Culture and student experiences inform how students communicate, think, learn, and interact. Ensuring that classrooms are culturally responsive is essential for creating learning environments that are effective for all students.

This focus area supports educators in building an empathetic foundation that honors diverse student backgrounds and experiences so meaningful learning can take place.

Focus Area

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Components of Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally responsive teaching is a foundational approach to instruction grounded on the understanding that student background is central to learning. We support skill development through personalized pathways built from workshops1:1 coaching, and learning walks to achieve clear outcomes.

Fundamentals of Culturally Responsive Teaching

Outcome: I consistently implement Culturally Responsive Teaching practices into my instruction.

Culturally Responsive Classroom Culture

Outcome: I consistently evaluate my culturally responsive teaching practices so that student identities are at the center.

Examining What We Teach

Outcome: I consistently audit my lessons to ensure inclusive and responsive learning experiences for all students.

Family Partnerships

Outcome: I develop strong partnerships with families using culturally responsive teaching practices.

Restorative Justice

Outcome: I can apply restorative practices as an alternative approach to disciplinary matters in order to center relationships, exhibit social-emotional competence, and to rethink behavior management practices.

“We could not have designed initiatives to effectively address culturally responsive teaching practices without the partnership of BetterLesson and their learning walk. We have a concrete plan for how to move forward. This wasn't just a warm and fuzzy experience.”

“[My coach] was able to offer suggestions, be a sounding board, and give encouragement when needed. She pushed me to be reflective through her questioning and allowed me to get to a resolution without ‘telling’ me what to do. This type of coaching was empowering.”

Learning Strategies From Our Library

Classroom Management Reconsidered

Learn effective classroom management that creates a welcoming learning environment to support all learners.

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Creating and Implementing a Family Partnership Plan

Form authentic, trusting relationships with students’ families as a foundational part of building an inviting learning community.

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Teaching Social Justice in the Primary Classroom

Explore strategies to support teachers as they develop lessons that allow students to explore bias and social justice.

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A Focus on Student-Centered Teaching and Learning

We’ve identified four elements that are key for academic success and for building student-centered classrooms. BetterLesson guides teachers, instructional coaches, and leaders through Focus Areas within each element to lead their professional development journey.

Instructional Leadership Arrow

Instructional Leadership Focus Areas

Improve instruction and learning for teachers and students by building your skills as an instructional leader.

Leading Through Change: Lead the improvement of teaching, learning, and overall school climate to enhance student achievement and success.
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Instructional Coaching: Provide teachers with personalized coaching cycles that support them growing and developing their teaching practice. Learn More
Collaborative Professional Learning: Develop a collaborative professional culture to support student-centered teaching and learning. Learn More
Feedback and Observation: Create an authentic, replicable observation and feedback cycle that promotes alignment of student-centered goals and non-evaluative conversation.
Learn More
Inclusive and Responsive Practices Arrow

Inclusive and Responsive Practices Focus Areas

Build an equitable learning community where all students can be supported, celebrated, and successful.

Social-Emotional Learning: Prepare students with the self-awareness, relational, and decision-making skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Learn More
Culturally Responsive Teaching: Develop learning communities that honor diverse student backgrounds and experiences. Learn More
Trauma-Informed Practices: Approach learning with an understanding of the impacts of trauma and adversity on students. Learn More
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Create inclusive educational ecosystems by examining structures, systems, and beliefs informed by race and identity. Learn More
English Learners: Support all English Learners to grow and thrive in their learning environments. Learn More
Students with Disabilities: Support students with disabilities to learn and grow in their learning environments. Learn More
Flexible Instructional Models Arrow

Flexible Instructional Models Focus Areas

Find unique ways for all students to learn, communicate, and solve meaningful problems.

Accelerating Growth: Accelerate student growth and provide differentiated support for all learners. Learn More
Formative Assessment and Differentiation: Provide students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding, track their progress, and guide their future learning.
Learn More
Blended Learning: Leverage technology in the classroom to maximize student learning and growth. Learn More
Hybrid and Virtual Learning: Deliver equitable, engaging, and student-centered instruction and create supportive learning communities in a remote or hybrid model. Learn More
Project-Based Learning: Engage students with real-world, inquiry-based tasks.
Learn More
Competency-Based Learning: Create personalized learning paths that allow students to progress toward goals and demonstrate competency in flexible formats. Learn More
Curriculum and Academic Content Arrow

Curriculum and Academic Content Focus Areas

Use learning tools and curriculum to create a student-centered classroom.

Student-Centered Math: Create transformative mathematics classrooms where students engage in problem-solving, discourse, application, and critical thinking. Learn More
Student-Centered Literacy: Develop students’ literacy skills by supporting student ownership of evidence-based reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Learn More
Open Up Resources 6-8 Math: Strategically implement the Open Up Resources 6-8 Math curriculum. Learn More
EL Education: Strategically implement the EL Education K-8 Language Arts curriculum to support student-centered literacy instruction. Learn More
Newsela: Supercharge reading engagement and infuse literacy skills across content areas using Newsela. Learn More
Labster: Support student engagement in authentic investigative science lab simulations using Labster.
Learn More
Derivita: Cultivate targeted, responsive math practices using Derivita’s question and feedback tools. Learn More

Instructional Leadership Focus Areas

Improve instruction and learning for teachers and students by building your skills as an instructional leader.

Leading Through Change: Lead the improvement of teaching, learning, and overall school climate to enhance student achievement and success.
Learn More
Instructional Coaching: Provide teachers with personalized coaching cycles that support them growing and developing their teaching practice. Learn More
Collaborative Professional Learning: Develop a collaborative professional culture to support student-centered teaching and learning. Learn More
Feedback and Observation: Create an authentic, replicable observation and feedback cycle that promotes alignment of student-centered goals and non-evaluative conversation.
Learn More

Inclusive and Responsive Practices Focus Areas

Build an equitable learning community where all students can be supported, celebrated, and successful.

Social-Emotional Learning: Prepare students with the self-awareness, relational, and decision-making skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Learn More
Culturally Responsive Teaching: Develop learning communities that honor diverse student backgrounds and experiences. Learn More
Trauma-Informed Practices: Approach learning with an understanding of the impacts of trauma and adversity on students. Learn More
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Create inclusive educational ecosystems by examining structures, systems, and beliefs informed by race and identity. Learn More
English Learners: Support all English Learners to grow and thrive in their learning environments. Learn More
Students with Disabilities: Support students with disabilities to learn and grow in their learning environments. Learn More

Flexible Instructional Models Focus Areas

Find unique ways for all students to learn, communicate, and solve meaningful problems.

Accelerating Growth: Accelerate student growth and provide differentiated support for all learners. Learn More
Formative Assessment and Differentiation: Provide students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding, track their progress, and guide their future learning.
Learn More
Blended Learning: Leverage technology in the classroom to maximize student learning and growth. Learn More
Hybrid and Virtual Learning: Deliver equitable, engaging, and student-centered instruction and create supportive learning communities in a remote or hybrid model. Learn More
Project-Based Learning: Engage students with real-world, inquiry-based tasks.
Learn More
Competency-Based Learning: Create personalized learning paths that allow students to progress toward goals and demonstrate competency in flexible formats. Learn More

Curriculum and Academic Content Focus Areas

Use learning tools and curriculum to create a student-centered classroom.

Student-Centered Math: Create transformative mathematics classrooms where students engage in problem-solving, discourse, application, and critical thinking. Learn More
Student-Centered Literacy: Develop students’ literacy skills by supporting student ownership of evidence-based reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Learn More
Open Up Resources 6-8 Math: Strategically implement the Open Up Resources 6-8 Math curriculum. Learn More
EL Education: Strategically implement the EL Education K-8 Language Arts curriculum to support student-centered literacy instruction. Learn More
Newsela: Supercharge reading engagement and infuse literacy skills across content areas using Newsela. Learn More
Labster: Support student engagement in authentic investigative science lab simulations using Labster.
Learn More
Derivita: Cultivate targeted, responsive math practices using Derivita’s question and feedback tools. Learn More

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