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Developing the knowledge base and understandings of culturally relevant teachers

Enacting culturally relevant teaching requires that teachers develop a sociocultural consciousness that includes an understanding that people’s ways of thinking, acting and being are fundamentally shaped by such factors as their race/ethnicity, social class, language and gender. It also entails an understanding of the complex relationships between schools and society. Teachers with a sociocultural consciousness acknowledge the many ways in which schools can reproduce social inequalities and the ways in which they can also be sites for transformation and social justice.

Purpose of these tools: Developing a sociocultural consciousness requires that teachers know about the characteristics of different ethnic and social groups and the contributions they have made both to the broader society and to the various academic disciplines. These tools identify strategies and resources that beginning teachers can use to develop this knowledge base.

How to use these tools: Developing the understandings and practices of culturally relevant teachers requires considerable time and commitment. Given the complexity and demands of this type of teaching, cultural relevant teaching is something that teachers need to work on throughout their career. You can use these tools with your beginning teachers to develop the knowledge and practices of culturally relevant teaching:

Acquiring knowledge of cultural characteristics and contributions

Learning from your students, their families and their communities

Affirming attitude towards students from culturally diverse backgrounds