The purpose of this study was to identify and compare eight students’ and one teacher’s perceptions of engagement/disengagement in a pluralistic choral classroom. Eight racially diverse 7th grade choir students and their teacher were interviewed to determine their perceptions of supporting conditions and behaviors that signaled engagement or disengagement. Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995a, 1995b, 2014, 2017, 2021, 2022) served as a theoretical model through which teacher-enacted choral pedagogy and students’ responses were analyzed. The students identified the strong, positive, mutually reciprocated relationship with their choir teacher as foundational to deep engagement. However, pedagogical moves made by their teacher sometimes resulted in cognitive and behavioral disengagement. Students’ perceptions of classroom pedagogy aligned strongly with Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, notably in the areas of teachers’ conceptions of self/others, conceptions of social relationships, and conceptions of knowledge. Resulting implications include the need for teachers who can provide Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, supporting high levels of student learning autonomy, situated in a context of strong teacher-student and student-student relationships.
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