What is culturally appropriate teaching and why is it important? (2023)

Culturally responsive teaching is a hot topic these days, filled with complexity and nuance. Start your journey with this overview of the essentials, then use our list of recommended resources to deepen your understanding and start applying culturally responsive teaching strategies in your own classroom.

What is culture?

What is culturally appropriate teaching and why is it important? (1)

Those ones:intercultural solutions

First, take a step back and thinkwhat does "culture" mean. When you think of culture, you probably imagine how a group of people with a common background dress, speak, cook, dance, make art and music, practice religion and rituals, and so on.

In addition to these aspects, culture is the deeply rooted shared connections and beliefs of a group of people. Remember that culture is not necessarily based on race, ethnicity or nationality. For example, two native Spanish speakers can have very different cultures, depending on where they came from and how they were raised. Most people come from multicultural backgrounds. Culture is about what is passed down from one generation to another and creates a unique identity for a group of people.

(Video) Education Buzzwords Defined: What Is Culturally Responsive Teaching?

Cultural beliefs and practices are something many of us don't think about until we come into contact with people whose culture is different from our own. Stepping out of our own culture can feel strange, especially when we feel that other cultures see ours as something "inferior". While learning about other cultures is good, it is important that we feel that ours is respected.

What is culturally sensitive teaching?

What is culturally appropriate teaching and why is it important? (2)

Those ones:education week


(Video) What is Culturally Responsive Teaching… and Why Does it Matter?

Culturally engaging teaching is based on the understanding that we learn best when we can connect with the material. For culturally responsible teachers, this means integrating the diverse experiences, customs, communication styles, and perspectives of their students throughout the learning process.

Geneva Gay first used the term in her 2000 book,Culturally Responsive Lessons: Theory, Research, and Practice. She found that students from historically marginalized cultures performed better academically when teachers made an effort to frame instruction "within students' lived experiences and frames of reference."

In other words, Gay encourages teachers to consider whether their learning materials, teaching strategies, and classroom environment truly represent the different cultures in their classroom. Are your books written by people from those cultures? Are different styles of communication respected? Do you relate your learning objectives to real-world experiences in different cultures? Do you hold all students to high standards, regardless of their background?

By asking these questions, Gay sparked the culturally compelling instructional movement. It is part of a broader category known as "Wealth-based pedagogy', and has far-reaching applications and implications. Other related terms are "culturally relative teaching" and "culturally sustainable teaching".

Does culturally sensitive teaching really make a difference?

In short, yes. Many teachers can provide anecdotal evidence of how culturally appropriate teaching makes a huge difference to their diverse students. But if you're looking for hard facts, think about it.This study was carried out in 2016. He studied hundreds of students from different cultures and found that "teaching methods that connect to students' real lives and interests and promote understanding of other cultures are associated with better academic outcomes."Other studies agree.

Lessons with cultural appeal can help vulnerable populations stay in school, see the relevance of learning and believe they can learn. Culturally aware teachers feel more connected to their students, especially when they learn to see cultural differences in behavior as an advantage rather than a problem. Putting learning in a relevant context, using differences to your advantage, and acknowledging inequality and injustice when they exist are concepts that every teacher should add to their toolbox.

How is culturally sensitive teaching in the classroom?

What is culturally appropriate teaching and why is it important? (3)

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(Video) Zaretta Hammond: Culturally Responsive Teaching 101 | #PLtogether

While putting it into practice is a little different in each situation, there are some consistent strategies that cultural appeal teachers employ. here are some examples:

Get prior knowledge

Consider this problem in the story: "Chaoxiang's family is gathering for this year's Qingming Festival, and he wants to bring enough Qingtuan so that everyone can have two. If there are 14 people, how many dumplings should he bring?"

If you're not familiar with Chinese culture, you're likely to see words that you not only don't know, but you're not even sure how to pronounce them. In fact, if you don't realize thatQingtuanis some kind of dumpling, you might not know how to find the answer to the problem.

Students from different backgrounds in American schools can face similar situations, making learning unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Think about what your students already know from their daily lives and use that when creating lessons and materials. Look for the stories, phrases and beliefs they are learning at home and find ways to incorporate them. See the concept ofbackground of knowledgefor more ways to bring background knowledge to the forefront.

Bring multiple cultures to your examples and lessons

As the saying goes, "if you can see it, you can be it". Make sure your students see themselves represented in what they are learning. Would you like to explore the symbolism? Drop the same three poems by English poets that you've been teaching for years. Instead, look for examples of authors' work in your students' own communities. Better yet, ask them to provide their own examples.

Choose materials that represent your students

Take a look around your classroom. Does your library contain books by different authors on topics that speak to your students' cultures? What about your classroom decorations – do they feature faces and cultural elements similar to those of your own students? Children should see that their teacher knows that not everyone has the same experiences and values, and that's okay.

Put learning in context

Regardless of their culture, all children end up asking themselves the same question: "Why is it important to learn this?" What does this have to do with my life?”

So take the time to sort it out. You can learn about ancient Greek civilization. Talk about how life was similar or different than it is now. Consider social differences, political events and family structure. Discuss how your students can learn from past mistakes today or what elements of their society they think we could benefit from today.

(Video) Explainer: What is Culturally Responsive Teaching?

Adapt to different communication styles

"Do not interrupt." “Wait for confirmation before speaking.” “Look directly at someone when talking to them.” These are all fairly standard teaching guidelines, but they are specific to some cultures. In some cultures, interrupting is not rude, but it shows interest. Making eye contact can be difficult for some, even culturally discouraged people.

Discover how different cultures communicate and learn to accommodate them in your classroom. That doesn't mean there aren't rules. It means understanding that there may be cultural reasons why some children have more difficulty waiting their turn to speak, while others are reluctant to speak. Don't get angry - understand, learn and adapt.

Set high standards for all students

Implicit bias studies show that some teachers expect less from students from non-white communities. They assume they haven't had the same benefits as their white counterparts and therefore can't achieve as much.

But research tells us that this is exactly the wrong way to think. Teachers need to overcome their implicit bias and set fair expectations for all students. Of course, you always have to consider individual situations. But don't make assumptions based on culture. Hold each student to high standards and take each case as it comes.

Recognize injustice, prejudice and unfairness

This is becoming increasingly difficult in some places as states prohibit the teaching of things likeCritical Race Theory. But injustice, prejudice and racial injustice exist, and ignoring them will not make them go away. In addition, they feel seen when they allow students from different cultures to discuss these issues in the classroom. ANDIt opens them up to more learning..

There's no easy answer to navigating these topics in more restrictive states. Only in the classroom can teachers do their best and continue to strive for the ability to teach important subjects in a meaningful way.

How can I become a more culturally sensitive teacher?

As we've said before, culturally appropriate teaching is a complicated subject. You cannot learn everything you need to know from an article or even a book. Learn about your students' rich cultures and discover what interests them. Open yourself up to new ideas, do more research, and start experimenting with the principles in your classroom. Here are some resources that can help you:

Culturally relevant teaching is a complex subject, so talk about it and ask for advice onGrupo HELPLINE WeAreTeachers no Facebook.

More,Which Crop Day Goes Wrong and What to Try Instead.

What is culturally appropriate teaching and why is it important? (4)

(Video) Importance of Culturally Responsive Teaching


Why is cultural teaching important? ›

Students who learn about different cultures during their education feel more comfortable and safe with these differences later in life. This allows them to interact in a wider range of social groups and feel more confident in themselves as well as in their interactions with others.

Why is it important for teachers to be culturally competent? ›

Culturally competent teaching and learning facilitates critical reflection. A critical analysis of one's own cultural assumptions is foundational to culturally-responsive teaching and learning. Critical reflection on tightly held cultural assumptions is necessary to dislodge misconceptions and stereotypes.

Why is it important to think about culturally relevant teaching practices when planning lessons? ›

When integrated into classroom instruction, culturally responsive strategies can have important benefits such as: Strengthening students' sense of identity. Promoting equity and inclusivity in the classroom. Engaging students in the course material.

Why is important to make culturally responsive teaching a top priority in early childhood education? ›

Making Culturally Responsive Teaching a Top Priority

In order to meet the diverse needs of students who come from different economic and cultural backgrounds, teachers are learning to identify, respect, and take advantage of these differences to improve student learning and self-awareness.

Why is cultural importance important? ›

In addition to its intrinsic value, culture provides important social and economic benefits. With improved learning and health, increased tolerance, and opportunities to come together with others, culture enhances our quality of life and increases overall well-being for both individuals and communities.

Why is it important to teach culture to children? ›

Cultural awareness and tradition play important roles in helping young children develop a positive sense of identity and build self-esteem. Studies show that cultural appreciation and awareness contribute to building a positive self image.

What is the most important element in culturally responsive teaching? ›

Culturally responsive teaching also must have an element of critical consciousness, where students are empowered to critique and analyze societal inequities.

What is the most important key to becoming culturally competent? ›

Overall, cultural competence has three important components: active listening, demonstrating empathy, and effective engagement.

How do you use culturally appropriate teaching strategies? ›

15 Culturally-responsive teaching strategies and examples
  1. Learn about your students. ...
  2. Interview students. ...
  3. Integrate relevant word problems. ...
  4. Present new concepts by using student vocabulary. ...
  5. Bring in guest speakers. ...
  6. Deliver different forms of content through learning stations. ...
  7. Gamify lessons. ...
  8. Call on each student.
Oct 6, 2021

How do you develop the culture of culturally relevant teaching in your classroom? ›

But the following practices can help you create a more culturally relevant classroom.
  1. Activate students' prior knowledge. ...
  2. Make learning contextual. ...
  3. Consider your classroom setup. ...
  4. Form relationships. ...
  5. Discuss social and political issues. ...
  6. Tap into students' cultural capital. ...
  7. Incorporate popular culture.
Nov 19, 2020

What does culturally relevant teaching look like in a classroom? ›

It includes talking with students, asking them questions, truly knowing about their family life, history, and experiences. Then you can look for ways to use the assets of various cultures to enhance what you are teaching.

What is culturally appropriate practice? ›

Sensitive, understanding, non-judgmental and respectful in dealing with people whose culture is different from your own; Flexible and skilful in responding and adapting to different cultural contexts and circumstances.

How can teachers use culturally responsive teaching strategies? ›

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.
Mar 17, 2022

What is culturally appropriate positive guidance? ›

Culturally appropriate positive guidance requires educators to understand and mediate differing views on child guidance between home and school contexts.

What are the benefits of being culturally aware? ›

Cultural awareness helps us break down cultural barriers, build cultural bridges, and learn how to love, and appreciate those different from us. We can relate better to people with cultural differences as we begin to understand ourselves better. This results in more cultural connection and less cultural conflict.

What are the benefits of learning other cultures? ›

By immersing ourselves in other cultures beyond our own, we can learn about each other—where people came from, what their traditions are, and what they struggle with as a community. It also forces us to criticize assumptions held about our own daily life and practices, encouraging incredible personal growth.

Why do you need to be culturally sensitive and aware? ›

It is simply about helping us understand how we can best adapt our approaches, thoughts and decisions to ensure we create positive outcomes in cross-cultural interactions. It is about respecting others' cultures as well as our own.

Why is it important for children to embrace cultural diversity? ›

Research suggests adults who engage children in culturally responsive educational experiences help to: Build young children's self-confidence and skills. Increase children's awareness, appreciation, and inclusion of diverse beliefs and cultures. Maximize children's academic achievement and educational success.

Why is cultural diversity important? ›

Learning about other cultures helps us understand different perspectives within the world in which we live. It helps dispel negative stereotypes and personal biases about different groups. In addition, cultural diversity helps us recognize and respect “ways of being” that are not necessarily our own.

What are five goals of 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 the goal of culturally responsive teaching? ›

A primary goal of culturally responsive teaching is to ensure that students from diverse backgrounds have meaningful opportunities to experience quality instruction that consistently incorporates cultural components to support learning.

What are the 4 characteristics of culturally responsive teaching? ›

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 two reasons why you should be culturally competent? ›

Developing cultural competence helps us understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures. It gives us the ability to compare different cultures with our own and better understand the differences.

Why is it important to learn about cultural competence? ›

Cultural competence in school communities enhances the teaching and learning process and helps ensure equitable opportunities and supports for each and every student.

How do you interact with culturally appropriate ways with children? ›

Being aware of your own culture opens you to understanding and being more sensitive to the cultures of others.
  1. communicating in a. culturally appropriate way.
  2. Speak clearly and concisely.
  3. Check for understanding.
  4. Be aware of non-verbal. ...
  5. Be aware of the impact of culture.
  6. You are communicating. ...
  7. All cultures are equal.

What is the role of a teacher in a culturally diverse classroom? ›

They try to inculcate cultural values and respects own culture as well as others. In that case teacher should provide a crucial role towards the students. He also get the opportunity to know others culture. He should treat the students equally and also he should free from cultural biases.

What is an example of cultural appropriateness? ›

To this day, many people attend music festivals wearing Native American headdresses although they are not Native Americans. Similarly, people have worn blackface as part of a Halloween costume. These are both examples of cultural appropriation, and it can cause a great deal of warranted offense. 2.

What is cultural appropriateness in education? ›

''Culturally appropriate education'' focuses on educational competence adapted to a global context and emphasizes the cultural sensitivity of instruction in a global world, as well as respect for different world views, epistemologies,culturaltraditions,andthediversityoflearners and teachers from different cultural ...

How do I make my classroom culturally inclusive? ›

Strategies for action:
  1. Value what each student brings. Show suggestions for Value what each student brings. ...
  2. Establish a respectful class climate. Show suggestions for Establish a respectful class climate. ...
  3. Plan for everyone to participate and achieve. ...
  4. Take a community approach.

What are three 3 work practices that can be considered to be culturally appropriate? ›

Workplace practices that are culturally appropriate and demonstrate inclusiveness include celebrating different cultural holidays, sharing food from other cultures and appreciating art and literature from around the world.

What are the three principles for culturally relevant 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 a culturally appropriate response? ›

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 the benefits of having a culturally responsive classroom? ›

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.

Why is cultural awareness important in language teaching? ›

A lack of understanding of the culture associated with the language a student speaks can influence the way they speak it. In other words, to communicate in another language, the speaker must have a strong grasp of cultural norms and gestures to convey a message to someone fully.

Why is learning language and culture important? ›

Foreign language study enhances listening skills and memory. Foreign language study offers a sense of the past: culturally and linguistically. The study of foreign languages teaches and encourages respect for other peoples: it fosters an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature.

What are the benefits of culturally appropriate care? ›

Cultural competence significantly benefits healthcare organizations and patients alike. It results in more patient participation and engagement, fostering respect and improved understanding, which can lead to: Increased patient safety. Reduced inefficiencies.

How can teachers be more culturally responsive in the classroom? ›

using students' cultural experiences in daily instruction. embracing native language and students' families as assets. creating a classroom environment that represents and respects all students. communicating clear high expectations for everyone.

How can you promote cultural awareness in the classroom? ›

With multicultural classes, you can encourage cultural awareness by having the students explore and share one another's culture. For example, ask students to give presentations on their home countries or include cultural celebrations, such as Chinese New Year, Songkran, etc.

What is cultural knowledge in education? ›

1. Familiarity with various cultural characteristics, including values, belief systems, history, and social mores. Learn more in: Teacher Candidates in International Contexts: Examining the Impact on Beliefs about Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners.

Why is cultural awareness and competence important? ›

Cultural awareness is a basic understanding that there is diversity in cultures across the population. Cultural competency extends beyond individual skills or knowledge to influence the way that a system or services operate across cultures. It is a process that requires ongoing learning.

What is culture in one word? ›

Culture can be defined as all the ways of life including arts, beliefs and institutions of a population that are passed down from generation to generation. Culture has been called "the way of life for an entire society." As such, it includes codes of manners, dress, language, religion, rituals, art.

How does culture impact language learning? ›

“If children are given cultural knowledge, immersed in a culturally rich environment, and exposed to culturally basic material, they may learn the second language with more ease because their background knowledge about the second-language culture will make comprehension less difficult,” write Kuo and Lai.

What are culturally defined standards that people see as good? ›

Values are culturally defined standards for what is good or desirable. Members of the culture use the shared system of values to decide what is good and what is bad. Similarly, norms are culturally defined expectations of behavior.


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