What is a Culturally Responsive Curriculum?
A culturally responsive curriculum is a curriculum that respects learners’ cultures and prior experiences. It acknowledges and values the legitimacy of different cultures, not just the dominant culture of a society, it also encourages intercultural understanding. It incorporates cultural aspects into the curriculum, rather than adding them on as an extra or separate module or course.
What is Cultural Competence and why is it important?
Cultural competence, more specifically intercultural competence can be considered one of the main requirements to successfully teach a responsive curriculum. The combination of cognitive and behavioral skills allow education professionals to simply understand and appropriately interact with people with distinct and diverse backgrounds.
Attempting to engage with all one’s students through utilizing one teaching approach will prove ineffective, a culturally responsive teacher builds a strategy in order to develop and deliver culturally responsive lessons in order to engage with students with diverse backgrounds.
Culturally Responsive Curriculum #1: Be aware of your student’s diversity
Education professional are always aware of the diversity of their students, it is their job to act as a person who can relate to and resonate with each distinct culture. An adequate level of cultural aptitude paired with an ongoing effort to learn about their students’ cultures are required to efficiently create a culturally responsive learning environment.
Culturally Responsive Curriculum #2: Classroom Set-up
A teacher must consider several elements when engaging with a diverse classroom; being aware of the classroom setup is crucial. In order to know how to educate a diverse class, first one must know the differences they have to pay attention to.
Culturally Responsive Curriculum #3: Contextual Learning
Making learning contextual gives students a clearer explanation of the concept, tying lessons to student’s various social communities allows them to understand the why, when and how of the lesson.
Culturally Responsive Curriculum #4: Build relationships with students
Building a rapport with one’s students makes them feel valued and appreciated for who they are and what they stand for, it promotes acceptance. Continuously building relationships with students builds a community within the classroom, a healthy community where each student feels like they have a voice, and more importantly a voice that matters.
Culturally Responsive Curriculum #5: Refelection on current curriculum
For teachers to efficiently plan and deliver such a curriculum, they must analyze, critique and self-reflect on their study plan in order to then recognize areas of growth and improvement in their responsive learning environment.
The students’ multilingualism and multiculturalism must not only be identified and acknowledged but also supported, this allows teachers to make lessons more relatable as well as engage with students and show them that they have a voice and to make them feel safe.
Through teaching a culturally responsive curriculum, education professionals enhance their international practice build upon competences developed through experience. Understanding, planning, and teaching a culturally responsive curriculum improves teachers’ career prospects.
To conclude, it is very clear that efficiently teaching a culturally responsive curriculum takes dedication and determination, as well as a willingness to understand and relate to students cultural backgrounds and how this alters their understanding of their lessons. Such a curriculum takes time and effort to complete, but once done, it is a whole new teaching environment for the students, one where each student feels comfortable and understand.