To effectively teach an increasingly diverse student population throughout the United States, scholars and teacher educators have become proponents of using culturally responsive pedagogy. Culturally responsive pedagogy is defined as a combination of knowledge, practices, and dispositions that center racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students’ cultural traditions, experiences, and perspectives to facilitate meaningful and transformative learning opportunities. Culturally responsive pedagogy is particularly important for students of color who have persistently been marginalized in U.S. schools and will become increasingly relevant in teacher education as the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of school populations continues to grow in the United States. As such, educator preparation programs are key teacher learning sites for preparing future teachers to be able to engage in culturally responsive pedagogical practices with their students. In the context of the United States, traditional educator preparation has often centered its program designs for a White female teacher population, preparing them to address the learning needs of racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse student populations via sense making and application activities in individual courses, community service projects, and fieldwork experiences. These efforts are often additive approaches for addressing culturally responsive pedagogy in the curriculum and not always central to the mission of programs. Scholars have challenged piecemeal preparation approaches for addressing culturally responsive pedagogy and argued for an integration of culturally responsive approaches throughout preservice teacher preparation experiences. Despite calling attention to such approaches, several issues complicate this effort. For one, the pervasive Whiteness that encompasses most educator preparation programs must be acknowledged, critiqued, and addressed in ways that many programs are ill-equipped to do given the demographic makeup of the teaching faculty. Even if some programs recognize this pressing need and work to emphasize the importance of culturally responsive pedagogy in the core mission statements of their programs, close examination of the program design suggests gaps of the application as it relates to the learning experiences of teacher candidates. Further, there is growing concern regarding the overemphasis of culturally responsive approaches for preparing White teachers in ways that overlook the learning and preparation needs of teachers of color. Given these challenges, discourse on culturally responsive pedagogy in teacher education must be addressed through the perspective of multiple stakeholders and program facets, with a common goal of emphasizing rigorous, engaging, and challenging educational opportunity for racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse youth in schools.
Conra Gist, Iesha Jackson, Bianca Nightengale-Lee, and Keisha Allen
Ganiva Reyes, Racheal Banda, and Brian D. Schultz
Throughout the history of the United States there has been a long trajectory of dialogue within the field of education around curriculum and pedagogy. Scholars have centered questions such as: What is curriculum? What knowledge should count as curriculum? Who gets to decide? Who does not? And, in turn, what is the pedagogical process of organizing knowledge, subject matter, and skills into curriculum? While many scholars have worked on various approaches to curriculum, the work of Black intellectual scholar Anna Julia Cooper serves as an important point of departure that highlights how curriculum and pedagogy have long been immersed in broader sociopolitical issues such as citizenship, democracy, culture, race, and gender. Starting from the late 19th century, Cooper took up curricular and pedagogical questions such as: What is the purpose of education? What is the role of the educator? And what is the purpose of being student-centered? These are important questions that pull together various traditions and fields of work in education that offer different approaches to curriculum. For instance, the question of whether it’s best to center classical subjects versus striving for efficiency in the development of curriculum has been a debated issue. Across such historical debates, the work of mainstream education scholars such as John Dewey, Ralph Tyler, and Hilda Taba have long been recognized; however, voices from scholars of color, such as Cooper, have been left out or overlooked. Thus, the contributions of Black intellectual scholars such as Cooper, Carter G. Woodson, and other critical scholars of color are brought to the forefront to provide deeper knowledge about the development of curriculum and pedagogy. The work of marginalized scholars is also connected with reconceptualist efforts in curriculum studies to consider current conceptual framings of schooling, curriculum, and pedagogy. Finally, critical theories of curriculum and pedagogy are further unpacked through research conducted with and alongside communities of color. This scholarship includes culturally responsive pedagogy, funds of knowledge, hip-hop pedagogy, reality pedagogy, critically compassionate intellectualism, barrio pedagogy, youth participatory action research (YPAR), and feminist of color pedagogies.
Shridevi Rao, Nadya Pancsofar, and Sarah Monaco
A rich literature on family-professional collaboration with families and caregivers of children and youth with disabilities has developed in the United States. This literature identifies key barriers that impede family-professional relationships including deficit-based perceptions of families and children with disabilities, narrow definitions of “family” that limit the participation of some members such as fathers or grandparents, and historical biases that constrain the participation of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) families. Principles for building collaborative relationships with families include honoring the strengths of the family, presuming competence in the child and the family, valuing broad definitions of “family,” and understanding the ecology of family routines and rituals. Practices that help facilitate family-professional relationships are building reciprocal partnerships with various caregivers in the family including fathers as well as extended family members, adopting a posture of cultural reciprocity, using a variety of modes of communication with families, and involving families in all aspects of the special education process such as assessment, planning, prioritizing of skills, and identification of interventions. Pivotal moments in the family’s journey through their child’s schooling, including early intervention and transition to post-school environments, provide opportunities to build and strengthen family-professional relationships. Each of these moments has the potential to involve families in a variety of processes including assessment, planning, and articulating the goals and vision for their child/youth. A focus on strengths, collaborative partnerships, and family agency and voice is at the core of strong family-professional relationships.