The Principles of Culturally Responsive Teaching & Culturally Responsive School Environments Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Ph.D New York University Metropolitan Center for Urban Education New York Higher Education Support Center (HESC) for SystemsChange Fall 2006 Statewide Meeting Crowne Plaza – Albany – NY September, 15, 2006 Introductions A brief intro to me: Education: Ph.D. M.A. B.A. Teaching & Learning, New York University English Ed., Teacher’s College, Columbia University English Lit., New York University Experience: H.S. English & Journalism Teacher English Instructor, Adult Learners, The College of New Rochelle Teacher Educator, New York University Assistant Professor of English, CUNY Marketing Careers with: The New York Times, Business Week & NYU/SCPS Research Interests: Race in Education, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Adult Reentry Women Personal: Married; mother of an 22 month old, and loves boxing! Workshop Objectives: To learn (some) principles of Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) as defined by Gloria Ladson-Billings and Geneva Gay To learn some principles of Culturally Responsive Environments (CRE) To assess the cultural responsiveness of our schools and classrooms To discuss the implications of CRT & CRE for our schools Definitions for our Workshop Culture Pedagogy Culturally Responsive Teaching A Definition for Culture Culture is the shared perceptions of a group’s values, expectations and norms. It reflects the way people give priorities to goals, how they behave in different situations, and how they cope with their world and with one another. People experience their social environment through their culture. Culture is transmitted from generation to generation. A Definition for Pedagogy The philosophical framework for our teaching. The lens in which we plan, carry out and reflect on our teaching. The art and science of teaching. What is Culturally Responsive Teaching? According to scholar Gloria Ladson Billings, Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) is: An approach that empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impact knowledge, skills and attitudes. Gloria Ladson-Billings, Ph.D. In her 1994 book The Dreamkeepers, Ladson-Billings, further defined CRT as possessing these nine principles: Communication of High Expectations Active Teaching Methods Teacher as Facilitator Inclusion of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students Cultural Sensitivity Reshaping the Curriculum Student-Controlled Classroom Discourse Small Group Instruction and Academically-Related Discourse Geneva Gay, Ph.D. In her 2000 book Culturally Responsive Teaching, Geneva Gay, defined CRT as teaching that is: Validating the values, prior experiences, and cultural knowledge of students Comprehensive Transformative Emancipatory Culturally Responsive Teaching Builds on what students already know. Helps students understand there is more than one way of knowing. Encourages students to embrace their culture and develop a love of learning. Highlights students’ strengths, and gives them confidence to confront their weaknesses. Culturally Responsive Teaching Gives Teachers… The opportunity to learn about students’ cultures. The opportunity to teach students about the behaviors valued in schools. Ways to keep their teaching exciting -- they vary teaching approaches based on their learners. “In our multicultural society, culturally responsive teaching reflects democracy at its highest level. It means doing whatever it takes to ensure that every child is achieving and ever moving toward realizing their potential.” --Joyce Taylor-Gibson To Be A Teacher of CRT, You Need To: Be willing to reexamine your teaching pedagogy and make it relevant to your students. Be someone who deeply cares about your students. Be a student-centered teacher, which means taking an interest in your students’ community and making positive contact with their parents. Be willing to learn about cultures other than your own. What are some of the cultures and languages represented in your schools and classrooms? What some of the cultures and languages your students will encounter in their educational settings? Workshop Activity # 1: Brainstorm about how you might apply some principles of CRT to improve the cultural responsiveness of your school, classroom or teacher education program 10 minute individual exercise What Are the Characteristics of a Culturally Responsive School Environment? Culturally Responsive School Environments: Use the culture and experiences of Latino, African American, Asian American, Native American, and White Americans not part of mainstream culture as a scaffold to learning (Gay, 2004). Use instruction that involves matching the knowledge of particular groups with the learning environment. Embraces a strength-based perspective. Knows that failure of any children is not an option. Creates an environment that reflects cultural and linguistic diversity. Enacts instruction through different learning styles. Building a Culturally Responsive Environment requires… Dialogues on race/ethnicity and culture Caring (Noddings, 1986; Valenzuela, 1999) Analyzing school climate – who feels comfortable and safe? Who feels uncomfortable and unsafe? Continuously analyzing student achievement data Professional Development on learning styles Why is a Culturally Responsive Environment Important in Educational Settings? Schooling process operates on cultural nuances (e.g., agriculture calendar, giving teacher an apple, speaking up in class, calling teacher by last name). Culture of “others” has historically not been acknowledged in the schooling process and resulted in differential outcomes (Banks, 1987, 2001; Delpit, 1993; Sleeter, 1987). A Place to Begin… Get to know the research Be honest about where you are as a school or organization Let the research inform your decision-making process Implement realistic (time-bound, measurable goals) Follow-up and follow through with professional development and periodic assessment Workshop Activity # 2: Assess if your school environment is culturally responsive 20 minute small group exercise & Discussion Discussion What are the implications for your school or organization to create a culturally responsive school environment? Obstacles? Challenges? Benefits? “The increasing diversity in our schools, the ongoing demographic changes across the nation and the movement toward globalization dictate that we develop a more in-depth understanding of culture if we want to bring about true understanding among diverse populations.” -Maria Wilson-Portunando References Banks, J. A. (1987, 2001) Educating Citizens in a Multicultural Society. New York: Teachers College Press. Delpit, L. (1993). The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children" in Beyond Silenced Voices: Class, Race, and Gender in United States Schools (L.Weis, M.Fine, eds). Gay, G. (2000). Culturally Responsive Teaching : Theory, Research, and Practice (Multicultural Education Series, No. 8). New York: Teachers College Press. Grant, C. A., & Sleeter, C. E. (1987). Who determines teacher work? The debate continues. Teaching & Teacher Education, 3(1), 61-64. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). The Dreamkeepers : Successful Teachers of African American Children. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Noddings, N. (1986). Caring - a Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education. USA: University of California Press. Valenzuela, A. (1999). Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican youth and the politics of caring. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.