As I have grown in understanding how to support educators in developing and selecting the digital learning content they use with students, I have recognized that it is essential for this digital learning content to be culturally relevant and culturally responsive. For coaches, a foundational place to begin supporting educators in culturally responsive teaching digitally is by supporting them in fostering trusting relationships with their students, so that educators can lead students into their learning zone with confidence. One way educators can foster trust with their students is by using digital learning content that is culturally relevant, and provides students with intentional opportunities to share their experiences, learn more about their peers, and begin to build community. Through my research, I also learned how coaches can support teachers in culturally responsive teaching by helping teachers to address equity gaps, specifically in remote and hybrid learning. Coaches can partner with educators to address equity gaps by actively reflecting on and evaluating the practices and systems the school and/or district has in place to support student learning. When it comes to the selection of digital learning content and aligning it with culturally responsive teaching, it is also necessary for coaches to engage educators in conversations about how our own implicit bias can impact our instruction.
“Identify those places in your instructional planning where you might have allowed your implicit biases to prevent you from pushing your students to achieve at optimal levels. Answering questions like these might be hard, but in order to create change, you have to identify and unearth the roots of your teaching practice.”
– Nikki Rucker, Getting Started With Culturally Responsive Teaching
Teaching Tolerance resources, such as Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education, has been an invaluable resource for me in finding content that interrupts implicit bias and supports culturally responsive teaching. Another resource that I have found to be beneficial when reflecting on my own teaching, and a useful tool for coaches to use in supporting educators in strengthening their practice culturally responsive teaching, is Zaretta Hammond’s Distinctions of Equity chart.DistinctionsofEquityChart1_Hammond_updated
Distinctions of Equity, Retrieved from https://crtandthebrain.lpages.co/differences/
To learn more about how coaches can support educators to deliver culturally responsive teaching in digital learning environments and to explore more resources I have found through my research, check out my blog post Culturally Responsive Teaching in Digital Learning Environments: Recognizing Implicit Bias, Addressing Equity Gaps, and Fostering Trusting Relationships.
An example of how I partnered with other educators to identify digital learning content that was culturally relevant, developmentally appropriate, and aligned to content and ISTE standards, was through my participation in ISTE’s Summer Learning Academy in the summer of 2020. This three-week professional development provided me with an opportunity to connect with teachers, tech coaches, and school leaders to learn more about effective technology integration strategies and supporting students in a variety of learning environments. For me, two of the most valuable learning experiences from this professional development were microcourse, “Ensuring Equity and Inclusion in Online Learning” and the webinar presented by Jorge Valenzuela, “Make Remote Learning Engaging for Students by Focusing on Equity and SEL.” In both of these professional development experiences, I learned the importance of using culturally responsive teaching strategies to establish inclusion, increase meaning, and reach all of my students. Through this learning, I identified culturally responsive teaching strategies I could work to improve, such as one-on-one virtual check-ins and intentional social-emotional lessons, to strengthen relationships with my students online.
ISTE Standards for Coaches (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches
Rucker, N. (2019, December 10). Getting Started With Culturally Responsive Teaching. Retrieved August 07, 2020, from https://www.edutopia.org/article/getting-started-culturally-responsive-teaching