Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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6. The Classroom Mosaic -
Culture and Learning
“Learning is essentially cultural, that is, we live in a culture – it comprises our experience. We use that whenever we learn something new. So teachers need to know how to understand the cultural context and experiences their students bring to the classrooms. They also need to help students find themselves in the school curriculum – to feel like they belong and are connected to school. Culture and learning go hand in hand if we really want to ensure each student’s success.”
Linda Darling-Hammond
girl writing

Key Questions:
  • What role does culture play in learning?
  • How can teachers develop culturally responsive practices?
teacher with students

Learning Objectives:

  1. Multicultural education – Teachers will become familiar with some of the causes of inequality in education, as well as the sources of diversity in classrooms. They will understand the importance of multicultural education and the different forms multicultural education can take in schools.
  2. Culturally responsive teaching – Teachers will reflect on and consider the relationship between culture and learning. Teachers will understand that culturally responsive teaching involves a genuine respect for students and belief in their potential as learners. Teachers will understand the importance of connecting to students' experiences and will explore how to create culturally responsive, caring environments.
  3. Congruity between home and school – Teachers will consider the impact of school culture and home culture on students' learning. They will evaluate how to make the classroom a place where students feel comfortable, see themselves represented, and engage with curriculum materials that reflect their home cultures.

Video Program

This episode discusses how culturally responsive teaching enables students to create connections, access prior knowledge and experience, and develop competence. Kathleen Hayes-Parvin, sixth grade teacher at Birney Middle School, Southfield, Michigan, and 9th grade teachers William Dean and Jeff Gilbert at East Palo Alto High School, Menlo Park, California, are featured. University of Wisconsin professor Gloria Ladson-Billings and University of Arizona professor Luis Moll provide expert commentary.

Key Terms - New in this Session

content integration

culturally responsive teaching

empowering school culture

equity pedagogy

knowledge construction

prejudice reduction


Go to related support materials.

Next Session: 7. Learning From Others - Learning in a Social Context

Previous Session: 5. Feelings Count - Emotions and Learning


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