Culturally responsive teaching in the classroom

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Tasheka D. Jordan (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kathy Hytten

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine the challenges and successes that educators encounter when incorporating Culturally Responsive Instruction (CRI) in their classrooms. I conducted a basic qualitative study involving four teachers and two administrators in the Washington County School District to assess teachers’ experiences incorporating cultural responsiveness within their practice. Participants provided background information about themselves within the interviews, such as their own racial identity and experiences. Also, participants provided their level of education and professional development experiences. Additionally, they responded to specific questions about Culturally Responsive Instruction and provided examples of success and challenges that they have encountered in their classrooms. The research study answered one prevailing question: “What does culturally responsive instruction look like when it is implemented in an elementary school classroom?” The study answered two questions regarding the success and challenges of implementing a culturally responsive classroom. Participants explained several characteristics of a culturally responsive classroom: supportive relationships between students and teachers, a focus on social and emotional learning, an atmosphere of caring, student-centered learning, relevant curriculum, culturally responsive teaching strategies, and pedagogical strategies that support the development of critical thinking; however, there are some barriers to incorporating CRI into instruction. Participants identified the following as contributing to barriers to implementing CRI: the curriculum, in-depth knowledge, lack of self-work, dysfunctional professional learning communities, lack of parent support, childhood educational experience, and lack of resources. Lastly, culturally responsive teachers measure success through anecdotal data, increased student confidence, and digital portfolios. Culturally responsive teaching requires that educators focus on their students, socially-emotionally and academically, and is a way for teachers to put critical race theory to practice. When teachers reflect on their beliefs or biases about children and think about their beliefs and their effect on their practice, institutional racism is minimized.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
Cultural Responsiveness, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy
Culturally relevant pedagogy
Education, Elementary
Racism in education

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