A GROUNDED THEORY STUDY OF THE MULTICULTURAL EXPERIENCES OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS
Mewborn, Kenya Noreen
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The changing population of public schools demands that school psychologists have the ability to work with diverse students, parents, and teachers. The current project used qualitative methods to explore the experiences of school psychologists working in racially/ethnically diverse schools. Interviews with ten school psychologists and surveys from eight staff members who worked with these psychologists were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. A theory was developed that explains how psychologists manage racial/ethnic differences in the diverse school context. Results indicate that psychologists' efforts focused on bridging cultural differences in the communication styles, beliefs, and behaviors of students, parents, and school staff members. The techniques psychologists used to bridge gaps involved reliance on particular characteristics and strategies. Knowledge, self awareness, cultural empathy, and multicultural interest were the key characteristics psychologists relied on when working in multicultural situations. Related to these characteristics were the main strategies of relationship building, information gathering, and information sharing. Variables that impacted how psychologists responded in diverse settings included multicultural training experiences, life experiences, and issues related to the school systems within which the psychologists worked.