Learning Resources

Pre-and in-service education professionals enter the field through a variety of routes. Having knowledge and skill in their content areas and in providing an appropriate education to all learners is critical for teachers. Equally important is that leaders and other service providers take a culturally responsive educational stance to support teaching and learning. This section of the Culturally Relevant Education (CRE) CEM includes the terms that informed its development, a glossary of related terms, and anchor presentations and resources organized in the following parts:

  1. CRE overview and background
  2. CRE in the content areas
  3. CRE in classroom and behavior management

Understanding Terms 

Term Definition Scholars/Selected References
Culturally responsive teaching innovative configuration (IC) Teachers . . .

  • value students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds and view them as foundational assets to provide instruction.
  • provide engaging, collaborative teaching methods that are student centered and integrate evidence-based practices (EBPs).
Aceves & Orosco (2014)
Culturally relevant education framework Represents the interconnectedness of culturally relevant pedagogy to inform culturally relevant teaching, delineating how “teaching affects competence and practice whereas pedagogy affects attitude and disposition” (Aronson & Laughter, 2016, p. 167) — your “who” affects what you “do.”

Intentional attention to

  • academic achievement
  • awareness of and sensitivity to self and other
  • critical analysis of systems and society
Aronson & Laughter (2016)

Dover (2013)

Culturally relevant pedagogy Educators enacting culturally relevant pedagogy…

  • emphasize preparing students for life-long learning through interactions that lead to individual and collective academic achievement and empowerment.
  • focus on cultural competence and equip students to navigate systems not designed to enable their success.
  • develop sociopolitical consciousness, identify root causes of injustice, increase self-awareness, and incorporate these issues in instruction from an informed stance so that students are able to understand and critique systems and society.
Ladson-Billings (1995)

Howard (2012)

Culturally responsive teaching Culturally responsive teachers…

  • empower students socially and academically by setting high expectations and demonstrating commitment to students’ success.
  • engage cultural knowledge, experiences, contributions, and perspectives.
  • use students’ cultural capital and funds of knowledge to build on strengths to develop/enhance curricula and provide instruction.
  • seek to see, acknowledge, and teach the whole child socially, emotionally, and politically.
  • transform schools and societies through student-centered approaches to curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
  • explicitly engage students in critical thinking, reflection, and action to spur emancipation and liberation for the community through the students.
Gay (2002; 2010)

Villegas & Lucas (2002)

Culturally sustaining pedagogy Educators enacting culturally sustaining pedagogy…

  • seek to “perpetuate and foster — to sustain — linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the democratic project of schooling” (p. 93).
  • seek to sustain “heritage and community” language, literacy, and cultural ways of knowing and being and offer “access to dominant cultural competence” (p. 95) while embracing the fluidity of culture and community.
Paris (2012)

Educator quality and effectiveness are often discussed in terms of knowledge, skills, and dispositions. With a focus on the increasing diversity of the student population in United States schools, addressing educator quality and effectiveness in preparing culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners for equitable access to a good quality education and post-school outcomes is important. For decades, scholars have called for teachers to engage in “good teaching”— for all students — that is culturally appropriate (Au & Jordan, 1981 as cited in Aronson & Laughter, 2016); compatible (Jordan, 1985 as cited in Aronson & Laughter, 2016); congruent (Mohatt & Erickson, 1981 as cited in Aronson & Laughter, 2016); and informed by pedagogy that is relevant (Ladson-Billings, 1995) and sustaining (Paris, 2012). We acknowledge the history and intent of these terminologies, which all point toward a need for education that is socially just and prepares students to be agents of social change.

Aronson and Laughter (2016) reviewed the literature on CRE and identified the interconnectedness of culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995) to inform culturally relevant teaching (Gay, 2010), delineating how “teaching affects competence and practice whereas pedagogy affects attitude and disposition” (Aronson & Laughter, p. 167). In other words, your “who” affects what you “do.” The three unifying elements include intentional attention to academic achievement, awareness of and sensitivity to self and other, and critical analysis of systems and society. We use the CRE framework to structure this CEM. Paris (2012) and Ladson-Billings (2014) recognized the foundation of culturally responsive pedagogy and the importance of resisting stagnation — resting on our laurels or becoming complacent. Paris and Alim (2014), with the backing of Ladson-Billings, urge us forward to “incorporate the multiplicities of identities and cultures” (p. 82) represented in classrooms through culturally sustaining pedagogy. Educators must bring into the classrooms the extracurricular lives of their students and also take schooling into the community, providing opportunities to increase sociopolitical consciousness and set new norms. The figure below represents the trajectory of terminology while the intent remains the same — providing an equitable educational opportunity by affirming and including the cultural backgrounds of diverse learners.

Acknowledging related bodies of work that are no less important, but are not explicitly addressed, are important and include Instruction of English Language Learners and Multicultural Education. Please visit the Additional Resources section for selected resources on these topics.


Glossary of Additional Terms

Bias may be implicit or explicit. Implicit bias is the unconscious attitudes and stereotypes we hold that influence the ways in which we understand, interact with, and make decisions regarding groups of people. Because they are unconscious, our implicit biases may not align with our conscious beliefs. Implicit bias typically favors our ingroup, but being biased against one’s ingroup is possible. Explicit bias is bias that is conscious. Because explicit bias is conscious, it may be revealed or concealed from others by one’s own will.

Culture is a set of values, beliefs, or behaviors shared by people based on race, ethnicity, nationality, or other social group configuration. One’s cultural norms inform the ways in which they identify, assign meaning to, and interact with their own context.

Cultural competence is developed over time by attaining cultural knowledge, demonstrating awareness of one’s own cultural values and beliefs and sensitivity to those of others, and using culturally relevant education practices in one’s role. Levels of cultural competence include destructiveness, incapacity, blindness, pre-competence, competence, and proficiency.

Culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) is a term used to describe individuals and groups whose culture is not Caucasian/White American and/or for whom English is not their first language. CLD is also a term used to characterize English language learners (ELLs) in appreciation of their distinct backgrounds and in recognition that their educational needs go beyond just learning English.

Diversity is the variety of backgrounds that individuals bring to a community or other social-group configuration. In common usage, diversity has come to mean the collection of people of various races/ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and the like.

Equity requires providing what students need to remove barriers and create the same access, opportunities, and outcomes for all that advantaged students enjoy. Equity differs from equality wherein everyone is treated equally regardless of their need and/or the barriers they face.

Latinx is a gender-neutral term relating to a person of Latin American heritage. It was added to Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2018

Race and ethnicity are social constructions with no biological basis, and widely recognized is the fact that more genetic diversity exists within racial categories than across racial categories. Still, to identify inequities and provide resources that socially recognized racial/ethnic groups need, education institutions are required to collect race and ethnicity data using a two-part question. The first question asks individuals to identify their ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino or not Hispanic/Latino. The second question asks individuals to identify their race as one or more of the following: White, Black, Asian, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Native Alaskan. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.