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Building Culturally Responsive Classrooms

Building Culturally Responsive Classrooms
A Guide for K-6 Teachers

May 2006 | 192 pages | Corwin
Teachers are dealing with increasingly diverse classroom settings, yet the majority of teachers do not share the same culture as their students. Going beyond they typical heroes and holidays approach to cultural diversity, Gaitan shows that real culture is the day-to-day experience of students and their families and involves values, language, kinship, community and social networks, common history, attitudes, and rituals. By honoring "real culture," teachers will be better equipped to reach all their students effectively.

Divided into two parts, this invaluable resource covers the classroom environment and the topics of discipline, arranging the classroom, and parent and community involvement first. In the second half of the book, Gaitan explains how teachers can be culturally responsive in the way in which they teach literacy, math, science, the interdisciplinary curriculum, and other content areas. Based on Gaitan's own interviews, observations, and audio & video recordings with teachers, parents, students, and community leaders, this book shows how teachers can transform the context and content to be culturally responsive to all their students.

Each chapter follows a accessible and user-friendly format, making it ideal for mentoring pairs, group study, or teachers working individually:

Personal reflection from a teacher related to the chapter topic

Discussion of the topic as it relates to the culturally responsive classroom, incorporating the latest research and best practice

Rich case example including dialogues between teachers and students, the author's observations, and teacher reflections about what occurred

Guiding questions

Reflective Questions

Classroom applications

About the Author
1. Introduction
Part I: Context: Configuring the Classroom for Academic Equity
2. Engaging With Children's Values Around Cooperation and Competition
3. Culturally Responsive Classroom Discipline
4. Accelerating Exceptional Students From All Linguistic and Cultural Groups
5. Including Students With Special Needs in the Culturally Responsive Classroom
6. Culturally Responsive Classroom Management
7. Supporting Children's Cultural Adjustment
8. Connecting Home and School
Part II: Content: Learning Subject Matter Through Culture in the Classroom
9. Teaching Cultural Diversity
10. Becoming Proficient in English
11. Building Literacy
12. Creating Equity in Math and Science
13. Fostering a Gender Equity
14. Crafting an Interdisciplinary Curriculum
15: Conclusion: Responding Culturally in Teaching

"[This book] presents issues that influence educators serving students whose perspectives and experiences differ from their own and offers innovative and appropriate strategies to create learning environments that promote respect and equity for all students. [It] addresses the challenges of many special populations, including those of at-risk, gifted and talented, learning disabled, English language acquisitions, and more."

Angela Lin, Teacher Support and Assessment Specialist
School of Educational Studies, Claremont Graduate University

"Dr. Delgado Gaitan has provided a wonderful resource to all educators. The topics used to structure the chapters provide the reader with an orderly consideration of the school as a cultural entity itself. Most importantly, each chapter provides the reader with clear theoretical applications in a hands-on manner that is meaningful and easy to use."


Randall B. Lindsey, Professor Emeritus, California State University Los Angeles
Principal Associate, The Robins Group

"Dr. Gaitan brings a wealth of personal experience and years of research to Building Culturally Responsive Classrooms. It is thought provoking and challenges us to get to know and understand how culture affects students in order to foster the best working and learning environment."

Judy M. Alva, Elementary Vice Principal
Lodi Unified School District, CA

"The reflection and application section are excellent and are an excellent springboard to discussion and debriefing among the staff."

Susan Stone Kessler, Assistant Principal
Hillsboro High School, Nashville, TN

"This book will be valuable in both teacher preparation programs and in-service professional development as a tool to help teachers grapple with the practical complexities of culture in their work with children and families."

Rosemary Henze, Associate Professor
San Jose State University
Key features
    • Full of rich case examples,  including dialogues between teachers and students, the author's observations, and teacher reflections about what occurred
    • Each chapter includes guiding questions, classroom applications, and reflective questions, helping teachers immediately apply what they've learned
    • Based on the author's extensive, in-depth research in diverse classrooms as well as the current theory, research, and best practices on culturally responsive teaching
    • Shows how teachers can achieve equity and close the achivement gap through their instructional and classroom management practices

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1 Introduction

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