Definition of culturally responsive education
Culturally responsive education involves using the cultural knowledge, previous experiences, and performance styles of different students thus making learning more appropriate to them. This is accomplished by majoring in the student’s strengths. It’s also vital to note that this kind of teaching considers culture as the major foundation of learning since it plays a major role not only in communicating and receiving information but also in shaping the thinking process of the students. Acknowledging, responding to, and appreciating the fundamental cultures, provides full and equitable access to education for all learners from diverse cultures. Therefore this kind of teaching recognizes the significance of considering students’ different cultural backgrounds (Tamara, 2002).
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Explanation of cultural responsiveness
Responsive schools for instance have their curriculum incorporating cultural, ethnic, and gender diversity of the society and the world. The instructions and assessment are also premised on the past Knowledge, culture and language of the student. Classroom practices motivate students to construct knowledge, make meaning, and examine cultural biases and assumptions. In the students is also engraved an approval, admiration and respect for the diversity in cultures. This is achieved by encouraging the learner to approach these diverse groups with a positive mind. The school programs are also rooted in the culture and this is of great help to the respective families who can therefore participate in supporting the students’ academic success (Roux, 2001). Since teachers are human, they also may in one way or the other take with them their way of culture and values to the learning environment. They may also in the process bring their conceptions of the same. This will indeed influence the manner in which messages are conveyed and received by the learners. Therefore, teachers who are deficient in skills in cultural responsiveness may unknowingly reduce their teaching effectiveness, unlike their colleagues who are informed and can easily address these cultural influences (Santrock, 2008).
Multicultural education on the other hand refers to a set of learning strategies engraved to assist teachers in trying to solve the numerous different problems that arise in the classroom environment as a result of the constantly changing demographics. Most of the teachers in the developed areas today encounter a learning environment of students with diverse social, cultural, ethnic, and even language groups. Indeed, multicultural education is directed towards increasing educational equity for all learners in all aspects including ethnic studies and gender studies. Despite the fact that international schools are considered better than state schools, the significance and relevance of cultural responsiveness can no longer be ignored in these diverse educational arenas with students from more than one culture. Therefore in such countries, teacher training courses usually include cultural issues.
Comparison and contrast
Whereas culturally responsive education appreciates the diverse backgrounds of the students, respects this diversity, and utilizes these identities to create optimal learning, multicultural educators seek to substantially reform schools to give these diverse students an equal chance in school, in the job market, and in contributing to building healthy communities. Contrary to culturally responsive teaching, multicultural education also interrogates, challenges, and interprets content from several fields and disciplines to pedagogy and education settings apart from just drawing content, concepts, paradigms, and theories from these fields (Roux, 2001).
It is evident from research that the beneficiaries of multicultural teacher training programs rarely embrace cultural deficit views. Moreover, scholars who are culturally responsive are believed to be more confident and effective in their technique of delivery to diverse students. Due to the growing ethnic and linguistic diversity in our learning environment today, our schools need teachers who clearly understand their audience, what to teach and the methodologies used to teach them (Santrock, 2008).
- Santrock, J. W. (2008). Educational Psychology (3rd Edition). New York: Transnational publishers.
- Roux, J.L. (2001). Culturally Responsive Teaching. New York: Oxford University Publication.
- Tamara, L. (2002). Educating culturally responsive teachers. New York: State University of New York Press.