Looking to Get Started With Culturally Responsive Teaching?

Posted: June 29, 2017 by Lindsey Nagorski

By now you may have heard a little bit about Culturally Responsive Teaching… but if you haven’t feel free to check out this post.

Getting started can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task.  Like it’s “one more thing” to be doing in your classroom.  I get it, I’ve been there along with my colleagues.   I’m here to tell you that it is much simpler than you may think- as a matter of fact you’re probably doing a lot of it already!

One of the easiest ways to get started with cultural responsiveness is by using attention signals in your classroom.  “Well I already do that!” you say… great!  The key here is using them purposefully and adding in a little cultural twist here and there (by culture I don’t just mean ethnicity- youth culture is a very important aspect as well!).  Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when using attention signals to be culturally responsive:

  • Use attention signals for specific purposes.
    • To clarify, or give further directions
    • To transition
    • To bring the activity, or lesson to a close
    • If you use a signal to bring the class back to attention, do not use the same signal as a transition.  Students will get confused.
  • Make sure that you have a good reason to be using the attention signal.  You will lose student engagement and buy- in if you repeatedly us a signal without good reason.
  • Do not expect the students to be quiet immediately.  They should gradually come to quiet- within 3-5 seconds.  If done correctly, and with student buy-in once you start talking all should quiet down.
  • If you need quiet immediately, use your “freeze!”  or other stop on a dime signal.
  • The use of attention signals builds community, harmony, energy, rhythm and unity in your classroom.  They will validate and affirm those cultures that utilize call and response for connecting with one another.
  • Have signals in your toolbox that are traditional, responsive and culturally responsive so that your students experience variety and learn to understand how to respond to their differences and build situational appropriateness.

If you are ready to begin using attention signals in your classroom I have a treat for you!  I’ve compiled a bunch of my go- to signals in a easy to use freebie just for you 🙂  Click here to grab yours today and stay tuned for more ideas and products on becoming Culturally Responsive.