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Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive Teaching and Code-Switching

Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive

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What is Culturally Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive Teaching? 

Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive the term culture can be explained in various ways, but it is mainly best described with the race or ethnicity of any person. A person’s ethnic background contributes to their culture, and many factors can influence a person’s cultural identity. These factors include their age, gender, where they live, religious beliefs, and family income.

These elements collectively affect a person’s beliefs, language, knowledge, and understanding of the world. In this regard, culturally responsive teaching (CRT) is a range of teaching practices that focuses on drawing one’s personal experience and cultural identities to make more relevant learning for them.

It also supports the critical consciousness development in both teachers and learners. Ignoring culturally responsive teaching and attempting culturally neutral education can affect the classroom environment due to the barriers it creates for the participation of the young generation in the education system.

Culture strongly influences students’ and teachers’ values, attitudes, and behaviors that they bring to the instructional process (Gay, 2002). Better teacher preparation is very important for effective culturally responsive teaching as It solves the problems of underachievement (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995).

Six characteristics for CRT

Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive using strategies that help students in constructing knowledge building on their cultural strengths and personal experiences is a better way to start. To be prepared well to work successfully with diverse students, teachers must analyze their programs critically and develop specific characteristics that help them be culturally responsive.

Here are the six characteristics which educators must develop (Villegas & Lucas, 2002).

  1. Socio-cultural consciousness: A teacher’s own way of thinking, behaving, and dealing with students is greatly influenced by social class, ethnicity, race, and language. To be more culturally responsive, teachers must critically analyze their own socioeconomic biases and identities in the culturally diverse segments of society. Recognizing discrimination based on ethnicity, skin color, language, and social class firmly confronts the negative attitudes which they might have towards culturally diverse students.
  1. Behavior: A teacher’s encouraging and supporting behavior towards students from culturally diverse backgrounds also play an essential role in the student’s learning experience and academic performance. Respecting the cultural differences and using different curricular practices related to students’ cultures can create an effective learning environment.
  2. Skills and commitment: Teachers play a huge role in assisting schools in becoming more responsible and equitable towards culturally diverse students over time. A teacher is considered an agent of change, a change to confront the obstacles that hinder effective learning for different students.
  3. Constructive views: Constructivists teaching supports the critical thinking, collaboration, and problems solving abilities of students. Recognizing what students already know with their own experience and what they need to learn is a path towards constructivist teaching.
  4. Understating of student’s life: A culturally responsive teacher must be aware of student’s past experience, home, community culture, and social life. This knowledge can help to build an excellent teacher-student relationship in the context of learning and teaching (Siwatu, 2007).

Teacher’s expectations and student performance

Whatever the matter is, expectations play a critical role in the student’s performance and achievement. Some students are more sensitive and vulnerable to low expectations because of their racial identity stereotypes and societal biases (Muñiz, 2020). In this case, a teacher’s negative and hypercritical behavior can affect their overall performance.

However, Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive don’t intend to have low expectations because it is a very documented fact that such kind of behavior has a tangible effect on the achievements of ethnically, racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse students (Aceves & Orosco, 2014).

Here are a few effective ways to appreciate the overall performance of students and build equal expectations from all students.

  • Welcoming students by calling their names as they enter the classroom. It is a magnificent gesture to remember their name accurately and correctly pronounce them.
  • Using eye contact with low and high-achieving students also helps to achieve an equitable environment in the classroom. A culturally responsive teacher must be sensitive towards the cultural norms and interpretations of such behaviors, like making eye contact. It must send positive gestures about the teacher’s expectations towards students.
  • Use proximity with high and low-achieving students regardless of their culture. Consciously work to develop commonalities among all students.
  • Use body language, which conveys a message that all student’s opinions and questions are equally important. Nonverbal behavior is an immediate reward system of teachers, and students immediately understand it before any verbal announcement.
  • An inviting classroom environment enhances the interpersonal relationships between teachers and students. So arrange the classroom to accommodate discussion. Ensure the use of instructional materials, bulletin boards, displays, and other visuals in the classroom, which reflect students’ racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Students’ participation can also be significantly enhanced by using and displaying some words in students’ heritage language.
  • Acknowledge the comments, responses, questions, and contributions of all students. Give “wait time” to students before they respond to your question. Then give students effective written and oral feedback that prompts their performance.

Checklist for culturally responsive teaching (CRT)

Level 1: Contributive approach (Include discrete cultural elements like heroes, holidays, or other historical events in-class lessons)

Level 2: Additive approach (Include multicultural content like themes and concepts)

Level 3: Transformation approach (Curriculum must be designed according to the culturally diverse classroom)

Level 4: Social action approach (Help students to solve social problems)

Teachers creating an equitable classroom environment

Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive teachers can examine the learning material and curriculum for bias with this checklist

Code-Switching and its effects on student’s performance

Historically, many Americans have been discriminated against for their language difference and cultural discourse. This system also existed in educational institutions. It is imperative that the linguistic identity of all students must be embraced and appreciated in every way possible (Allen, 2015).

It should be ensured that the acquisition of secondary discourses and language variance has the potential to best serve their interest in this demanding society socially and professionally. Standard English is no longer a commonly used variance of English. It is well known that all individuals speak a particular dialect of Standard English. Redd and Schuster Webb (2005) stated:

“Language, like ethnicity and social class, is a status predictor in the classroom, raising or lowering teacher’s expectation and student’s self-esteem. Therefore, what a teacher calls African American student’s speech- and related features in their writing is of no small significance.”

Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive using literal and metaphorical language for students’ involvement is not the lowering of standards at all. A culturally responsive teacher must maintain his relationship with students regardless of any language barrier and communicate high expectations for the behavior and performance of students (Sleeter, 2008)

The use of the cultural language of students from diverse cultures in-class discussion might mean some meta-discussion of code-switching and the importance of using academic language in an academic environment. When students see their culture respected and recognized, they feel more passionate about adopting code-switching in the classroom. Students who engage in such activity learn far more than the original discussion content, and likely their learning has out-of-class application as well (Allen, 2015).

Why code switch

There are many reasons due to which teachers most commonly code-switch (GARDNER, 2020).

To address complex topics: Many subjects involve the use of complex verb conjugation and masculine/feminine, which are difficult to explain with any sort of language barrier. So, code-switching to a student’s native language can better explain complex topics such as grammar.

To build rapport: A warm and supportive environment for learning creates enough room for a better understanding of the topic being taught to students. Students feel more comfortable when they are being taught in their native language or a relevant language other than standard English.

It makes it easy for teachers as well to build a relationship with their students. Encouraging students can also be done in the native language as it seems a sweet gesture.

To clarify instructions: Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive when time is limited, a teacher wants to make sure that students completely understand all the given instructions for any task. Reverting the language can be a great way to do so.

How to code switch

  • Be clear when code-switching is allowed and when it is not.
  • Allow students to code-switch when they face difficulty continuing the conversation in the target language.
  • Be sure to use code switch to encourage and support students
  • Avoid repeating instructions in the target language after you have already explained them in your native language.

Teachers must examine their belief system

At last, teachers must examine their own beliefs because nothing changes without the willingness of a person. It is a very challenging task to abandon the old ideas and beliefs regarding cultural deficits whether these are related to students’ socioeconomic, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds.

Teachers should avoid judgmental behavior that might reflect upon students’ families, personal histories, or friends. Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive this judgmental behavior refers to the assumptions most of the teachers make when they see situations like a parent didn’t sign off on the homework or they missed a few parent-teacher meetings.

Additionally, Educators Guide to Culturally Responsive it’s the responsibility of educators to have meaningful relationships and communication with the families of students because effective parent-teacher communication has the power to break down the bridges in students’ learning. Moreover, students tend to invest more in their education when they see good mutual respect and collaboration between their teachers and parents.


Aceves, T. C., & Orosco, M. J. (2014). Culturally responsive teaching. The University of Florida.

Allen, J. R. (2015). The effects of explicit code-switching instruction on student writing performance for students who speak non-standard forms of English.

GARDNER, A. (2020). Is Code Switching Always a Crisis in the Classroom? How to Successfully Allow or Avoid It. Retrieved from https://www.fluentu.com/blog/educator/code-switching-in-the-classroom/

Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of teacher education, 53(2), 106-116.

Muñiz, J. (2020). Culturally responsive teaching: a reflection guide. New America.

Redd, T. M., & Schuster Webb, K. (2005). Teacher’s Introduction to African American English, A: What a Writing Teacher Should Know: ERIC.

Siwatu, K. O. (2007). Preservice teachers’ culturally responsive teaching self-efficacy and outcome expectancy beliefs. Teaching teacher education, 23(7), 1086-1101.

Sleeter, C. (2008). An invitation to support diverse students through teacher education. Journal of teacher education, 59(3), 212-219.

Villegas, A. M., & Lucas, T. (2002). Preparing culturally responsive teachers: Rethinking the curriculum. Journal of teacher education, 53(1), 20-32.

Wlodkowski, R. J., & Ginsberg, M. B. (1995). A framework for culturally responsive teaching. Educational Leadership, 53(1), 17-21.

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