Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in a Diversified Classroom

Social diversity is a part of educational institutions, too.A classroom is always a diversified society as it would be a centre where students from different social, cultural, economic, religious, geographic, and linguistic backgrounds get together in a classroom. A teacher should always be aware of this diversity, and adopt a sort of pedagogy called culturally responsive pedagogy in his classroom. Culturally Responsive Pedagogy is the strategy or methodology accepted by a teacher by giving due attention and regard to the socio-cultural backgrounds of each student of his class. So a teacher should not make use of a general strategy or methodology which may convince only some students who belong to some particular socio-cultural background. It would make other students frustrated and, may lead them to indulge in some anti-social activities, as well. 

Significance of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy:

Now almost all the parts of the world have become diversified societies on account of different factors such as globalisation, liberalisation, privatisation, and migration. This diversity can be seen in our classrooms, too, as classroom is a miniature  of the society where it exists.As modern psychology tells about the importance of individual attention in teaching-learning process, no individual should not be left unattended,regardless to his socio-cultural background. Similarly the present educational system follows constructivist philosophy which advocates that it is the students who have to construct knowledge, not the teachers. One can construct knowledge especially at the primary level only by making use of his own dialect and socio-cultural elements as the ingredients. Modern psychology also tells about the importance of the readiness and interest of the students in the effective execution of teaching-learning process. For creating readiness and interest in a student, teacher has to arrange the activities by giving due regard to his socio-cultural background. So it is so clear that a teacher should accept culturally responsive pedagogy in a diversified classroom.

How can teacher accept Culturally Responsive Pedagogy or the Measures to be  Taken by Teacher to Make his Pedagogy something like Culturally Responsive Pedagogy?  

A teacher has to take some measures to make his pedagogy something called culturally responsive pedagogy. The first and foremost thing is that he should be aware of the diversified nature of the classroom. He should convince himself that he has to handle classes before a group of children who belong to different socio-cultural backgrounds. He should be mentally prepared for accepting the differences in the classroom, and try to cope up with the diversity among the students. He should practice himself to keep mutual respect and understanding to a student who belongs to a socio-cultural background which is entirely different from his own. 

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The teacher should try to get himself familiarised with different dialects which are used by the students.This also is important in making his pedagogy as culturally responsive pedagogy. There had been a theory called deficit theory which told that the students from some culturally deprived students are not able to learn a foreign language like English, as they were not able to speak even in their mother tongues. But later this theory was proved to be a mistaken notion by people like Eller. According to Eller, students from such students would speak in a better manner than the brilliant students of the class would do, if got chance to speak in their own dialect rather than  in the standard version of their mother tongue. The teacher should never try to impose the students to speak in the standard version of language. Similarly, the teacher should try to rephrase whatever conveyed in the class, in different versions i.e. in different dialects used different students of his classroom. 

The teacher can provide opportunities for students of different socio-cultural backgrounds for performing the art forms related to the cultural background of different students. It would make the students more active in side the classroom. It would provide great confidence, as well. More over the students would get an opportunity to be familiar with the aspects of the other cultural backgrounds,too. Gradually, they start accepting positive changes in their cultural aspects. The teacher should use examples from the art forms of the students when teaching about some unfamiliar art forms. For instance, if the teacher has to teach about Ballads, he may tell that it is something like ‘Kathakali’  or ‘Ottam Thullal’  ( two art forms in Kerala of India) , if  there students from such a cultural background which is familiar with these art forms.

Now, the teacher has to assign a variety of projects and assignments to the students as a part of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation. At the initial stage, the teacher should allow them to write the assignments and project reports in their own dialects. It is so important to create confidence in them in writing assignments and project reports. The opportunity to write them in their own dialect would give them the needed confidence. After making them aware of the basic elements of writing such assignments and reports, the teacher can lead them , step by step,  to write the assignments and reports in the standard version of their mother tongue, and later in the foreign language such as English. Similarly, the teacher should distribute the topic for projects to the students on the basis of their socio-cultural backgrounds. This would encourage the students make their works as original as possible. On the other hand, they would collect some ready made project reports from the market, if forced to do the project on some topic which is unfamiliar to them.

Tours and excursions can be organised to visit culturally important places at the localities to which the students of the class belong to. This would help the teacher as well the students who belong to other cultural backgrounds get familiarised with the cultural aspects of the particular students. Teacher should try to visit the homes of the students so that to get clear idea on the cultural backgrounds of different students.

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About Hathib KK

I am an Assistant Professor of Education in a reputed BEd. College under the title Keyi Sahib Training College in India.

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