Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Teaching


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Wassell, Beth


Effective teaching; Minority students


Elementary Education and Teaching


The purpose of this explorative study was to determine how a White, female, beginning teacher could attempt to build relationships with African American and Hispanic students in a third grade classroom. There were 5 participants: 3 female and 2 male, all of whom were from working class African American or Hispanic families. I implemented dialogue journals into my lessons so that my students and I could learn personal attributes of one another. I retained 8 dialogue journal conversations from all 5 students. Upon completion of dialogue journal implementation, students completed a written self-evaluation survey with open-ended questions pertaining to their thoughts on participating in dialogue journal conversations with me, which I also retained. Throughout the four-week duration of the study, I took field notes on students' behaviors and interactions with me. I used field notes, dialogue journal conversations, and students' self-evaluation surveys as data sources, all of which were triangulated during the qualitative analysis. All participants of the study exhibited observable behaviors and written content that indicated that students progressively became comfortable with me, which suggests that I was able to develop positive relationships with my students through our dialogue journal conversations.