Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT)

by MU Instructional Designers
February 2, 2023
20-25 min read

Why CRT?

Like UDL, Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) works toward creating a more inclusive space for diverse learners. CRT focuses more specifically on cultural diversity: race, ethnicity, language, etc. Some educators and educational researchers refer to these practices as Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) rather than CRT, but they refer to the same principles and issues. To explore the importance of CRT, check out these two articles:

  1. How Culturally Responsive Lessons Teach Critical Thinking,” by Clint Smith (2020), discovers the importance of CRT not just for the broad social good but also for students’ critical thinking skills.
  2. In Defense of Caring About Difference,” by Cory Collins (2019), explores the importance of not erasing difference in an attempt to be in some way beyond racism and bias. The tagline of the article states, “Many educators profess, as a virtue, that they treat all students the same. But when a student’s specific needs and story are erased, it’s not equitable—it’s damaging.”

What is CRT?

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Four Misconceptions” by Jennifer Gonzalez and Zaretta Hammond, from Gonzalez’s blog, Cult of Pedagogy, in 2017. Knowing what CRT isn’t can help us better understand what it is — remember that using non-examples is a UDL strategy! (like Sarah Levine discusses in her article “Contrasting Cases: A Simple Strategy for Deep Understanding“)

How to Implement CRT

One framework for implementing CRT comes from Wlodkowski and Ginsberg (1995). Their four motivational conditions are

  1. Establishing inclusion—creating a learning atmosphere in which students and teachers feel respected by and connected to one another.
  2. Developing attitude—creating a favorable disposition toward the learning experience through personal relevance and choice.
  3. Enhancing meaning—creating challenging, thoughtful learning experiences that include student perspectives and values.
  4. Engendering competence—creating an understanding that students are effective in learning something they value.

Check out our brief video below to learn more.

If you’d like to learn more about CRT, you can check out our CRT annotated bibliography for further resources.