Towards Culturally Responsive Education: A Qualitative Approach
Keywords:Culturally responsive education; Teacher Education Programs; US; Deficit Thinking; Teaching
AbstractBy the year 2050, students of color will constitute 57 percent of students in the US (Karanja and Austin, 2014). However, research indicates that most pre-service teachers and even in-service teachers are not ready to teach in cross-cultural classrooms (Marx, 2006). As a result of de facto segregation, teacher candidates have very limited interaction with minority groups. Consequently, understanding the culture of students, using pertinent information in classrooms, and building rapport with the students become challenging issues in their teaching practices. As a response to these concerns, the proposed study aims to create educational models to help teacher candidates become more culturally competent throughout their teaching experiences. My information was gathered from interviews with people who work in public schools, nonprofit organizations, and universities in Florida, US. The findings of this study indicate that social (poverty, racism) and ontological (i.e., teachers’ and students’ dispositions) issues influence teachers’ and students’ experiences in classrooms. How teacher candidates perceive educational disparities, racism, and equity traps and respond to them affect the teacher/student relationships and underprivileged students’ educational attainment. The findings suggest that teacher education programs need teacher candidates who are knowledgeable about historical and cultural forms of oppression and their effect on students’ educational attainment. Discussing the achievement gap without analyzing its reasons from critical lenses only increases this gap and makes students of color internalize this deficit thinking. Finally, it is vital to find ways to attract teacher candidates from underrepresented groups as teachers of color provide more culturally competent discussions in classrooms.