Teachers who practice a culturally sensitive approach capitalize on students’ strengths and empower them to use their abilities.
These educators learn and understand their students beyond their names, backgrounds and cultures and how they can use them to enrich their educational experiences.
In order to establish a culturally responsive classroom, teachers must meet several conditions. Several prerequisites are necessary for a healthy and culturally appropriate educational environment.
It would help if you have previously met the following requirements as you prepare to deliver through culturally responsive pedagogy.
Build an inclusive environment
An inclusive environment would help students understand each other’s different cultures and perspectives and relate to the pedagogy you incorporate into your classroom. You can start by highlighting the topic you will be teaching and how you will relate it to a particular culture. For example, fireworks are part of many cultural festivals. You can use this point to teach students basic science and math concepts, such as calculation speed. Establishing inclusion would require you to regularly group students with different classmates and encourage problem-solving discussions. These activities help students better understand each other’s unique perspectives and cultures.
Develop positive attitudes
Developing a positive attitude helps build a culturally sensitive classroom and improves students’ acceptance of everything by helping them cultivate the habit of positivity. This would help the students to connect with the learning. one way to ensure this is to allow them to choose between activities and assessments through which they can demonstrate their knowledge, values, strengths and experiences. For example, encourage students to share their project ideas as you set learning objectives and guidelines for assessment criteria.
Improve the meaning
Adding meaning to learning by bringing in real-life experiences and examples can help students engage and understand better. Connect the learning material to real-world problems and ask students to use their knowledge and opinions to solve them. For example, when teaching about government, you can contextualize concepts through existing political issues. A great way is to use student jargon to clarify these questions and improve communication.
Trust is key to making students feel comfortable and valued in the classroom. You can help students build confidence by allowing them to use different expressions to demonstrate skills and understanding as part of an assessment. For example, instead of using material quizzes or multiple-choice questions as an assessment, assign activities that require short writing and long answers. This will allow students to better express themselves and understand their progress and performance, helping them to focus on growth.
These four conditions are the springboard for building a culturally sensitive classroom. You will use a mix of different strategies to help you create prime conditions.
We have covered different teaching strategies and strategies for cultural classrooms in separate blogs. You need to check them out to better equip yourself with the different options you can use.
The benefits of culturally responsive teaching
Culturally responsive instruction can benefit students in numerous ways. It equally promotes student success, something that may be lacking in conventional education models. When students’ cultural backgrounds become part of their everyday educational experience, challenges such as language barriers, lack of representation, and systemic discrimination are addressed.
The following points will highlight how culturally responsive education can combat the challenges of traditional education and its benefits.
The language barrier is a persistent challenge in education models. English is the standard language in schools, and students who do not speak English fluently face unnecessary difficulties in school and in understanding the learning material. In addition, they are uncomfortable asking questions and sharing opinions and ideas because they do not have the language skills they need to express themselves in that environment. When we work on a culturally responsive model, we take into account the vernacular, and students feel valued and listened to among students from different backgrounds and language abilities.
Many underrepresented students experience discrimination in a variety of organizations, including schools, libraries, hospitals, and other public settings. Authoritarian classroom expectations and punishment can trigger these feelings, making students feel unsafe or unwelcome at school. Discrimination can cause students to be excluded from the learning process and neglect school and learning at all costs. Ultimately, these behaviors lead to altered achievement and declines in student success rates, which have lifelong chronic effects on everyone.
Culturally sensitive pedagogy enables teachers to respond to the needs of a diverse classroom, bridge the gap of difference, and eradicate experiences of racism and exclusion by making learning inclusive and effective for all.
Lack of representation
Educational materials are unintentionally biased. We will often encounter books that typically feature white protagonists, movies that feature predominantly white classrooms, and various other non-inclusive media. Standardized tests are often written to favor the experience of racial and ethnic majorities. These situations can be very uncomfortable and disappointing for students of color. It communicates that schools and classrooms are not designed with them in mind. Culturally responsive education breaks this stereotype and makes students of all races feel part of the educational community.
Ownership of learning
Culturally responsive teaching allows students to take ownership of their learning. This will allow them to think of everyone as an equal contributor to the classroom. When students can embrace their role as contributors to the learning environment, it helps them cultivate their leadership skills and build self-esteem.
The benefits of culturally responsive teaching are undeniable. It helps improve student success rates, fosters a positive family-school relationship, promotes inclusion, and combats social issues in educational communities. Once teachers identify innovative ways of teaching across cultures, students are more likely to engage and enjoy education because they feel valued and respected.
Share your tips and tricks on creating a culturally responsive classroom in the comments section below.
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