How to Create Culturally Responsive Classrooms

Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) is a current buzzword in education. And you know what? As an ambassador for English Language Learners, I’m going to capitalize on this momentum.

First, let’s make sure we have a common understanding of the term. There’s nothing more frustrating than someone saying, “let’s be more culturally responsive” or “teach with more rigor” but not really defining what that means.

There are many definitions for CRT. To sum them up, CRT is teaching that takes the experiences and assets of the students and uses them to enrich the curriculum. Rather than taking the curriculum and trying to fit it into the students’ lives, CRT reverses this mindset.

 

Culturally Responsive Teaching

What it is…

♦ assets based
♦ student centered
♦ values native languages, cultures, and experiences of students
♦ challenges and supports students

What it is not…

♦ strategies
♦ curriculum
♦ only for some students
♦ watered down lessons

When we take a culturally responsive stance in our classrooms, students will respond by having a lower affective filter. Their walls of fear and anxiety will come down. When students feel safe and comfortable to learn, they will be capable of learning more in their content classrooms. Their cognitive and linguistic development will progress at a faster rate.

A classroom or campus that is culturally responsive believes that the students who learn in their building enrich the building with their cultures and backgrounds. These teachers want students to share their cultures, traditions, and languages with the class. Students feel safe and secure, self-confident and proud of their individuality. Instead of feeling they have to shed their native language, culture, and traditions, students feel empowered by their uniqueness.

Read the full blog post by Valentina Gonzalez on MiddleWeb.com.

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