The Office of K-12 Outreach provides support to schools and districts in their ability to strengthen cultural competence among administrators, teachers, and staff. Our work begins with an introduction to cultural competence as a framework for culturally responsive schools. Teachers and school leaders are then led through an exploration of social identities and some commonly held beliefs that influence educators’ ability to be responsive to racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse students.
Further, culturally responsive teaching is defined and teachers are exposed to strategies that have been shown to strengthen relationships between students and teachers. These strategies are then practiced with opportunities to incorporate educators’ own cultural knowledge. These practice opportunities are honed with a focus on using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and performance styles of diverse students to make learning more appropriate and effective for them.
The ability to successfully teach students who come from cultures other than your own.
“I’m at that part in my professional and personal journey now, where I have to say, ‘what are you like, what’s most important to you, what’s most important to your family, how do you learn, who do you interact as a group with, how do you handle stressors in your life?’ Who would have thought after twenty-six years of teaching, I would have to do that?”Teacher, Flint Community Schools
Characteristics of a Culturally Responsive Teacher
- Sociocultural consciousness
- An affirming attitude toward students from culturally diverse backgrounds
- Commitment and skills to act as agents of change
- Constructivist views of learning
- Learning about students
- Culturally responsive teaching strategies
Reference: Villegas, A. M., & Lucas, T. (2002). Preparing culturally responsive teachers: Rethinking the curriculum. Journal of teacher education, 53(1), 20-32.