Culturally Relevant Curriculum
Being a culturally responsive teacher means much more than food, fun, and festivals. It means recognizing and honoring that there are various cultural differences in the classroom. It means reflecting on your own culture and position of power and understanding the assumptions you might make about your students because of your own life experiences. And it means knowing your students as individuals, not as labels or based on racial or cultural assumptions.
As teachers, so many of our exclusionary practices are ones that we do not even recognize. Practices we have known and loved our whole lives may have implications for students, simply because of cultural differences. Our favorite books may actually send exclusionary messages to the children that we teach. Culturally relevant curriculum asks us to know and care who our students are as whole people. It asks us to use texts that reflect stories, histories, and characters that our students will be able to relate to. Finally, it asks us to be reflective about our own practices and the cultural assumptions and messages embedded within them.