Friday, November 15, 2013

What is a Culturally Responsive Teacher?

Most 21st century classrooms have transformed into places where Racially, Ethnically, and Linguistically Different (RELD) students come together (Merryfield, 2000) to develop citizenship and career skills. Furthermore, many of today’s learning environments take advantage of technologies that allow teachers to connect with cultures and resources outside traditional classroom, thus globalizing instruction. As such, it is essential for teachers to be culturally responsive and teach young people to demonstrate critical thought, reflective judgment, and creative imagination while simultaneously exhibiting cross-cultural competence. Culturally responsive teachers “use cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and learning styles of culturally different students to make learning more appropriate and effective” (Ford, 2010, p. 52).


Before the course begins, define what it means to be a culturally responsive teacher and explain what you need to do in order to create a culturally responsive classroom.

120 comments:

  1. I know I can learn a lot in the area of culturally responsive teaching, but from what I know I believe it has the following components:
    *understanding characteristics of students' different cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds
    *teaching content related to students' cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds (ex: reading books or teaching role models who are of similar backgrounds to the minority students)
    *understanding how students from different backgrounds learn and then teaching according to these students' learning styles and preferences
    *understanding different social norms between cultures; both respecting these norms and explicitly teaching "education" norms
    *promoting tolerance and appreciation in the classroom; this may be accomplished through modeling, class discussions and simulations, teaching about different cultures and backgrounds (explicitly or indirectly through books, etc.), "teachable moments"

    As a teacher, I think the most important thing I can do is model tolerance and respect. Second, I can do my best to know each student individually and adjust my teaching according to each student's learning needs. Understanding cultural differences is a big part of this differentiation, so I know this class will be helpful to me in this way. It is my goal that through this class, I will better be able to meet the needs of all learners (especially those different from me) in my classroom.

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  2. I think, to be a culturally responsive teacher, you need to have an awareness and background knowledge of the students in your classroom and how their lives outside of the classroom shape their learning experiences. Culturally responsive teachers respond to the individual needs of all learners and create classroom environments that honor and respect student differences.

    In order to create a culturally responsive classroom I think teachers need to do several things:
    -have knowledge of students and their cultural differences
    -provide classroom resources and materials that are meaningful to all students (variety of books, classroom posters, etc.)
    -involve students in learning activities that value the individual differences of students--use resources and examples that are authentic to students' lives--and teach students to accept and appreciate others' cultures

    I actually had a big cultural responsiveness YIKES moment last week, when I was in a parent conference with a student's father. This student is from Africa and has only been in the US for two years. Her father brought up that in their culture, the women are not allowed to wear makeup, nail polish etc. I knew immediately where he was going with this--I had given all of my girls a nail polish as a Christmas gift! He said that when the little girl brought home the nail polish, he struggled with her because she wanted to wear it like all of her friends, but he wanted her to follow the traditions of their culture. This is a perfect example of a case where, had I known more about this students' culture, I could have gotten her a gift that was acceptable and valuable to her and her family. Although this was a non-academic example, simple decisions like this can affect the home and school environment for students.

    I agree with Elizabeth that cultural differences are a big part of differentiating instruction for students, and one that I think many teachers (including myself) don't always take into consideration while planning instruction. I hope this course will help me to better understand how cultural differences affect not only gifted students, but all students in my classroom.

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  3. I want to start off by saying this YouTube video broke my heart and I can't believe there are still (or ever were) people that actually talk and feel this way!

    The culture that's always at the top of my list each day is military life. Maxwell has a 50% turn-over each SY and plenty of families who come and go during the SY. We've got deployed parents and single-parent households. Unless we're told by parents, many times we don't know anything's happening. I try to keep up with the classroom teachers to know if there is anything going on at home. Most of the teacher alert us specialists if they have a child with specific circumstances.

    Being a music educator, cultural responsiveness is in my nature; that's the great thing about the arts! I see the whole school and get to know the kids' creative sides. They get to discovery music through various genres and learning styles. Sometimes we're singing, playing instruments, or using the SMARTboard to match instruments or notes.

    By nature, music is culturally diverse (at least it should be); I make sure to expose all my students to music from around the world. I want my students to see the world through many eyes. Many of my students are of mixed ethnicity, so I will have them share different customs or traditions they have that others may not know. My students are always singing various languages and learning about other holidays and customs outside of the traditional western culture. The students should have a better understanding of the people and world around and to know that they are one small piece of a greater picture.

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  4. I believe what it means to be a culturally responsive teacher is to be open-minded and accepting of all different kinds of students and to do the best one can to cater to each student’s unique cultural, religious, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds. A culturally responsive teacher allows students to explore more about their own differences and then share their differences with an accepting group of peers.
    Montevallo has a diverse population in its community. It is mostly a rural, working-class community but it also has a pocket of Montevallo University professor’s children. My school is at least 50% black, and has a large majority of students on free and reduced lunch. I am happy to say that all of my students that I know of are accepting of most other students. In addition, I am proud to say that I have been able to refer and qualify three black 6th graders into my gifted program this past semester.
    So, on that note, through the teaching of English/Language Arts there are numerous ways in which I can be a educationally, culturally responsive teacher. One way is to expose students to a variety of adolescent literature which explores varied cultures, lifestyles and family dynamics. For example, in my class students do outside reading. I can request students to read realistic fiction that either somehow relates to their own lives, or I could request students read about other cultures or family dynamics to gain a different perspective. One of the best ways to share is through personal journal writing which responds to unfamiliar cultural situations, and then allow students to explore through media, discussion, or literature an alternative perspective. Through research students can discover and present information they learn about other people’s differences. In addition, I am willing to work with students with unique family backgrounds that may inhibit them from completing tasks. I work to create an atmosphere that helps the child be successful without the worries of “not having” what other do not. But, to me, most important, is the idea that I create a classroom environment that is accepting and caring and empathetic of all backgrounds.

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  5. A culturally responsive teacher is one who is sensitive to the child's cultural, socioeconomic and ethnic background. I believe that a culturally responsive teacher takes the time to truly get to know the students in her classroom. She realizes that the child cannot learn until his emotional needs have been met. I have personally taught in two very different cultural communities. My first experience was in a predominantly African American area and I have also taught in a mostly rural White community. I have realized that no matter who the child is, they want the same thing: to be accepted for who they are. I try to make it my priority each year to sit and talk with the child to understand their family life and what their interests may be so I can create activities that will engage my students. I also do something that is quite simple, but has seemed to have a big impact in my classroom. I ask different students to sit by me at our lunch table and I try to rotate the children each day. I use this opportunity to catch up on their daily lives away from school. Too often, the classroom becomes so hectic and busy with completing our math work or science experiments on time that I am unable to truly talk with my students. Our lunch time is our time to connect with each other.
    I strive to create a classroom environment that celebrates our differences,but also acknowledges our similarities. I continue to work towards creating a classroom environment that provides opportunity for meaningful conversations that allow children to share their lives and background and connect with their fellow classmates.

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  6. A culturally responsive teacher is someone who is student-centered. They care about their students and where they come from. They are actively searching for the answer to what makes students who they are. What is their background? What is their family life like? What type of education do they receive at home? Do their parents care about their education? These teachers make their classroom a place where all students can be successful, no matter their sex, race, religion, etc. Culturally responsive teachers constantly try to understand and meet the needs of students who come from different backgrounds than their own. These teachers adapt their curriculum/instruction so that all students can relate to the material being taught.
    I now realize from the articles and videos that I have not been the best culturally responsive teacher. I have Audrey Hepburn pictures hanging in my classroom. This represents the white female culture only. I allow the students to sit in groups that they choose. Most of the time I have black students sitting together and white students sitting together. I should, as a culturally responsive teacher, make my students sit in mixed race groups every now and then. Encouraging mixed race interactions will allow students to respect and appreciate different cultures as well as their own. As a white woman, I fall into the average teacher classification. I would like to be able to step out beyond my comfort zone and teach material that interests students of all races and sexes.
    In the articles, the writers listed several ways that teachers can be more culturally responsive. Teachers can modify their teaching styles to accommodate the different learning styles, incorporate multicultural information and resources, and build bridges of relevance between home and school experiences. Teachers can also create and use tests that are more culturally responsive. Teachers need to have a teaching philosophy that includes a reverence for culture and then create a teaching environment that reflects that belief. Black history month is coming up in February, and as an 11th grade U.S. History teacher I believe that will be a perfect time to start teaching as a more culturally responsive teacher.

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  7. As part of being a culturally responsive teacher I believe that you really have to know your students and their backgrounds. I feel like this was something that I did a better job at when I was a homeroom teacher and I spent the entire day with the students, but as the gifted teacher I only see them for 40-50 minutes a day and I just don’t get to know them the same way as I did before. In being a culturally responsive teacher, you first have to acknowledge the different cultural backgrounds of your students. I came from a classroom with students from very diverse backgrounds, but the gifted classroom has been a huge change for me. From the 28 students on my case load, I only serve one African American child, 90% of my students are from middle to upper class families and most are from the same religious background as well. For me, sometimes it hard to see the diversity and I need to work harder at identifying it. Another thing that we can do to make sure that we are being culturally responsive is to be a good role model and send positive consistent messages to your students. This is something that I am really working on with my 6th grade class. They consistently come in talking about other students and gossiping about events of the day so far. I struggle with the correct way to handle these situations and sometimes just make them end their conversations. We have had conversations about some of the situations, but I need to step up on a more consistent basis as the model for how to be respectful of their peers. We can also step out to change our curriculum to use a wide variety of teaching strategies to reach all of our students and their learning styles. I feel like one of the most important ways we can teach our students to be more respectful of their peers outside of the classroom is to be more respectful of the students inside the classroom. When we create a feeling of belonging and acceptance inside the classroom it will spill outside of our walls.

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  8. I think being a culturally responsive teacher, you must know all of your students and their background. When I was in the regular classroom and had only 18 students, I felt as I did know my students and where they came from. I also had a very diverse group of students each year. Teaching gifted now and having a case load of 70 students and only seeing them once a week makes it hard for me to really know the background of them all. I also do not have the diverse groups of students now as I did in the regular classroom. I agree with Caroline it's a huge change and it is hard to see the diversity. Now, I just do the best I can and try to be a teacher that the students will look up to and remember. Using differentiated instruction, helps me to meet the individual needs of my students and their way of learning. I am still able to do this in the gifted classroom. I think once the students feel comfortable with you and realize you are there to help them, then they will respect you.

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  9. Donna Ford describes culturally responsive teachers as student-centered, elaborating that “They eliminate barriers to learning and achievement and, thereby, open doors for culturally different students to reach their potential.” (Ford, 2010) I wholeheartedly agree with her definition. By creating a student-centered environment, the teacher is able to know each of his/her students personally and assist them, as necessary, to reach their full potential in every aspect of their lives.
    In order to create a culturally responsive classroom, I must first lead by example. I must model respect and compassion for all of my students so that they will, in turn, do the same for their peers.
    Secondly, I must allow opportunities for my culturally different students to get to know each other on that level. Children learn and effectuate stereotypes at an early age. They often create biases against one another without getting to know one another on a more personal level. By providing students opportunities to talk to one another about their interests and similarities in their families’ traditions, they are bound to discover that they have more in common than not.
    Lastly, emphasizing social inequalities as talking point to investigate why certain people/groups feel the way that they do about other people/groups might help students discover the motives behind the stereotypes that lead to discrimination. For example, during the late 1800s to the early 1900s, a wave of immigrants arrived in America largely from Eastern Europe. Many of them were German and Irish, did not speak English, and Catholic. There was a fierce push against these people who were attempting to escape famine in their homelands because Americans feared that they were too heavily controlled by the Catholic Pope and did not value the same things as “native” Americans did. The sentiment was so strong that there was a political party formed to oppose their immigration: The Nativist or Know Nothing Party. Instead of getting to know these new people and what they valued, people shunned and taunted them.

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  10. I believe culturally responsive teachers model respect for those with differences and express interest in those differences. With busy schedules and high case loads, we don't often ask questions of our students about themselves. Everyone likes to have people show interest in who they are and what they believe. We are missing out on so many opportunities to reach students, because we have hectic schedules and notions that good teachers "get it all in."
    Culturally responsive teachers use the knowledge they gain about their children's lives to plan strategies that will meet their needs. They create a dynamic in their classrooms of tolerance and try to build a connection between home and school. For example, it is not always comfortable to conference with parents who are linguistically different, but even with barriers parents know when you have a great interest in their children. That builds a respect between home and school which makes language only a minor hindrance.
    One of the most important features I feel a culturally responsive teacher has is the ability to model self confidence without patronizing students, parents, or other teachers. The goal should be to encourage students to find their strengths and become good citizens who recognize and not perpetuate those stereotypes that the video portrayed. I am looking forward to learning strategies to make those connections with my students and their families.

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  11. Being a culturally based teacher, it is essential to know your students and their background. One of the most important tasks we do is build meaningful relationships and know our students fully. We must acknowledge and accept the culturally diverse and meet their needs accordingly. As their teacher, I must be a positive role model and create a positive learning environment conducive to learning. In our classes we strive to both accept and celebrate our differences. How uneventful our lives would be if we all we the same and grew and learned in the same manner.
    Teresa Harris

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  12. Culturally responsible teachers are aware of the demographics of their classroom and are able to address the needs of their racially, ethnically and linguistically different. They examine their backgrounds and provide learning opportunities that make connections to their prior experiences. Lessons are students-centered and the curriculum reflects multiple ethnic groups. Culturally responsive teachers are proactive in their efforts to teach their students not only to be aware of their own heritage, but aware of others as well. They teach their students to be respectful of students who are different from them. They also provide a variety of teaching strategies that meet the needs of different learning styles.

    The students that I teach are racially similar. They are of African-American decent and come from low socio-economic backgrounds. Many of them come from single-parent homes. Their exposure to various cultures is extremely limited. It is my goal to be a culturally responsive teacher so that I might provide them with experiences that they might not otherwise have.

    Demisha Stough

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  13. Being a culturally responsive teacher is being sensitive to the individual needs and experiences of students. Classrooms should be full of materials that showcase cultural talent and expose students to many methods from a variety of experts in multiple fields as well as content and literature from many different types of authors, artists and achievers. Teachers should be aware that background knowledge is highly influenced by experience and that assumptions should not be made about how that experience and background knowledge affects students. I remember being totally amazed as I listened to a student verbalize their extreme excitement about a field trip to the McWane Center, when mere moments earlier I had lamented the idea of setting foot in the McWane center for the 30 or 40th time. I was completely biased in my assumption that every student had been there. It takes effort, an open mind and sensitivity to create a culturally responsive classroom. In my classroom this includes cultures but also biases that are smaller and harder to identify, like the aforementioned assumption that all students have been to the McWane Center. In my classes I have many students on free or reduced lunch (we are a title 1 school), several students who have experienced the death of a parent or live with grandparents, and many many more who are from single parent homes. These situations create students with a very different frame of reference than that of the "norm", and perhaps an even more complicated and less understood diversion than being culturally set apart. It is my goal to be sensitive to all the needs of my students and create a classroom that supports, respects and celebrates all the beauty and diversity of life on every level.
    Lindsey Irvin

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  14. A culturally responsive teacher is a teacher who understands the culture and values each student for his or her individuality and cultural differences. I believe a culturally responsive teacher is a teacher who embraces the cultural differences within a classroom and uses it to enhance the learning of every child.
    I feel that in order to create a culturally responsive classroom a teacher must be willing to put all bias aside, which is easier said than done. A teacher must commit to know all of the students. A class community should be encouraged and nurtured where students look out for another. The teacher must draw upon prior knowledge and build background knowledge based on student experiences to make all lessons meaningful to students of every culture. A teacher of a culturally responsive classroom should have high expectations of all students and encourage everyone to meet and exceed the expectations. (www.blog.nationalequityproject.org)
    Several years ago I was involved in a book study for a book titled A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne. This book was an eye opener and explained why impoverished students behave the way they do, have the attitudes they do, and the “hidden rules” of their culture. I am really looking forward to learning more in this class about strategies to become a more culturally responsive teacher.

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  15. I believe a culturally responsive teacher seeks to understand the individual needs of students, respects their backgrounds, and exposes the class to a variety of cultural experiences. Each child has many different experiences and challenges that they bring into the classroom. As teachers, we should strive to meet the needs of each child while enhancing their understanding of the world around them. One way to do this is to let each student share their personal experiences and expose the other students to their culture. This helps build connections between students and allows them to take pride in their personal history.
    In order to create a culturally responsive classroom, I, personally, need to look closely at the biases and stereotypes that I have. Many of the children in my class come from what appear to be similar backgrounds. However, upon closer review, their differences are extremely evident in specific circumstances. I need to be more sensitive to this as a continue throughout the year. The best way to do this is to learn more about my students individually. We spend so much time teaching content and standards, that sometimes we forgot we are actually teaching children. I believe in attempting to understand their cultures, I will better understand how to teach them.

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  16. I'm not sure why my comment isn't going through, but I will type it again... hopefully this works!

    I believe that a culturally responsive teacher is one who makes an effort to understand the various backgrounds and beliefs of each of her students. In doing so, they are allowing their students' previous knowledge and cultures to guide their curriculum. In Kindergarten, the students do not see their differences as much as the older grades, but they are definitely apparent to those teaching them. You may not be able to use as many different types (cultural types) of literature and expect them to understand it, but even in basic questioning you will find differences in cultures and experiences. For example, asking a classroom full of students to raise their hand if they have been to the beach, you will probably have many that are unable to raise their hands because their parents cannot afford to go or they may not even know what a beach is exactly. A cultural responsive teacher would then find some experience in which the students is able to relate. This gives the student a basic connection to real-world situations while also responding to the cultural differences of their classroom. I believe that without attempting to understand others' cultures and without trying to relate their experiences and beliefs to what they are learning, teachers are not fulfilling their duty to their students.

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  17. I believe that to be a culturally responsive teacher one must be aware of a student's interests and home life. We must not assume anything. Sometimes we go by hear say to form an opinion when we should research. Research comes not just in the form of searching the internet about a child's culture, but in spending time in discussion in the classroom about interests. We frequently have discussions in my class about things that we have done on the weekend or things that we want to do. We talk about how our actions are important and have consequences. Every one is different and we can all learn something from each other. I believe that is the most important thing about being a culturally responsive teacher, realizing the differences and adapting our teaching style appropriately.

    Katrina Kimbrell

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  18. I still agree with the things I said on my first blog post, but one of the big takeaways that I think I have learned this semester about bring a culturally responsive teacher is that in order to truly be responsive to students' needs, you need to KNOW them.

    I know especially in the younger grades, we do spend a lot of time at the beginning of year doing "getting to know you" activities and such, but through the student interview assignment, I really learned that culturally responsive teachers know their students on a much deeper level--they know what excites, worries, and frustrates the student; it is unfortunate that most students must leave our classrooms after only one year because it takes such a long time to get to know them this deeply.

    This class and these blogs helped me to see how important the affective needs of gifted students are and how to design instruction based on these needs.

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  19. After reading what I wrote previously, I still agree with what I said. However, to expand on what I said, I think that it must be taken to a deeper level (just like Emily said above). I mentioned the experiences that students have but I failed to mention their family stories and personal beliefs. I think I underestimated Kindergarteners understanding of culture and the things that they bring to the table. They may not be aware of their peers' experiences and stories, but they are aware that they can or can not experience the same things as their friends.

    I also realize that while people are from different backgrounds and have different experiences, they also are from different generations. You have some parents who are older and have more strict discipline styles whereas younger parents tend to be more technology oriented and hands-off parenting styles. I realize that depending on the parents' way of being raised and their views of what is acceptable, the students react differently. This has greatly influenced the ways in which I discipline in the classroom and how I respond to certain situations.

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  20. I agree with y'all's comments too! Getting to really know the students is key. Seeing as how I see the WHOLE school this is a bit of a challenge, but I try to chat with a couple students each week and get to know a little more about them.

    Getting to know the parents also helps aid in the development of a culturally responsive teacher. I try to speak to a few different parents each week (especially if they're new to the school).
    Kids, in good and bad ways, are a reflection of their parents and home life. Talking to parents gives a more precise account of home life and cultural background which can help the teacher create a better classroom and learning environment.

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  21. Elizabeth ElledgeApril 24, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    I love what Emily, Mercedes, and Bryan all said. Like them, I now place more importance on getting to know each student on a deeper level. I feel like it is really important to talk with each child one-on-one at the beginning of the school year and throughout to truly get to know about him or her. I also (as Bryan said) now want to seek to communicate more with the parents. Whereas I have used parents as tools before to help me understand the child's background on an academic level, I really can see how even the nonacademic aspects of the child really relate to who he or she is in the classroom. Honestly, these "nonacademic" parts of the child really determine who he is academically. Therefore, open parent communication from the beginning is very important in being able to help each student the most.
    I have been more reflective in my classroom throughout this course. I think this year for me has been one where I have had the biggest variety of cultures, and because of this I have had to deal directly with a lot of different cultural issues. It has been neat for me to be able to apply what I have learned in this class with my fifth grade students and watch it take root. I have learned a lot about the nuances of different cultures, even those very similar to my own. I have learned the pride of each culture and the need to celebrate each student's differences, and I have even delved deeper in my understanding of working to maximize each student's strengths and minimize weaknesses. I am glad God graced me with this course at this time; it has truly been a blessing in teaching me how to better meet the needs of each of my learners.

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  22. I, too, still agree with my original definition of a culturally responsive teacher. I think we all can agree that teachers have an educational philosophy that includes being culturally responsible; however putting that philosophy into practice is not always the case. Teachers know what they should do; but knowing and doing are two different things. They tend to get overwhelmed with all the responsibilities and fall short of meeting the needs of all their students. I agree with the other posts that we must dig deeper into our students’ backgrounds if we are truly going to be effective. It is hard for a regular classroom teacher to get to know their students at this level when they only have them for one hour a day for one year. As the gifted specialist for sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, I believe I will be able to develop a deeper understanding of their cultures as I work with them over a three year period. This will allow me to get a better understanding of their needs and address them on a much deeper level. This class has helped me do a lot of self-evaluating and helped me see the benefits of being a culturally responsible teacher.

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  23. A agree with everyone above. I still agree with what I stated in the earlier blog, but I also have experience to match that now. We have to KNOW our students. I only see my students for 50 minutes a day so it is really hard to teach the lesson and make it personal but I am trying to do that more. I am trying to meet each students individual needs to meet their individual cultures. I think that I have been successful in making my classroom environment comfortable for all students. Most of my students feel safe to share their ideas, feelings, and background with their classmates. I have also tried to have multiple conversations on accepting others beliefs and ideas openly without making people feel bad about who they are. I think that it is key to get to know your students but to also use resources and strategies to meet their individual needs and make it meaningful to them. We have to be responsive to who they are and what they need as an individual learner.

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  24. At the beginning of our spring semester, we began to introduce what a culturally responsive teacher was. At first, I felt as though I had an understanding of what it means to be a culturally responsive teacher. I considered a culturally responsive teacher to be one who gets to know her students and tries to understand their background. I felt as though a teacher needed to spend time with her students to gain a better understanding of their home life and cultural upbringing. A culturally responsive teacher needed to celebrate those cultural differences in the classroom.
    As we progressed through our class, I realized that being a culturally responsive teacher means more than just getting to know your students. It is about truly responding to those differences in a meaningful and impactful way. I believe my original definition of a culturally responsive teacher would be categorized as culturally sensitive. A culturally sensitive teacher identifies cultural differences among her students, but a culturally responsive teacher realizes those differences and creates engaging activities that fit the needs of her students’ culture.

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  25. To be a culturally responsive teacher means to integrate culturally diverse materials and opportunities into the classroom consistently. It is important for students to not only see and hear about other cultures, but to also participate and connect with other cultures. A culturally responsive teacher gets to know his/her students and opens opportunities to share all cultures in the classroom. He/she takes the information about student culture and cultures from around the world to fashion class material that broadens students’ horizons, empowers them through their learning more about their own heritage and the world, and teaches tolerance and acceptance of all.


    In order to create a culturally responsive classroom, I model tolerance and acceptances at all times and vary class text readings from different cultural backgrounds. We include projects and celebrations that help us praise the difference in cultures as well as note the similarities we share across the globe. We also hold a cross-curricular heritage unit each year. Students complete an in-depth study of a particular cultural, and the unit is tied into all subject areas. The culminating event is a Heritage Night for project presentation, food sharing, and parent attendance. My school has a very small minority population. This project is one small way to help open our students’ eyes to the vast world in which we live.

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  26. A culturally responsive teacher is more than a teacher who promotes tolerance and who is "colorblind." While is is important to display an attitude of tolerance, it is more important to do more than simply tolerate diversity. Diversity should be celebrated and should become part of the curriculum. In order to do this, teachers must stay up-to-date on relevant literature and available professional development. It is also vital to be proactive when it comes to learning about students' cultures so that instruction can become more student-centered. Curriculum should be designed with a diverse culture in mind and should respond to the differences that exist among students. Culturally responsive teachers create culturally responsive classrooms and pay special attention to the room's atmosphere and appearance.

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    1. After I read my previous response, I can see that I understand what it means to be culturally responsive. I feel as if I have fully grasped this idea. However, now I am challenging myself to act upon it and integrate some of the ideas that we have discussed.

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  27. As I have studied through my education program and interacted with various students in field placements and in my classroom, I have come to realize that all humans are unique. It is selfish of me to think that everyone else thinks and works the same way as me. Being a culturally responsive teacher is the solution to my previous ways of thinking.
    A culturally responsive teacher teaches the whole child and realizes the importance of a child’s background. In order to make learning more appropriate and effective, it is important that I acknowledge and assess the students’ prior experiences and learning styles. Teaching to students’ strengths and truly getting to know the students is the first step in becoming a culturally responsive teacher. This type of teaching most importantly benefits the children because they are enabled to become better learners and human beings.
    In my classroom, I need to make sure that I am first aware of the diverse backgrounds and needs of my students. That is why it is crucial that I differentiate my instruction. Second, I need to get to know my students. This is probably the most important step in the process. I need to discover how the children learn best. Teaching content relevant to the students’ backgrounds and promoting appreciation of all cultures are two more steps that I can take to becoming a culturally responsive teacher.

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    1. Through this course, I have been able to take the ideas that I previously shared--such as getting to know my students, differentiating instruction, becoming aware of the different cultures in my classroom, and utilizing student interest--and actually put them into practice. I've learned to look for areas where my students are diverse. I've also realized the importance of taking the time to listen to my students. Sometimes the greatest influence that I will have will be the way that I respond and listen to my students through my actions rather than the content that is taught.
      This semester I have learned that relationships are just as important and probably more important to learning than anything else. Establishing this culturally responsive relationship with students is a way to build trust and respect which should be the base of the learning environment. I've been able to take these principles that I learned early on in the class and let them develop in my classroom.

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  28. this is a test. I have now written three quite long comments - and have attempted to publish. All three have disappeared.

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  29. Okay - this is attempt number four.... I thoroughly agree with Elizabeth about the qualifications of a culturally diverse teacher. In addition, I agree with Shanna that cultural diversity needs to not only be promoted but also celebrated within the classroom and modeled by the teacher.

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  30. Sorry to make the first two comments short - but I was hesitant to publish a long comment only to have it disappear. In terms of my being a culturally responsive teacher, I realize that there are several areas that I need to improve.
    My 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students focus on learning about different countries, their various customs, beliefs, education, and celebrations. My goal of these projects is to help my students learn that there is life outside of their town. Our school is not very culturally diverse - but wee do have some variety of students.
    During our projects, the students learn about how people around the world are different and yet not weird - simply different. We tie in music, literature, food, beliefs, customs, and education as well as other cultural aspects of these countries. They are amazed that all peoples do not follow the customs and beliefs that they do. It is amazing and rewarding to watch them discover so many differences and accept these differences.
    However, I believe that in order for me to truly culturally responsive teacher, I need to incorporate the diversity within our school and classroom. I need to initiate and promote the differences within my own students. I think that this class will help me to provide authentic diverse instruction as well as an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding for the many differences within our own population.

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  31. For me, to be a culturally responsive teacher means that you are aware of the various and different cultures, beliefs, and races of your students. Granted some school systems may have more diversity then others but all classrooms require a culturally responsive teacher. I think that being a culturally responsive teacher requires you to go past skin color and know your students on multiple levels. In order to create a culturally responsive classroom, one must allow students to explore and learn about all types of cultures.
    To make our classrooms responsive to various cultures we must first introduce our students to a variety of cultures and teach them how to respect (sometimes things they do not understand or even agree with). I know that teaching every aspect of cultures is very difficult. I believe this is especially difficult in rural and predominately single race schools. I am excited to learn how to create a culturally responsive classroom.
    I will be honest and admit that I have considered myself fairly “culturally responsive.” Due in part to opportunities I have had to travel to various places all over the world. However, after watching the video, I am afraid that I have had blinders on. I was familiar with and have seen every cartoon that was mentioned in the video. Sadly, I honestly had never considered them racist. I see them differently now. I was unsure of the various news clips and curious as to whether the video only cut the parts it wanted us to hear or not. I do know that if I ran across a radio station that was making comments like the two guys in the video—I would very quickly change the radio dial.

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  32. A culturally responsive teacher is one who validates, is multidimensional, and empowering. It is the teacher who understands that while we come from various backgrounds, we all share a passion for learning. The culturally responsive teacher seeks out ways to connect learning to the past experiences of the student so as to create a bridge over which the student can cross. Culturally responsive teachers strive to understand the backgrounds and past experiences of the learner, in order to create the optimal learning environment. They also seek out ways to understand and grow in the knowledge of the learner's culture so they may find ways to bridge the gap between the acquisition and the application of knowledge. Along with validating the context with which the learner acquires knowledge, the culturally responsive teacher is multidimensional. He/She seeks out multiple ways to engage the student so knowledge is not simply about memorizing information, but rather the implementation of knowledge. These teachers look to reach the whole student through assessment and implementation of teaching strategies based on learning styles of the student(s), and they are constantly searching for innovative methods to ensure that learning becomes a lifelong pursuit. Culturally responsive teachers empower. They use their ability to reach students where they are and help these students to not only dream of places seemingly out of reach, but instil in them the confidence to "believe in the beauty of their dreams (Eleanor Roosevelt)." Culturally responsive teachers encourage students to dare greatly in their pursuit of knowledge and its application to the world around them, challenging them to make their communities and their world a better place. Classrooms that are culturally responsive have an attitude of respect for all types of individuals from all types of cultures. These classrooms recognize the beauty of the human race and strive to teach understanding that permeates the potential barriers that cultural diversity can potentially bring. It is an environment that strives to understand the background behind various customs of other cultures, and at the very least, creates a curiosity in all students about the lives of people and communities around the country and world that may differ from their own. Resources in these culturally diverse classrooms should include various forms of media that discuss different cultural heritages and customs; members of the community with culturally diverse backgrounds may serve as wonderful examples of success and can be highlighted and even invited to speak about the role they fulfill in the community. But I think the most important aspect of the culturally responsive classroom is that it is ever changing. It is constantly adapting to the students, their needs, their dreams, their futures, and the culturally responsive teacher is able to use his/her classroom as a vehicle to navigate the adventure of learning throughout a semester, a year, a life. Looking forward to a great class!! – Junell “Nellie” Christian

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    1. A culturally responsive teacher challenges the one-size-fits-all approach to education. He or she actively pursues relevant ways to engage the individual learner, putting the learner’s needs ahead of those of the class. Culturally responsive teachers seek to understand their students, not in order to excuse certain tendencies or behaviors, but rather to enhance the effect of learning along the developmental continuum of education. Culturally responsive teachers listen first; respond with care; seek understanding; are genially interested; and are as comfortable being a learner as they are a teacher. Culturally responsive teachers seek to instill the love of learning as a lifetime endeavor by connecting concepts and ideas to cultural values and norms so that students see education not as the great barrier to cultural identity, but rather the foundation from which the pillars of knowledge, truth, teaching, and learning are established.

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  33. Being a culturally responsive teacher is very important. Today, diverse students are found in every classroom. A culturally responsive teacher will use every bit of information he or she knows about the student to provide him or her with the most effective education possible. This information may include knowledge of unique cultures, past experiences, and knowledge pertaining to learning styles of children coming from different cultural backgrounds. To do this, the teacher must make an effort to get to know his or her students, and strive to learn more about what makes each student unique. A culturally responsive teacher will then use this information to teach to the whole child, and make their teaching more appropriate and effective. A culturally responsive teacher will also help his or her students appreciate their own cultural background as well as the cultural backgrounds of other students in the classroom. As an educator, you must always reflect on past experiences, and strive to keep getting better at what you do. That being said, I will continue to strive to become a more effective culturally responsive teacher than I am today because I believe being culturally responsive is essential in order to maximize students’ potential.

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  34. Christie - I agree with your assessment of the video. I, too, consider myself a fairly culturally responsive teacher. However, I have focused on other countries and their cultural differences. I now realize that I need to also address the cultural differences within my own classroom. Being raised in a home that was very tolerant and respective of diversity, I often forget that my students are not. This video made me realize that I need to add to my diversity. I also would have immediately changed the channel.

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  35. Wow! The video was such an eye opener for me. I have never paid much attention to all of the derogatory remarks made in cartoons and on the radio about other cultures. It has definitely created awareness in me to be more sensitive to other cultures as I move forward in my teaching career.

    Culturally responsive teachers empower all students. They acknowledge the experiences and life styles of students from other cultures and strive to make connections with these students. They use different learning styles to meet the needs of all. A culturally responsive classroom should bridge the gap between school/curriculum and home experiences. It should allow the students to use their background knowledge and build upon this knowledge across the curriculum. It is also important for the teacher to help their students build respect for their own and other cultures. The teacher should use cultural references in appropriate situations to enhance the students’ understanding. This develops the students intellectually, socially, and emotionally.

    In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of a culturally responsive teacher is to create an atmosphere where all of the students feel welcomed, accepted, and valued. I believe it starts with the teacher modeling positive, supportive behaviors for the students to follow. The teacher should recognize the similarities between the students and acknowledge these differences. A culturally responsive teacher should strive to understand the students involved, show them respect, and create a welcoming environment that fosters successful and empathetic learners.

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    1. This world continues to change. The students in the classrooms in America also continue to change. I believe our schools really are a melting pot. Therefore, teaching in the classroom has to encompass all of the students that are represented. It is important to show these students that where they come from is as important as the culture of the student sitting next to him. All students should feel welcomed, appreciated, and comfortable about sharing their experiences. The teacher should realize that the students have a wealth of knowledge to share about their different cultures and the students can become a great resource of information for the class.

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  36. I really can’t believe some of the images pulled for that video! I remember watching many of the Disney films referenced, and I was an avid Looney Tunes viewer as a child. It’s funny what we are exposed to as children but either don’t pick up on or only subconsciously acknowledge. It’s definitely something to think about.

    So, what does it mean to be a culturally responsive teacher? I feel like there are so many ways to be culturally responsive, but at it’s most basic form, I feel like it’s addressing, being aware of, and supporting all students and their various backgrounds.

    To create a classroom that is culturally responsive, I believe that connection to the students and a genuine interest in getting to know them goes a long way. As Jill mentioned in her response above, it’s imperative to foster an environment where students of all backgrounds feel welcome. A general atmosphere of understanding, encouragement for one another, and acceptance help the culturally responsive classroom flourish, and I feel it’s all led by the teacher. It’s amazing how a teacher’s attitude and demeanor can change the dynamics of a classroom.

    Now, though, I can’t stop thinking about what I can do in my classroom to make it more culturally responsive. :)

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    1. Earlier in the year, I replied to one blog response that I grew up in a rural setting with no diversity and that my current school offered little diversity as well. Boy was my understanding of diversity limited! Now, three months later, I feel much better armed with the knowledge and a better understanding of what diversity and being culturally responsive actually mean or entail. I believe a culturally responsive teacher is aware that not each student has the same background, learning style, or experiences. Those teachers strive to lead by example and incorporate lessons that touch on different backgrounds in order to provide authentic learning connections.

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  38. To be a culturally responsive teacher means to earnestly seek to understand the cultural and social differences of the students and integrate that knowledge while developing curriculum/instruction and also using that understanding during conversations with the students. The objective of culturally responsive teachers should be to get to know their students in order to identify the avenues that will best affect the students’ learning and eliminate obstacles. In order to create a culturally responsive environment, the teacher first must model acceptance and respect of the differences within the students. This should help create an atmosphere of acceptance of individual differences. Students should know and feel they have the freedom to share their perspectives based on their own social and cultural experiences through classroom discussions and projects. Providing choices and interest-based projects allows students to incorporate their knowledge, understanding and perspective.

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  39. A culturally responsive teacher is one who knows their students and takes action to create the best learning environment possible to meet the needs of all students. He/She creates a classroom environment that welcomes all cultures and embraces diversity in a positive way with the intent of maximizing student learning as well as modeling acceptance and respect for people who may not share the same cultural background. This is achieved by being culturally sensitive to all cultures and educating students on diversity. The video mentioned that racism is taught. A culturally responsive teacher takes on the responsibility of teaching just the opposite. Through carefully planned lessons, collaboration with peers, and adequate professional development, a culturally responsive teacher can educate her students on diversity in the school, community, country, and world. In this classroom you would find books, posters, poems, etc. that would cover a broad range of diversity in religion, ethnicity, customs, and practices. In short, a culturally responsive teacher is one who has the ability to see past his/her own experiences and can embrace the culture of all students, which is then reflected in the daily activities in their classroom where all students learn to be successful.

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  40. I believe a culturally responsive teacher is one who searches for an understanding of his/her students' cultural, ethnic, social, and socioeconomic norms. A culturally responsive teacher acknowledges those difference between his/her students and the ways that those differences effect learning. He/she would promote an appreciation for the diversity in his/her classroom and certainly model tolerance. I think a culturally responsive teacher would encourage students to explore cultures different from their own and have a classroom that provides resources that reflect diversity. After viewing the video, it seems a culturally responsive teacher may need to "un-teach" some of what his/her students have already been exposed to daily.
    I know I have much work to do in the area of becoming a culturally responsive teacher. I believe I do a decent job at acknowledging my students' cultural differences, but I don't do a great job of celebrating them. I think that's important as well. My classroom resources could use an overhaul as well. I am adding that to my to-do list.

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    1. I agree with my original assessment of what a culturally responsive teacher looks like for the most part but as I have mentioned before my view of what constitutes culture has been broadened and deepened due to this course. I realize now that I have always limited culture to things that I can see and I know now that is very wrong. I am not yet a fully developed culturally responsive teacher. I do recognize areas of growth, but there is still much improvement to be made for me. As a culturally responsive teacher I should strive to know and understand my students and use that knowledge as a basis for classroom instruction. I should recognize and celebrate the diversity amongst my students and build on it to enhance their educational experiences. We truly should not be a melting pot, but a basket of potpourri!

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  41. This is Michelle Burns. I believe that a culturally responsive teacher is one who searches to understand more about the students they teach. I really like how the article puts it: " teachers proactively and assertively work to understand, respect and meets needs of students who come from a culture different from their own". I like the Leader in Me lingo that this article uses, one that is so prevalent in our schools today. This reminds me of the habit, Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Sometimes, we as teachers have to be the first to try and understand something, then help others. If we as teachers help to eliminate bias in our lives and attempt to do the same in our classrooms, perspectives could be changed for the positive.

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    1. After taking this course, I feel that I am definitely not a fully developed culturally responsive teacher. However, I am gaining new ground every day. I continually try to focus on the needs of students, whether it be learning or cultural. I think it is so very important for classmates to understand cultural differences in others, and learn to respect them. I incorporate discussions with my students about different traditions they have and then allow time for comparison and contrast with various students. I believe in what I wrote in the previous post for this discussion. A culturally responsive teacher is one who searches to understand more about the students they teach. I always ask my students, whether it's on Monday or Friday, if they had a good weekend, have had a good week, what is something they are going to do over the weekend, etc. This helps me to understand my students better and I can use their interests as part of a lesson/activity. I still have a lot of work to do in order to become a successful culturally responsive student, but this is a focus that I have in order to know my students better for next year.

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  42. i probably have more of a difficult time with this area in teaching than any other. I have grown up with, attended school with and taught mostly white people. If there were any other cultures represented, it was black. I've never had much diversity in my life. I also live in the deep south. This is the center of racism and prejudice from what I can tell. I have always lived here and I have grandparents and great-grandparents and PARENTS that lived through the civil rights movements and have moved from extreme segregation into the world we live in now. It's very different in the world, looking through the eyes of my grandmother who continually tries to explain "things" to me such as why this or that remark is made by whomever. I have ALWAYS tried to make a concentrated effort to include, observe and honor all races, ethnicities and abilities, however coming from the background I do, I can be a little naïve and surface in doing so. I am probably more interested in getting this skill and this type of understanding perfected in my classroom and in my life more than any other. As a mother of 4 - I want to have my children never experience some of the comments, thoughts, stories and sayings I did and would like to show them a world of racial equality and acceptance. This is a very important area to me and I hope this class helps me to be a more culturally responsive teacher - incorporating understanding, tolerance and support to all.

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    1. Lesli - I completely understand! I grew up in a super small town in Tennessee, and we had ZERO culturally diverse folks in my whopping class of 88. We all grew up together, and most of us were related! ;) However, I now teach in a city school system but in a Magnet School. While there is more diversity at my current school, it's certainly not very diverse.

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    2. Looking back, again I was mostly concerned about race at this point. while race is important, it is not the only facet to cultural diversity. There are so many more issues that affect students besides race. They may even be more important than race. As I said before, extensive knowledge of each student and sensitivity to their individual needs is crucial. There are so many things to look for - making sure all needs are met in a supportive environment is the main job of a teacher of gifted students.

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  43. I believe that being a culturally responsive teacher begins by being educated about different cultures. We can take for granted that others have different beliefs, ways of doing things, and different priorities. I think that a lot of misunderstandings and cultural clashes in the classroom can be prevented by taking just a little bit of time to educate ourselves. I was given an assignment a couple of years ago to interview someone (an adult) who had recently moved to the United States. Some of the simplest questions elicited answers that would completely make one rethink the conceptions held about a culture. For example, I interviewed an Hispanic woman. One question was how are the males and females treated differently in your home. She responded by explaining that although men were treated differently than women (served first at dinner, etc.) the difference really lies between youth and the elderly. Respect for the elderly and their wisdom played an important role in the raising of their children. This could include even not looking someone older than you directly in the eyes. My interviewee also explained that her culture was much different than in other parts of her country. This leads to the second aspect that I think is important in being culturally responsive. In the quest to be culturally responsive, we have to avoid the temptation to stereotype students even more. We cannot tell what cultural background a student comes from by the way they dress, their accent, or the color of their skin. Thirdly, to be culturally responsive, I think that teachers need to expose students to many different viewpoints and teach students to look at texts and ideas through different lens or perspectives.

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  44. A culturally responsive teacher is one who recognizes that students come from varied and diverse backgrounds, and therefore have many different expectations and means of understanding things. The culturally responsive teacher will act upon this knowledge, using it to plan and prepare lessons and activities, and to predict and preempt gaps in understanding—as well as to be aware that the student may possess greater awareness or knowledge which could be used to help with the lesson. Culturally responsive teachers should look beyond preconceived notions and be prepared for anything, rather than clinging to stereotypes or expectations based on prior experiences, as all children are different. Teachers should also pass this skill on to students, guiding them to experience the world around them with a critical, but objective eye. Everyone has his or her own perspective and should be respected for it.

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  45. This is Kara Godwin. To be a culturally responsive teacher, one must understand that all students have a lens shaped by life experiences through which information is filtered. As with any other facet of education, the most important factor attributing to student success is the relationship between student and teacher. Teachers must truly know their students to be able to begin to understand the students' motivations, needs, and dreams. Through conversations leading to this understanding, the hope would be that a mutual respect would be gained between student and teacher. The teacher must then be sensitive to the information gained about the student, including his/her background, traditions, emotional factors, etc. that may the way the student responds to or takes in information. It is important to also note that cultural differences are not confined to merely black/white or country of origin. Students moving to a new region, living in an adoptive situation, being raised by one parent, or being raised by same sex parents, for example, may also be considered as having cultural differences. In my own experiences, I do not feel that I have always been as sensitive as necessary to the impact that these differences may have on my students. In addition to being sensitive to and understanding the needs of my students, I believe it is also imperative that I model and promote tolerance and respect in the classroom. I also feel that it is important to give students opportunities to see and hear from others who are like them. This may be through literature, videos, posters, etc. Lastly, allowing students to celebrate their heritage and teach others in the classroom about this heritage is another important factor in being culturally responsive. In doing so, I think it allows students to be comfortable with being who they are, not only becoming what they think they should be.

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  46. This video was very insightful - many of those movies and cartoons I have watched and never caught it.

    I grew up in a mostly white, upper middle class neighborhood but my parents were very big on getting us outside of that so I was able to meet other cultures from an early age. Last year, I taught in a "majority minority" school and I was very intentional on bringing in each of my students's cultures. This year, I teach gifted to a mostly white population and I haven't done as good of a job of being intentional. I do have one student who speaks Spanish at home so I picked some poetry that have a mix of English and Spanish so he could shine and the kids really like it - so I need to do a better job of bringing culture into the classroom and not forcing everyone to be the same.

    -Anna Miller

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  47. One of the most important things that culturally responsive does is recognize what "culture" actually encompasses. I feel like my perspective of culture has never been completely accurate. While I have realized that different people come from so many types of backgrounds, actions, beliefs, experiences, I had never considered how different cultures can be from one person to another. Not every single person was raised with the same parents, in the same house, the same experiences and the same behaviors. Those characteristics shape each individual and makes us each unique and different. As a teacher, I need to be really aware of what each child comes to my classroom carrying and possibly impacting their life. Even though I do my best to get to know my students, I think I need to focus more on the things that have not necessarily been said, but focusing on the possibilities of how the children could be feeling. This notion needs to be applied to not only how I guide the students in their work, but in how they interact with one another. I have gained new insight and have so much more to consider now. Thank you for the information and apologies for the late post.

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  48. change in first line "culturally responsive teachers do"

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  49. To me, a culturally responsive teacher is someone who responds to the needs of culturally diverse students in his of her class. A culturally responsive teacher is knowledgeable of different cultures, and uses this knowledge to help his or her students succeed. For example, a culturally responsive teacher will teach in a way that accommodates all learning styles because culturally diverse students tend to have different learning styles compared to the majority of students here in the United States. Culturally responsive teachers also respond to other things also such as the interests of culturally diverse students in their classroom. In the end, a culturally responsive teacher will do everything in his or her power to accommodate for the needs of all students.

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  50. A culturally responsive teacher understands that all students are different. He or she needs to be able to identify cultural differences and at minimum know what is offensive to specific cultures. Because a basic need of children is to feel comfortable in their learning environment, offending a child's culture, religion, or upbringing can hinder the learning process. As teachers work hard to create a positive learning environment, culture diversity should be a priority. As educators and people in the business of teaching and learning, culturally responsive teachers overcome ignorance that leads to racism. Demonstrating this in the classroom can help students overcome this as well.

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  51. I believe, to be a culturally responsive teacher, one must be curious about each child as an individual. Each child comes from a different and varied background with different experiences to share. Teachers themselves have to overcome their own biases and reflect on their own beliefs. Creating an environment free of judgment in all aspects allows students to see collaboration not intolerance. They are able to see what it is not and form their own beliefs. I have worked in various environments, but all students want to feel appreciated in a positive, learning environment free of judgment and succeed. A culturally responsive teacher is aware of their students' cultural differences and will create an environment of learning that differentiates in all aspects.

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    1. A culturally responsive teacher makes it obvious that they appreciate and value their students’ cultures. Providing frequent icebreakers so that you and your students can learn about each other. Always make discussing the cultures in your class an important part of what you and your students do together.

      Provide plenty of structured activities where students can interact in a productive way with each other so that they have an opportunity to learn about each others’ cultures. By offering activities that require successful collaboration and that also expose students to a wide variety of world cultures, you will broaden your students’ understanding of the material under study, of each other, and of the world.

      Parental involvement is very important and it shows as a culturally responsive teacher, that you are willing to educate the students about differences and culture without shying away or not discussing due to your own beliefs or feelings.

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  52. A culturally responsive teacher understands there are differences among his/her students and acknowledges those differences as a part of the whole student. Those very differences are part of what has shaped and molded each student into the person they are at that point in time. It is the teacher's responsibility to find some part of the student's background and culture to use as an anchoring point for new learning. Tying one's culture into one's learning helps to make for a fully rounded, personal learning experience.

    Culturally responsive teachers recognize the need to educate themselves on cultures with which they are not familiar. Doing this may help to create an environment of cultural learning and respect from other students in the classroom.

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  53. I think that being a culturally responsive teacher means that you are aware that each child is different and comes from different cultural backgrounds. Culturally responsive teachers embrace each child's differences and are able to incorporate that child's differences into their learning. Culturally responsive teachers teach the whole student and empower their students through diverse learning experiences in every subject and through a variety of learning styles. Finally, a culturally responsive teacher teaches all students to be accepting and respectful of different cultures and creates a safe, positive learning environment.

    It is important that teachers use their prior knowledge and strategies for teaching culturally diverse students in order to create a multidimensional culturally responsive classroom.

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  54. I think that in order to be a culturally responsive teacher you must first look within. As the teacher you must first educate yourself about different cultures, especially ones that are represented in your classroom, then reflect on your own struggles to accept different cultures. Inside the classroom as the teacher it is your responsibility to promote respect and tolerance of other cultures. This cam be done by educating your students about different cultures and allowing for learning experiences that reachers all types of learners. We must teach our students that it is okay for them to be different from others or others be different than them; but we must all respect each other and be kind to one another. Imagine all the things we can learn from others that are different!!! They have different backgrounds, traditions, home lives, experiences, etc. We must all embrace this learning opportunity!

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  55. In my estimation, a culturally responsive teacher is one who isn't afraid to familiarize him/herself with each student's family, background, and interests. Showing genuine interest in culturally different students' lives in and out of school helps them to feel part of the community of the classroom. Learning about a student's culture takes effort and doesn't happen by chance. Phone calls have to be made, individual conversations have to be had, questions have to be asked. Teachers can also share experiences from their own background to facilitate openness and community.

    Once teachers are (at least to some degree) aware of and familiar with the cultures of his/her students, the next step is to allow opportunities in the classroom and during lessons for students to showcase their diversity and share with their classmates. Lessons and the general classroom community should also incorporate elements from a variety of student backgrounds. For example, a writing piece on "My Favorite Activity" is a great opportunity for students to write about something unique to their culture and personal experience. Sharing the writing allows them to share that part of themselves with their teacher and classmates. A story about a character from a different culture could open up a discussion about the cultures of the students. They could be allowed to present a project about the culture they come from.
    In addition to giving students opportunities to share, teachers should also keep cultural differences in mind when planning lessons. For example, on the first day of school this year I introduced my students to my mailbox system. After the students went home, I noticed that four students hadn't gotten their mail out of their mailboxes. It was my four students from Spanish speaking families. That prompted a quick lesson the next day on "What is a mailbox?" It also made me aware for future planning that I shouldn't take for granted what my students know and don't know! Just because I knew something in 2nd grade doesn't mean that they have had the same experiences. I can be aware of what they know by keeping communication open and providing many opportunities for them to develop background knowledge.

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  56. A culturally responsive teacher is one who considers the diversity of the students when planning classroom lessons. The teacher is aware of cultural background knowledge and the learning styles of the students. This type of classroom strives to be student-centered. A student cannot learn unless they feel comfortable and their emotional needs are met. A culturally responsive teacher encourages students to value their own culture as well as the cultures of their peers.
    Culturally responsive teaching is empowering for the student. This empowerment can be demonstrated by motivation and academic success. By developing acceptance of each other’s cultures, the classroom will grow as a community of learners while learning from each other.

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  57. Kiyomi Moore SPE 584 Spring 2016January 21, 2016 at 12:14 PM

    Learn about their families, cultures, and interests. Ask questions, talk with parents, community members and colleagues, read books, watch movies, listen to music. Make home visits, or create opportunities for students to share and celebrate their family traditions and cultures

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  58. Kiyomi Moore SPE 584 Spring 2016January 21, 2016 at 12:16 PM

    Culture is one of the key pliers in the educational system. As teachers, we must gage each learner and be receptive of the learning differences and cultural differences. Culturally Responsive Teachers recognize the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning. These teachers have an understanding of the characteristics of students' different cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Culturally responsive teachers respond to the personal needs of all learners and create a classroom environment that respects student differences. Overall, a culturally responsive teacher has to be sensitive to the students needs. In the classroom, teachers must create an environment that is neutral and child friendly. Promote activities that will increase your students’ self-esteem. Students who are self-confident are not as likely to taunt others to feel good about them. Be positive in your feedback so that students know what the criterion for success is in their classroom. Learn about their families, cultures, and interests. Ask questions, talk with parents, community members and colleagues, read books, watch movies, listen to music. Make home visits, or create opportunities for students to share and celebrate their family traditions with you as the teacher. In return, expose the other students to the cultural traditions by doing project based learning activities in the classroom. Bring in some cultural tools and maybe a guess speak to explain and inform others students of the traditions. A culturally responsive classroom might also display pictures from around the world. Be sure to have something familiar to each student’s native lands on the wall.

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  59. This is a topic in which I feel like I need a good bit of work, but am currently making improvements in my teaching style as it regards those of different backgrounds. After taking the Multicultural Education class as an elective this past summer, my eyes were opened a bit more, and it made me more aware of my closed-mindedness or lack of attention to this area.
    To me, a culturally responsive teacher does just as the term says...he/she closely examines differences in the cultures of the students, and responds accordingly, in order to be able to build that rapport and personal relationship with each student that is so essential to student success.
    A culturally responsive teacher intentionally spends time getting to know about different cultures, both economically as well as ethnically. She spends time getting to know each student on a personal level, to find out about any cultural differences that the student may have that might cause him to feel uncomfortable or out of place if the differences are not addressed.
    In my opinion, cultural differences are what make our great country so unique. It is a blending of different traditions, knowledge, and experiences woven together to form a diverse and thriving community.
    Personally, I love it at my school. We are very culturally diverse and I enjoy getting to know about each of these different cultures. As a child, I grew up in a very small town in rural Alabama where everyone in my class was basically the same culturally. So even into adulthood, I had not had much experience with those of different cultures and backgrounds. The past five years that I have spent in education have truly opened my eyes to learn about these different populations that make up my school, and I am constantly striving to learn more, in order to enrich my classroom.
    Some things that I have been working on specifically are: finding out special holidays and celebrations that different cultures have, and allowing these students to share their traditions with the class. I also try to show interest in their lives by striking up conversations about things they may be doing outside of school, and they love explaining to me the different things that they do. The obstacle that I have encountered is when a student might be shy or embarrassed about his/her differences and does not feel comfortable sharing. I try to provide opportunities to share differences and allow the students to share with each other about their families and backgrounds.
    One other thing that I have learned in the past year or so is that those of different socioeconomic status are also considered different cultures. Their home lives may be completely different that what I am used to. Family values might be different, or the way that families interact with one another might be different that what I once considered "normal". I also have to be aware of these differences, and the challenges that come along for those students who are of an especially low SES.
    I think in summary, my main point is that teachers must first get to know students, and be aware of their differences, and how she can use these to enrich everyone's educational experience.

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  60. Most teachers recognize the diverse culture of different populations. We notice mannerisms, speech and language differences, ways of dressing, the attraction of different subgroups at schools and etc. Despite the recognition of cultural indicators, classroom learning environments have not embraced the diversity of students. I believe this is true of general education teachers as well as teachers of gifted and talented students. Why? As an elementary teacher from kindergarten to 5th grade for 24 years, I believe the focus on struggling students has diminished the emphasis of providing instruction for any form of diversity. The need to have all students performing on grade level sucked the life, enthusiasm, and energy from teachers so that numbers dressed as data “drove” instruction. Diversity became a reading level on a STAR assessment. It determined how often diversity had tier 2 or 3 instruction. How can teachers be culturally responsive in light of the determination of administration to increase the number measuring performance and achievement? We are now looking in the face of live, current legislation that will remove the remaining deference for differences in order to RAISE the bar of inhibiting teachers to be creative and diligent in pursuit of equal education for all students with cultural distinctions.
    Culturally Responsive embraces the faces of distinctions, whether it is shades of color, patterns of language, or environments. It provides support so that the learning climate is inviting and nurturing while simultaneously engaging and challenging cognitive growth. It blends intellectual progression with emotional stability. Cohesiveness encourages creativity and individual development building cultural sensitivity and respect for diversity. Culturally Responsive scaffolds relationships with community partners and families so that a school is not a business, instead the school becomes a communal partnership with a common platform. A platform which identifies children by name with unique personalities. It accepts the responsibility of RAISing the future while acknowledging the strengths of our children and the value of diversity for our common good. amyodell

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  61. My current definition of a culturally responsive teacher (which I know could change as we progress through this course) is just someone who recognizes and appreciates the differences that exists within each student. No two students are alike and they each have their own culture. I feel that the best way for teachers to be culturally responsive is to just think of each student when planning. Something that I could do (as an English teacher) is to choose texts that appeal to multiple cultures and to avoid picking something that only/always relates to one type of culture. This is something that I could definitely improve on!

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  62. My understanding of a culturally responsive teaching is driven by my compulsive book habit and my feelings about the primacy of literacy. I was raised in a way that was in a large sense very culturally narrow, with prohibitions against overexposure to what would be called “secular” culture, but my reading was never monitored in a rigorous way. I couldn’t listen to whatever music I want; I couldn’t watch whatever i wanted on television, but i had access to a local library and a lot of time on my hands. I was allowed to read whatever I wished and I found this habit of reading that I began at a very young age to be very liberating. I feel my reading gives me a broader understanding of the community that I inhabit. I feel that increased literacy is a boon to democracy and that people who develop strong language skills are more capable of functioning in a world that will almost certainly be much broader culturally that the culture anyone currently inhabits. The world is full of cultures and language skills increase the availability of communication between cultures, whether those cultures are scientific or literary or diplomatic, or what have you. So whatever lesson that I implement as a teacher, I want to emphasize vocabulary and nuance and call attention to contextual differences that expand our knowledge of any given subject. I believe that living in a culturally sensitive way and portraying honest curiosity about the world and a wariness of simple answers to complex questions and a spirit of inquiry are all attitudes that a teacher should promote while doing their pedagogical duties.

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  63. Culturally responsive teaching is much more than a teaching style. It is a mind set and a lifestyle. Children are sponges and they pick up on the unconscious underlying messages you are teaching.

    Culturally responsive teaching means you value difference. This is very different from tolerating differences. There are plenty of teachers that tolerate the differences in their classroom but this is almost as bad as dismissing differences. Difference or uniqueness must be genuinely valued by the teacher. How can uniqueness be valued? One example is: Teach students about opinions and how people can have different opinions and still be friends.
    Culturally responsive teaching means you not only value difference but you celebrate difference. How can you celebrate differences? Small steps make a big difference. Here is just one simple way: When the holidays come around ask the students to bring in something from home which will allow them to teach the class about how they celebrate the holiday season. Simple but effective.
    Culturally responsive teaching means you purposely search out curriculum that connects with minority groups. Think about all the picture books that are read aloud in elementary schools. How many of them focus or celebrate minority characters? Very few if you do not search them out.
    Culturally responsive teaching means seeking out current minority speakers or content. Often times we teach about minority groups only in a historical context. This leads to an accidental misconception of a people group. We want to celebrate the good that is currently happening in minority groups.

    Lydia Hinshaw

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    1. A few weeks after writing this post we read different chapters on the different learning styles and how different cultures can be dominated by a certain learning style. My mind was opened when I read about how many Indian students and male African American students are visual spacial learners. I realized that my entire life I have been a visual spacial learner and never knew it. It made me sad that other students are experiencing the same thing. Being taught in way mode of teaching and thinking that they are dumb because they don't understand quickly.
      Being culturally responsive also means responding to your students learning needs. This might mean you need to change your mode of teaching or it might mean you need to teach some thing in two different ways. You have to make sure that not only is the curriculum responsive but also the instruction.

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  64. If you were to take a peek into a 1950s classroom, you would find that there was little diversity. Students went to school in their own neighborhoods, and differences were frowned upon. Most people were afraid to interact with anyone who was different than them. Today's classrooms are a smorgasbord of culture. Students are different races and come from different cultures. Students are also more transient and sometimes come from other parts of the country where the culture is very different. It is important, as a culturally responsive teacher, to celebrate the differences of your students and to teach your students to be accepting and excited about each other's differences. Diversity should be looked at as the greatest part of your classroom.

    It is important to make sure that ALL of your students feel comfortable and accepted. Each student should feel that they are represented in your curriculum, and that they are an important part of your classroom. You should create a classroom culture that integrates and blends the cultures of each student but that also celebrates each student's diversity. Following are some ways to integrate every student's culture into your classroom:

    * Have parents and students fill out a questionnaire together to find out about their family's culture.
    * Try foods from each of your student's countries or regions of the United States.
    * Interact with your multi-lingual student's language.
    * Integrate songs, games, and dances from other countries or regions of the United States into your curriculum.
    * Encourage your students to be curious about each other's cultures and to ask questions.
    * Read books about your students' culture and from your students' countries.
    * Celebrate each other's holidays
    * Correspond with students from other countries or regions of the country by way of email, Skype, or by a type of social media.
    * Attend cultural events together or tell your students about these events and encourage them to attend with their families.
    * Watch movies about different cultures.
    * Encourage your students to be accepting of each other's differences.
    * Model acceptance yourself.

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  65. In order to be a culturally responsive teacher one must be able to acknowledge, understand and appreciate each and every student for who they are and what they come from. We must steer away from stereotyping or placing students into “groups” in to which many of them don’t belong. Unfortunately, many teachers are quick to assume that all white students are the same or all Asian students are the same. It is important to realize that culture is much more than just the color of our skin or our ethnicity or religion. Every single student is completely different than the next. Some students have two parents at home while others only have one. Grandparents are raising some students. Some are being raised in church and some are not. Some are taught the importance of education and have a wonderful support system and some do not. It’s important to take all of this in to consideration when teaching a classroom full of children. Culturally responsive teachers must also make sure they have an inviting classroom. Not only do teachers need to make sure that all children feel welcome and safe in their classroom, but they also need to make sure their students feel that their race/ethnicity/religion is respected and appreciated.

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  66. A culturally responsive teacher is someone who is student-centered. S/he knows their students—where they’re from, where their parents are from, what language they speak, what customs they practice in the home, what individual needs they need met. These teachers listen to their students, even what they aren’t saying. These teachers are doing everything they can to ensure success of the students—regardless of sex, ethnicity, religion, etc. One of my biggest classroom rule is no bullying, and my students know it very well. If teachers are in tune to their students then a joke or comment, that to the uninformed may seem harmless, that is truly intended to be hurtful can be caught. In my classroom, I demand that my students respect each other. I want my students to feel welcome and safe in my classroom. If they don’t then they will never be able to achieve to their full potential.
    A culturally responsive teacher is one who knows the cultural practices of his/her students. These practices/customs/etc. are incorporated into class, thus improving the educational experience for all students. Even if the class is not culturally diverse, different aspects of cultures that are studied should be incorporated into the lesson, perhaps bring in someone with those same cultural practices.

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  67. This is a topic that I strive to know and understand more about because I am really passionate about it. When I think about a culturally responsive teacher, I first think about a teacher knowing and understand that we are all different and we come from different backgrounds and then doing something about it in his or her classroom. I believe it is important as an educator to know where your students come from.

    Something that always sticks out to me- I was in training for my first job out of college at a new Charter school in Charlotte. We were doing a Paideia Seminar and the topic was about a speaker that made a statement implying white teachers couldn’t teach black students, only black teachers could. I felt like this speaker told me I wasn’t going to be a good teacher. So we took this and made it a topic about race and culture and had a seminar. A Paideia Seminar is a great way to let everyone speak. When it was my turn I remember saying- “I don’t see color”- they are all kids to me, I can teach them the same. And an African American teacher a few seats down, whom I had become friends with, when it was her turn to speak she said- “But you have to see color, Abby.” That statement struck me so deep because I instantly knew she was correct. I feel like I might not be articulating it well but she and I had so many deep conversations about culture and race and we were both able to ask questions because we knew there was no malicious intent.
    A culturally responsive teacher is curious. You should want to learn about the culture and background of every single kid in your class. And the real culture, not what the media and movies portray. And then as educators it is our responsibility to teach our students to be culturally responsive. Break down stereotypes and prejudices and teach your students to be culturally responsive.

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  68. I understand a culturally responsive teacher as one that learns who his/her students are and their background, then capitalizes on that knowledge to make each student’s education richer. Exposing students to authentic cultural knowledge and helping to educate them to counteract possible incorrect predisposed notions that may be made known from such things as cartoons, TV shows, etc. I think a culturally responsive teacher will try to make connections with the students’ home lives and create a relationship with them to better understand not only their race or ethnicity, but also their home culture. Culturally responsive teachers can empower students by making a point to bring attention to people of various cultural backgrounds who have succeeded in the curriculum area students are learning about. For instance, learning about famous scientists from different cultures, learning about present day Native Americans, holding cultural interviews, having various cultural class guest speakers in the classroom, and highlighting famous historical figures, mathematicians, musicians, entrepreneurs, policy changers, heroes, etc. from all cultures to broaden the horizons of all students throughout the school year. As their teacher we may be the only way they get a more balanced view of the world and other cultures so we should take advantage of the opportunity.
    Kim Stephenson

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  69. Currently the topic of culturally responsive teaching has been a major subject for the Huntsville City school district where I teach in, with many of our Professional Development sessions being centered around it. With a strict mandate handed down from the DOJ we've begun to uncover the large inconsistencies between schools in our district. For example I work at both a majority black school, which is in a high poverty area, and a majority white school, which is in an extremely upper class area, and I can not even begin to tell all of the major differences between the two as it would take too long. More and more though through time spent in Professional development sessions and hopefully with the help of this class I'm beginning to understand what culturally responsive teaching is. It is my belief that culturally responsive teaching begins by focusing on and responding to the cultures actually present in both the classroom and the school. Culturally responsive teaching involves connecting new information being taught to students' background knowledge and presenting the information in ways that respond to students' natural ways of learning. I think a culturally responsive teacher must first ensure that the environment they are presenting to students is one in which students feel validated as members of the learning community and when the information presented is accessible to them. One thing I learned from PD that stuck out to me about culturally responsive teaching is that in order for a teacher to be effective implementing culturally responsive pedagogy there are four practices that are essential. The first is that teachers are empathetic and caring, which I think all teachers should be. The second practice is that teachers are reflective about their beliefs about people from other cultures. The third practice is that teachers are reflective about their own cultural frames of reference. Lastly the fourth practice is that teachers are knowledgeable about other cultures. I also believe though that in order for a teacher to be effective in culturally responsive teaching you must be open to the possibility that there is always more to learn because people and culture are always changing so it is important to consider yourself a continuous learner.
    -Mary Kate Boykin

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  70. The state of being culturally responsive is being aware of your relationships with other people regardless of culture differences and reflective in the way you behave around all of the different culture groups. As teachers, we have a very critical role each day in our classrooms. We are faced with many trying times due to a lack of respect and honor for other people in general. This is daily struggle in most schools today. I approach this issue with the mindset that everyone is different in at least one area. I look at these differences as a great thing! We are given the opportunity to work with and teach many different people. I try to display a love and respect for all people so that my students understand how to treat each other and work cooperatively together.

    Culture is a topic I believe we should teach and discuss more often because some people do not understand the broadness of the word "culture".

    Culturally responsive teaching can be done by reflecting upon the ways in which you say or teach specific things to your students as a whole.


    A receptive mindset + reflective teaching = a culturally responsive teacher

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  71. A culturally responsive teacher is, I believe, a teacher who acknowledges and appreciates the different cultures of his or her students. This includes learning about and understanding the cultural practices of students. Doing this helps us to make connections with students who may be different from us but who, naturally, still need guidance, understanding, and support from the adults in their lives.

    Additionally, I believe the culturally responsive teacher teaches his or her students about other cultures in a respectful way. We are here to broaden the minds and hearts of the children in our classrooms and being able to respond healthily to new and different cultures is very important.

    I read somewhere before that many people believe that we are to behave as though everyone is exactly the same, however, this is not really the case. It is important that we recognize and celebrate our differences instead of ignoring these differences.

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  72. I do not think my results would have changed much. During my undergraduate studies I took Cultural diversity courses and became familiar with some issues in education and the mislabeling of certain students. I can also relate from my personal life having been in several different school systems in a variety of different places and states. I also have to be conscience of my students and their environment. My school has the highest percent of transiency for elementary schools in the county, as well as being a low SEC school with 2 shelters in our school district. I think me being optimistic helps as well. I try to find the strengths in everyone, not just my students. I was often (or at least felt) overlooked in some of my classes because I am quiet. I take interest in the quiet ones and the ones that write notes. I think continuing to be aware of differences and inquire about their life and family is important.

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  73. Kiyomi Moore SPE 584 Spring 2016March 9, 2016 at 8:08 AM

    In the classroom, culturally responsive teaching requires teachers to hold high expectations for all students, maintain and tend to the integrity of students’ cultures and identities, and cultivate academic excellence and success. When we create a culturally responsive classroom, these principles are evident in structure, experience, practice and performance. Five things are needed in the classroom:
    1. Know Your Students
    2. Be a Role Model and Set the Tone in the Classroom.
    3. Provide representation/images of cultural diversity.
    4. Collaborate
    5. Be in it for the long haul.

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  74. After taking this course, my views have greatly changed. Being a culturally responsive teacher does not just mean celebrating special holidays and teaching about Black History Month. It means getting to know your students on a personal level. It means learning about their families and cultures, which will ultimately help you to determine their learning styles and what it will take to motivate them to full potential. When a student feels welcomed and valued, he/she is 100% more likely to respond and contribute to the classroom. I have noticed this semester, as I have made an extra effort to get to know my students, that I have developed relationships with some of them that I would not have otherwise had.

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  75. I agree with Whitney. I have learned that being culturally responsive is so much more than being culturally aware. The content of culturally responsive teaching must reflect the particular students in the class and their individual situations. Having worked on the student interviews this semester helped me understand how to better relate to my students on a cultural level through getting to know them. Going through the processes of creating individualized gifted programming responsive to their own cultures for these students really helped me understand my purpose and responsive responsibility as their teacher.

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  76. M -7

    A culturally responsive teacher is someone who considers the students and the diversity of the class when planning lessons. We as teachers must take the time to get to know the student to be able to fully engage them in our lessons. It is important to understand the students’ background and their individual learning styles which will enable the teacher to meet the individual students’ needs and their cultures. We should encourage our students’ to value their own culture and the diverse cultures of their peers. Students should feel comfortable in their classrooms and be able to share all aspects of their own culture. I feel that I’ve been successful in creating a comfortable classroom environment for my students. Our students, by accepting and encouraging each other, will grow and learn from each other. In order to be a culturally responsive teacher we must respect our students and meet their individual needs.

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  77. Original Comment:
    I think that in order to be a culturally responsive teacher you must first look within. As the teacher you must first educate yourself about different cultures, especially ones that are represented in your classroom, then reflect on your own struggles to accept different cultures. Inside the classroom as the teacher it is your responsibility to promote respect and tolerance of other cultures. This can be done by educating your students about different cultures and allowing for learning experiences that reachers all types of learners. We must teach our students that it is okay for them to be different from others or others be different than them; but we must all respect each other and be kind to one another. Imagine all the things we can learn from others that are different!!! They have different backgrounds, traditions, home lives, experiences, etc. We must all embrace this learning opportunity!

    Updated Comment:

    After reflecting about what it means to be a culturally responsive teacher I am convinced that in order for it to truly make a difference it has to start with the adults in a school. In my experience you can build a culturally responsive you can create a great environment in you own individual classroom, but when your students go to enrichment classes, PE, or even transitioning in the hallway students can be affected by the attitude and culture of the adults they interact with outside of your classroom. For example, you can provide a great environment in your classroom, but if they come in contact to miserable teachers or adults that are not practicing the same culturally responsive class environments can make it really hard to keep the positive environment in your classroom. When you teach in a low income school I have found from experience that regardless of how hard I work on my classroom environment it is important that all the adults in the school instill the same cultural values. When this doesn't happen, your class can be going great, you can have great relationships with your kids, but when they have a bad experience in another part of the school, they bring that negativity back to the classroom and sometimes can not get pass it. It feels like you have to start over again and again in building that trust and relationship with them. My goal is to continue to work on this….so far I do not have answer that truly work in practice….lots of research sounds great, but in practice I haven't been able to make them work well yet….still trying.

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  78. Teachers become culturally aware and create a culturally responsive classroom by encouraging their students to share about their culture, background, family traditions, etc. Teachers can demonstrate this type of teaching and learning by sharing their own culture, background, and personal experiences. Once students feel like their culture is valued, they may be more open to sharing their culture with other students and the teacher. This is the best way to welcome culture awareness and cultural responsiveness to the classroom.

    Hopefully, once all of the students realized their culture is welcomed and celebrated they will be open and responsive to the other cultures represented in the classroom.

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  79. Culturally responsive teachers pay attention to their students. They get to know their students. They include student knowledge in their lessons. They use student interest to direct their classroom. They present information in a way that benefits all students from every background. I try to get to know my students through information sheets in the beginning of the year to individual/small group meetings throughout the year. A previous response included student-teacher lunch times as a way to get to know and catch up with students. I like this idea, however, we are required to monitor students in the cafeteria during our scheduled lunch time. I accomplish this another way. My students hate PE. They absolutely despise it. Most of my students have notes from home or doctors saying that they do not have to participate. Some of these students elect to come to my room during this time (during my planning period). They work of projects for my class or other classes or just watch the news (which is usually on). Other times they just sit and talk, they ask me questions, solicit advice, or just talk. I think this is a good way to maintain a direct line of communication with my students and get to know them.

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  80. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Culturally Responsive is the following:
      Understanding the culture of students and families.
      Recognizing differences of cultures.
      Identifying the different modes of learning as related to cultural differences.
      Embracing differences.
      Teaching for success in a fluid way based on learner needs.
      Communicating all children are members in a learning community.
      Providing choices connected to cultural characteristics.
      Accepting students with no bias or stereotyping.
      Empowering learners in a global climate.
      Believing the best of cultures and sharing the good in the learning environment.
      Making every day Oh, Happy Day!

      One learning example of cultural responsive was traveling to different places, online of course, and sharing about the cultures. The students provided visuals about the cultures. The culminating activity was sharing food from the different places and cultures. The students enjoyed sharing the food and having a banquet most of all.

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  81. I believe that to be a culturally responsive teacher you must be active in incorporating strategies that can reach the diverse populations that are in the classroom. I feel that a teacher should also be able to be open to these diversities and should not be willing to reach out to these students through the curriculum. Like I mentioned in a previous post, students can research their own cultures, read texts that relate to their cultures, keep a writing journal where students reflect at least once a week on their own beliefs, & etc.

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  82. Culturally responsive teachers are not just aware of their students’ cultural differences, but they actually respond to the differences. A culturally responsive teacher creates a safe and positive classroom environment where all students’ cultures are accepted and embraced. A culturally responsive teacher educates his/her students about the cultures of all of the students in the classroom. To create this type of classroom it is important to allow students to read literature that connects them to their culture. Students should have mentors from similar cultural backgrounds. Students should be able to feel free to share their culture with their classmates and not be hindered from doing so.

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  83. The activity I learned the most from this semester was the student interview assignment. I learned so much about where those students are coming from, and all I had to do was ask! This is absolutely a method I will continue throughout my teaching career. I have also noticed that I have specifically designed several activities based on the information I learned in those interviews. It's important to know where my students are coming from, but it's also important to do something with that knowledge. If I am going to incorporate their lives, interests, and learning styles into my teaching, I need to know what those things are!
    I also learned a great deal from reading in the textbooks about common characteristics of certain cultural groups different from myself. This gives me a great starting point when planning instruction for culturally different students. It's not the whole story of the whole student, but it's a solid foundation from which to build.

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  84. This has definitely been my favorite course so far... and something I have really enjoyed is seeing my peers gain knowledge about being culturally responsive along with me. It is our responsibility as educators to set the standard for how to be be culturally responsive and culturally aware so that we can so model it for our students. We are educating our future leaders! I believe I learned so much from reading Bright, Talented, and Black by Joy Lawson Davis. I loved creating the book trailer. I found it moving and it is an activity I will incorporate into my classroom. But what I really enjoyed about her book was seeing everything through a mother's perspective. She wrote the book as a guide for families, what a great resource!
    I definitely still agree with my original comment, especially this part:
    A culturally responsive teacher is curious. You should want to learn about the culture and background of every single kid in your class. And the real culture, not what the media and movies portray. And then as educators it is our responsibility to teach our students to be culturally responsive. Break down stereotypes and prejudices and teach your students to be culturally responsive.
    I have learned to really take my knowledge about being culturally responsive and turn it into strategies to use it in the classroom.

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  85. The activity I enjoyed the most this semester was the Student Interview. As a music teacher, I don't often get an opportunity to talk to my students one on one. I am always "on" and in front of the whole group. Even if I am conversing with a student by himself, it is always for the purpose of the activity we are doing. This was an opportunity for me to get to know a student a bit better; to find out what his culture is like, and to get a glimpse into his family life. As a gifted teacher, I intend to make this a regular part of my curriculum. I intend to get to know my students and their families. This is one of the parts of teaching a smaller population that I am really looking forward to.

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  86. A culturally responsive teacher is not just something you can find in a professional development class or a teaching style book; it is way more than that. You not only have to accept all different kinds of students you have to respect their uniqueness. Having culturally different students allows students to explore, learn, and share the differences within their peer circle. This is important because outside of the classroom, in the “real world”, you interact with people from all backgrounds.

    As a culturally responsive teacher it is important to include, seek out, and plan lessons based on all students. This not only allows you to explore information about your students’ cultures, but it allows them to share life experiences and relate to what is being taught. When students have something to relate to they feel safe in their environment, which in returns allows them to work to their full potential.

    To be a culturally responsive teacher I plan to spend time learning about my students’ backgrounds. I must model respect for all students, this in return shows students to respect others. I will use the curriculum to guide my instruction, however I will make sure my students have a connection to the way it is presented.

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  87. Being a culturally responsive teacher means not only acknowledging cultural differences in the classroom, but respecting and valuing those differences. A student-centered classroom, by definition, cannot be complete without recognizing, investigating, and celebrating differences in culture. In addition, we must think of responsiveness as a sense of urgency in terms of students’ cultural needs and requirements for success.

    Besides teacher philosophy, attitude, and action, the classroom environment must reflect the cultural diversity within the classroom through visual representations that accurately reflect the population; multi-dimensional and historically accurate perspectives; flexible, self-aware curriculum; unbiased assessments; and collaborative grouping that ensures significant interaction between students of differing backgrounds.

    It is especially significant to me, the disparity between diversity among students versus that of teachers. While our profession appears relatively homogenous, the demographics of our student population is becoming and will continue to become increasingly varied in cultural composition (Ford , 2010). To create a culturally responsive classroom, I must open dialogue about differences, rather than ignore the issue, so that myself and others can feel comfortable discussing and learning about each other’s points of view and backgrounds.

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  88. This video, “Racism in the Media,” gives me flashbacks to one of my favorite undergraduate courses on teaching in a diverse society. I’m glad courses like this exist because before I took that course I was ignorant when it came to cultural diversity or cultural difference. Culturally diverse teachers must educate themselves on the different cultural backgrounds of their students that come from an upbringing other than their own. Early on in my teaching career, I had a student that was a Jehovah Witness. Though I knew a few things about Witnesses, I mostly thought they were the people who knocked on doors. I did some research and grew to know some of their beliefs, and why they believe in what they do. I made sure that whenever I gave out holiday pencils he always received a decorative pencil that wasn’t specific to a holiday. He also did not have to say the pledge or participate in any activities that were against his beliefs. I modified lessons and renamed certain events to exclude something that would be viewed as a celebration or sign of worship.
    A culturally diverse teacher means being open-minded, not biased, not stereotyping, and having the willingness to educate yourself on students different from you. Did learning about my student’s religious views change my beliefs about my religion? No, however it did make me understand his.

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  89. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  90. A culturally responsive teacher is one who is aware of their students' cultures and background. Not only are they aware of the different cultures, but they incorporate the cultures in his/her classroom lessons. Many students are unaware that their fellow students do not have the same beliefs as their own. A culturally diverse teacher will make that diversity known in her classroom and teach her students how to react to students who have different cultures.

    Students are taught racism through the media, just as the video showed. It is vitally important that teachers teach students about different cultures and show them that culture is an important part of who they are.It is what makes us unique and special. A culturally diverse teacher is not trying to make one culture more superior than the other. They are teaching equality.

    It is also important to teach and model to children how to accept others' culture. To teach our students how to love one another and to accept each other is the culturally diverse teacher's goal.

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  91. To me, a culturally responsive teacher is being aware of who your students are and knowing their cultural values and beliefs. It is respecting differences and meshing cultural differences into the classroom so all students feel accepted and valued. Also, the culturally responsive teacher helps the class to respect students who are not like them.

    I do agree that media plays a role in racism. It seems to me that the media through radio, television, newspaper, and Facebook plays a role in influencing the public, sometimes through very subtle means. Even though it might be very subtle, it could be planting a seed. It seems that it is more out there now than when I was growing up or even when even I was in my early twenties. News spreads faster now through all the sources even when all the facts are not given.

    Because we do live in a culturally diverse society, it is important that teachers are aware of changes in society, learn through college classes and teaching experience to recognize and allow for cultural differences, and follow-up and extend these practices in their own classrooms.

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  92. To me, being a culturally responsive teacher means not just teaching to the mainstream. It means not only knowing my students, establishing relationships with them individually and knowing their backgrounds, but also exposing them to different ideas, practices and cultures that they may not be aware of especially in a relatively homogeneous school environment in a rural area.

    Previously, in Pennsylvania, I was working with a much more diverse school environment including many other religions. This school, a preschool through Kindergarten private school didn't want to do any Christmas celebrations or Christmas concerts in the stated interest of diversity. But that to me went too far the other way, and I planned and executed a Multi-cultural concert instead that was extremely well-received. It allowed hands-on, musical and language exposure of different cultures as well as accommodating celebration of the most widely celebrated holiday there and participating in the good-will of that season.

    This experience was sharply contrasted on arriving in Alabama, where in our school Christmas is explicitly celebrated for about a month in the lower grades. Based on this experience, I am very cognizant of the perils of missing an opportunity for diversity and cultural sensitivity by not acknowledging anything (what a pity) and of to the exclusion of everything else acknowledging only the mainstream (also a pity).

    Further, in looking at diversity through our own lens of experience, we need to be careful of further opportunities missed. For instance, in a nod to diversity, many classrooms researched Christmas around the world. In my classroom, we instead researched holidays around the world. My students had to present me research topics first. When students said I want to research how Christmas is celebrating in India or China, I said instead, we need to be researching their cultural celebrations of Diwali and Chinese New Year. Indeed, they had already seen the lack of information on Christmas in those countries because it is not widely celebrated. That is what I mean by playing lip-service to diversity, but not really experiencing things from another perspective.

    To summarize - Knowing my students and their backgrounds is a must. Exposing my students to new ideas and experiences outside their sphere of knowledge is part of my job as an educator in a diverse society. Further, I have to be careful of my own bias of experience in exploring other cultures and not miss opportunities to have culturally authentic experiences if I am just looking for what I know (Christmas, for instance).

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    1. Sorry - the above blog from January 21 is mine - Kaatje Harrison. :-)

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  93. A culturally responsive teacher recognizes, affirms, and responds to the differences and needs of all students. His or her classroom is student and culturally centered which will eliminate barriers to learning and achievement. Graphics, decorations, and learning material are multicultural so all students feel represented and appreciated.

    It is important that accommodations and modifications are made so that all students' learning styles are addressed. The teacher should serve as a bridge to seamlessly blend the students' curriculum between home, school, and the community.

    The teacher is a model and emphasizes an appreciation of his or her own culture as well as other cultural heritages. Although there maybe several cultures represented in a classroom, the teacher's primary job is to teach tolerance, respect, and awareness of different cultural backgrounds.

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    1. A culturally responsive teacher recognizes, affirms, and responds to the differences and needs of all students (Ford, 2010)
      The teacher should serve as a bridge to seamlessly blend the students' curriculum between home, school, and the community (Ford, 2010).
      *I forgot to cite the above information.

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  94. To me a culturally responsive teacher is one that values each student based on their individual academic, cultural, community, and family background. To be an effective teacher in any classroom, yet alone in a culturally diverse classroom, the teacher must not only value these backgrounds but try to forge personal relationships with each student. This allows the student and the teacher to build bridges of meaningfulness and respect for one another and link home and school experiences.

    Teachers must also be willing to differentiate instruction based on cultural differences within a classroom. In working within a lower income system within the state I have seen various students within my own classroom that have struggles in school due to home life or cultural biases that have been formed against them. These biases can sometimes be harder to break down in a system where the makeup of the student body may be one of predominately Caucasian children. Within my classes I have tried to create and foster a feeling of family and appreciation for diversity. My classes have done a unit on Dr. Martin Luther King and on Rosa Parks. These are always units that bring diversity to the forefront and open the door for many questions and insights into ways that we can be better classmates and teachers, as well as better human beings. Since there are so many historic stories from Alabama that deal with racism and diversity it opens our eyes a little wider to the problems that so many minorities, not just African Americans, have to face in life. It also gives us the opportunity to plan and apply strategies that can be utilized to break down barriers within our own school. Other types of differentiated instructional units could be done with relation to the challenges the Hispanic community faces within our classrooms. As teachers who are culturally responsive we must make our instruction available and inspiring to all students.

    It is also our job to create an environment that is realistic and understanding of diversity. The presidential inauguration this week was a perfect example of this. Use the reality of the moment. Yes, there can be racial differences and tensions at times. Our job as Americans, teachers, students and human beings in general is to act on those differences in a positive manner so that both sides can learn from the other.

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    1. This is my post to the blog. Michele Reaves

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  95. A culturally responsive teacher makes everyone feel welcome and valued in their classroom. It could be by the way he or she greets and treat his or her students in a positive respectful way, or the art, posters and curriculum that matches the diversity of the classroom and community. I used to think that differences should simply be ignored that the polite thing to do was not to acknowledge or discuss differences, but when you know better you do better. I am learning that sharing cultural differences leads to deeper understanding and acceptance of each other.
    A culturally responsive teacher also learns about his or her students. She learns what they value and what motivates them. She uses examples of successful people in all genres to inspire her students. He fights against hate and leads by being a positive role model.

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  96. Culturally responsive teaching begins with a knowledge and respect of diverse cultures. A culturally responsive teacher embraces cultural differences and takes full advantage of each opportunity to enrich all students with the values and perspectives of all cultures.
    Culturally responsive teaching uses multiple resources that are not just within the school setting but also embraces the values of the home. A cultural responsive teacher models an appreciation for all cultures and inspires students to do so by creating a seamless environment where every culture is valued and respected.

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  97. WOW!!! This video, "Racism in the Media", really opened my eyes a little. I knew that Disney movies had some "hidden" moments and meanings, but this video really showed me how racist we can be, as a society. I believe that being culturally diverse means a lot of things. It means having an open heart and open mind. I truly believe in the statement that racism is taught. As a society, we learn to fear or not trust anyone or anything that is unfamiliar.

    I feel that as an educator we have to learn, cherish, and value those who are different. We need to be aware of the underlying challenges our students face in and outside of the classroom. We need to teach our students love and respect. We have to show our students that it's ok to enjoy and/or respect things that are new and/or different.

    It is my job to dive into the different cultures in my classroom. Not only to learn the precious things of their culture, but to also be aware of the stereotypical remarks that they may encounter in and outside of the classroom. I must familiarize myself with their ideas, beliefs, and cultures. For example: in some cultures it may be disrespectful to look an adult in the eyes. Children raise in the northern state do not use the terms "yes ma'am". If I am unaware of this, I may in return, think that the child is disrespecting me.

    It is important the create an environment the is rich in culture. It is critical to teach all my students how we different from other cultures and societies. It is also important that we make sure children from different cultures are comfortable with things that we teach. I had a child from Mexico and asked him to share some of his Spanish with the class. He seemed to get embarrassed so I quickly moved onto a something else. We have to be aware of how these children feel when we single them out or turn all eyes to them. I had another student who was the complete opposite and wanted to teach us something new everyday. Those experiences and the beginnings of this class have taught me to not look at the cultural difference as a whole but as the individual child. All children have to feel safe, excepted, and appreciated in order to have a successful learning experience.

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  98. Culturally responsive teachers respond to and celebrate fundamental cultures. They acknowledge that students have different beliefs, values, and attitudes regarding appropriate behavior. Furthermore, culturally responsive teachers build upon the student’s knowledge and work with students to develop appropriate behaviors and classroom expectations. Most importantly, they offer full equitable access to education for students from all cultures.

    Culture is essential to learning. Current research about the achievement of culturally diverse students confirms that ALL students can and do achieve given the right learning conditions (National Research Council, 2002; Gandara, 2000). Therefore, my responsibility as a culturally responsive teacher is to create and sustain the right learning conditions in a culturally responsive classroom. In order to accomplish this, I need to increase my own cultural competence through study and focused discussion. In essence, I need to develop a deep understanding of the effect culture has on teaching and learning. Furthermore, I need to engage in culturally responsive teaching practices that ensure educational equality and responsive instruction for ALL students. I also need to implement culturally responsive instruction to teach “to and through the strengths of culturally diverse students” (Gay, 2000). In order to create a culturally responsive classroom, I need to communicate high expectations for every student, ensure that learning takes place within the context of culture, function as a facilitator of learning, and provide effective student-centered instruction.

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  101. A culturally responsive teacher sets the tone for the classroom of acceptance. Also, knowing who your students are and how they learn best is a way to be culturally responsive.

    A culturally responsive classroom is reflective of all cultures represented. Each culture is valued and the curriculum reflects the students' learning styles. Materials, books, wall words, posters written in languages used by students are all ways a teacher may choose to help students. Knowing the students, ways they learn, being accepting of the students' cultures, and incorporating this knowledge into the curriculum so that all students can be in the best environment to learn and succeed exhibits a culturally responsive classroom. Another way I could have a culturally responsive classroom goes beyond the classroom to involve parents to the school and community as well.

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  102. After reading and viewing the videos within this class, I realize that a culturally responsive teacher needs to be responsive to all cultures and backgrounds. All cultures need to be represented and respected in the classroom. By being culturally responsive, a teacher digs in and finds out a student's background, culture, family life, and other pertinent information that relates to how a student can learn and thrive in a classroom. In doing this it helps the teacher and the content become more effective. The content should remain challenging and interesting to all students regardless of their cultural background. As a teacher, I can be the one that teaches and demonstrates to my students how to be culturally responsive.

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  103. Being a culturally responsive teacher means creating a wamr, accepting atmosphere where all students are accepted and valued. It means knowing my students and their backgrounds. It means reflecting and acknowledging their cultures in the content, books, displays and curricula in the classroom. It also means providing a "window" to the wider world - Exposing my students to new ideas and experiences outside their sphere of knowledge is part of my job as an educator in a diverse society. Above all, it means meeting the needs of my students, taking them to the next level, and having high expectations for all of my students.

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  104. A culturally responsive teacher (CRT) orients the classroom culture around the fundamental values of respect, inclusion, acceptance, and care. They view ethnic and cultural diversity as funds of knowledge that can serve individuals and the classroom as a whole. Pushing back against stereotyping, prejudice, and exclusion as well as explicit responsiveness to any indication of bias or bullying is vital to a CRT’s agenda . Equally important is helping students explore, make connections between, and share personal perspectives rooted in individual culture, beliefs, and backgrounds. Furthermore, CRTs use materials and media that reflect a variety of ethnicities and cultural histories. CRTs are reflective of their own culture, accepting of students "as is", and operate within a framework of adaptation and flexibility, while maintaining high expectations for all.

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