This interview with Dr. Kavatus Newell of the University of Mary Washington is useful for the specific tips and techniques she suggests for culturally responsive teaching. She explains not only the "why," but the "how" of culturally responsive teaching. Definitely worth watching!
Former teacher Zaretta Hammond attempts to explain why culturally responsive teaching works neurologically to help children learn better. Her web site (Ready4Rigor.com) contains brief excerpts from the book, blog posts, and
This blog post suggests three ways to make lessons culturally relevant, and makes the point that culturally responsive teaching is not always about race. So teachers who think they need to rap about the periodic table are not necessarily on track, and their students are usually more amused -- and not in a good way -- than interested. I liked her suggestion to make learning social, whenever possible.
Author and teacher Christopher Emdin argues that white teachers in urban schools need to understand the culture of their students of color in order to make the emotional connections that make learning possible. He doesn’t stop there, though. These teachers must be willing to challenge traditional, dominant pedagogy, because it blinds us to our students' potential and to their true value in the world. This book has received lots of attention and is very thought-provoking.
This Mother Jones interview with Christopher Emdin, author of For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood . . . And the Rest of Y'all Too, is definitely worth a read. Emdin once took a struggling Teach for America teacher to a black church in Harlem, to show him how the preacher invited interactivity, talking, movement, but still held the attention of his audience. He's also critical of some charter schools and our current approaches to assessment.
Want proof that "race matters" when it comes to teaching, learning, and schooling? Check out the summary of this Johns Hopkins University study that found "when evaluating the same black student, white teachers expect significantly less academic success than black teachers." This is so sad and depressing. The question is, what will teachers do about it, and can culturally responsive pedagogy do anything to change this bias?
Summaries of lesson plans for African-American, Native American, Hispanic, and Asian-American culturally responsive lessons are listed on this NEA "Culturally Responsive Teaching" page. We need to be very careful and thoughtful when planning these kinds of lessons, because we can easily stereotype and offend students. I recall a fellow teacher who once tried to spark excitement in her high school English class by discussing racial stereotypes. It didn't end well.
I dare you to watch this video without getting a little teary-eyed! Students of African-American teacher Demetrius Lancaster talk about their future goals and what they learn in Mr. Lancaster's class from an African-American perspective. The opening scene shows him leading the children in a call-and-response morning motivation song. The point here is that culturally relevant teaching can be a powerful thing.
BloomBoard Asks:How have you attempted to relate or connect to your students' home cultures, and do you think this has made a difference in student achievement or your rapport with them? Why, or why not?