Strategies for Developing Culturally Responsive Instruction


Schoolgirl at front of elementary class talking with teacher

Students who are culturally different may face challenges that can impact the quality of their school lives and educational outcomes. These include high dropout and suspension rates, low academic achievement, poor student-teacher relationships, and other difficulties.

 

And some students of color are underachieving in schools partly due to lack of engagement—both personally and culturally—with the content and topics being taught. Over the years, a number of interventions and strategies have been employed to address these challenges, with varying degrees of success.

 

What Is Culturally Responsive Instruction?

Culturally responsive instruction is student-centered and welcoming to students of color. Culturally competent teachers:

  • Focus on breaking down barriers to learning.
  • Feel a sense of urgency to create a classroom environment that will help students experience success.
  • Work proactively to eliminate their own biases and stereotypes.
  • Strive to understand, respect, and meet the needs of students from cultural backgrounds different from their own.
  • Embrace constructivist views of learning that embrace critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and recognition of multiple perspectives.
  • Employ culturally responsive teaching strategies that create an inclusive classroom in which students feel a sense of empowerment, value, and belonging.

 

Rigor and Relevance

High-quality culturally responsive instruction requires both rigor—a focus on critical thinking and problem solving—and relevance—making sure students regularly see themselves and their cultures reflected in the curriculum.

  • A rigorous curriculum is one that challenges students and works to bridge the achievement gap by avoiding the all-to-common error of low expectations.
  • A relevant curriculum is one in which students are engaged because the subject matter and approach align with their culture and interests.

 

There are many positive outcomes of instruction that’s focused on rigor and relevance, including students who are engaged, students working together, increases in achievement, and decreases in behavioral problems.

 

Donna Y. Ford, author of the Exceptional Child course, Developing Culturally Responsive Instruction, has developed guidelines for approaching rigor and relevance by merging Bloom’s Taxonomy and Banks’ Multicultural Curriculum Model into the Bloom-Banks Matrix. This matrix maps the path to rigor and relevance with the aid of an easy-to-use planning grid, which you can learn about in this course.

Learn more about this course and view the full course library at www.exceptionalchild.com/course/list.