CRITICALLY REFLECTING ON EQUITY- AND IDENTITY-FOCUSED PROFESSIONAL LEARNING TO INCREASE CULTURAL COMPETENCY: A PILOT STUDY

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Date
2021-07-28
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Johns Hopkins University
Abstract
Schools throughout the United States have experienced academic disparities between racialized student subgroups for decades. Many researchers postulate that culturally responsive instruction is a key factor towards ameliorating this problem. While student improvements may initially be seen with this approach, without transformative change affecting the cultural competence of school staff, the academic progress supporting historically marginalized students may not last. Thus, cultural competency was identified as the focal construct to design a quasi-experimental mixed-method intervention pilot study. The faculty of an elementary school (N = 82) were provided two grounding and six equity-focused professional learning sessions that included critical reflection. Journal prompts, aligned to a leveled typology, were analyzed to determine how critical reflection approach levels change over time. Cultural competency was measured with a modified version of Sevig, Highlen, and Adams (2000) Self-Identity Inventory that provided pre- and post-intervention inferential data to analyze how reported levels of cultural competency changed from pre- to post-intervention; statistically significant differences were found. Additionally, several participant journals were qualitatively analyzed though a cultural competence lens. These findings were integrated into mixed-method, joint, displays which provided greater understanding of participant growth which was found to be more amorphous than linear in nature. Implementation of this pilot research in other contexts is needed to determine generalizability of its positive impacts on school staff and longer term impacts on student achievement.
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Keywords
cultural competency, critical reflection, equity, identity development, professional learning, pilot study, academic disparities
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