What Is Culturally Responsive Education?

What Is Culturally Responsive Education

The education sector is talking of being culturally responsive, but what is it, and what significance does it have?


Another pedagogy, culturally responsive teaching, caters to differentiated instruction and ensures student-centered learning. The student's unique cultural strengths are nurtured to enhance student achievement and evoke a sense of well-being about the student's cultural place in the world.

The growing popularity of culturally responsive education leads to reversed traditional trends making way for multicultural classrooms. The demand for CRE is placed on educators to shift the classroom culture leading to a more inclusive environment with awareness and respect for different cultures and backgrounds. Considering the wealth of diversity in schools, culturally responsive pedagogy makes a comfortable and academically rich environment for students of all creeds, ethnicities, beliefs, and races. It also helps increase engagement in class as students feel connected to their learning and with relevant information they can participate.

You can start with students' input and connect it with their lesson plans. Begin by understanding your students by asking questions such as where they come from, a unique fact about their culture, a cultural activity they enjoy the most, what their parents do, their favorite after-school activity, and more.

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can explain how a particular topic relates to various cultures and ensure that the classroom is where all students feel empowered. A few other ways to practice culturally responsive teaching include creating relevant world problems, involving parents in discussion boards, and promoting positive media portrayal.

Watch the videos below to understand culturally responsive education better.

Culturally Responsive Teaching


This video is from KinderCare Learning Centers, an education organization in the United States. The video explains how culturally responsive pedagogy honors a child's culture and uses its bits and pieces to help kids connect with the educator, other children, and the learning material. The teachers describe how they incorporate the pedagogy in their classroom.

Cultural Pedagogy: Educational Equality for Our Youth by Isael Torres


When students from diverse backgrounds and cultures are exposed to a "one-size-fits-all" curriculum, we marginalize their education with one predominant cultural bias. Isael Torres challenges addresses this bias and aims to create educational programs inclusive of all diverse perspectives. Mr. Torres dedicated his efforts to education access and equality for all communities, often overlooked and underserved from his early college days.

Zaretta Hammond "Culturally Responsive Teaching" at the San Francisco Public Library

The video is from The San Francisco Public Library system, dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning, and the joys of reading for our diverse community. She is the author of the book Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. This video explains how her personal experiences led her to investigate what children need to have an academic mindset. The video highlights how "grit" and "pep talks" aren't the solution when early learners struggle during The Learning Pit.

Introduction to Culturally Relevant Pedagogy


Education experts Jackie Jordan Irvine, Geneva Gay, and Kris Gutierrez share how to make culturally relevant pedagogy a reality in your classroom.

Culturally Responsive Education in Action

This is an interesting video from Capital City Lighthouse Charter School teachers. As a part of their professional development program, teachers seek input from students about their school experiences and how well their classes reflect their identities and interests. A must-watch for educators to understand the importance of this pedagogy as an essential element of empowering students and teachers to promote equity and social justice.

Zaretta Hammond: Culturally Responsive Teaching 101

Another video from Zaretta Hammond, a culturally responsive teaching expert. She discusses culturally responsive teaching, and what it is and what it is not.

Creating a Culturally Responsive Classroom

Expecting students to leave behind all they are when they enter the classroom is simply unrealistic and unfair. This video focuses on using edtech to deliver culturally relevant classroom instruction. Alicia Discepola, a digital literacy and learning specialist for Millville Public Schools in New Jersey, shares that when a lesson is relevant, the student becomes a learner, their interests are sparked, and their brains ignite. That is how we close the achievement gap. The video highlights using translation tools to communicate with families who speak a different language; live streaming can virtually bring families together for special events or showcase learning. Websites must include text-to-speech and translation tools and provide accessible information through multiple means, like interactive images. The video asks educators to look within and examine their own cultural biases and judgment.

Supporting Schoolwide Culturally Responsive Practice

Edutopia shares these informative videos on how teachers strive for more equity in the classroom through culturally responsive education, ensuring all students contribute, engage, and feel a sense of belonging.

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy In Mathematics: A Critical Need by Shelly Jones

Dr. Shelly M. Jones is Associate Professor at Central Connecticut State University. In this talk on culturally relevant pedagogy in mathematics, she shares how educators must adopt this pedagogy to make math learning effective for students. Her interests include culturally relevant mathematics, connecting mathematics and music, and students' mathematics beliefs.

TrillEDU: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy by Jeffrey Dessources


If you're an educator and not listening to the student's interests, you're failing to make that connection to aid in their personal development and doing them a disservice. - Jeffrey Dessources

You must watch this video to understand the importance of being culturally responsive in student development. Jeffrey Dessources is a dynamic public educator, author, and emcee of Haitian descent.


With 21st-century education in action and access to technology, we can no longer ignore the diversity in our students' cultures, interests, and backgrounds. Since we know better, we can do better, and we have the power, resources, and potential to involve and empower all learners, we must do it.

Do share your take on culturally responsive education in the comments section below. 

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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