Characteristics of Culturally Relevant Classrooms

Craviotto and Heras (1999) describe a collaborative research project that included a bilingual teacher, undergraduates, university professor, and a multiracial bilingual class of 27 fourth graders. The conceptual framework for their study was drawn from three aspects of Ladson-Billings (1994) notion of a culturally relevant pedagogy.

The authors identified the following characteristics as important in making the curriculum and the classroom culturally relevant to students:

The authors describe what the first three characteristics looked like in practice using examples of student writings, drawings, and voice. Students conducted interviews of family members and friends in their communities, read a wide but focused range of multicultural literature to serve as a bridge between their experiences and those of others, and conducted and presented their findings on research topics of interest to them. Craviotto and Heras conclude by suggesting that an openness to using multiple languages, texts, and instructional strategies and practices enhanced the literacy learning of the fourth graders as well as the university students and the researchers.

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