Movement is scientifically proven to activate certain cognitive processes in the brain and can be especially helpful with memorization. In "Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain," Zaretta Hammond emphasizes culture as the lens through which we experience the world. By drawing on cultural components such as dance and oral tradition as ways of spreading information, teachers can craft instructional practices that meaningfully respond to students across a variety of cultures. Incorporating movement is important at all ages, but it is especially useful in younger grades as it also accommodates developmentally appropriate expectations for engagement. Teachers can incorporate movement strategically to assist with rote memorization skills that serve as the foundation for more complicated skills.
Surveys are a versatile tool for collecting information quickly and uniformly from students and/or their families. Teachers can adapt a survey to suit the needs of the class at various times throughout the year. Surveys can include questions about family traditions, parents' hopes for students, preferred language or communication methods, challenges the student may be facing, student interests, previous school experience, or any other information that could assist relationship building. It is important to give both students and their families a chance to provide input.
Providing representation in books requires more than just simply making sure the characters have a variety of skin tones. To be intentional about creating a culturally responsive library, we must look at the characters, the stories being told, and who's telling them. Students should see their world represented in the authors and illustrators as well as the books themselves. A culturally responsive educator examines their library to ensure a variety of narratives told by a variety of storytellers.
When peer coaching is conducted in order to improve cultural responsiveness, teachers serving as peer coaches observe each other teaching while focusing on classroom culture, teacher/student interactions, and the social implications of content taught. This can be used as a school-wide initiative, or teachers can choose to seek coaching on their own. It is important to note that any teacher can serve as a peer coach, as the purpose of these observations is to foster growth and accountability, not evaluate job performance.
Relationship-building is an integral part of not just a culturally responsive classroom, but an effective and successful classroom. By starting off the school year showing students that you value them and their names, you are laying a foundation for trust and respect that will only make relationships stronger. This strategy provides several tips for displaying, using, and valuing all students' names in your classroom.
Classroom behavior management is often seen as something a teacher establishes for students to abide by. However, like adults, children are more likely to cooperate when they feel a sense of agency and like they are being heard. Releasing control can be hard, but when done intentionally, it can promote self-efficacy and create a more responsive classroom. A student-created classroom involves students in every kind of decision making: routines and procedures, decorating, instruction, and celebration.