Culturally Responsive Teaching

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Culturally Responsive Teaching by Mind Map: Culturally Responsive Teaching

1. Looking Inwards: When beginning the journey of becoming a culturally responsive teacher, you must first evaluate your beliefs and any biases you may have. As I reflected on myself and biases I hold, I realized that despite living in China for over a year I know very little about some aspects of Chinese culture, more specifically education in Chinese culture. As a result, I have observed traditional Chinese classroom, as well learned from my co-teacher and her experiences in traditional Chinese schools. As stated in "Culturally Responsive Teaching", "To maximize learning styles, teachers gain knowledge of the cultures represented in their classrooms and translate this knowledge into instructional practice" (Education Alliance, Brown University, n.d.). Constantly reflecting on personal beliefs and biases and how they may affect your teaching is a key step to becoming a more culturally responsive teacher.

2. Looking At Students: When integrating the culturally responsive framework into my classroom, I first need to know and understand my students and the cultures they are bringing to the classroom. Since beginning this module I have assigned an "All About Me" assignment, where students share information about their likes/dislikes, family life, culture, etc. Each poster was invaluable for learning more about my students, and each student lit up with the opportunity to share about their lives and their experiences. Furthermore, I have taken the time to sit down and interview several of my students to learn more about them and what is important to them. Once you begin to know more about your students and their backgrounds, you can adjust your teaching methods to ensure you are meeting the needs of each student.

3. Culturally Responsive Teaching Methods: These methods can be used in order to make classroom teaching more culturally relevant. As noted in "Culturally Responsive Teaching" from Brown University, the "...link between culture and classroom instruction is derived from evidence that cultural practices shape thinking processes, which serve as tools for learning within and outside of school (Hollins, 1996). Thus, culturally responsive teaching recognizes, respects, and uses students identities and backgrounds as meaningful sources (Nieto, 2000) for creating optimal learning environments" (Education Alliance, Brown University, n.d.) Linked to this blurb of several techniques found in the CRT framework presented in this weeks resources, and how I will use them in my classroom.

3.1. High Exceptions: Having high expectations for students is key for success in any classroom, and is especially true for students who may have a different background than my own. "If we allow students to think that we don't expect them to turn in their homework, even though that may have been their pattern, they may feel we hold low expectations for them. Rather than assigning homework and assuming some students will not do the work, we must operate from the premise of shaping instruction to challenge students and set them up for success" (Davis, 2012) Reading this expert from "How To Teach Students Who Don't Look Like You; Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies" resonated with me, and something that I try to avoid in my classroom. In my classroom that means holding high expectations for all students, and differentiating the work to met the needs of all my students to ensure they are challenged and engaged. Furthermore I most clearly communicate my instructions, "Be specific in what you expect students to know and be able to do" (Brown University, 2008).

3.2. Positive Perspectives on Parents and Families: This practice is key for the success of the student, and vital for building strong relationships with parents and families. "Parents are the child's first teacher and are critically important partners to students and teachers" (Brown University, 2008). To build strong relationships with my students parents and families, I must take the time to get to know them on a more personal level. Brown University suggests learning about parents hopes and dreams for their students, sending newsletters home in the mother language to keep parents informed as well as conducting home visits (Brown University, 2008). I plan to send home a survey asking parents what their dreams are for their students, so I can have a better idea of what parents expect from me, as well as what to prioritize in the classroom. After receiving permission from my school, I also plan to conduct several home visits with my co-teacher who is fluent in Chinese, so we can learn more about our student home environments and other factors that may affect their education.

3.3. Context of Culture: Teaching in China I have become very aware of the vast differences in traditional Chinese teaching methods, and the western teaching methods we use in the states. As the resources state, "People from different cultures learning in different ways. Their expectations for learning may be different. For example, students from some cultural groups prefer to learn in cooperation with others, while the learning style of others is to work independently" (Brown University, 2008). since beginning this module, I have taken the time to observe the traditional Chinese classrooms on our campus. I found that students generally work independently and rote memorization is a key practice throughout the classrooms I observed. As a result, I have put less emphasis on collaborative work time, and allow students to choose whether they want to work independently or with a partner. Secondly, I have started some memorization "challenges" in my classroom with sight words and math facts. The students are incredibly invested in the challenges, and some of the students who were previously struggling are beginning to excel.

4. Works Cited

4.1. Saifer, S., Edwards, K., Ellis, D., Ko, L., & Stuczynski, A. (2011). Culturally responsive Standards-based teaching: Classroom to community and back (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

4.2. Education Alliance, Brown University. (n.d.). Culturally responsive teaching. Retrieved August 8, 2013, from Culturally Responsive Teaching | Teaching Diverse Learners

4.3. Davis, B. M. (2012). How to teach students who don’t look like you: Culturally responsive teaching strategies (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin

4.4. Education Alliance, Brown University. (2008). Culturally responsive teaching. Retrieved from http://www.brown.edu/academics/education-alliance/sites/brown.edu.academics.education-alliance/files/uploads/KLOOM_crt_entire.pdf