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As we move into the Digital Learning Experience for Competency #4, you might ask, “What about Competency #3?” We’ve decided to address Competency #3 and #9 together as we believe they are closely aligned and will launch that specific workshop + digital experience next semester. Therefore, we are moving into Competency #4 with an understanding that bringing real-world issues into the classroom is not only valuable to the collective educational experience but also to the individual cultural experience of each student.
Now, let’s think about the “So what?” factor of instruction and address the three key questions below when bringing real-world issues into the classroom.
Competency #4: Bringing Real-World Issues into the Classroom
Culturally responsive teachers address the “so what?” factor of instruction by helping students see how the knowledge and skills they learn in school are valuable to their lives, families, their communities.
Culturally Responsive Teachers Ask: “What does this material have to do with your lives?”Culturally Responsive Teachers Ask: “Does this knowledge connect to an issue you care about?”Culturally Responsive Teachers Ask: “How can you use this information to take action?”
They regularly assign activities, projects, and assessments that require learners to identify and propose solutions to complex issues, including issues of bias and discrimination. They actively seek input from families, community members, and students when planning learning activities and they ensure learning happens inside and outside of the classroom. For example, elementary school students might learn about environmental injustice and devise a plan for cleaning up a local river; middle school students might learn to apply math concepts to an analysis of racial inequities in traffic stop data; and high school students might engage in a Socratic seminar to explore solutions to police brutality. Through rigorous and relevant projects, learners in culturally responsive classrooms build their sense of civic responsibility and learn to see themselves as agents of change.