3 Ways to Create a Culturally Responsive Classroom
Each year, student populations in the U.S. become more diverse—in fact, minority students now compose the largest demographic group in our nation’s public schools. However, educator demographics have not reached the same levels of diversity. With this in mind, it’s important for educators to be responsive to the variety of cultures and backgrounds with which their students identify.
Culturally relevant teaching respects students' backgrounds and traditions as assets in the classroom. Teachers who take a culturally responsive approach to teaching intuitively understand that an inclusive classroom leads to more engaged students and, ultimately, greater achievement.
Here are three ways to create a culturally responsive classroom:
1. Learn about students’ cultures. Understanding students’ cultural backgrounds and experiences is the key to culturally responsive teaching. Ask learners questions about their lives and families. Connect with parents by asking about their hopes for their children and encouraging them to speak their native language with their children at home. Research the families' cultures and visit their communities.
2. Embrace an asset-based mindset. Reflect on students’ individual strengths. Determine how you can best harness their personal interests and skills to guide instruction in the classroom. Students’ cultural experiences, knowledge, and languages can be significant assets in the classroom, creating rich learning experiences for culturally diverse students and their peers.
3. Create a student-centered classroom. Engaged students are motivated to take ownership of their own learning, and developing an inclusive classroom helps create this type of environment. Focus on student engagement and collaboration to engage students in culturally relevant learning.
Schools that embrace culturally relevant and responsive instruction report higher levels of community engagement and academic achievement. To learn more ways to create a culturally responsive classroom that engages learners and promotes student success, read 6 ways to create a culturally responsive classroom by José A. Viana, Senior Advisor, Education Partnerships for Lexia Learning.
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