As a practicing in-service teacher, I designed this qualitative study to explore of the use of culturally relevant curriculum in my junior high art classroom. I used participatory action research to complete this research over the span of two school years. This research allowed me to identify the elements necessary to teach a culturally relevant curriculum, such as teacher background, student-centered teaching and school support. This data is combined with stories of my experiences growing up and stories from the field. I detailed and analyzed community performance art, mask-making and installation art projects for effectiveness and student engagement. Focus groups were a major component of my data collection; I used this data to gain further information from students about their thoughts on what makes an engaging classroom and lesson. Through this study I found a high level of engagement by students. I matched my students engagement with a reciprocal level of emotional input. This study concludes with a call for more research of this kind to be completed by practicing teachers using action research in their classrooms.
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