Purpose of Culturally Responsive Teaching
What is Culturally Responsive Teaching?
Through the Culturally Responsive Inquiry Team, our main focus was creating a culturally responsive environment for our students, not referring students for special education without fully learning about them as a person, learning their learning needs and styles, their cultural background as well as the environment in which they now live. To help guide us throughout the inquiry, we referred to Gloria Ladson-Billings and Dr. Geneva Gay as two people who have done research on culturally responsive teaching. Through the eyes and work of these two researchers, we were able to look at our own teachings and beliefs. I remember Dr. Gay asking two questions in one of her videos, "what does your classroom look like? Does your classroom reflect who your students are?" Right then, I visualized my own classroom and thought, "I have academic work hanging in my classroom, evidence of their work, but nothing that tells me anything about who my students are as an individual." From that day on I kept Gloria Ladsons-Billings quote in my mind. "Culture is central to learning. It plays a role not only in communicating and receiving information, but also in shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals. A pedagogy that acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates fundamental cultures offers full, equitable access to education for students from all cultures.Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning" (Ladson-Billings, 1994).
Some of the characteristics of culturally responsive teaching are: