Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Nicholas Michelli

Subject Categories

Education Policy


Critical Race Theory; culturally responsive pedagogy; mixed methods study


This dissertation investigates the teaching practices, attitudes, beliefs, and expectations, cooperating teachers hold and model for teacher candidates preparing to work in high-need schools with significant populations of students of color. Using a culturally relevant and critical race theory lens, I argue that the clinical placements in which many teacher candidates are placed provide limited opportunities for them to see and engage in the full spectrum of culturally relevant pedagogical practices.

The data for this study were captured from participants in a nationally-administered, state-based teacher preparation program through surveys, interviews, and observations over a period of four months. Using a mixed method design, an analysis of findings reveals that while committed to preparing teacher candidates to work with significant populations of students of color in high-need schools, cooperating teachers have a limited understanding of and use of a full range of culturally responsive teaching practices. Moreover, explicit discussions of race and racial inequities institutionalized within schools and classrooms are largely missing from discussions between cooperating teachers and teacher candidates.

The importance of this study lies in capturing the goals, stated beliefs, understandings, and pedagogical practices of multiple actors (program directors, cooperating teachers, teacher candidates) involved in the preparation of teacher candidates for high-need schools with significant populations of students of color. It is hoped that this study will force critical analysis and reconsideration of the ways in which we recruit, select, and prepare cooperating teachers and ensure that they can facilitate serious discussions about and model a wider range of culturally responsive pedagogies that will support the success of students of color.