The Importance of Culturally Responsive Teaching to Student Academic Engagement and Achievement

 Steps for becoming a culturally responsive teacher: 

1. Be Aware of You

- As a teacher you have to be aware of the cultural biases that may influence your teaching and attitudes towards your students. The classroom climate starts with the teacher's attitudeso it should reflect positivity and open mindedness. There may be different attitudes that arise in your classroom that you must be sensitive to. You have to shift your mindset to a culturally inclusive mindset. Also, this includes their families and communities meaning you have to respect their different ways of learning due to their cultures. This will allow you to build a respectful relationship with not only their families but also their cultural background. 

2. Know Your Students 

- Get to know every student individually including their backgrounds and what is important to them. Do research and talk to other colleagues to find out more. One way to get to know your students is to set up individual meetings to allow them to talk about themselves. Be sure sure to show an interest in the student's culture and background to make them feel comfortable talking about it in the future. Involving the parents will also allow for you to get to know more about your student's home life. Also find out about the many traditions each student has that you could eventually incorporate into your lessons. Knowing each student will make it easier for you as their teacher to engage them in culturally inclusive lessons and a culturally inclusive classroom. 

3. Check Your Classroom Environment 

- Make sure to surround your classroom with culturally inclusive books, posters, etc. This will allow the students to look around the room and be able to be presented with a situation regardnig culture with an unbiased opinion. It will also allow for them to be able to ask questions in a comfortable environment. Try to include lessons that incorporate different cultures so that not one culture feels more important. Something you should make sure to do every day is critical thinking this will help students feel comfortable speaking up. Also teach students to accept each others differences. 

4. Make Your Teaching and Classroom Diverse 

- When creating lessons make sure to include content with a diverse selection of cultures. Incorporating multicultural teaching strategies and approaches will allow all students to feel included and engaged. By referencing people from various cultures, instead of one continuously, students will be more likely to feel involved rather than disengaged from their learning. 

5. Adapt Your Teaching Strategies to Your Students

- Culturally responsive teaching should be student-based meaning it not only brings out the differences in each student but also shows the uniqueness of them and how it incorporates into the classroom. When making lessons you have to consider every student's readiness level and their backgrounds. By using differentiation you can use the context of each student's learning experiences to help them become more engaged. By making your learning interactive this gives the students a chance to engage in a fun way while learning more about each other. 

Why Does This Help Students Achieve?

Student achievement is successful with engagement and the willingness to learn. This is done through a comfortable environment where each student feels welcome in their culture and their interests. By providing a multicultural experience this willingness to learn will come easily. Students want to learn if they feel they themselves are important to you. 


Additional Resources:

Strategies. Building upon strategies of how to make your classroom culturally responsive will ensure that your students are engaged and learning.  This link provides strategies from delivery of the content to assessing what the child knows.

Advice. This link privides five things that will enhance the culturally responsive atmosphere in the classroom.