Date of Award

Fall 11-1-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Education: Curriculum and Teaching

First Advisor

Dr. Melissa Schieble

Second Advisor

Dr. Marshall George

Third Advisor

Dr. Catherine Kramarczuk Voulgarides

Academic Program Adviser

Dr. Marshall George


Ever since the emergence of gifted education in the United States in the beginning of the twentieth century, the concept of giftedness has been used to marginalize, segregate, and exclude students of particular backgrounds from specialized academic programs. Among the factors that contribute to unequal access to gifted education for ethnically, culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse (ECLED) students, teacher bias, deficit thinking, and insufficient teacher preparation have been identified as especially significant (Coleman et al., 2015; DeWet & Gubbins, 2011; Mansfield, 2015). Among various approaches to mitigate underrepresentation of ECLED students, the concept of cultural humility (Tervalon and Murray-Garcia, 1998) has emerged as a transformative learning process that may help eliminate the opportunity gap for gifted ECLED when incorporated into teacher preparation programs. This qualitative study, guided by Transformative Learning Theory (Mezirow, 1978, 1995, 2003), utilized critical participatory action research (CPAR) methodology to better understand how participation in the series of critical workshops influenced cultivation of cultural humility by seven assistant teachers, supported the practice of critical reflexivity, and facilitated recognition of challenges faced by ECLED students in accessing gifted programs. Analysis of data sources, which included individual interviews, observations of workshops, and participants’ written reflections, demonstrated an acute need for transformative learning experiences for pre-service teachers in order to cultivate such elements of cultural humility as critical reflexivity and critical assessments of positionality. Engagement in critical self-reflection allowed participants to recognize the impact of historical and cultural contexts that shape the definition of giftedness and affect ECLED students’ access to gifted education.



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