)For this assignment, I decided that I would focus on the indicator that stood out to me the most in this module and the strategies and resources that I can utilize to strengthen that indicator in my curriculum. All educators want a more engaged, motivated student, and I agree that culturally responsive pedagogy and diversity are great ways to get a student involved.
I agree that we must ‘Encourage students to think critically.’ (Banks & Banks, 2004), but this can prove to be an arduous task at times. In my classroom, I can always count on Minecraft Education to be a big hit and Microsoft/Minecraft Education has created an amazing curriculum, but I also want to engage with my students in ways that don’t always involve game-based learning. I think culturally responsive pedagogy can help with that. As I was reading some of the provided resources, I couldn’t help but to think of how my preconceived expectations about student behavior in the classroom is often not met. I think that as teachers we need to not think of this as a sign of failure. But what can we do to combat this sense of failure? I believe differentiation in strategies is an effective way to do it if it can be assessed and integrated properly. I also use Project-Based Learning in my classroom, and this is a proven successful strategy. Richards, Brown, Forde (2007) reiterates this, along with “what if” scenarios. The examples I have included in this paragraph are things that I already do or have begun the process of integrating into my practice. In the next paragraph, I will reflect on things I want to integrate into my teaching in the future.
“As the ‘village’ in which students live becomes more global, they are challenged to interact with people from various backgrounds” (Richards, Brown, Forde, 2007). This statement resounded with me, and I couldn’t agree more with it. The status quo in America has changed, and our approach to education should reflect that. I serve as the FIRST LEGO league coach at my school. I also interact with parents and families through other programs/events at school, and these interactions always lead me to understand the student better. It also allows me to let their family know what I expect and want from education. These interactions are valuable to me. The concept of ‘home-community-school’ (Richards, Brown, Forde, 2007) is a strategy that is underutilized by education. Meaningful dialogue and relationships are important and can help strengthen education. I want to reach out to members of the community through FaceTime, Zoom, or some other ‘synchronous’ (Roblyer & Hughes, 2019) technologies, and make more connections to my content by using these integration strategies. I do this with my research projects that are related to our themes each year in FIRST, but I haven’t taken the time to do that in the classroom. Another activity that was mentioned in both the Roblyer & Hughes (2019) book, as well as the Richards, Brown, Forde (2007) article mentioned utilizing ePals in instruction. When I was younger, I had a pen pal, and I still remember him to this day. It is also a fantastic way to incorporate culturally responsive education. With technology that we have today, it can extend to the global community, not just here in the states.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this assignment. I learned about a lot of resources and strategies that will make my online learning/teaching stronger. I have websites and resources to look more into. Right now, all the options are a little overwhelming, but I am excited to synthesize what I have learned. I have just begun to study culturally responsive education, and I know there is much more to learn about it, but I can see how it can positively affect my teaching and learning, and more importantly, my students’ learning needs.
Banks, J. A., & Banks, C. A. M. (2003). Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education. Jossey-Bass.
Richards, H. V., Brown, A. F., & Forde, T. B. (2007). Addressing Diversity in Schools: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 39(3), 64-68.
Roblyer, M.D., & Hughes, J. E. (2019). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: Transforming Learning Across Disciplines. Pearson. (Original work published 2010)