Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Hillary Parkhouse

Second Advisor

Dr. Ross Collin

Third Advisor

Dr. Amanda Hall

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Adai Tefera


Urban teacher residency (UTR) programs place residents in urban schools labeled “hard-to-staff” or “under-resourced.” Enrollment in residency schools tends to be majority Brown or Black students from various cultures. Teacher residents are from diverse backgrounds and races who have a commitment to teach in Title 1 schools with the support of a residency program that coaches them how to teach using culturally relevant pedagogy. Their journeys are unique from typical student teaching experiences because they co-teach with an experienced teacher for a full school year while attending university classes on pedagogy and theory. This qualitative case study followed seven elementary teacher residents and explored how they perceived the culture of their students and their experiences. Through journal entries and interviews, participants discussed their positionality within their classrooms and how it made a difference (or not) in relationships with students. Yosso's (2005) community cultural wealth framework and Ladson-Billings (1995) culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995, Milner, 2011) formed the conceptual framework through which data were inductively coded and thematically analyzed. Residents learned about students through shared experiences in their home lives and lived experiences. Incorporating culturally responsive lessons in the classroom supported their relationships with students and their families. Trusting relationships helped the residents engage the students academically and support them in facing individual traumas and other personal or family situations. The study includes implications for how UTR programs recruit and train teachers, and how districts support teachers’ understanding of culture and cultural practices in the classroom through ongoing professional development.


© Jodi Larson

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission