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INBOX Ideas - Previous Revision

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
NCTE INBOX 2-20-13

This month's issue of English Leadership Quarterly takes a close look at "Culturally Relevant Pedagogy." Based on the ideas of developing students academically, nurturing cultural competence, and developing a sociopolitical consciousness, culturally relevant pedagogy has provided a powerful framework for examining teachers and students in multiple and diverse contexts. The following resources from NCTE and offer examples of culturally relevant pedagogy.

What does it mean to develop a culturally relevant pedagogy? How might we think about community in our teaching? In this interview, Gloria Ladson-Billings explores the implications of these and other questions for language arts teachers.

In the Talking Points article "Connecting Students to Culturally Relevant Texts," Yvonne Freeman and David Freeman argue the importance of providing students with culturally relevant books and discuss their criteria for deciding if a book is culturally relevant to a particular child. The lesson plan Assessing Cultural Relevance: Exploring Personal Connections to a Text draws on the explanation of cultural relevance outlined in the article.

Coupling critical literacy theory with culturally responsive teaching practices enabled the author of the Language Arts article "Teachers' Texts in Culturally Responsive Teaching" to open up the curriculum to students who might otherwise have been shut out by challenging and reformulating these texts. Thus, culturally responsive teaching becomes stronger when coupled with a critical literacy lens.

In "Narrowing the Gap between Readers and Books," from Voices from the Middle, the authors offer practical advice for how to reach kids through a partnership with library media specialists and a commitment to promoting books across subjects, locations, and seasons.

The author of this English Journal article advocates culturally responsive teaching, a practice that explicitly highlights "issues of race, ethnicity, and culture as central to teaching, learning, and schooling," and emphasizes the necessity of interrogating the themes of race, power, and privilege in the urban classroom.

Writing Instruction in the Culturally Relevant ClassroomHow can we reach all of our students -- especially those who have been ignored and underserved in America's classrooms? The authors of Writing Instruction in the Culturally Relevant Classroom suggest that culturally relevant pedagogy can make a difference. Although it certainly includes inviting in the voices of those who are generally overlooked in the texts and curricula of US schools, culturally relevant teaching also means recognizing and celebrating those students who show up to our classrooms daily, welcoming their voices, demanding their reflection, and encouraging them toward self-discovery.

Literature often has been considered a quick and easy way to bring multicultural perspectives into the ELA classroom. Yet for effectual change, significant shifts in pedagogy prove more powerful than surface additions. In this article from English Education, the authors focus on how a college of education's multicultural mission statement intersects with one teacher's life story.

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