Culturally Responsive Teaching

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Culturally Responsive Teaching by Mind Map: Culturally Responsive Teaching

1. In creating this MindMap, I was able to reflect on several foundational components of culturally responsive teaching. The first being the importance of self-reflection and awareness as an educator about the lenses we wear. This is especially important because “…teachers’ attitudes, biases, and prejudices can negatively affect not only the learning process, but can also add to some students’ isolation” in the classroom (Bird, 2011, pp. 20). I originally took the “Self-Assessment of Anti-Bias Behavior”, helping to bring greater awareness around the gender and cultural biases I carry as an Eritrean-American woman. To delve further into this, I identified another self-assessment, the Cultural Competence Self-assessment Awareness Checklist. I believe that it is important to explore a variety of different resources that bring awareness around the biases we carry as educators. I also believe gaining and understanding of ways strategize around the designing and/or reshaping of curriculum is pivotal to creating a thriving cross-cultural classroom space. This is something I have considered in the past, developing curriculum that has “…connections between school and real-life situations” (Padron, Waxman & Rivera, 2002). One more recent example of this is when I had students have a Socratic seminar in my Anatomy & Physiology class. During our integumentary unit, students used the content notes and research to debate whether race was real or a social construct. I saw immediately that students were far more engaged with course content when it had more direct meaning to their lives. I also learned a lot about how students viewed race and about their perceptions of surrounding community. My instructional practice as an educator has been influenced by the inquiry based learning model, as well as community learning model. In my classes, I often have my students engaged in “flexible learning groups” that helped to meet the individual needs of students based on their level of readiness. Within their groups, they get to identify their strengths in the selection process for their group role as either the process analyst, quality control, facilitator or evaluator for their group explorations. Whether in lab teams or working on projects I find that this form of instruction helps students to develop a sense of ownership in the learning process and make genuine intellectual contribution in the process. It also helps promote better overall cross-cultural exchange, collaboration, engagement and helps to highlight student strengths. An area I would like to grow in is in the area of parent engagement and involvement. I currently only engage parents through phone calls and at different school events. However, reflecting on this framework I am realizing that I need to develop better “…relationship[s] with students’ families and community partners [to better understand] [my] a student[s] hopes, needs and preferences as a learner[s] (Education Alliance, n.d.). In doing so I hope to better recognize and respond to the needs of my students, providing equitable education!

2. Framework for Culturally Relevant Education: At the heart of culturally responsive teaching is the desire to provide equitable education for all students, from a diversity of backgrounds (Education Alliance, n.d.). To convey this framework clearly, I have created a mind map that highlights key pedagogical practices that foundationally seek to include and celebrate cultural differences in learning (Ladson-Billing, 1994).

2.1. Educator Self-Awareness

2.1.1. As intercultural educators, it is important that we are aware of the personal biases that we carry. To do this we must first be open and aware that we are not “impartial entities,” instead we are individuals whose teaching practices can be influenced by life experiences, cultural and traditional values (Bird, 2011, pp. 18). This is why it is imperative that we as educators engage in a self-reflection process that helps us to examine our “…own attitudes, beliefs and culturally derived beliefs and behaviors…discover[ing] what has influenced [our] value systems” (Diaz-Rico and Weed, 2013). Self-Reflections Tools: To begin this self-awareness process, I have provided two different questionnaires links. As you take both self-assessments, it is important to maintain a growth mindset, identifying not only strengths but also areas for growth, as it pertains to cultural competency. Reflecting on your answers will help you, as an intercultural educator, get to the root of any personal biases you may carry through “…the process of analyzing and validating conflicting attitudes and behaviors that result from [areas of] cognitive dissonance” (Bird, 2011, pp. 18). 1.) Self-Assessment of Anti-Bias Behavior (Anti-Defamation League, 2007): 2.) Cultural Competence Self-assessment Awareness Checklist (Immigrant Welcome Center, n.d.):

2.2. Culturally Relevant Curriculum

2.2.1. Designing Culturally Relevant Curriculum: Author Geneva Gay emphasizes that doing this successfully requires consistently maintaining and authenticity of “…narrative texts, illustrations, learning activities, models and instructional materials” to the lives of the students (2002). At the heart of curriculum development is an assurance that the content is “integrated, interdisciplinary, meaningful and student centered (Education Alliance, n.d.).It is also imperative that students are steadily moving toward higher order thinking skills, but in a way that is relevant to their students’ cultural background (Villegas, 1991).

2.3. Reshaping the Curriculum to Reflect Culturally Responsive Teaching

2.3.1. As educators, if we are not creating our own curriculum, we are often reshaping the curricular framework to meet the needs of our students. This is the time where culturally responsive educators should consider how the curriculum can be developed in a way that “…create[s] a school climate that is… empowering [not] disempowering for those who work and learn there" (Education Alliance, n.d.).

2.3.2. When reshaping curriculum, this is the time to leverage students’ life experiences, in a way that it can be applied to the new skills they are learning, leveraging “…connections between school and real-life situations (Padron, Waxman, & Rivera, 2002). Too often in education, we see curriculum avoiding controversial topics that have much relevance to racially and ethnically diverse schools. Culturally responsive teaching provides an opportunity to bring these very issues into the classroom, by “…studying a wide range of ethnic individuals and groups; contextualizing issues within race, class, ethnicity, and gender; and including multiple kinds of knowledge and perspectives” (Gay, 2002, pp.108).

2.3.3. Culturally responsive educational practices restructure the content in a way that highlights “multi-cultural strengths,” saturating the content with “…a natural awareness of cultural history, values and contributions” that reflect the student population (Education Alliance, n.d.). Opportunity to extended learning outside of the context of the textbook. This includes but is not limited to having students explore relevant issues in their communities, interviewing community members and diversifying the viewpoints on related topics of study (Education Alliance, n.d.).

2.4. Instructional Practices

2.4.1. Culturally Mediated Instruction Culturally mediated instruction promotes diverse ways of learning and obtaining information, showing students there are many ways to interpret information (Education Alliance, n.d.). As students engage with this form of instruction where they “…share viewpoints and perspectives… [they] become more active participants in their learning (Nieto, 1996). Possible methodologies: Exploring diverse learning styles students, community learning model and inquiry based framework (Education Alliance, n.d.),

2.4.2. Student Centered Instruction Successful culturally responsive instruction shifts the focus from “teacher-centered” to “learner-centered” instruction. In doing this, teachers give ownership of learning to the students, reflecting the democratic practices present in our multicultural society (Education Alliance, n.d.). This mindset of instruction promotes an inquiry and community-learning model of learning (Education Alliance, n.d.).

2.5. Family Awareness

2.5.1. Developing relationship with students’ families and community partners is important in understanding a students hopes, needs and preferences as a learner (Education Alliance, n.d.). Parent surveys, home visit, monthly news letters and family nights are a great way to begin fostering these relaionships (Education Alliance, n.d.). It is important to take the initiative to learn about the cultural background of students and their families, never wanting to assume or generalize information about their diverse cultural backgrounds. To avoid this, Lynch emphasizes that educators should “…engage in a rigorous examination of the general cultural practices of their students” (2012).

3. Work Cited in Framework: ...................................................................................................................................................... Anti-Defamation League. (2007). Personal self-assessment of anti-bias behavior. Retrieved from Bird, M. V. (2011). Exposing cultural bias in the classroom: Self-evaluation as a catalyst for transformation. Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis, 32(1), 18–21. Retrieved from Brisk, M. E., & Harrington, M. M. (2000). Literacy and bilingualism: A handbook for all teachers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Diaz-Rico, L. T., & Weed, K. Z. (2013). The crosscultural, language, and academic development handbook: A complete K–12 reference guide (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Education Alliance, Brown University. (n.d.). Culturally responsive teaching. Retrieved August 8, 2013, from Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for Culturally Responsive Teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(2), 106-116 retrieved from: Lynch, M. (2012, January 2). Culturally responsive training: Exploring your students’ cultural backgrounds [Blog post]. Retrieved from Nieto, S. (1996). Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural education (2nd ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman. Padron, Y. N., Waxman, H. C., and Rivera, H. H. (2002). Educating Hispanic students: Effective instructional practices (Practitioner Brief Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishing Co. Sheets, R. (1999). Relating competence in an urban classroom to ethnic identity development. In R. Sheets (Ed.), Racial and ethnic identity in school practices: Aspects of human development. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Villegas, A. M. (1991). Culturally responsive pedagogy for the 1990's and beyond. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education.