I had the pleasure of facilitating 5 Strategies for the Culturally Responsive Classroom micro-workshop with Powerful Learning Practice. The micro-workshop covered the foundations of culturally responsive education (CRE). In addition, strategies to reimagine the way we work with students and see ourselves as culturally responsive educators for F2F learning or distance learning. CRE is one of the big buzz words in pedagogy in our current era of education, there is a lot being said, but putting the ideas into practice can be challenging.

Distance learning. Young student at her desk during class and is raising her hand with a smile on her face

Here are five ideas and concepts:

  • Equity is the intent, process, and outcome– CRE is one way to achieve equity in the classroom, In fact, equitable classroom practice is key to higher achievement outcomes for all students. A culturally appropriate curriculum gives access to a variety of perspectives, concepts, and themes, especially from underrepresented groups. It is on-point with all things inclusive, such as content, resources, and assessment. By doing this, the roles and interdependence of all racial, ethnic, and cultural groups in shaping our society.
  • Cultural appreciationCelebrate, value, and honor different cultures in your classroom and school. Too often, what is considered cultural appreciation is actually cultural appropriation. Create a classroom culture for appreciation by having open and honest student-driven discussions about the difference between cultural celebration and cultural appreciation. A good place to start is by looking at the concept of extractive relationship. An extractive relationship is a tendency for underrepresented populations’ cultural and linguistic artifacts to be taken, objectified, stereotyped, trivialized, or commercialized. An excellent way to create awareness of extractive relationships is through conversations about our popular culture such as fashion, movies, food, or music. Then create an activity for students to learn about cultures different from their own, and students share what they learned with the class.
  • Rethinking and reinventing student empowerment– Remember, students already have a voice and they have power. As an educator, our role is to develop their confidence, capacity, and self-awareness to overcome oppressive tendencies. How? Through metacognitive skill development. Metacognition is not just useful in teaching critical thinking skills, but for cultural awareness as well. With cultural awareness, students understand the similarities and differences between their values and the dominant cultural values. We also elevate student voices. One way to do that is passion-based learning that promotes change in their community.
  • Teacher identity constructs– As teachers, we bring personal, cultural, lived, and learned experiences in the classroom. Our identity creates implicit biases that shape the way we interact with students, our expectations of students. It also influences the content, the resources, and the assessments we choose. I always encourage teachers to self-reflection regularly to understand and transform biases. A culturally responsive classroom begins with you.
  • Intercultural awareness and interactions– The best way to describe intercultural education is cultural intelligence. In doing this, we are teaching students cultural critical thinking skills. Intercultural awareness and intercultural interactions go hand-in-hand, so ensure there are opportunities for students to develop both competencies. One way to do that is to invite guest speakers from different backgrounds who are experts in topics that connect to culturally- or subject-specific class topics.

One way to explore more culturally responsive practices is with Powerful Learning Practice’s course Future-Proofing Students Living in Poverty.

Instant Impact Collaborative Cohort is also designed to be your lifejacket now while teaching during a global pandemic. Instant Impact Collaborative provides 12-month support tailored just for you— get more tips, stress-relieving recommendations, time-saving resources, just in time strategies, and much more. We are ready to be a shoulder to lean on, a group of caring educators standing by poised to end teacher overwhelm. It couldn’t be more affordable. A year’s worth of support for the cost of a course or workshop that includes a 1-1 coach, Continuing education credits available through the University of North Dakota too!

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Kim Corbin

I am the Culturally Responsive Specialist for Powerful Learning Practice. Few months after graduating from teacher’s college, I hopped on a plane and headed to the far north in Ontario. I worked in a remote Ontario Indigenous community for seven years as a grade 9 and 10 teacher, the department head, and lead teacher for math and literacy for the senior division. I have a Masters of Professional Education in Curriculum and Pedagogy from the University of Western Ontario. Inspired by my lived experiences as a Black immigrant woman from the West Indies/Caribbean and my work in Indigenous education, my research focused on equity and inclusion. I also have additional qualifications in e-learning, working with students with autism, junior to intermediate grade levels, and a specialist in special education.

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