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Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy

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What is more important to education? The content or the how the content is taught? Many policy makers today believe that the former is far more crucial to the development of our youth. With high-stakes testing and an entire industry of textbooks and test making, the current system places empirical results over all else. Unfortunately, this approach only helps with the lower levels on the depths of knowledge (DOK) and Bloom’s Taxonomy charts. It only helps with basic recall of facts and knowledge. A second area of concern with this type of teaching is that only instills one point of view in the pupils. This is also problematic for diverse classrooms with students from various backgrounds. Would an approach that reinforces critical thinking and higher levels of DOK be more appropriate? A technique that incorporates the diversity of the classroom and life experiences of those students can be explained by Christopher Emdin and Django Paris who are two advocates of Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy or Reality Pedagogy.
Django Paris’ article about Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy builds upon Gloria Ladson-Billings work. Paris advocates that we should approach this pedagogy by “support[ing] young people in sustaining the cultural and linguistic competence of their communities while simultaneously offering access to dominant cultural competence.” (Paris 95) This approach seeks to sustain and cultivate the culture of communities that have been affected by structured inequality. Designing lessons that are student-centered can be effective in promoting this.
Personalizing learning for students takes the idea of differentiating instruction to fit the needs of your students is vitally important to fostering an environment that makes ...

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...he potential for establishing a dedication to education. Emdin’s five C’s can guide educators on how to foster the environment needed for reality pedagogy. Getting to know the student’s interests, hobbies, and culture will be paramount to determining how to approach the lessons. Following these suggested practices will make teaching content easier.
As a teacher, I will have to keep this in mind for all my students. Fostering an environment that cultivates and promotes the pluralistic society that we live in will be beneficial. It can help to combat the deficit approaches in education that stifle or suppress minority culture and language while promoting acceptance of a multicultural and equitable society. I hope to be able to work towards this type of classroom. With self evaluation and acceptance of student ideas, I believe that I can create this environment.
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