“But that’s just good teaching” Learning Experience Learning Community 2

Ladson-Billings reading on culturally relevant pedagogy allows me to invest my thoughts of how to empower students through many different aspects of current day teaching. The article engaged in research of teachers of African American students who are pushing norms of curriculum to find a better suit for their students. Reflects “just good teaching” that challenges teaching elements that are not seen in the classroom yet are clear examples of creative ways to incorporate culturally relevant pedagogies. The article has clear examples of where culturally relevant teaching can greatly impact students for the better. One of the overarching themes is that instead of inserting culture into education, educators should insert education into culture. Over 15 years of research, anthropologists have concluded that students are more likely to experience academic success if their home language is incorporated into the classroom. There was the concept of micro and macro level consideration which I had not previously been exposed to or seen in that lighting. The macro outlook would be that micro-ethnographic studies failed to recognize the macro social context in which the student failure takes place while micro is focusing heavily on educational experiences in the classroom. The article showed how culturally relevant teaching in action has been a three year study of teachers of African-American students. Some of the key qualities which were listed as philosophical and ideological views were that the teachers enjoyed teaching, chose their career knowing the environment, had positive thoughts about the students succeeding, focused on developing an individual interaction with each student, and that teachers are in turn learning from their students everyday. Culturally relevant teachers challenge curriculum guidelines. The phase knowledge is continuously re-created, recycled, and shared by both students and teachers should how the teachers use the curriculum framework to teach culturally relevant. The article then has a call for action as there should be more research done on culturally relevant teaching, especially for school districts that might not be reaching the highest standards. One big takeaway from the article that inspired me was how important it is that teachers bring their own unique perspectives and personal investments.

My learning community decided to not only highlight the aspects of the article, but to create a discussion-like dynamic that allowed the examples to be tangible to our peers. I really liked how my LC was able to take the article that was already filled with examples and share and elaborate that within the classroom because I think that is a pivotal element to learning the best way to teach students, a concept very imporant as future teachers. My group decided to use google slides and created a presentation at https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1kc-LZbM4MQd9QOXyTmi6S7nBYWMzVpslj68TUkL4dAw/edit?usp=sharing 

The aspects I was really able to focus on and analyze were academic success, cultural competence, and critical consciousness of culturally relevant pedagogy. Through the reading I was able to look at prime examples of cultural teaching that can develop such benefits in schooling. During the learning experience I was able to share the inspiring stories of culturally relevant teachers and their work in the classroom. Starting with academic success, I talked about the difference when teachers attend to the students’ academic needs where the students are the ones who will truly choose academic excellence for themselves. The second concept was cultural competence, where I share a prime example of a classroom that struggled with poetry and the teacher tied it to the music that students loved to listen to. The students were able to present their favorite songs and the teacher turned the lyrics into a lesson. Another example was the students learning how to code-switch and improving use of both languages when a teacher had the students write in their home language and English. The last concept I focused on was critical consciousness where students are taught to develop skills that critique the cultural norms, values, and institutions that produce and maintain social inequities. I think this is such a critical aspect of the education our classroom has revolved around, allowing students to be equipped with the tools to be active members in society.

To end our learning experience, we decided to do the wraparound activity. In breakout rooms we asked our groups to finish the following sentences; Culturally Relevant Teaching is, or Teachers who implement cultural relevance are. This activity not only allowed us as teachers to see that our lesson impacted our peers, but also that as future teachers we were able to form our opinions which are framed around the knowledge of culture relevant teaching.

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