Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Katharine C. Kersey

Committee Member

Jack E. Robinson

Committee Member

Gail S. Talior


The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of a researcher-designed autobiographical dialogue journaling activity on student teachers' levels of cultural sensitivity and levels of reflection. Written feedback from the university supervisors and cooperating teachers was analyzed to identify differences and similarities in the structure and focus of their responses.

Data was collected from 30 student teachers assigned to urban elementary field placements following a six-week structured journaling activity. Student teachers were randomly assigned to one of three journaling conditions: autobiographical dialogue journaling with their cooperating teacher, autobiographical dialogue journaling with their university supervisor, or the traditional student teaching journaling assignment. All student teachers were administrated the Quick Discrimination Index (QDI) as a pre and post test assessment of their level of cultural sensitivity. The three levels of Reflectivity of Deliberative Rationality were used for qualitative analysis of the journals.

Dependent t tests, single-classification analysis of variances and an analysis of covariance were used to analyze differences in student teachers' levels of cultural sensitivity among the three groups. The results of the quantitative analysis revealed no statistically significant differences in the student teachers' levels of cultural sensitivity as measured by the QDI following the autobiographical journal activity.

However, qualitative analyses indicated that student teachers that used the autobiographical journaling instrument reflect at higher levels than those who used the traditional journaling tool. Student teachers reflecting at higher levels scored higher on the QDI and held different perspectives toward diversity than those student teachers that reflected at the lowest levels. There were also distinct differences in the style of the supervisors and cooperating teachers' written feedback with the supervisors' feedback including more explicit instructional strategies, probing comments, and questions.

The results of this study indicate that engaging student teachers in a dialogue journaling activity with university supervisors would encourage critical reflections. Student teachers' perspectives regarding diversity also appear to be related to their reflection skills and cultural sensitivity levels. Findings suggest that the structure of written feedback provided to student teachers might affect their reflection levels. It is recommended that cooperating teachers be trained in providing written feedback.