Culturally Responsive Teaching: What You Should Know

14 min read
Culturally Responsive Teaching: What You Should Know

Culturally responsive teaching adopts a research-based approach to teaching students. This form of teaching helps connect students in a classroom, despite having different backgrounds. For instance, when a teacher understands their students’ experiences, they can make the children feel secure. In such an environment, children feel respected and comfortable.

With the growing need to respect different cultures, culturally responsive teaching is the key to addressing the issue. Using this teaching technique, instructors can build a sustainable and healthy environment giving equal opportunity to every student. Over the years, students, their backgrounds, and upbringing have drastically changed. Hence, teachers need to change their teaching style as well to complement that change.

With the growing need to respect different cultures
The classrooms nowadays reflect
, values, and socio-economic statuses. Thus, a teacher can adopt numerous responsive and inclusive methods when teaching. It will empower students and help them be more socially responsible. 

What is Culturally Responsive Teaching?

The term is also known as culturally relevant teaching. It recognizes the need for an inclusive environment among children. Further, it considers different aspects when forming a teaching method. The method focuses on several aspects, such as the students’ cultural experiences and prior knowledge.

What is Culturally Responsive Teaching

To apply the subject, teachers should go beyond understanding the groups that students belong to. Teachers are role models for students, so they must practice an inclusive teaching method.

Creating a safe environment for students enables them to grow and think smartly.

Culturally Responsive Teaching vs. Traditional Teaching Methods

Teachers can practice culturally responsive teaching in numerous ways to enhance a child’s progress. In traditional teaching methods, the teacher is an authoritative figure. Moreover, it considers them as the controller of the environment. Rather than use practical knowledge, students learn with memorization.

Note that the environment relies heavily on the student’s memory. It uses assessments and examinations to determine the results. These traditional methods are outdated and considered impractical, so many experts emphasize an inclusive classroom environment.

In these classrooms, the teachers are the main source of knowledge and there is no topic discussion among them and the students. According to experts and educationalists in the 21st century, this is ineffective.

Many students, teachers, and parents are not supportive of traditional teaching techniques. But with the help of culturally responsive classrooms, the environment has become more adaptive and diverse in nature. Compared to the past practices, the new techniques focus on creating a healthy learning environment.

Many students, teachers, and parents are not supportive of traditional teaching techniques

Core Aspects of Traditional Teaching Methods

Some countries still practice these conventional teaching methods, even though most of the world doesn’t. Nowadays, teachers focus on modern techniques to build a healthy learning environment.

Unlike traditional aspects of teaching, the core aims for new culturally responsive teaching is to assume that every child differs from the rest and needs a different approach. The latest methods focus on interaction, collaboration, and discussion among teachers and students.

  • The teacher is the controller of the environment, and all students are passive learners who have to learn through one-way communication.
  • The practice relies heavily on lectures, text and reading material, memorization, and written assignments
  • The teaching methodology remains uniform throughout the year without focus on individual learning
  • Overall offers little to no engagement for the students and increases lethargy and boredom among them.
Core Aspects of Traditional Teaching Methods

10 Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies for Teachers

Teachers can adapt culturally responsive teaching inside the classroom in many ways. Here are a few specific approaches that a teacher can use to create an inclusive and modern learning environment inside the classroom.

Let’s take a look at some strategies a teacher can use:

  • Learn About the Students
  • Assess and Work on Behavior
  • Interview and Talk to Students
  • Making Classroom Judgment Free Zone
  • Offer Free Study Times
  • Adapt Flexible Teaching Approach
  • Deliver Lesson through Different Mediums
  • Use Technology to Aid Learning
  • Encourage Students to Bring Ideas for Projects
  • Bring in Guest Speakers

1.     Learn About the Students

The first aspect of any change is to learn about it in detail. Since students need individual and personalized treatment, teachers should understand the student. A teacher should change their teaching style according to the student’s needs because it makes them more open to communication. Consequently, it increases participation in class.

A few ways a teacher can implement this change include:

  • Working on assignments and homework in a collaborative manner
  • Asking them personal questions by handing them out the questionnaires.
  • Holding interactive discussions and allowing the teachers to talk to discuss the students’ problems in detail

By practicing these methods, a teacher will understand the students in their class, so they maintain a collaborative approach within the classroom. With the help of an interactive environment, teachers can gain students’ trust and make effective plans according to their needs.

Learn About the Students

2.     Assess and Work on Behavior

To aid culturally responsive teaching, a teacher must assess their own behavior and attitude towards different cultures. A teacher should ensure that they are not biased towards any socioeconomic or racial background and always stay subjective.

Assess and Work on Behavior
In some cases, there are traces of
in teaching strategies. Teachers may not fully be aware of these biases, so they are unconscious and not deliberate. Therefore, a teacher should learn more about the topic to prevent bias towards a certain group.

Only when a teacher is self-aware, understanding, and inclusive can they be a role model for students to sustain growth as future members of a functional society. To implement this, a teacher should keep themselves open to change, and have a subjective mindset.

Being sensitive and adaptive is a key to building a sustainable environment for the students. Moreover, it also helps the class build a tolerant attitude towards new things. As a result, they’re more well-adjusted.

3.     Interview and Talk to Students

To build trust and nurture growth within an inclusive class environment, teachers should build an understanding of students’ values and beliefs. For instance, a teacher can hold interviews and class discussions. Or, teachers can practice a bigger discussion which helps students discuss their views.

Interview and Talk to Students

A teacher can discuss certain aspects such as:

  • Hobbies and activities
  • Favorite lessons and methods of learning
  • Ways they prepare for the exam or teaching style they prefer

A teacher should then deliver the teaching according to their interests and preferences.

4.     Making Classroom a Judgment Free Zone

A student should be able to understand the differences and adopt a perspective that does not judge anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, or other differences. A teacher should make sure that the children are able to ask questions openly without fear of judgment by their peers. All the discussions inside the classroom need to be focused on learning and improving rather than ridiculing or insults.

The environment needs to be open for discussions and asking questions to nurture learning and curiosity. Moreover, it will also boost their critical thinking and improve their overall learning experience.

Making Classroom a Judgment Free Zone

It is very common for some students to not speak up and be shy. Implementing a no-judgment technique will definitely help teachers create a welcome environment for them as well. A teacher should always encourage them to voice their concerns and pitch in inside the classroom. It will ensure culturally responsive teaching in the class.

5.     Offer Free Study Times

Another way a teacher can make the environment more inclusive is by offering free time to students. Some students prefer studying alone but a majority like to spend time with their peers. A teacher can fulfill the needs of both groups by dividing the class into groups or sections for different learning preferences.

There are various other ways that a teacher can offer free study times to keep the students intrigued, which include:

  • Playing podcasts or completing worksheets on the related topic
  • Allocate space for the students who like to study alone and ensure it is quiet and distraction-free
  • Allowing the students to work in groups and involving in different discussions related to the topic in the free study times.

The study free time will ensure that it appeals to most of the students and will ensure a good learning and collaborative environment for the students and teachers alike.

Offer Free Study Times

6.     Adopt a Flexible Teaching Approach

An important aspect for any teacher practicing culturally responsive teaching is to be open and flexible for any changes within the classroom. As mentioned before, culturally responsive teaching is a student-focused approach that addresses the student on a personalized level.

A teacher needs to identify differences in students and spot areas of skills and areas needing improvement.

Adopt a Flexible Teaching Approach

It is essential for a teacher to address and assess their current teaching methodologies and improve them according to students’ preferences. Numerous studies have shown that the students have shown a higher interest and engagement when the teachers teach skills and knowledge are according to their culture and values.

And therefore, it is critical to adapt to the flexible teaching methods when a teacher has numerous students from different backgrounds. The best way they can do this is by giving examples from their culture and experiences. It will help them stay attentive in the class and make them feel more inclusive.

7.     Deliver Lessons through Different Mediums

The studies show that students respond differently to different modes of teaching. Teachers can leverage this technique to ensure that the students remain focused and attentive throughout the period. It will also help in practicing culturally responsive teaching.

Deliver Lessons through Different Mediums

A way that teachers can do this is by adopting different learning stations. Each method should be different from one another and should have a unique way of teaching.

A few examples that teachers can use include:

  • Playing learning games
  • Creating art and drawings
  • Watching videos related to the subject
  • Reading articles, blogs, and extract from magazines
  • Doing puzzles and playing cardboard games

At the end of each session, a teacher can hold a class discussion to determine the learning outcomes of the students.

8.     Use Latest Technology to Aid Learning

Nowadays, it is all about technology, and incorporating them into teaching can prove vital for teachers. With the help of technology, the teachers can boost the learning of the students. For example, the use of projectors inside the classrooms will enable the children to see different video lessons.

Use Latest Technology to Aid Learning

Moreover, the multimedia can also be used to portray different cultures and values positively that are there in the curriculum. Range of media can assist for this implementation such as books, movies, and videos that show inclusivity and positivity.

9.     Encourage Students to Bring Ideas for Projects

When the teacher asks students for ideas, it helps the students bring exciting ideas to the table. Moreover, it boosts their confidence and encourages them to take on the projects they like. These steps make the student feel more inclusive and benefit from culturally responsive teaching in the class. Not all the ideas will be great, but that’s where the teachers can guide them.

Encourage Students to Bring Ideas for Projects

10. Bring in Guest Speakers

By calling experts on a particular subject, teachers can boost the learning of the student. These guest speakers will provide in-depth analysis and knowledge on the given topic. Moreover, it will help the students to get more knowledge and identify inclusivity if the speakers are from different cultures.

Bring in Guest Speakers

Final Thoughts

With the help of culturally responsive teaching, a teacher can raise the academic success of all students. It happens since it gives equal opportunities to every student involved in the classroom. Moreover, it also sends a message of the importance of multicultural aspects.