Our schools are run by mainstream, sociocultural norms, and cater to the “dominant” part of society. What this means, is that schools do not allow room for cultural differences as much as they need to. This is obviously a problem, because teachers must learn to teach beyond the “sociocultural norms” in order to provide equal opportunities for all of their students.
Teachers must learn to recognize that all behavior is influenced by culture. It is important for a teacher to understand that when they enter his or her classroom, there is an ethnic self, and ethnic other. The ethnic others are the students, and their cultural influences must be recognized.
Colour-blindness is not the answer.
When teachers strive to be culturally responsive by claiming a sort of “colour-blindness,” they are not acknowledging all cultures by doing so. In fact, they are doing the exact opposite. Ignoring all cultures and striving to “treat everyone the exact same,” ignores the experiences and values of your students. While a teacher may have good intentions behind it, colour-blindness leads to accidentally marginalizing groups that would otherwise be recognized and respected in the classroom. The entire point of having a culturally responsive style of teaching is to acknowledge these cultures and letting them enrich your classroom experience. Teachers must be conscious of their own cultural biases and how they interpret student’s behaviors. By demonstrating a willingness to learn about students baggage that they bring with them into the class, teachers will demonstrate an openness and acceptance that will enhance their experience in school.
Just some important thoughts.
Thanks for reading!