Noting the growing diversity among college and adult learners and the need for professors to be culturally responsive in their teaching practices, the purpose of this study was to examine the motivation to become a culturally responsive educator and the transformational experiences that created this motivation and shaped their development. Since the majority of higher education professors are White, it proved useful to study culturally responsive White professors to add depth to the body of literature on teaching diverse populations in adult and higher education.
The following questions guided this study:
• What motivates White educators to be culturally responsive?
• How do educators transform into culturally responsive teachers?
• How do educators practice culturally responsive teaching in the classroom?
• How do educators perceive the impact of culturally responsive teaching on their students?
• What are the challenges associated with culturally responsive teaching?
Conceptual framework and literature review
Both Ladson-Billings (2000) and Gay and Kirkland (2003) wrote culture both “constructs” and “constricts” the lens humans use to understand their world. Consequently, it is vital for educators to understand their identities and how they influence their understanding and beliefs about teaching students from diverse communities. McKenzie and Scheurich (2004) noted educators who do not recognize their constructed assumptions about race, class, and ethnicities will
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Nieto& Bode mentioned that young people felt the need to de-emphasize their identity, culture, or language in school. Yet this de-emphasis may have had negative consequences for their learning. (Nieto& Bode, 2008) I became more proud of my origin and background. Especially throughout this semester, my perspectives on race, diversity, and equality have altered to a better understanding. I become more proud of my own culture and being who I really am. Also, I learned that as a teacher I should be more aware of culture diversity in classroom. I should take my diverse background as an advantage because it helps me to “design an appropriate instructional strategies to ensure equal outcomes for diverse students.” (CSU San Marcos, 2017, p.4)
Schools systematically subjugate minority and black students when a school’s enrollment contains a huge racial majority. If students have no exposure to persons of different ethnicities, cultures, races, and religions, then these students will experience culture shock when they confront “other” people. Even in our class, we talk about black and minority students as another group, one that differs from “us.” We think about the inequalities in school systems as problems we need to fix, not as problems that have influenced our thinking and affect us as prospective teachers. For example, a white graduate student with
Einstein said: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Now imagine the various students that enter the classroom. They come from all walks of life with different backgrounds and stories to tell. If educators don’t recognize that these differences do in fact exist then some of the fish that pass through those school doors will leave the building believing that they are incapable because of the trees presented for them to climb. Enter culturally responsive teaching. This method or pedagogical device is the answer to bridging this gap that students may encounter when they are not given the opportunity to show their particular geniuses or to act as their own agent in their education.
Culturally Responsive Teaching is an emerging field that focuses on student cultural backgrounds and experiences in the development of pedagogy. According to Kea (2013) cultural difference is the single largest difference in U.S. schools and also the most neglected. The goal of Culturally Responsive Teaching is to provide an equal opportunity for all students to learn in school, regardless of their gender, social class, ethnic, racial or cultural characteristics (Banks 2005). Ladson-Billings (1994) suggest that the historic failings of educators in educating non-white students is that educators attempt to insert culture into education rather than insert education into the culture. In other words, educators are not providing an equal multi-culturally relevant education by bringing tokens of culture such as food, national flags, or maps from around the world into the classroom alone. Although these actions promote a sense of multiculturalism, an education that is relative to a diversity of cultures is not necessarily being provided. Culturally Responsive Teaching attempts to bring the various experiences of the student’s cultural home life into the classroom. Schmidt (2005) identifies seven characteristics that must be incorporated into curriculum in order to provide culturally responsive instruction. These characteristics are high expectations,
Public schools are beginning to see a shift in demographics in the United States. There is now a culturally diverse student population and educators need to respond to this shift in order to ensure an equal education for all students. Culture aids in determining how students learn, and culturally responsive teaching is a way teachers can educate culturally diverse students and provide an equal education for all. Culturally responsive teaching is defined by Geneva Gay as using the various characteristics, perspectives, and experiences of many cultures to effectively teach culturally diverse students (2000). Culturally responsive teaching prepares teachers to work with and teach a culturally diverse classroom of students and allows teachers to create a classroom environment that is similar to their students’ home environments so students do not have to assimilate to the dominant culture or change from their home culture to their school culture depending on their setting (Brown). Multicultural education is not only important for ensuring equal education for all students, but also creates youth who will be able to function and be effective citizens in a pluralistic society (Gay 2003). In order to implement culturally responsive teaching, teachers must acknowledge potential biases and reconstruct their attitudes, create a diverse knowledge base, be caring and empowering, and create a classroom environment that is conducive to a culturally diverse
Upon hearing the word culturally responsive classroom one envisions a class where the teacher “emphasizes a comfortable and academically enriching environment for students for all ethnicities, races, beliefs, and creeds.” (Lynch, Matthew 2011) Yet in reality most classrooms and schools are not culturally responsive in my area. Most schools are doing the best they can to differentiate instruction as well as make modifications and/or accommodations. However, as the number of diverse students rises, it our responsibility to educate ourselves on being culturally responsive.
Teachers must learn about their student’s cultures if they want to educate them to the best of their ability. Many of the students in culturally diverse classrooms will want to learn in different ways. Some will want to learn in pairs, groups, as a class, or just alone. If the teacher is educated in their culture then lessons can be adjusted to appeal to every student as much as possible instead of forcing some to forget about their culture and learn like others. Students from
America’s schools are challenged to meet the academic and interpersonal needs of all students regardless of culture, race, or ethnic background. Hawley and Nieto (2010) claim that race and ethnicity significantly impacts students’ learning in their article, “Another Inconvenient Truth: Race and Ethnicity” (p. 66). They contended that educators should be “race and ethnicity -responsive” to effectively understand the challenges students from diverse races and cultures face (Hawley & Nieto, 2010, p. 66). Moreover, the article noted that schools should have practices in place that promote an inclusive, supportive, and enriching learning environment for all students including students from different races and ethnicities.
As an ESL instructor, I teach a diverse classroom full of migrants with a variety of backgrounds. It’s as multicultural as a classroom can be! I try to incorporate my students’ cultures into our lessons. After all, everything we know and understand comes from the lens of our culture. Take for example our own education. Think about how much influence our point of view had on our education. Now, how much is our point of view affected by culture? I try to be as culturally responsive as possible. However, I know that there is always room for improvement.
Gaining learning and experience about other cultures background will enrich my multicultural knowledge. Therefore, as an educator I must learn about others culture. As I begin to learn about others cultures I will understand how values influence the ways families interpret the instruction that feels right to them. A close study on Figure 3.1 implies that a teacher’s point view or the way the students are treaty can affect their learning. It keeps narrating the story of a teacher that had to learn her students’ roots, their culture values, to get to know them in order to reach them in an academically level. The cultural values are very important and cannot be overlooked, they shape our intrinsic motivation. Many families try to keep their values and belief intact at home, so their children when they step in a classroom. Monica Brown, is the Department editor of Diversity Dispatch, argues in her article, Educating All Students: Creating Culturally Responsive Teachers, Classrooms, and Schools, that nowadays it is noticeable the diversity growths in schools, however, this is not the problem. The problem is the way teachers have responded to the diversity growth. (Brown, M. 2007). Therefore, this will affect the students learning. Brown cross with a strong point in regarding the lack of sensitivity some educators show towards their students’ culture. As educator I don’t want to be one of many teachers Monica Brown speaks on her article. I will understand that I must respect my
Race, Gender, Class, and ethnicity are the fabrics that form a Multicultural Society. As a teacher, it is important to think about my students’ various cultures and influences their cultures possess over their learning. After all, students are taught within the context of culture. Culture is what we teach whether it is explicit or institutional. Culture is integral to learning, considering culture is dependent on education for its survival. Culture is transferred from one generation to the next using informal or formal education (Convertino, Levinson, Gonzalez 27). As teachers, we should ensure our instruction is relevant to our students, otherwise they will lose interest, and then, they will never learn (Banks 2013). So, teachers should approach their students within a culturally relevant pedagogy.
Race, ethnicity, religion, class, sexual orientation, ability, and gender have all impacted my life in ways beyond my total comprehension. However, I can begin to identify some of the notable interactions and effects and discuss the ways in which they might present themselves in my teaching practices. I am a White, European American, Christian, and heterosexual female without a medically ascribed disability. I can say that ultimately (and unfortunately) my cultural and physical identity is considered normative within the United States and has placed me on a path of privilege and power. Throughout my life, though, I have been fortunate to encounter other cultural groups in very meaningful ways. My international, religious, and family experiences have shaped my worldview most notably.
In the last 30 years there is significantly more Hispanic, Asian, and African American students enrolling in college. (US Dept. of Education) With the ever-changing demographical makeup, the need for inclusive teaching practices is evident. Preito (2011), declares the necessity for a scale in order to measure how well professors are integrating cultural competence into the classroom, creating the Multicultural Teaching Competencies Inventory as a feedback tool. While previous literature on multicultural professors' has been studied, conclusions focused on how students' were evaluating with regards to ethnicity of the professor. (Lee, 2010; Bavishi, Hebl, & Madera, 2010) Though focusing on students perceptions of their professors ethnicity remains
In country where schools are becoming increasingly diverse and the teachers are becoming less diverse, the author writes about how teachers can better convey and accept culture in the classroom. Currently prejudice, stereotypes and cultural assumptions are present in classrooms but are ineffectively met by educators. The author attributes these problems to children of color and low economic situations are a result of miscommunication within the classroom and teaching staff. One of the major themes of this book is the imbalance of power and how this culture of power is impacting the classroom and the dynamics are in turn damaging our education system. Throughout the book, the author uses interviews, stories, and personal narratives from various cultural backgrounds to display the ineffective process of education for children of color, Native Alaskans, and children from low economic status. She claims that educators are making assumptions about these students’ motivation, capabilities, and integrity. The author uses her own experiences to shape her personal beliefs about education. She wants to understand education through various contexts and insights. By putting herself into different situations she is able to discover different realities.
An example as to how culturally relevant pedagogy is an approach used to provide equitable educational experiences for all students is stated in the class text White Teachers/Diverse Classrooms. Culturally relevant teachers imagine somewhere in the classroom is the next Toni Morrison, or Benjamin Carson, which helps the teacher to feel with the student rather than feel for them. By doing this, teachers are able to