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Boost Student Achievement with Culturally Responsive Teaching

In our ever-evolving landscape of education, one approach has emerged as a powerful beacon of inclusivity, open-mindedness, and student-centered learning. It's called culturally responsive teaching, and it's more than just a passing trend; it's a transformative response to the diverse world we live in. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all approach to education. Why? Because culturally responsive teaching celebrates and embraces the richness of every student's cultural background and experiences. After all, 54% of students in our public schools are black and brown, so it's our responsibility to unlock an education that truly meets the needs of every child.

What is culturally responsive teaching?

“Cultural responsiveness is not a practice; it’s what informs our practice so we can make better teaching choices for eliciting, engaging, motivating, supporting, and expanding the intellectual capacity of ALL our students.” ― Zaretta L. Hammond,

Culturally responsive teaching is a way of teaching that uses student culture, characteristics, experiences, and perspectives to improve classroom instruction. It recognizes that students come from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and it seeks to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students.

An education that was designed to serve only one race, continues to do so, and disregards other diverse groups is not inclusive and culturally responsive. Therefore, the purpose of culturally responsive teaching is for every student to belong, to feel seen, to be affirmed, and to be heard in their classrooms by their teachers and their peers.

When we analyze the reality of our students population that shows us that there are five million emergent bilingual students of which 72% are born in the USA and 54% of our students are students of color, we must realize that culturally responsive teaching aims to create an inclusive and equitable learning environment where all students can thrive academically, socially, emotionally, and culturally.

Here are a few benefits of culturally responsive teaching worth considering:

Culturally responsive teaching promotes student engagement and motivation.

It incorporates students' cultural backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives into the learning process. When students see their own cultures represented in the curriculum, they are more likely to be actively engaged and motivated to learn.

Culturally responsive teaching has been shown to positively impact academic achievement.

By recognizing and valuing students' cultural identities, teachers create a supportive and inclusive learning environment that enhances student learning outcomes. When students feel a sense of belonging and connection, they are more likely to succeed academically.

Culturally responsive teaching helps develop students' cultural competence and empathy.

By integrating diverse perspectives and experiences into the curriculum, students gain a better understanding and appreciation of different cultures. This fosters empathy, respect, and a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Culturally responsive teaching builds positive relationships between students and teachers.

By acknowledging and valuing students' cultural backgrounds, teachers create an atmosphere of respect and trust. This leads to stronger connections, increased student engagement, and improved learning outcomes.

Culturally responsive teaching creates a culturally inclusive and equitable learning environment.

It ensures that all students' cultural identities and backgrounds are respected and valued. This promotes a sense of belonging for every student, regardless of their cultural or linguistic background, and helps to mitigate educational inequities.

Now let's dig into strategies you can use to create a culturally responsive classroom:

Get to know your students:

Take the time to learn about your students' cultural backgrounds, experiences, and interests. Engage in conversations, conduct surveys, or use interest inventories to gather information about their identities and cultural heritage. This knowledge will help you understand their perspectives and tailor your instruction accordingly.

Incorporate culturally diverse resources:

Integrate diverse perspectives, materials, and resources into your curriculum. Use textbooks, literature, videos, and other instructional materials that represent a variety of cultures and voices. This will provide students with opportunities to see themselves reflected in the content and foster a sense of belonging.

Foster inclusive classroom discussions:

Create a safe and inclusive space for students to share their thoughts, experiences, and perspectives. Encourage open dialogue and respectful exchanges that value diverse viewpoints. Model active listening and validate students' contributions, promoting a culture of respect, empathy, and understanding.

Build strong partnerships with families and communities:

Establish collaborative relationships with families and communities to bridge the gap between home and school. Engage parents and caregivers by inviting them to share their cultural knowledge, traditions, or expertise in the classroom. Connect with community organizations and resources to broaden students' cultural experiences beyond the classroom walls.

Adapt instructional strategies:

Modify your teaching and assessment strategies to accommodate different learning styles and cultural preferences. Incorporate a variety of instructional approaches such as group work, hands-on activities, and visual aids to engage students with diverse learning preferences. Provide multiple entry points for students to access and demonstrate their understanding of the content.

Now it's time to implement!

Culturally responsive teaching is a pedagogy that every teacher should integrate into their classroom. Embrace the diverse backgrounds and experiences of your students, and create inclusive classrooms where every child feels valued and empowered. Let's break free from the constraints of the past and forge a future of equitable and student-centered learning. Following the steps above, you can promote a classroom where everyone is welcome and accepted regardless of their background and experiences.

We welcome you to implement these simple strategies and begin the conversation in your school. If you or your school would like support in implementing a diverse curriculum, you can contact us at or call us at (305) 209-0003.


What Is Culturally Responsive Teaching? - the Education Hub.

“A Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching.” ASCD.

Rucker, Nikki Williams. “How to Get Started With Culturally Responsive Teaching | Edutopia.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 10 Dec. 2019.

Educators Team at Understood at Understood. “What is Culturally Responsive Teaching? | Understood.” Understood- For Learning and Thinking Differences, 14 Nov. 2019.

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