Being Culturally Responsive in the Classroom

The article on cultural responsive management in schools speaks to social justice practices and also provides examples of culturally responsive and non-culturally responsive management behaviours.

The article describes cultural responsive management as being aware of the diversity of learners in the classroom and using that knowledge to manage the classroom in a way that promotes equity and social justice and doesn’t advantage some students over the disadvantaging of others. When teachers are part of the majority and advantaged by societies common sense it can be easy to be blinded by that common sense and so being culturally responsive means to identify ones own culture and not just see our common sense as the norm and all others as lesser ways of operating. Cultural responsive management means taking what we know about ourselves, others and societal norms and managing the class in a way that is understanding and accepting of different ways of being. We cannot simply punish students for falling outside the norm, instead we have to understand different ways of behaving and seeing how that can be a part of classroom environment and management.

The examples provided in the article clearly outline common misunderstandings that result in the disadvantaging of some students, namely students that fall outside of those privileged in western society. Students that have a different cultural background than our own have learned different views of schooling than we may have. For instance a student that is more vocal or doesn’t speak at all, or students that value group collaborations rather than individual accomplishments. The different ways of knowing have to be acknowledged and integrated into our own understanding so that we can build culturally responsive management in the classroom environment. The examples also show how the disadvantaging as a result of non-culturally responsive management has a negative impact on students education, because likely they will be reprimanded and come to believe that they are not a good student and they can have more trouble succeeding in an environment that doesn’t reflect or acknowledge them.

I believe that culturally responsive management is important and I hope to be able to create a classroom environment that reflects my beliefs on the subject and that from there I will be able to work toward social justice in my classroom. Has anyone picked up on good or bad examples of management that is or isn’t culturally responsive? If you have do you think it will help you to be culturally responsive as a teacher?

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