Being culturally responsive as an educational professional is a multi-dimensional ability that involves developing sound needs analysis skills to forecast interpersonal communication issues before they arise. Aside from the acquisition of instructional content, culturally diverse students actively engage in the exchange of experiences, social comparison, and imaginative play in the classroom (Cranley, 2013). To prevent the situations in which the representatives of minority cultures feel excluded or juxtaposed to the majority, it is essential for the teacher to assess the child’s culture-specific vulnerabilities and create an emotional climate in which differences are regarded as the source of learning about humanity. For instance, if there are students with unusual physical traits, religious/cultural attributes in clothing, or language barriers, it is more productive to provide age-appropriate education concerning differences (for instance, explain the reasons behind different skin colors) before any incidents involving harmful stereotypes.
A profound understanding of strategies to translate culture-specific needs into effective accommodations is another critical component of cultural responsiveness. Considering the pivotal role of the family in development and identity formation, building productive relationships with minority students’ families can be central to planning and conflict resolution (Carter, 2016). For example, parents can be encouraged to use visual aids and educational materials at home to support their children in overcoming language barriers. Also, selecting and altering illustrative materials in a way to represent all students’ cultures in a positive way without positioning certain traits as a standard might be critical to promoting all students’ engagement.
As a teacher, I will incorporate cultural responsiveness and the aforementioned strategies by following a strategy that would combine personal development with evidence-based instructional practices. To complete the necessary needs assessments, I will analyze new students’ demographic information to align my strategies in providing anti-bias education with the actual situation in the class. For instance, in the case of increasing diversity, I will conduct my own research to understand the traits of relevant ethnic/religious groups that are frequently misunderstood (rituals, household practices, social norms, etc.) and give rise to stereotypes. The identified potential sources of misunderstanding will then inform anti-bias activities for children, including learning about traditional clothing, food, and the symbolic meanings of colors in different cultures to help all children in developing positive social identities (Gartrell, 2014). Another measure that I will take is ensuring the use of fictitious examples that reflect the cultural composition of the class. Particularly, the exclusive use of “white-sounding” names in stories and exercises that involve helping a fictional character will be avoided to avoid social exclusion and strengthen engagement.
Carter, L. (2016). The reflection connection: Teachers in touch with families. Exchange, 52-55.
Cranley, K. (2013). Guiding children’s friendship development. Young Children, 68(5), 26-32.
Early Childhood Videos. (2015). Understanding challenging behavior in young children. YouTube. Web.
Gartrell, D. (2014). A guidance approach for the encouraging classroom (6th ed.). Cengage Learning.
The U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Milestones: Understanding your child’s social and emotional development from birth to age 5. Web.