What is Culturally Responsive Pedagogy?
Originally Gloria Ladson-Billing’s proposed a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy as she conducted research in a number of classrooms which had predominately African-American students. Ladson-Billings examined the intersection of teaching and culture as this theoretical model addresses “student achievement and also helps students to accept and affirm their cultural identity while developing critical perspectives that challenge inequities that schools and other institutions perpetuate” (Ladson-Billings, 1995). This research set the tone towards providing all teachers the knowledge base and theoretical framework for working with diverse student populations.
Later Geneva Gay states “culturally responsive pedagogy validates, facilitates, liberates and empowers ethnically diverse students by simultaneously cultivating their cultural integrity, individual abilities, and academic success (Gay, 2010). She goes on to state that culturally responsive pedagogy concurrently develops, “social consciousness and critique, cultural affirmation, competence and exchange, community building and personal connections, individual self-worth and abilities, and an ethic of caring” (Gay, 2010). As educators it is important to adopt a culturally responsive mindset in order to facilitate in a highly diverse environment and to reap the benefits of teaching in diverse school climates.
Educators need to develop within themselves a learning stance that embraces all of the above and view themselves as change agents in educating all students. When teachers adopt a culturally responsive mindset they become more self-aware and have a deep knowledge and understanding of their students and how they learn best and how to inform their practice to establish a culturally responsive classroom. When educators have a great understanding of their own present and historical cultural and social positions by questioning their own attitudes, beliefs and behaviours then they derive to a greater understanding of self. Ultimately they come to a greater understanding of others, their students in particular, and how social and cultural identities are formed by this. Therein lies the self-reflection that I needed to undertake in order to learn about my parents community and upbringing, how that affects my learning and how that impacted how others viewed me and how I viewed others.
A great definition of CRP:
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: The teaching and learning that integrates and nurtures students’ unique background knowledge, culture, home, family and community experiences to promote student achievement and cultural consciousness.
When we learn about our selves and about others we become less susceptible to the “Danger of a Single Story” as shared by Adichie Chimamanda Ted Talk, where we learn that when we hear or read one story we may perceive, make generalizations, or make stereotypes about people based on that one story.
Adichie Chimamanda is a popular novelist who has written Half a Yellow Sun, Americanah, Purple Hibiscus and others. She is featured in another Ted Talks entitled “We should all be Feminists” and also has been featured in Beyoncé’s recent song Flawless.
Here I have created a smore on how I implemented Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in a Grade 3 classroom.