09-18-2018 02:29 PM - edited 09-18-2018 02:33 PM
By: Essie Childers, Education Professor at Blinn College - Texas
*Article originally posted on the Engaging Minds blog.
Let’s take a moment to step away from facts around student retention, building facilities, growing partnerships and enrollment numbers. Albeit, those topics are truly important and can be found on any college or university’s agenda. What about adding to the agenda expected classroom experiences to promote student learning? The secret is out—instructors are at the “front door” to facilitate student learning—but, they also help promote retention and build enrollment. How? This is possible when instructors become culturally responsive teachers.
"Culturally responsive teaching occurs when there is respect for the backgrounds and circumstances of students regardless of individual status and power, and when there is a design for learning that embraces the range of needs, interests, and orientations in a classroom" (Ginsberg and Wlodkowski 2009). Being able to celebrate different cultures encountered in our classroom creates a golden opportunity for both teachers and students to have courageous conversations and ensures a learning environment that is warm and inclusive in which students can become confident, competent learners.
There is no magic wand to make instructors culturally responsive. However, I would like to suggest a few things from Gingsberg and Wlodkowski's model: "The Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching."
We know that students come into our classrooms with a variety of viewpoints and identities that cannot be checked at the door. As a culturally responsive teacher, one must look for ways to help all students connect, engage and feel comfortable in the classroom. When the secret is revealed that your classroom is welcoming, inclusive and respectful of cultures, everyone will want to be in that class. What a wonderful opportunity we have as educators to celebrate and appreciate a diverse community of competent learners.
What are some of the ways you have created an inclusive classroom? Tell us in the comments below!
Reference: Ginsberg, M. B., & Wlodkowski, R. J. (2009). Diversity & motivation: Culturally responsive teaching in college, Second Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Register for Essie's upcoming webinar on The Empowered Educator Virtual Events website. Here you will also find additional, peer-driven resources addressing important topics in Higher Ed.