural Education as defined by James Banks (2006). This research project also found that while PAR was a valuable tool for teacher professional development, PAR was unable to bring about school-wide change. The implications of these findings points to the importance of strong leadership and prioritized goal-setting in order to bring about changes in school structures and culture.

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