Toward A Culturally Responsive Continuum: An Examination Of The Relationship Between Culture & Teaching In Rural Texas Classrooms
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Today, our nation and our world are marked by the increasing diversity of communities and schools. As the world becomes smaller and more connected, different skills and understandings are needed in order to effectively participate as a global citizen. Increased access to and contact with new perspectives, cultures, traditions and practices makes it necessary for school aged children to have a developed attitude of awareness and respect for difference. When the first encounter a child has with people unlike themselves occurs in the classroom, the responsibility to foster this kind of growth falls on their teachers. This study seeks to examine how teachers understand the relationship between culture and teaching in the classroom. Using the theories of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy as a guiding framework, this qualitative case study explores how three fourth and fifth grade social studies and literacy teachers in a rural Texas school district understand the relationship between culture and teaching. Personal identity and ideology, experience with and exposure to difference, and understanding of comfort are discussed as key considerations in the shaping of each teacher’s perception of culture and teaching. Finally, the idea of a Culturally Responsive continuum is introduced and discussed.