Returning to classes at the start of term – whether it is face to face, blended or online – means having a chance to connect with students. How can you make this an opportunity to increase student engagement, and to create meaningful and equitable learning experiences for all of your students? One way may be to consider Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP).

What is it?

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) “recognizes students’ differences, validates students’ cultures, and asserts that cultural congruence of classroom practices increase students’ success.” (Culturally Responsive pedagogy: Indigenizing Curriculum p.25)Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, the developer of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP), outlined her pedagogical approach in But That’s Just Good Teaching! The case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy  as having three pillars; academic success, cultural competence and sociopolitical consciousness.

Why do we need to consider it?

As faculty we are always seeking to create meaningful learning experiences for allour students, not just for a few. CRP offers a way to do this as it values critical thinking, is student centered, promotes meaningful and engaging learning, while promoting equity and inclusion.

Do you have an example? 

Dr. Clausell Mathis applied CRP strategies in Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in Post Secondary Education. Here is a high-level view of his approach: 

  1. Academic Success
    • Establishing high-standards
    • Encouraging critical approach to learning
    • Multiple methods of instruction, including group activities
  2. Cultural Competence
    • Choose materials that relate to students’ lives 
    • Give opportunities for students to share firsthand experiences 
    • Value student’s cultural capital
    • Establish community of support
  3. Sociopolitical Consciousness
    • Create discussions about controversial topics
    • Allow social issues to drive instruction
    • Ask students to take critical/political views

How do I get started?

To get started, take into account that students from certain cultures learn in different ways. So instructors may consider adopting assignments that provide various options for completion such as focusing on issues or concepts that apply to students’ own community or cultural group. Start with getting to know your students. (Rucker, 2019).