English Teaching: Practice and Critique

An agenda to strengthen culturally responsive pedagogy

Volume 10 Number 2 July 2011

Christine Sleeter (California State University, Monterey Bay)

Over the last two decades in many countries, culturally responsive, multicultural and bilingual approaches to teaching have largely been replaced by standardised curricula and pedagogy, rooted in a political shift toward neoliberalism that has pushed business models of school reform. I argue that neoliberal reforms, by negating the central importance of context, culture and racism, are reversing the empowered learning that culturally responsive pedagogy supports. To address these problems, I argue that educators who work with culturally responsive pedagogy must engage in three areas. First, a persistence of faulty and simplistic conceptions of what culturally responsive pedagogy is must be directly confronted and replaced with more complex and accurate views. Second, the research base that connects culturally responsive pedagogy with student learning must be strengthened. Third, the political backlash from work that empowers minoritised communities must be anticipated and addressed. 

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