Guide to Culturally Responsive Teaching (+10 Examples) - University of San Diego - Professional & Continuing Education (2023)

Guide to Culturally Responsive Teaching (+10 Examples) - University of San Diego - Professional & Continuing Education (1)

Today's educators work in an increasingly diverse world, which means an equally diverse classroom. Just look at the stats: theUS Census 2020found that the population of all minorities in the United States has increased since 2010, with the multiracial population increasing by 276% over a 10-year period. If you look at an earlier oneCensus Bureau reportwho predicted that by 2020 half of all US public school students would be from minorities, it's clear why culturally appropriate education is becoming increasingly important.

However, knowing how to implement culture-relevant pedagogy is not inherently easy and requires a balancing act on your part as an educator. To help you get started introducing these concepts and tactics into your classroom, here's a look at culturally appropriate teaching and 10 examples of CRTs being implemented in schools.

What is culturally sensitive teaching?

Edutopia Sea,culturally sensitive teaching"seeks to bridge the gap between teacher and student by helping the teacher understand the cultural nuances that can cause a relationship to break down, which ultimately also leads to a rupture in student achievement."

In practice, teachers can improveculturally sensitive pedagogyThese are "student-centred approaches to instruction in which students' unique cultural strengths are identified and nurtured to promote student achievement and a sense of well-being related to the student's cultural place in the world".

Why Use Culturally Appealing Education?

There are numerous studies pointing to the benefits of culturally sensitive teaching (CRT). CRT wasIt has been shown to increase student engagement, cultivate critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and ultimately strengthen students' sense of belonging to the classroom. For educators, culturally responsive pedagogy has been instrumental in improving their ability to reach students, especially in times of distance learning and COVID-19. Reports show that teachers using this teaching style are more responsive to students' needs and are an effective way to address educational inequalities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From a general educational point of view, mostUse of culturally relevant teachingcontain:

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  • Teachers and students contribute more actively to the classroom environment and culture.
  • Students learn through more interactive, collaborative, and culture-aware activities.
  • This teaching style helps foster a sense of belonging for students of all backgrounds.
  • It has been shown to improve brain processing and student engagement.

10 examples of culturally sensitive teaching in the classroom

There is no one way to implement culturally sensitive teaching elements in your classroom. There are tons of different tactics you can try that will suit your style. Here are 10 of the most common:

1. Find out about your students: Start the school year with exercises that help you get to know your students. Hand out polls or quizzes that allow your students to tell a little more about their experiences and learning styles. With these answers, you can start the year with a complete picture of your classroom makeup.

2. Interview the students: This is a more personal approach to getting to know your students better. Face-to-face communication helps create an open dialogue between you and your students and encourages you to be open about things like your hobbies, favorite topics, and your favorite class exercises.

3. Integrate relevant global issues: There are many different ways to do this. Consider implementing a breaking events summary into your morning meetings or classroom routine. You can also use culturally relevant terms in word problems that relate to students' interests and cultures.

4. Use the power of history: Many cultures have oral traditions, myths and stories that are passed from generation to generation. These stories can be used as a teaching tool for manners, morals, and more. Use your students' diverse cultural stories to bring valuable lessons to your classroom, while also sharing some unique stories from other groups.

5. Lessons from Gamify: The games are very popular with school children. Consider "gamifying" your teaching: Popular tactics include offering reward badges or setting standards for new "levels" students can achieve for specific projects or skills.

6. Use media that represents a variety of cultures positively- Find age-appropriate media from different cultures and languages ​​to use on your resume. These results can be used to provide a different perspective on a current or historical event.

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7. Encourage students to brainstorm project ideas: Turning the tables and allowing students to generate project ideas is a great way to allow students to play to their strengths and be creative. Encourage them to be inspired by their cultural heritage or background and support them in taking projects from conception to completion.

8. Try peer teaching: It is suggested that teachers try to enable students to participate in peer teaching. In this activity, students can use their own vocabulary and cultural references to teach each other about a topic or subject.

9. Encourage students to use cultural capital: Empower your students from diverse backgrounds to raise their voices and talk about their diverse backgrounds. For example, if you are teaching an English class to ESL students, try to find ways to involve them in the class and allow them to share their experiences.

10. Engage parents with take-home cards: Open the door to parental involvement at the beginning of the school year, when starting a new unit or trying an educational tool for the first time. Parents can provide context and cultural support and will appreciate being kept up to date on their children's education.

How to implement culturally sensitive teaching in the classroom

There is no step-by-step process that every teacher must follow to introduce culturally relevant instruction in their classroom. Instead, here are some elements of a culturally inclusive classroom and some choices you can make to start this exciting process:

  • Gather demographic information about students, such as backgrounds, languages ​​spoken, etc.
  • Identify student assets and cultural capital.
  • Create a welcoming classroom environment and build authentic, caring relationships with your students.
  • Examine the curriculum to see where you can tie cultural elements.
  • Explore the possibilities of CRT to deepen your own understanding of the concept.
  • Share your own background and experiences with students to open lines of communication.
  • Encourage students to discuss in pairs or small groups before sharing their own experiences with the whole class.
  • Find out about your students' traditions, holidays, and family or other cultural activities, and try to incorporate some of these traditions or activities into your classroom activities.
  • Choose mediums such as stories, poems, or videos that reflect the students' culture so they can relate to the topic or characters, and teach classmates about their origins.

How does culturally sensitive teaching affect parents and families?

Parents and guardians of students can be one of your most valuable resources when it comes to developing a culturally relevant pedagogy. Because they are their students' resource when it comes to learning about their own cultural background. Therefore, you need to get in touch with the families early on and invite parents and guardians into the class community. They can share books from their home cultures or countries, or participate as guest speakers to tell their own stories. It helps them actively participate in their children's learning and share a little about what makes them unique.

Resources for Culturally Appealing Teaching

Some easily accessible CRT resources available to teachers include:

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Education in the Northwest


network including schools

culturally sensitive

Further training for culturally sensitive teaching

There are a number of introductory resources online for educators interested in culturally-responsive teaching. However, these articles and eBooks provide a cursory overview of the CRT. While this information is extremely valuable, there are other options for educators seeking a fuller understanding of this practice.

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consider theTeaching diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom rowoffered by the University of San Diego. This program is available through the School's Professional and Development Department, which means that every course in this series is available entirely online. Through the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program, students learn to celebrate diversity and develop strategies to promote inclusion, equity, and anti-racism in the classroom. For more information about this program, please contactContact us.

frequently asked questions

What is culturally sensitive teaching?

culturally sensitive teachingIt is "a student-centered approach to instruction that identifies and nurtures students' unique cultural strengths to enhance student achievement and a sense of well-being related to the student's cultural place in the world."

What are the benefits of culturally sensitive teaching?

There are myriad benefits of culturally-responsive teaching, but the four key takeaways for teachers to take away are: Teachers and students are more actively contributing to the classroom environment and culture. Students learn from more interactive, collaborative, and cultural activities The teaching style helps foster a sense of belonging among students from diverse backgrounds and has been shown to improve student brain processing and engagement.

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How can I implement CRT in my classroom?

There are many tools that you as a teacher can use to implement the CRT in your classroom, but some simple tactics to try early in the classroom include gathering demographic information about students such as backgrounds, languages ​​spoken, etc. of the student. Assets and Cultural Capital, and examine the curriculum to see where cultural elements can be linked.


What is an example of the principles of culturally responsive teaching? ›

For example, we might invite families or community members representing the different faiths found in students' communities into school to share their values. Students' family members and community guests can provide firsthand knowledge of the content and add a level of relevance to learning.

What is an example of a culturally responsive practice? ›

For example, many societies and cultures have fireworks festivals. While such a festival runs, you could teach how to calculate speed using fireworks in sample questions. Establishing inclusion also involves regularly grouping students with different classmates, encouraging discussion to solve problems.

How do you demonstrate yourself as a culturally responsive teacher? ›

Five Essential Strategies to Embrace Culturally Responsive...
  1. Know your students. ...
  2. Be aware of your own personal biases. ...
  3. Transform your pedagogy and curriculum. ...
  4. Respect and reinforce student culture. ...
  5. Involve family and community.
Aug 31, 2020

How do you explain culturally responsive teaching? ›

culturally responsive teaching: a pedagogy that uses students' customs, characteristics, experiences, and perspectives as tools for better classroom instruction. Students of color see themselves and their communities as belonging in academic spaces.

What are the 7 principles of culturally responsive teaching? ›

7 Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies
  • Activate students' prior knowledge. ...
  • Make learning contextual. ...
  • Consider your classroom setup. ...
  • Form relationships. ...
  • Discuss social and political issues. ...
  • Tap into students' cultural capital. ...
  • Incorporate popular culture.
Nov 19, 2020

What are the 4 R's of culturally responsive teaching? ›

In “The Four Rs – Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, and Responsibility” (2001), Kirkness & Barnhardt teach us that educators and schools can begin to Indigenize and decolonize schooling using the Four Rs: Respect First Nations cultural integrity.

What are the 6 themes of culturally responsive education? ›

The six themes of CRE from Stembridge include engagement, cultural identity, relationships, vulnerability, assets, and rigor. These six themes overlap but are listed separately to elucidate the connections with classroom assessment.

What are some examples of culturally appropriate practices? ›

Examples of culturally appropriate care
  • ask the person or their representatives what they prefer and then to meet their preferences wherever possible.
  • try to understand a person's history by talking to them and their family.
  • ask questions if you are unsure.
May 12, 2022

What do culturally responsive classrooms look like? ›

Culturally responsive schools offer a learning environment where every student's cultures, languages, and life experiences are acknowledged, validated, and celebrated. They are also positively reflected in the curriculum and instructional methods.

How do you make a lesson more culturally responsive? ›

4 ways to practice culturally responsive teaching
  1. Build a positive classroom culture.
  2. Get to know your students and families.
  3. Provide opportunities for students to see themselves in the learning.
  4. Set high expectations for all students.
  5. Other resources to support your practice.
Mar 17, 2022

What skills are needed to be a culturally responsive teacher? ›

According to the results, being a culturally responsive teacher requires having certain personal and professional competencies, such as avoiding discrimination, respecting cultural differences, being a role model, having an empathic tendency, and having good communication skills as well as a pedagogical background.

What are the questions for culturally responsive teaching? ›

How will you incorporate your students' life experiences into the lesson? How will you foster/encourage critical discussion during your lesson? What authentic learning tasks have you developed for this lesson? How do the learning tasks relate to your students' lives outside of school?

What are the three principles of culturally responsive teaching? ›

Gloria Ladson-Billings proposed three main components of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: (a) a focus on student learning and academic success, (b) developing students' cultural competence to assist students in developing positive ethnic and social identities, and (c) supporting students' critical consciousness or their ...

What is the role of the teacher in a culturally responsive teaching? ›

In culturally responsive classrooms, teachers provide opportunities for choice in classroom activities, encourage child-directed learning, and assist students as they engage in these activities.

How do you teach culture in the classroom? ›

How can you Promote Diversity and Multiculturalism in the Classroom?
  1. Get to Know Your Students. ...
  2. Maintain Consistent Communication. ...
  3. Acknowledge and Respect Every Student. ...
  4. Practice Cultural Sensitivity. ...
  5. Incorporate Diversity in the Lesson Plan. ...
  6. Give Students Freedom and Flexibility.

What are the 5 principles of classroom culture? ›

The five elements of classroom culture, discipline, management, control, influence and engagement, provide a deeper way to look at what's goes on in classrooms as both leaders and teachers.

What are the 5 key elements of culturally sustaining pedagogy? ›

Utilizing Culturally Inclusive, Proficient, Responsive, Relevant & Sustaining Practice and Pedagogies:Engaging refugee students' home and cultural communities and connecting with their prior learning experiences, funds of knowledge, interests, talents, and values (see details below).

What are the 5 essential principles that are relevant to cultural competence? ›

Have the capacity to (1) value diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3) manage the dynamics of difference, (4) acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge, and (5) adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of communities they serve.

What are the four 4 domains of the responsive classroom? ›

This approach to teaching and discipline creates the conditions for social, emotional, and academic learning using practical strategies in four domains: positive community, effective management, engaging academics, and developmentally responsive teaching.

What are the key concepts of cultural responsiveness? ›

Being culturally responsive requires having the ability to understand cultural differences, recognize potential biases, and look beyond differences to work productively with children, families, and communities whose cultural contexts are different from one's own.

What are some examples of cultural culture? ›

Customs, laws, dress, architectural style, social standards, and traditions are all examples of cultural elements.

What are the 5 cross cultural communication strategies? ›

These are: awareness, preparation, language, humor, and openness. Let's make an effort to become more cross-culturally competent, and find out something about each of these.

What do you mean by cultural practice with example? ›

Cultural practices are shared perceptions of how people routinely behave in a culture (similar terms used are intersubjective perceptions or descriptive norms) and values are shared ideals of a culture (similar terms are injunctive norms). “As Is” are cultural practices, and “Should Be” refer to values.

What are 4 strategies that support cultural competence? ›

How do I become culturally competent?
  • Learn about yourself. Get started by exploring your own historical roots, beliefs and values, says Robert C. ...
  • Learn about different cultures. ...
  • Interact with diverse groups. ...
  • Attend diversity-focused conferences. ...
  • Lobby your department.

What is responsive teaching strategies? ›

Responsive teaching requires teachers to nimbly make moment-to-moment, day-to-day, and week-to-week decisions as they observe and analyze students' behaviors. It is this observation and analysis that informs their next teaching moves.

How do you create a culturally competent classroom? ›

These practices can apply to Empatico exchanges as well as day-to-day experiences.
  1. Encourage and model respectful behavior: ...
  2. Emphasize commonalities with new peers: ...
  3. Promote an equitable relationship between peers and partner classrooms: ...
  4. Encourage students to approach differences with curiosity and kindness:

What is the primary goal of culturally responsive teaching? ›

Culturally Responsive Teaching is an approach that leverages the strengths that students of color bring to the classroom to make learning more relevant and effective. A major goal of Culturally Responsive Teaching is to reverse patterns of underachievement for students of color.

What are three characteristics of culturally competent teachers? ›

These four practices are: (1) that teachers are empathetic and caring; (2) that they are reflective about their beliefs about people from other cultures; (3) that they are reflective about their own cultural frames of reference; and (4) that they are knowledgeable about other cultures.

What are 5 learning pursuits? ›

Dr. Muhammad spoke to Emily Freitag and Nicole Knight-Justice about five pursuits for teaching and learning that can serve as a guide for structuring education today: identity, skill development, intellectualism, criticality, and joy.

What are the five pursuits of teaching? ›

Gholdy Muhammad covers five pursuits of culturally and historically responsive teaching: identity, skills, intellectualism, criticality, and joy.

What is another word for culturally responsive teaching? ›

Geneva Gay published Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice in 2000. You may have come across this pedagogy under the names “culturally appropriate instruction,” “culturally relevant teaching,” “culturally congruent instruction” or other variations on these themes.

What are the five principles of culturally responsive coaching? ›

5 Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies for Educators
  • Activate students' prior knowledge. ...
  • Make learning contextual. ...
  • Encourage students to leverage their cultural capital. ...
  • Reconsider your classroom setup. ...
  • Build relationships.
Jul 31, 2020

What are the 4 types of culture? ›

They identified 4 types of culture – clan culture, adhocracy culture, market culture, and hierarchy culture.

How do you teach culture in a fun way? ›

Here are several ways you can have fun with your students exploring different cultural groups and traditions.
  1. Cultural Dress Show and Tell. ...
  2. Host a Multicultural Day. ...
  3. Have a World Music Dance Party. ...
  4. Create a Classroom Collage. ...
  5. Make Global Friends.
Dec 9, 2020

What does culturally responsive teaching look like in the classroom? ›

In the classroom, this involves inclusivity, curiosity, recognition, and dignity. Cultural responsiveness is the ability to learn from and relate respectfully with people of one's own culture as well as those from other cultures.

What are the three components of culturally responsive teaching? ›

Gloria Ladson-Billings proposed three main components of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: (a) a focus on student learning and academic success, (b) developing students' cultural competence to assist students in developing positive ethnic and social identities, and (c) supporting students' critical consciousness or their ...

What is culturally responsive teaching in early childhood? ›

Culturally responsive teaching is an education approach that connects children's cultures, experiences, and languages to what they learn in the classroom to improve educational outcomes. Culturally responsive teaching encourages children to use familiar ways of thinking, speaking, and analyzing to learn new ideas.

What is a culturally responsive principal? ›

Culturally responsive leaders understand the dimensions and. impact of cultural constructs in society and continuously cultivate and revisit their own personal understanding of the impact of culture on their own identity and the ways in which it shapes their approach to their professional practice.

What does culturally responsive curriculum look like? ›

A curriculum that respects learners' cultures and prior experiences. It acknowledges and values the legitimacy of different cultures, not just the dominant culture of a society, and encourages intercultural understanding.

What are the eight competencies for culturally responsive teaching? ›

Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching
  • Reflect on one's cultural lens. ...
  • Recognize and redress bias in the system. ...
  • Draw on students' culture to shape curriculum and instruction. ...
  • Bring real-world issues into the classroom. ...
  • Model high expectations for all students. ...
  • Promote respect for student differences.
Mar 9, 2023

What is a culturally responsive lesson plan? ›

Matthew Lynch (2011) culturally responsive instruction is, “a student-centered approach to teaching in which the students' unique cultural strengths are identified and nurtured to promote student achievement and a sense of well-being about the student's cultural place in the world.” There are several components to a ...

Which of the following skills are needed to be a culturally responsive teacher? ›

Rychly and Graves (2012) point out four basic characteristics that should be in a culturally responsive teacher: caring about students, approaching students empathically, being aware of their cultural reference points, and having cultural knowledge of cultural responsiveness.

Why should teachers use culturally responsive teaching? ›

Culturally responsive teaching strategies can build trust; encourage collaboration; improve communication; and create a supportive, respectful atmosphere where every student can thrive.

Why should teachers be culturally responsive? ›

Since CRT focuses on inclusive curriculums, it helps teachers and students understand different perspectives, appreciate each other's strengths, and build empathy. It also helps teachers to introspect how their own identity and experiences impact their attitudes and teaching practices.

What are the cultural learning tools? ›

The most common cultural tools for processing information utilize the brain's memory systems -- music, repetition, metaphor, recitation, physical manipulation of content, and ritual.


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