Being culturally responsive is being connected, and recognizing that the students in your classroom and in your school bring rich experiences, histories, and perspectives.
The reality is that because we are public educators we sometimes have to suspend our beliefs and opinions. We serve all children, however they come. Nevertheless, this does not mean we leave our identities at the door. You do not have to be the one, the favorite teacher or adult at the school. But students need to know where you stand, what makes you YOU. Additionally, they want to know that you value their impact on your life as you hope to make an impact on theirs.
Geneva Gay (2000) describes culturally responsive teaching as having these characteristics:
It acknowledges the legitimacy of the cultural heritages of different ethnic groups, both as legacies that affect students' dispositions, attitudes, and approaches to learning and as worthy content to be taught in the formal curriculum.
It builds bridges of meaningfulness between home and school experiences as well as between academic abstractions and lived sociocultural realities.
It uses a wide variety of instructional strategies that are connected to different learning styles.
It teaches students to know and praise their own and each other’s cultural heritages.
It incorporates multicultural information, resources, and materials in all the subjects and skills routinely taught in schools.
The purpose of this resource manual is to provide you with helpful tools and resources as you take your personal and professional journey toward being culturally responsive.