Tag Archives: PLE

Trapping Cultural Responsive Teaching

What is cultural responsive teaching?

…. Having an understanding of another’s way of thinking, behaving, and how their actions are influenced by race, ethnicity, social class, and language. In other words, as educators we have to be aware of our students, we have to understand them on a deeper level than simply doing learning inventories, we need to know how they tick and why they tick that way and incorporate that into our classrooms.

Some pointers:

  • We must have an encouraging attitude towards a student’s culturally diverse background
  • We must demonstrate a strong commitment to being active agents of change

Culturally responsive teaching strategies

Table 1. Guidelines for a Culturally Responsive Curriculum (Schmitz, 1999)

1 DefineLearning Goals  ·         What do students in your field need to know about:o   the history of diverse groups: their writings, theories, and patterns of participation?o   the social dynamics of identity formation and change?o   structures of power and privilege in society, prejudice,discrimination, and stereotyping?o   patterns of communication and interaction within and among different cultural groups?o   theories of personal, institutional, and societal change?
2 QuestionTraditionalConcepts ·         Have traditional ways of organizing content in this course obscured, distorted, or excluded certain ideas or groups?·         What new research is available that addresses past distortions and exclusions?·         How will the course change if I include this new research?·         How might a change in this syllabus affect its relationship to the rest of the curriculum?
3 UnderstandStudent Diversity ·         What kinds of diverse perspectives and experiences will students bring to the class?·         How can I assess students’ prior knowledge of race, class, gender, etc.?·         How can I incorporate diverse voices without relying on students to speak for different groups?·         How will my own characteristics and background affect the learning environment?·         Will some students see me as a role model more readily than others?·         How can I teach to all students?
4 SelectMaterials andActivities ·         If the course topics remain the same, what new research, examples, and writings can illustrate these topics?·         Is there a new thematic approach to this material that will help to put cultural diversity in the foreground?How do I integrate new material so that it is not simply an “add-on”?What teaching strategies will facilitate student learning of this new material?
5 EvaluateEffectiveness What are my strengths and limitations relative to the new content and teaching techniques?How will I assess student learning?

Modified from: Schmitz, B. (1999). Transforming a course. Center for Instructional Development and Research Teaching and Learning Bulletin, 2(4), 1–2. Seattle, WA: University of Washington.

What does it look like in the classroom?


Consider classroom use in these steps proposed by Geneva Gay in the article “Preparing for Culturally Responsive Teaching” (2002).

  1. Notice the various cultural characteristics of your students. This will provide a great criteria to help you determine various instructional strategies for modification.
  2. Learning styles do have core structures, and specific patterns by ethnic groups are discernible (see, for instance, Shade, 1989)
  3. Integrating ethnic and cultural diversity into the most fundamental and high-status aspects of the instructional process
    on a habitual basis.


The best way to apply Cultural Responsive teaching in the classroom is through matching instructional techniques to students diverse learning styles, an attribute of building a Personalized Learning Environment (PLE). This ensures cultural responsive techniques are being used constantly and consistently in the classroom. Making an effort to know the learner, guiding your instruction with state standards, and flexing your classroom environment are the first steps to building a culturally responsive classroom.

Notice the PLE triangle used by Guilford County School System


Each piece of the triangle works congruently to augment the individual student’s experience in the classroom.

Source: http://www.gcsnc.com/pages/gcsnc/Departments/Personalized_Achievement__Curr/PLE_Navigator_Files/learnAboutPLE



Example of Cultural Responsive Teaching @ SEMS

See on Tackk.com




What are the first steps to creating a cultural responsive classroom?

Why is this important to 21st century classroom?  

How can you be an agent of change at your school?