There’s no doubt about it: culture in the classroom matters. The Culture in the Classroom rubric works to help educators understand and consider how culture influences both teacher and student actions and behaviors. It’s key that both teachers and administrators consider culture when working with students. The following are the most common questions about the Culture in the Classroom rubric.
What are the key concepts of the Culture in the Classroom?
Five standards in the Culture in the Classroom rubric allow teachers to self-reflect and administrators to evaluate whether a classroom is a culturally responsive environment. To earn top scores across all cultural competency standards, educators need to do more than simply understand their students’ culture. Teachers need to seek out guidance on how to use their students’ culture to further their educational experience, while also using that knowledge to design a classroom environment that utilizes the students’ culture to engage them in their learning.
Teachers are also required to understand and utilize resources in the local community that can help them better support their learners. Many school districts also require that teachers participate in cultural activities in their communities, helping their students and their families to see them as active, culturally knowledgeable figures who can relate to the home and social environments of their students. Parent communication is also key: understanding cultural expectations and norms can help teachers structure communication in a way that boosts student achievement and strengthens the relationship between school and home. Lastly, the Culture in the Classroom rubric requires that teachers recognize the potential of each student, and uses their cultural upbringing to help them realize their full potential.
How has the Culture in the Classroom changed over the years?
While the Culture in the Classroom rubric has only been accepted by many states over the past decade, the use of the rubric shows that administrators are beginning to recognize the importance of utilizing students’ personal experiences to further their education. Rather than using the classroom to create a similar environment for all students, the Culture in the Classroom rubric encourages teachers to consider and use student backgrounds to drive their achievement. This requires that educators take the time to learn about and participate in their students’ culture, whether the educator shares that culture or not.
Which portions of the Culture in the Classroom are the most important?
All portions of the Culture in the Classroom rubric serve a key role in helping teachers and administrators to create a culturally responsive environment. After an evaluation using the Culture in the Classroom rubric, a teacher and administrator may decide that focusing on one portion of the rubric may be the smartest move to push classroom achievement forward. A teacher who is struggling to relate to their students, for example, may benefit most by involving themselves in community activities. A teacher who is struggling to get the parent support they need to move students forward may benefit most from learning more about cultural norms and increasing weekly parent contact.
What are the five cultural standards?
- Standard A: Culturally-responsive educators incorporate local ways of knowing and teaching in their work. Educators who excel in meeting this standard seek community guidance to help them learn more about their students’ customs and practices, and include these values and practices as a part of their classroom experience.
- Standard B: Culturally-responsive educators use the local environment and community resources on a regular basis to link what they are teaching to the everyday lives of the students. Teachers who excel in this standard understand and utilize local community resources, and reach out to cultural leaders in the area to learn more about how they can create opportunities to use these resources to support their students.
- Standard C: Culturally-responsive educators participate in community events and activities in appropriate and supportive ways. This standard is not required as part of the Culture in the Classroom evaluation, as it cannot be measured during school hours. That being said, many schools encourage teachers to participate in local community events to help them bond with their students and their families while learning more about their culture.
- Standard D: Culturally-responsive educators work closely with parents to achieve a high level of complementary educational expectations between home and school. To excel in this standard, teachers need to regularly communicate with parents in culturally sensitive ways. For some teachers, this may require research and conversation to understand the best way to communicate with their students’ families.
- Standard E: Culturally-responsive educators recognize the full educational potential of each student and provide the challenges necessary for them to achieve that potential. To excel in this standard, teachers need to regularly reflect on how they’re assessing students, ensuring that they’re providing the rigor necessary to push each child to their potential.
What are the ratings a teacher can receive, and what do they mean?
In standard A, teachers can receive a rating from 1-6. Standard B offers ratings from 1-4. Standard C has no ratings. Standard D offers ratings from 1-2, and Standard E offers ratings from 1-4.
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