Culturally relevant curriculum respects individual student culture and attempts to increase awareness in relating that culture to course content. Teachers using culturally relevant teaching display competence at teaching in a multicultural classroom. This pedagogy is thought to improve academic achievement for all students. Historically, “culturally relevant pedagogy urges collective action grounded in cultural understanding. (Ladson-Billings 1992)”
Why is culturally responsive teaching important in gifted education? It is linked to a wide range of positive outcomes including improved attendance, academic persistence, and much more interest in school in general. In gifted education, it addresses ‘stereotype threat’ – a fear that one is conforming to a stereotype (their culture) – which in turn can lead to lower academic achievement. Motivation is another concern for GT students which can be mitigated in part by providing a curriculum that is perceived as culturally relevant, useful and of interest. Many of the principles of culturally relevant pedagogy directly affect GT students including identity development, equity and excellence, and managing student emotions.
What is the goal of a culturally responsive curriculum? A culturally responsive curriculum replaces deficit-oriented teaching – seeing language, culture or identity as a barrier to learning – with asset-based approaches. The goal for culturally sensitive teachers is to respond to the needs of diverse populations in their classroom with student-oriented instruction. A culturally responsive curriculum might involve choosing non-English translations of material used in the classroom or adaptive technology for twice-exceptional students.
There are many ways to incorporate culturally responsive teaching strategies; first, be invested in learning about your students and their culture through open and honest communication with them. To be truly culturally responsive, teachers need to be immersed in the culture of their students – visit where they live, learn their language (lingo), and remove negative stereotypes from the classroom culture. Teaching strategies considered culturally responsive could include bringing guest speakers into the classroom who are representative of the culture, use real-world problem solving techniques, and use technology effectively.
How can a culturally responsive and relevant curriculum improve classroom management? A culturally responsive classroom acts as a safe haven for students who learn in a far less judgmental atmosphere. This can have a profound effect on classroom management where students want to display appropriate behavior. A culturally responsive classroom is inherently a more interesting place to learn. It empowers students to own their learning and the desire to improve their behavior as opposed to a setting where they feel a disconnect to the curriculum.
Culturally responsive curriculum will remain relevant; especially as gifted education becomes more culturally responsive itself regarding the identification process. Students exposed to a culturally responsive curriculum will be better prepared to thrive in an increasing diverse world and global economy. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: email@example.com
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad