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Tag: Culturally responsive education

How Competency-Based Learning Supports Culturally Responsive Curriculum

March 15, 2019 by

This post originally appeared at Global Online Academy on January 14, 2019.

Photo of Sara Tahir

Sara Tahir

Equity & Equality In the Classroom

I recently attended the National Association of Independent School’s People of Color Conference, an event that I always find to be both an intellectually stimulating and an emotionally taxing professional learning experience. As an educator of color, I feel inspired by the wide array of pedagogical innovations occurring in classrooms across the country to promote equity, from using deeper learning to promote strategic self-advocacy, to incorporating anti-racist teaching into the math classroom. At the same time, I feel daunted by all of the work that needs to be done in order to achieve equity in our schools.

The Importance of Designing Culturally Inclusive Classrooms

In my three years of attending POCC, one theme always rises to the surface: how critical it is for schools to design culturally aware and inclusive learning experiences. Culturally responsive pedagogy comes up quite a bit at the conference, a critical facet of which is culturally responsive curriculum. Students need to be able both to see themselves and their lived experiences reflected in their curriculum and to gain exposure to people and cultures that are vastly different from the ones they know. They need to read and see stories that celebrate people of color in nuanced ways, that don’t treat them as caricatures featured in stories of suffering and oppression.

Yet, even schools that have taken the initiative to develop courses that focus on equity and inclusion often categorize those courses as electives. From my time in the classroom, I can vividly recall my students of color lamenting about how the stories of their people were often relegated to electives that students could opt out of.

From Elective Classes to a Seamlessly Inclusive Curriculum

Maybe it doesn’t have to be this way. A shift to competency-based learning (CBL) can increase opportunities to make curriculum more culturally responsive. (more…)

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