16 Top Examples of Culturally Responsive Teaching: Best Guide

In this article, we will look at examples of culturally responsive teaching. For many years, academic accomplishment among kids of color has been underestimated by teachers in public schools, who also set low standards for them and view cultural diversity as a liability rather than a strength rather than cultivating culturally responsive teachings.

In response, academics created instructional strategies, generally known as asset-based pedagogies, that use students’ cultural identities and lived experiences as teaching aids in the classroom. 

The names used to describe various pedagogical methods of teaching range from the more basic “culturally relevant pedagogy” to “culturally responsive teaching” and “culturally sustaining pedagogy.”

All these teaching strategies have a focus on the knowledge of historically marginalized communities in classroom education, despite the fact that each term has its own components that have been described by various scholars over time. 

As a result, all students, but especially students of color, are given the tools they need to develop into critical thinkers and lifelong learners.

There is no one teaching style that will instantly interest every student, but developing a plan to consistently deliver culturally sensitive courses will help you engage students from a variety of backgrounds.

Culturally responsive pedagogy, which is based on the concepts of individualized education, strives to connect curriculum — from delivery to evaluation — with students’ ancestors and modern cultures.

We will define culturally responsive teaching and describe its application to assist you in creating and delivering lessons that connect with a diverse classroom. 

Additionally, we came up with several culturally sensitive teaching techniques and illustrations that will connect with students of various backgrounds and promote an inclusive learning atmosphere.

What is Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally Responsive Teaching entails incorporating the preferences, traits, life experiences, and viewpoints of the students into lesson plans.

The phrase was first used by researcher Geneva Gay in 2000, who said that “when academic knowledge and skills are situated within the lived experiences and frames of reference for students, they are more personally meaningful, have higher interest appeal, and are learned more easily and thoroughly.”

It’s the kind of instruction that encourages children of color to feel like they belong in classrooms and other academic settings, increasing their engagement and achievement.

It is a difficult undertaking since developing this learning environment calls for not just a high degree of cultural competence but also a conscious effort to understand the backgrounds and cultures of the pupils.

Closing achievement gaps between children from various origins and tackling injustices in the classroom can both greatly benefit from it. By building a learning atmosphere where your students are prominently featured, you can also forge closer relationships with them.

Why Use Culturally Responsive Teaching 

Much research has demonstrated the advantages of culturally responsive education (CRT). CRT has been found to boost a student’s sense of belonging in the classroom, raise student engagement, and promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 

Especially in the era of remote teaching and COVID-19, educators’ ability to connect with students has improved thanks to culturally responsive pedagogy. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased educational disparities, and studies have shown that teachers who employ this method are better able to meet the requirements of their students.

The following are the principal advantages of culturally appropriate instruction from a broad educational standpoint:

  • The culture and environment of the classroom are actively shaped by both teachers and students.

  • More engaging, group-based, and socially conscious activities benefit students’ learning.

  • Students from all backgrounds can feel a sense of belonging thanks to this instructional method.
  • It has been demonstrated to enhance cognitive functioning and pupil engagement.

Conditions For Creating A Culturally Responsive Teaching Environment 

There are four conditions carried out to establish a culturally responsive teaching environment, especially in classrooms 

Improve Meaning 

By making connections with current events, you can enhance the content of your lessons and encourage students to apply their knowledge and perspectives to solve these concerns.

You may, for instance, use local political events to contextualize topics while teaching about government. Use student slang where necessary to make these points clearer or enhance communication in general.

Cultivate optimistic attitudes

This emphasizes connecting content to pupils even more. Allowing students to select from tasks and tests that allow them to demonstrate their values, talents, and experiences is a common strategy.

For instance, encourage students to propose their own project ideas while outlining clear learning objectives and evaluation criteria.

Build confidence

By providing a variety of options to demonstrate abilities and understanding, the assessment process will seem less scary. Don’t, for instance, provide only multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank quizzes.

Include challenges that need you to write both short- and long-form replies among other types of questions. After that, offer pupils some time to evaluate their own performance and progress to help them concentrate on improvement.

Create Inclusion

To start, emphasize how the subject matter you’re teaching might be relevant to or applicable to students. For instance, fireworks festivals are common among many communities and cultures.

You may demonstrate how to calculate speed using example questions while the festival is going on. Establishing inclusiveness also entails periodically pairing up pupils with various classmates to foster conversation and problem-solving. They can exchange distinctive viewpoints and a variety of backgrounds this way.

Examples of Culturally Responsive Teaching 

There is no one best technique to integrate culturally responsive teaching strategies into your lessons. Here are 10 of the most popular tactics you can use, out of the infinite options available.

Understand Your Students

With activities that will help you get to know your pupils, start the school year. Distribute surveys or questionnaires to your students that will allow them to provide more information about their backgrounds and learning preferences.

You can enter the year with a full understanding of your classroom’s demographics thanks to these responses.

Interview your students 

By asking each student a question on their own, you will gain a better grasp of their values, routines, and habits, as well as their strengths and limitations.

Run a large-group exercise while taking a few minutes to separate each student. Inquire about:

  • Hobbies

  • their favorite subjects and pursuits

  • Which exercises aid in reinforcing knowledge and enhancing skills?

Take notes on what each student says to find commonalities and distinctions. Then, if possible, relate the material to their interests and present the lessons in a way that plays to their commonalities.

Integrate utilization of word problems

If you utilize word problems to contextualize equations, many children will become more interested in mathematics. 

According to research conducted by the Canadian Center of Science and Education with 41 7th-grade students over the course of a school year, these contextual learning techniques helped students’ test scores rise by more than 44%. 

Make culturally appropriate word puzzles by:

  • Student names are used to make the material more relatable.

  • relating to student interests, such as by calculating a famous soccer player’s shot distance

  • Using cultural references, such as measuring the diameter of a particular ethnic food platter

You may create a classroom that is culturally sensitive by adopting these word problem strategies, which will also engage students more than asking them abstract questions.

Utilize the Power of Story

Oral traditions, myths, and stories are often passed down through generations in many cultures. These tales can be used to instruct students in etiquette, morality, and other subjects. 

Utilize the varied cultural experiences of your pupils to share some interesting history with the class and teach important lessons.

Gamify Lessons

Young people in school are major fans of gaming. Consider “gamifying” your lectures; common strategies include awarding badges or establishing standards for new “levels” that students can advance to for specific assignments or skills.

Use student vocabulary to introduce new ideas

Beyond math class, relatable knowledge is delivered. You may capture and hold students’ interest in any subject by using their terminology to develop knowledge before moving on to academic diction. 

Consider that many of your pupils are sports enthusiasts with ties to countries that are major soccer powers. In language arts class, use the following soccer analogy to illustrate metaphors:

‘Andrea Pirlo is an eagle on the field, equipped with eyesight keen enough to spot spaces as little as a hair’s breadth apart and seize opportunities his opponents miss’.

This kind of culturally-responsive language ought to make it easier to deliver difficult ideas and skills to pupils while keeping them interested.

Try out peer instruction

You’ll very certainly never catch up on some of the common student terminology and behaviors. But peer teaching can help you close these gaps. Exercises that are reasonably easy include:

  • Jigsaw exercises

  • buddy reading sessions

  • Pairing up to use educational software

According to pilot research by Ohio University, students who read and discuss tale sections with peers remember the information better and do better on tests.

Additionally, a study on scientific education found that pupils often perform better in pairs and groups on assessments that require reasoning and critical thinking.

Students’ discussions and justifications of ideas in their own terms, many of which are from the current cultural lexicon and are not scholarly, are mostly responsible for these outcomes.

Encourage Students to offer Project Ideas

Giving students the opportunity to offer project ideas is a terrific approach to allow them to use their creativity and play to their strengths. 

Encourage them to draw inspiration from their origins or cultural heritages, and assist them in seeing ideas through to the completion of projects.

Encourage students to leverage cultural capitals 

Encourage your kids to use cultural capital by giving them the freedom to speak about their various backgrounds and to use their voices.

For instance, if you’re an English teacher and you have ESL students in your class, try to find methods to include them in your teaching and let them share their experiences.

Get Parents Involved With Take-Home Letters

At the beginning of the school year, when beginning a new unit, or when utilizing an educational instrument for the first time, invite parent involvement. 

Parents will value being informed about their child’s educational progress and being able to provide context and support for their culture.

Run case studies for problem-based learning

Problem-based learning’s adaptability makes it ideal for culturally sensitive instruction. This is because there will usually be two cultural linkages made when you give your pupils a relevant real-world challenge to tackle.

  • First, whether the connection is made explicitly or by students on their own, there will probably be a cultural component to the question.
  • Second, because they have the flexibility to adopt various methods for problem-solving, they may draw on certain cultural viewpoints.

But if you want to design a scenario with clear cultural linkages, take into account:

  • encouraging students to consider perspectives from history, sociology, and anthropology
  • Using local ethnic festivals to frame the issue, such as overcoming logistical difficulties associated with hosting a heritage festival

Regardless, problem-based learning’s focus on the learner will enable your class to occasionally employ examples and information that are culturally pertinent.

Offer a variety of free study options

Free study time often appeals to students who prefer independent studying, however group learning is valued in many cultures. By separating your class into clearly defined team and solo tasks, such as the following, you can satisfy both preferences:

  • Offer audiobooks with content that relates to your teaching.
  • Establish a space where students can play cooperative activities that reinforce lessons from the curriculum.
  • Keep a designated, calm area where students can take notes and finish their work.
  • Allow some students to take notes and finish assignments in groups outside of the designated quiet area.

With these possibilities available, more students ought to find free study time appealing.

Use media that depicts various cultures in a positive light

According to a well-regarded academic book about teaching in multiracial schools, children process content more successfully when their cultures and languages are included in the curriculum.

This need can be partially met by utilizing media, such as books and movies, that accurately portray a variety of cultures and are pertinent to your curriculum. It’s not difficult to find possibilities using databases like IMDB or American Literature.

Additionally, utilizing various mediums should increase engagement rates

Ring each student’s name

When teaching, the method known as “call-and-response” involves often quizzing the class to keep them interested and to encourage discussion. Participate everyone by:

  • encouraging the sharing of individual viewpoints when a question permits it
  • calling on kids who don’t have their hands raised and preparing them to speak in front of others
  • Asking a question following each new point or thought and having a student teach back the idea you just discussed.

By the end of the class, this call-and-response method should allow each student to speak at least once. 

Delivery of various information types via learning stations

Students react to various forms of content differently, depending on their culture, socialization, preferences, or learning needs. 

By establishing learning stations, you can give each student access to a variety of resources. Each station should employ a different approach to teach a subject or skill linked to your course.

Students can alternate between stations that involve, for instance:

  • being a gamer
  • Artistic production
  • observing a video
  • viewing a document
  • completing puzzles
  • Listening to you teach 

By leading a class discussion or giving them questions to answer after they’ve finished each station, you can aid students in further processing the information.

Inviting Guest Speakers 

Guest lecturers can provide context and fervor to social studies, geography, and history classes to pique students’ interest.

A military veteran might present a compelling account of their experiences. A climber could vividly describe their ascent of Lhotse. Both might engage students far more successfully than a presentation while providing answers to problems that many professors would find challenging.

Additionally, research by the Economics of Education Review found that students are frequently motivated to work harder when they have a common educational background. 

Therefore, engaging and inspiring pupils from varied backgrounds may come naturally to them.


What does classroom instruction that is culturally responsive look like?

culture-specific courses.

In addition to making sure that the visuals presented in classrooms, including as bulletin boards, represent a wide spectrum of diversity, teachers should incorporate many points of view into their training. Additionally, educators need to contextualize issues related to race, class, ethnicity, and gender.

What are the four traits that define culturally sensitive instruction?

These four behaviors include: (1) being sympathetic and caring; (2) reflecting on their attitudes toward individuals from different cultures; (3) reflecting on their own cultural frames of reference; and (4) being aware of other cultures

What does “cultural responsiveness” mean?

Cultural sensitivity enables people and organizations to respond to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and other diversity factors respectfully and effectively in a way that acknowledges, affirms, and values their worth.


Delivering lessons that are culturally sensitive will not only help you engage your pupils, but will also enable them to connect personally with the material.

Your school district’s student populations are made up of people of various racial backgrounds, socioeconomic situations, and cultural identities; it is crucial that teaching methods take these variances into account.

More rigor and drive should follow from more student investment, among other advantages. The desired result is a more joyful, attentive classroom.

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