Culturally Responsive Teaching

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As our cultures blend and change, educators must find effective ways to instruct the students of our multicultural society to higher levels of achievement. Minority students of our multiethnic culture often come to school with fewer skills and more risk factors than those of other cultural groups. Although there are no easy answers or quick fixes to ensuring minority students achieve at the same level of other students, it is attainable with the right conditions.
Laying all excuses and disparities aside, adolescents of minority groups are capable of achieving high expectations and standards. But what is the bridge that closes the great divide between low achievement of minority children and the high achievement of white children?
The answer
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Gay further comments that teachers, not students, are lacking in truly understanding or valuing diversity in the classroom. In making instruction culturally responsive and relevant, Gay states: “Culturally responsive teaching can be defined as using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning encounters more relevant to and effective for them. It teaches to and through the strengths of these students. It is culturally validating and affirming.” Culturally responsive…show more content…
Hollins (1996) developed this instrument to assess background data and how culture impacts student learning.
Tearing Down the Barriers to Effective Instruction
According to Cole (1995), good instruction is good instruction, regardless of students’ racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds. Unfortunately, numerous barriers can prevent poor and minority students from receiving good instruction. Barriers literally and figuratively exist when ensuring minority children are properly educated. These obstructions to effective instructional practices take the form of institutional programming, such as tracking, and as personal opinions, such as lack of cultural understanding. Research supports the belief that the effectiveness of a teacher, the attitude of a teacher, and the verbal and nonverbal expectations of a teacher are instrumental in tearing down barriers that interfere with effective instruction.
Identifying and addressing ineffective practices (barriers) that limit or encumber student achievement is crucial in successfully educating minority youths. According to the ASCD Advisory Panel on Improving Student Achievement (Cole 1995), examples of barriers include:

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