A succeed. But she’s not sure how

A person’s culture can impact their approach to education and the way they learn.

In this lesson, we’ll examine culturally responsive teaching, a teaching method that takes into account students’ cultures to help them succeed.

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Culture ; Learning

Jeanie is struggling. She’s a new teacher, and she really wants all of her students to succeed. But she’s not sure how to reach all of them. Take one of her students, Jonathan, who is from a different culture than Jeanie. He views the world differently and doesn’t always approach thinking and problem solving the way Jeanie was taught.

Jeanie sometimes feels like a failure because she doesn’t know how to get Jonathan motivated. It seems like he’s very rarely motivated to learn, and that means that he often doesn’t learn. She knows as a teacher that she should be doing more to motivate him, but he’s so different from her that she doesn’t know what to do!Culture, or the ethnic or social group one is from, can have an impact on learning. For example, some studies have shown that African American students and European American students approach questions from the teacher differently. Because their respective cultures view questioning slightly differently, the students respond differently in the classroom.Let’s look closer at one way to approach the intersection of culture and learning: culturally responsive teaching, or CRT.

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Jeanie’s not sure how to motivate Jonathan to be more engaged in class. Not only that – he thinks and reasons differently than she does. But does that mean that he’s wrong? Should she try to make him think more like she does?Culturally responsive teaching, or CRT, is a way of teaching that focuses on student’s cultural experiences. For example, remember how we said that studies have shown that black and white students have cultural differences in the way that they respond to questions from the teacher? If the teacher is white, she might not understand that her black students have a different cultural understanding than she does.But culturally responsive teaching focuses on making sure that all teachers understand the cultural background that their students come from. That way, when some students respond to questions one way and other students respond in another way, the teacher can support all of them and understand that they aren’t wrong, just different.

So, back to Jeanie’s question: should she try to make Jonathan think more like she does? For example, when she’s teaching math, she teaches students how to solve problems one way. But Jonathan does math a different way, one that his parents taught him because that’s how they learned in the old country. He gets the same answer, but just a different way.CRT would encourage Jeanie to understand Jonathan and his viewpoint and not to try to make him more like her. Instead, she can appreciate that he approaches things differently because of his culture and encourage him to continue to be true to who he is.


One of the benefits of CRT is that it can be used across all disciplines.

Whether Jeanie is teaching elementary school math or graduate school poetry, she can use CRT to help her reach her students and encourage them to learn.One of the reasons CRT is multidisciplinary is that its characteristics apply to all classrooms. The major characteristics of CRT are:1. It establishes inclusion.CRT is about creating an environment where both teachers and students feel respected. Further, CRT helps classes and teachers bond together and support each other, even as they might be very different.

2. It encourages personal development and choice.Remember how Jonathan solves the math problem differently than Jeanie? CRT encourages this; it is about making sure that every student has the opportunity to explore and develop in a way that is supportive, not negative.3.

It enhances competence.By encouraging students to learn in ways that are culturally relevant, CRT helps students understand classroom concepts and the world better than traditional teaching methods do.4. It develops learning values.Jonathan was feeling very unmotivated to learn before Jeanie began using CRT in her classroom. That’s because he felt like his culture and his own way of thinking were devalued. But through establishing inclusion, encouraging personal development and choice, and enhancing competence, CRT also motivates students (like Jonathan) to learn.

They can see the value in learning, and this gets them excited about learning.

Lesson Summary

Culture is the social or ethnic group that a person is from. A person’s culture can have an impact on how they learn. Culturally responsive teaching, also called CRT, is a teaching method that involves understanding and focusing on a student’s cultural background. CRT has many benefits, including the fact that students can understand better and become more motivated to learn. Common characteristics of CRT include that it establishes inclusion, encourages personal development and choice, enhances competence, and develops learning values.

Learning Outcomes

After you’ve completed this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Define culture and identify its role in learning
  • Describe the teaching method of culturally responsive teaching (CRT) and its benefits
  • Explain the characteristics of CRT

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