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Anti-Racist Classrooms

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy to Promote Anti-Racist Classrooms

Culturally responsive teaching can engage learners whose cultures and experiences are often excluded from the standard curriculum. Just like anti-racism work, culturally responsive teaching is action-oriented. Culturally responsive teaching (CRT) is a goal, a practice, a method, a value. It is not a checklist item or “program”.

Culturally relevant education goes beyond celebrating Black History Month or providing ethnic studies.1 Gloria Ladson-Billings, CRT foundational researcher provides three pillars of culturally relevant teaching:

  • Academic Success
  • Cultural Competence
  • Sociopolitical Consciousness
"A culturally relevant teacher is…someone who understands that we’re operating in a fundamentally inequitable system."
Gloria Ladson-Billings, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Researcher

Culturally responsive teaching is an asset-based approach to student achievement, curriculum, and teaching. How do we reframe questions, assessments, and success in our schools and in our classrooms such that Black students, Latino students, and low-income students are thriving?

Anti-racism is the process of unlearning racist ideas; co-learning new ways of seeing the world; engaging in the challenging work required to make meaningful change; enacting policies that manifest the changes needed to make our communities equitable for all. Culturally responsive classrooms are justice-oriented classrooms by default. In most cases, culturally responsive classrooms are part of the larger anti-racist effort to fight systematic oppression that shows up in the education system, the curriculum, and in the engagements between students, teachers, and the parent community. Read more about culturally responsive teaching in this New America study on 50 State Survey of Teaching Standards.

Our schools are plagued with the same structural and institutional racism present in our larger society; therefore we must actively engage in the work required to make schools more racially equitable and democratic. Culturally responsive teaching, when executed with intention, is one practice that cultivates more equitable learning experiences for all students. Educators must push themselves to take the L.E.A.P.

  • Learn: Learn about the peoples and the histories of the community you are serving in
  • Expect: Expect and pursue successful academic experiences for every student
  • Add: Add and infuse historical narratives that decentralize whiteness and white conquest
  • Provide: Provide students with opportunities to critique structural racism and fight local inequity

Webinar: Culturally Responsive Teaching to Promote Anti-Racist Classrooms

"It's not just endorsing or validating the culture kids come with; it's giving them access to at least one other culture, so they leave school at least biculturally competent. You are covering not just black or brown kids, but white kids; white kids should not go out into a very international, global workforce and only understand themselves or their culture."
Gloria Ladson-Billings