Big Ideas in Literacy
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Culturally responsive teaching (CRT) practices as described by Geneva Gay (2002) and Gloria Ladson-Billings (1995) help teachers think about student motivation and engagement more holistically. Yvette Jackson’s (2011) review of culturally responsive teaching research defines CRT practices as:
- Validating – Incorporating the knowledge, experiences, and performance styles of diverse students into instruction
- Comprehensive – Developing our students’ intellectual, social, emotional, and political knowledge by using their cultural referents
- Transformative – Using our students’ cultures as resources for teaching and learning, and critiquing social structures in reading and writing practices
- Multidimensional – Attending to the curriculum, learning context, classroom climate, student–teacher relationships, instructional techniques, and performance assessments
- Emancipatory – Making authentic knowledge about different ethnic groups available to students
- Empowering – Helping students develop academic competence, self-efficacy, and initiative
A good self-assessment for student engagement in your lesson involves asking yourself such questions as: How is my lesson validating for all of my students? How is my lesson comprehensive (in incorporating student interests and strengths)? How is my lesson transformative for all students?
Be realistic about linguistic prejudice, as it is an influencing factor on students’ motivation and engagement in learning academic English. For the English teacher, this might come into play when teaching literature written in hybrid languages; World Englishes (Australia, England, South Africa, Nigeria, India, etc.); or vernacular dialects, often from different time periods. As an English teacher, you have the dual role of guiding students toward academic English while teaching them to appreciate linguistic diversity in multicultural and global literature written in English.
Reflect: Write an example of how you use your students' cultural referents to build their knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Brainstorm a list of other ways you can incorporate cultural referents in your teaching.