With the district work focusing on cultural responsiveness and Dr. Hollie returning to RPS to work with teaching staff on being culturally responsive, C&I has started receiving questions more frequently about being a culturally responsive teacher, in addition to requests to help teachers implement these practices into their classroom. These recent requests have prompted the sharing of these discussions with a district wide audience.
-Definition of Culturally Responsive Teaching-
As C&I staff talk with teachers about culturally responsive teaching, it is important to ensure we share a common definition. The commonly excepted definition comes from Gloria Ladson-Billings, pedagogical theorist and teacher educator at UW Madison. Gloria states that “Culturally responsive teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning”.
-What It Is And What It Is Not-
The next thing C&I staff look at with a teacher is examining what culturally responsive teaching IS and what it IS NOT. According to Zaretta Hammond, author of the book Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain, it is not about “motivating students of color by mentioning cultural facts or naming famous people of color.” It is also not “teachers rapping their content…or...doing a call and response at the beginning of a lesson to get kids excited.” It is also not just about “motivating disengaged students’.” It is about “helping culturally and linguistically diverse students who have been marginalized in schools build their skill & capacity to do rigorous work.”
-Characteristics Of Culturally Responsive Teaching-
Finally, C&I staff have been working with teachers to identify what can be done in the classroom to foster an environment of cultural responsiveness.
This is the basic outline of the discussions that have been taking place with teachers across the district as we all continue our journey of becoming more culturally responsive. Hopefully, these resources make a terrific springboard to help make lessons more culturally responsive.
This post brought to you by Rebecca Mecikalski, Elementary Implementation Associate
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