Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Early Childhood Education

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Amy Malkus

Committee Members

Pamela Evanshen, Ruth Facun-Granadozo


Diversity is now an essential matter in US public schools. For the first time in America's history, students of color will constitute a majority of the public school enrollment; on the other hand, most early childhood and elementary teachers remain monolingual, white, middle-class females (Hussar & Bailey, 2019). The demographic mismatch between students and teachers presents a critical concern for teacher preparation programs (Banks et al., 2005; Gay, 2018; Muñiz, 2019). Therefore, this study proposed that understanding the relationship between pre-service teachers' epistemological beliefs and their culturally responsive classroom management self-efficacy illustrated factors that may improve their teaching concept toward diversity. The study also evaluated whether early childhood (PreK-3) pre-service teachers held different personal epistemologies of teaching and culturally responsive classroom management self-efficacy beliefs than elementary (K-5) pre-service teachers. Lastly, the study explored factors that may contribute to pre-service teachers' personal epistemological beliefs of teaching and their self-efficacious beliefs about culturally responsive classroom management. The study used the explanatory sequential mixed-methods design that contained two phases. In Phase I, 111 pre-service teachers completed two surveys: the teachers' Personal Epistemologies of Teaching Scale (PT-PETS) and the Culturally Responsive Classroom Management Self-Efficacy scale (CRCMSE). In Phase II, six pre-service teachers participated in semi-structured interviews. The results indicated no significant linear correlation between pre-service teachers' sophisticated personal epistemological beliefs and their confidence in employing culturally responsive classroom management. In addition, the integration of the quantitative and the qualitative data demonstrated that pre-service teachers held sophisticated personal epistemological beliefs of teaching. They also showed different confidence levels about applying culturally responsive classroom management. A two-way ANOVA revealed that only semester level significantly affected the PT-PETS scores, where pre-service teachers in the seventh semester performed better than those in the fifth semester. The current study illustrated various positive and negative factors that may influence pre-service teachers' epistemological beliefs of teaching and their self-efficacious beliefs in culturally responsive classroom management, which may provide insight for teacher preparation programs.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.