Math & Beyond

10 strategies to adopt Culturally Responsive Teaching!


25 Nov 2020

Reading Time: 5 minutes


Looking for effective strategies to adopt classroom effectiveness and responsive pedagogy in your classroom?

Want to know what culturally responsive teaching is?

How is it any different from the traditional teaching methods? 

Read to understand valuable teaching strategies to bring together all the cultural identities and form a responsive classroom. 

Cultural responsiveness in classrooms with students from different cultures

We discuss the culturally responsive classroom management that teachers can apply to their classrooms to increase student engagement.

Also read:

We have also answered a few frequently asked questions and doubts about responsive teaching along with strategies to apply it effectively.

10 strategies to adopt Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally responsive teaching involves ways of educating students based on principles of social justice. A key purpose of culturally responsive teaching is to provide all students with learning opportunities, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, or first language.

10 strategies to adopt Culturally Responsive Teaching! are mentioned below in the Downloadable PDF. 

📥 10 strategies to adopt Culturally Responsive Teaching!


What is Culturally Responsive Teaching & Why Use it?

Can you teach Indian students in Spanish?

Is there any point in acknowledging all the important dates from French history? 

Does it make sense to celebrate the Nigerian Independence Day in India? 

The answer to all of these questions is a big "no". This is because we usually adopt practices that respect our cultures and history.

Culturally Responsive Classroom Management for students from different background and origin

The context written above might now make it easier for you to understand what is culturally responsive teaching. 

Also known as culturally responsive pedagogy, it is a teaching method that involves including the cultural references of the students in all outlooks. 

Culturally responsive teaching (or CRT), hence, acknowledges the main cultures of students and adapts them in various aspects of learning.

Why should teaching follow cultural responsiveness?'

cultural relevance: hands showcasing cultural diversity in students

  • This not only makes students come together to share their cultures but also develops their social skills and helps them learn about various similar cultures.
  • This approach should be used in all schools to enrich the learning experiences of students. 
  • It also makes it easy for students to adapt to their new surroundings when they go to global institutions for their higher education.
  • Most importantly, it also helps students learn other languages and respect other cultures. It swishes away all the differences amidst diverse students.

As a result, culturally responsive classroom management creates an optimal learning environment that reflects the cultural identities of all students in a class. 

This way, the gaps between linguistically and culturally diverse students as well as teachers are bridged easily.

What will cultural responsiveness in teaching be like?

A culturally responsive classroom is an ideal amalgamation of curriculum and activities that are based on different cultures.

It embraces the native languages and practices to provide the students the freedom to share their unique cultures.

Culturally empathetic: a group of diverse students learning

Mainly, it encourages children to relate their lessons to their cultural backgrounds. It involves families in the academic journeys of their children and helps establish connections between everyone. 

All in all, culturally responsive classroom management develops a positive attitude in the class and promotes experiential learning more flexibly.

Culturally Responsive Teaching vs. Traditional Teaching

For people who are new to the concept of culturally responsive teaching, it is a common question to ask how it is different and better than traditional teaching. 

While the traditional teaching pedagogies are primarily focused on memorization and theoretical learning, the culturally responsive teaching approach is more practical. 

It involves a more interactive teaching model through technology and group activities to promote a problem-based learning, collaborative learning environment.

The traditional methods of teaching lack continuous comprehensive evaluation and rely solely on quarterly exams. Results are more valued than assessing each child's ability to learn and solving their problems.

Today, smart boards instead of traditional chalk and blackboards have promoted interactive and learning that emphasizes skill-building.

10 Strategies for Culturally Responsive Classroom Management

Teaching, when done with cultural responsiveness, can reap endless benefits for future leaders to come. 

Here are some of the most effective culturally responsive teaching strategies that you can adopt in your classroom.

It is essential to know your students

On the first day of the new semester, the teacher must give students a sense of belonging by making them feel valued.

a globe with students from different cultural background learning together

  • The educator must give a good welcoming speech and have a self introduction for kids.
  • Furthermore, each student must be asked to give an introduction.
  • Short activities should be organized to know about the interests of the students.
  • Discussions should also be held to know their past learning experiences.
  • The teacher must also focus on understanding the lessons or skills the students acquired in the past year.

This helps each student open up and get comfortable with his classmates and the teacher despite his ethnicity, religion, the difference in home language and school language etc.

Adapt your Teaching to cultural relevance

If teachers are more adaptable and flexible, the classroom can progress within no time.

teachers use culturally responsive teaching strategies for diverse students in class

  • The teacher must assess his current teaching strategies and note if it is benefitting all the students or not.
  • He should mold the teaching style and curriculum according to each batch.
  • The backgrounds, academic achievements, and skills of all the students must be considered while adopting new strategies.
  • The primary focus of adapting the teaching style should be to make learning more interactive and fun for all the students.

Gamify Lessons can shoot up student engagement

Gamifying lessons helps to make studies easier and more interesting for students of all ages. It also helps in delivering different learning styles and teaching strategies. With gamification of the current curriculum, you can not only boost engagement but also make learning more exciting.

group of students from different cultural background enjoying games

  • Plan education-based activities to make that concept easy to understand.
  • Set short term goals to help everyone achieve something.
  • Offer rewards and treats for finishing some specific targets.
  • Give weekly or monthly badges for achieving certain scores or participating more.

Bringing in Guest Speakers can change things up

Bringing in diverse guest speakers to hold seminars and open discussions about a current topic help students get more interested in their classrooms.

Each time the guest speaker shares a culture with some of the students, they can be more engaged and motivated to participate.

Present New Concepts by Using Student Vocabulary

How do you teach counting to a preschooler? By breaking it down as simple and easy as possible, right?

You don't simply tell them to see the numbers, cram them, and start doing math. Similarly, students of all ages must be taught in a way that they find easy and more relatable.

a teacher teaching with a student a class full of different students

  • Before teaching any new concept, try to know if it can relate to any student’s background.
  • Teach in a language used by most of the students.
  • Try to engage students by cross-questioning and call them individually.
  • Seek their perspectives.

Run Problem-Based Learning Scenarios

Encourage students to work collaboratively in small teams. Problem-based learning helps in improving critical thinking, decision making, etc.

This helps them share the skills they possess and develop transferable skills from their peers.

This can be done via:

  • Group discussions
  • Inter-house competitions
  • Teaching students to evaluate their classmates

Make Learning Contextual

Contextual learning helps students draw the meanings of each concept based on their experiences.

It is a highly effective teaching strategy as it encourages students to construct relevance from the lessons they are taught.

  • Take examples from real-life situations.
  • Use word problems to make the concepts more relatable.
  • For providing an easy example, always use one of the student’s names to arouse the interest of all the students.

Create a Supportive Classroom Environment

Creating a supportive study environment increases student engagement and helps them adjust to their surroundings quickly. Building supportive and positive relationships amongst diverse students provide them the opportunity to share their cultural differences.

self introduction for kids is a way to make diversity feel welcomed

Self introduction for kids, Group activities, educational excursions, and classroom discussions also motivate the students to actively participate and become more enthusiastic.

Use Resources that Positively Represent Range of Cultures

Using multicultural information through references from a specific background in the class helps students feel valued and individually addressed.

Choose examples and resources that are relevant to the curriculum in the forms of games, activities, competitions, videos, etc. that reflect the cultural relevance of your students.

Establish Cooperative Base Groups

Forming cooperative base groups helps students process the information together and learn regularly.

creating a coperative base group of students for sharing cultural references

Making small groups and encouraging students to equally involve and support each other helps them meet their educational goals. This also forms a foundation for group studies, addressing each other's questions, and reviewing lessons based on their thoughts.


Culturally responsive teaching can be practiced alongside other modern teaching pedagogies to help students learn better.

The teaching strategy to include cultural responsiveness empowers, motivates, and engages students to gain practical knowledge.

Culturally responsive classroom management emphasizes student involvement through activities, questions, and projects. Culturally responsive classrooms are happier, more positive, and help students form personal connections with their syllabus.

It has proven to have multiple benefits over traditional teaching pedagogy including problem-based learning, collaborative learning environment etc.

So go ahead, build a classroom environment with cultural relevance, cultural responsiveness, and comfortable learning space for all kinds of students from all backgrounds.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is pedagogy meaning in hindi?

Pedagogy in hindi means, "Shiksha shaastra", "Shiksha Vigyaan" or "Adhyapan Shastra". 

Why should culturally responsive teaching be adopted in modern classrooms?

Here are some of the main reasons why culturally responsive teaching should be used in modern classrooms:

  • Values the cultures and language of all students
  • Encourages inclusivity in the class
  • Builds the interests of students in the class
  • Enhances personal learning experiences
  • Paves way for better interaction and positivity
  • Strengthens the sense of individuality in each student
  • Promotes equity amongst students

How to be a culturally responsive teacher?

A culturally responsive teacher must:

  • Have socio-cultural consciousness
  • Identify discrimination in the classroom and eliminate negativity
  • Respect the cultural differences and assess his behavior to be a role model
  • Have constructivist views
  • Recognize the perspective of every student
  • Know his students well
  • Not possess a judgemental attitude in the class
  • Stay positive all the time
  • Examine the curriculum from more than one perspective
  • Ensure that multicultural education is effective in every way possible

What are some of the most effective ways to teach in a culturally responsive way?

  • Interviewing students and establishing a diverse learning environment
  • Encouraging students to talk about their cultures
  • Planning group activities 
  • Giving students the freedom to talk in the language of their choice
  • Holding open group discussions about a current issue
  • Rewarding merits for positive and constructive behavior in the class

External References

To learn more about culturally responsive teaching, visit:

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