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Writing About the Important Points of The Articles Essay

Writing About the Important Points of The Articles Essay


Part 1

Create a 5-6 minute powerpoint presentation that describes the most salient take-aways from this module to include:

  • what you have learned about culture, funds of knowledge, and culturally relevant/responsive/sustaining pedagogies/teaching
  • what questions you still have or ideas you would like push-back on or explore more.
  • This presentation should include slides with some text and images.

Article 1:

Introducing Culturally Relevant Teaching: What is it? How do we do it?

Definition of Culturally Relevant Teaching (Pang)

“Culturally relevant teaching is an approach to instruction founded on the belief in equity education and value of social justice. It responds to the sociocultural context of students and seeks to integrate their cultural and social capital, which includes student cultural backgrounds, experiences, expectations, knowledge, family knowledge, family networks, and cultural values. CRT also takes into consideration student behaviors, interactional patterns, historical backgrounds, and learning styles.”

Culturally Relevant Education: What is it? How do we do it?

Culture is often ignored and/or misunderstood in schools. Many teachers do not believe that culture impacts learning. There are many teachers who do not understand that cultures shapes how children learn, what children value, how children see themselves, who children identify with, and how children act. The same elements of culture relate to teachers also. Teachers bring their cultures to school too.

Many teachers also only see culture in terms of food and fairs. So they may host an international evening where parents bring different dishes to share with other families from a French cordon bleu dish to a plate of Vietnamese spring rolls to a platter of Mexican enchiladas.

Culture is not only about food and heroes, but in the classroom it is about the lives of children. In every class, children bring to school their lived experiences. These experiences, often shaped by family values, expectations, and viewpoints, construct what students filter, see as important, and build upon in their learning. Children may have been taught to listen quietly, while young people in another family were taught to ask questions and probe the speaker. A child that asks many questions or speaks out may be labeled by a teacher as being aggressive. In addition, a child who does not ask many questions in class, may be thought of as shy or weak.

Cultural Models:

Cultural models of our students differ depending on their experiences. The sociolinguist, Gee, has described cultural models as being movies in our minds and may include both context and content (Pang, 2014). The models contain a sequence or broad understanding of an aspect of life.

Cultural tools can be used by teachers to scaffold instruction. These tools engage aspects of life such as stories, sayings, patterns of behavior, procedures or policies, and conceptual viewpoints.

An example of how children may hold different cultural models can be seen in this overly simplistic story about Thanksgiving. Right before the November holiday, a teacher asked a twelfth grader from Vietnam this question, “I am sure you are going to have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Is your mom making turkey for Thanksgiving dinner?”

The twelfth grader answered, “No, my mom does not know how to cook turkey. I have never had a turkey dinner with dressing. I do not even know what dressing is. The dressing that I have eaten is the one I put on my salad.” Her teacher was surprised and so asked, “Do you have ham instead of turkey for dinner?”

The young woman looked at the teacher a little exasperated, “No. My family doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving like other families. It is just another day. I am happy, though, to get the days off from school.”

The teacher’s cultural model of Thanksgiving was quite different from her student’s. So if the teacher used examples of Thanksgiving in her teaching, the student may not understand all of the connotations and underlying meanings that the educator assumed her students would know.

Cultural Context:

Sometimes it is difficult for teachers to understand that context can help to shape the educational lessons. For example, let’s say that a child has not been taught fractions in school, however he has been cooking with his father for many years.

After making a delicious Dutch apple pie with his father, his dad asked him to cut the pie into eight equal pieces. Then the father asked his son to give a piece of the pie to everyone at the party. The young man learned about fractions at home by actually creating portions of the desert.

The cultural context of learning also shapes the skills people learn. For example, researcher, Geoffery Saxe, studied children who were street merchants in Brazil. Because of the high inflation rate in the country, the value of money was continually changing. The children, who would be considered illiterate by US standards, were able to compute complex math problems more accurately than students who were formally educated. The children who worked in the streets and sold candy regrouped large bills and added 500 + 500 and 200 + 200 + 100 in sets. The children did not use pencil and paper to compute these problems correctly. During Saxe’s study, Brazil’s inflation rate was 250 percent and children were able to manipulate large numbers when selling their candy merchandise. Saxe’s study found that children developed complex mathematical problem-solving strategies based on the currency system.

As you read about culturally relevant/responsive/sustaining teaching, think about the underlying principles they all share and determine what makes them unique.

To begin, culturally relevant teaching can be defined as:

Culturally relevant teaching is an approach to instruction that responds to the sociocultural context of the student and seeks to integrate the cultural content of the learner in shaping an effective learning environment.

Cultural content includes and builds on student experiences, knowledge, events, values, role models, perspectives, and issues that arise from the community.

Cultural context refers to the behaviors, interactional patterns, historical experiences, and underlying expectation and values of students.

Culturally literate teachers develop an insider perspective of a cultural community. They understand that cultural elements operate simultaneously and respond in congruence with their students. Culturally knowledgeable teachers are keen observers, understand the importance of context, and can read nonverbal communication cues such as facial expressions or hand gestures of students.

It is imperative that you understand what culturally relevant teaching is because it is a major approach to developing effective curriculum and pedagogy for your students. Building on what students know and using methods, student knowledge, and student cultural contexts can assist teachers in creating more effective pedagogy.

Ask yourself these questions:

What are elements of this approach to teaching?

How can you find out about the cultural backgrounds of your students?

What is culturally relevant teaching? How can you integrate it in your own teaching?

Come up with several ways to integrate the approach in your teaching.

Ideas below arise from the principles of culturally relevant education. Think of how you can utilize them in your classroom and connect to Common Core Standards.

1. Real life experiences are integrated into the curriculum and give relevancy to learning.

2. Using prior student knowledge affirms students‘ culture.

3. Using cultural models, examples, and analogies can serve as bridges to new concepts and information.

4. Cultural role models can provide depth and an accurate presentation of a cultural way of life that focuses on the values and philosophical foundation of a community.

5. Culture provides the structure through which experiences are interpreted, patterns are seen, behavior is expected, and values and motivation are learned.

6. When children believe that teachers listen to them and value who they are and what they bring to school, trusting relationships are built that form an important educational, emotional, and motivational foundation for learning.

7. Culturally relevant teaching can provide others the opportunity to understand other cultural perspectives making connections among several cultures.

8. Learning is seen as a holistic process.

9. Some of the content that teachers can integrate are issues from student lives, community photos, community newspapers, formal subject area, music, art, analogies, family stories, and many more aspects of students’ lived experiences.

Marcos Torres: Teacher With A Mission

Marcos Torres talks about why it is so important to reach all students, especially Latino young people who are dropping out of schools in large numbers. Can culturally relevant teaching be used to stem that negative tide? Some teachers think so. In fact, Torres sees culturally relevant teaching as not only dealing with learning new content, but also affirming students‘ cultural identities.


Education: Culture Matters – YouTube

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story | TED – YouTube

The Cultural Iceberg – YouTube


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