Culturally Responsive Teaching

Downloads & Helpful Websites

Culture is central to learning. It plays a role not only in communicating and receiving information, but also in shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals. A pedagogy that acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates fundamental cultures offers full, equitable access to education for students from all cultures.

Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings, 1994).
— Ladson-Billings, G., 1994

Discussion Protocols

Discussion protocols accentuate the strengths that many underserved students already bring to the classroom, namely a preference for sociocentric, cooperative, high movement (in some cases), variation, accepting, interpersonal, student- centered, and humanistic learning environments. It is more likely that Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) students have a familiarity with the cultural practice to respond immediately and verbally with each other as they make analytical and emotional connections, wonder, postulate, and question things that engage them. The Discussion Protocols supply a variety of engaging formats which can be used with ease and incorporated into nearly every lesson that will enhance, rather than stifle, these inherent learning strengths. 

Discussing protocols provide structured, engaging, consistently used forums for students to discuss their learning. They can be used to introduce, clarify, support, and reinforce both learning content and process. The consistent use of a select set of discussion protocols establishes an efficient classroom learning community in which ideas and opinions are shared frequently and in an orderly, timely manner. 

Whole group Responding Protocols

Incorporating non-mainstream Protocols for Responding both validates and builds upon the likely repertoires of practice (learning styles) that students bring to school which, when suppressed or discouraged lead to disengagement and classroom management issues.

Responding protocols are used to explicitly communicate to students how the facilitator or teacher wants the students to respond or to question as a whole group . In other words, the facilitator knows the purpose of the question being asked (checking for understanding, assessing prior knowledge, checking for engagement, volunteering of personal experiences, etc.) and clearly communicates how s/he wants the students to respond to the question. This non- voluntary form of responding also encourages accountability and engagement on the part of the learner, as well as providing more accurate feedback to the teacher about student understanding as a whole group. 

Dr. Sharroky Hollie is a national educator who provides professional development to thousands of educators in the area of cultural responsiveness. Since 2000, Dr. Hollie has trained over 150,000 educators and worked in nearly 2000 classrooms.
— About Dr. Hollie, para. 1

See more about him  here.

Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishing Co.

Protocols for culturally responsive learning and increased student engagement. Academic English Mastery Program. Retrieved from

About Dr. Hollie. (n.d.) Culturally Responsive. Retrieved from

Thumbnail Image: