Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Mocha w/ Monique [2/18/2020] with Alexandria Osei-Amoako

Culturally relevant teaching includes

  • Anti-bias awareness
  • Understanding identity
  • Celebrating diversity
  • Adopting curriculum to meet individual learners

Identity of an individual, ties with their race, ethnicity, ability/skills , culture, and socio economic background. Below is a working definition of race, ethnicity and culture.

Race: A social grouping of people based off perceived physical traits. These traits include skin tone, hair texture, eye color, and eye shape. It is a social category and there is no biological basis for racial category.

Ethnicity: A social group that shares a common and distinctive culture often established through nationality, ancestry, regional culture and language.

Culture: The outlook, values, morals and customs shared by a group of people. Example of Visible Culture– the arts, language and dialect, storytelling, music, food. Example of Invisible culture– believes, values, perspective, assumptions and opinions.

Identity Spectrum Activity

What part of your identity do you think people notice first about you?
What part of your identity are you most proud of?
What part of your identity are you most comfortable sharing with other people?
What part of your identity did you struggle with growing up?
What part of your identity are you least comfortable sharing with other people?

Some Facts

  • Half of U.S. schools do not have a single teacher of color on staff.
  • 80-93% of all current teacher education students are white, and they 88% of their instructors are also white.
  • As of 2015, 17% of teachers in the U.S. were teachers of color. Therefore many students, regardless of their own race will graduate high school having been taught only by white teachers. 
  • 83% of the teaching force in the U.S. is white and middle class.

Link to the list of relevant books available to HTeM Community

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Click to enlarge
A Study showing Race Bias

Below are some Quotes from Students…

“You’re food smells so gross. Eww!”

“Mr. Michael, why do you sound like that? Your accent?”
“It’s because I’m African, I’m different.” 
“Why do you have an accent?”
“I don’t have an accent. Everyone sounds like me. You sound like Black Panther. That’s what I’m going to call you. Black Panther.”

“You’re my slave. You have to do whatever I say!”

“My mom has straight hair and I have curly hair. I hate my hair. I wish it were straight like hers.” 

“You play with the peach family and I’ll play with the brown family because you’re peach and I’m brown.” 

“Your hair is so curly! I’ve never seen hair like that before. Can I touch it?”

Culturally Responsive Do’s and Dont’s


  • Mimic the students’ own cultural learning tools (include storytelling, music, dance/movement, etc.)
  • Organize learning so that students rely on each other to build community
  • Acknowledge and validate students’ diverse backgrounds 
  • Use games to instruct-they employ strategies such as repetition, problem solving, making connections and active processing
  • Ask students for feedback about your teaching


  • Assume that students have similar cultures and histories because of their race. 
  • Lower expectations for students 
  • Always be the teacher
  • Appropriate cultures
  • Normalize western white culture