A welcoming and responsive classroom includes both our approach to teaching and the physical environment.

Culturally responsive teaching is how instructional staff demonstrate through strategies, their cultural competence. Here are a few things you can do immediately:

  1. Learn how to pronounce each child’s name… correctly. There is nothing wrong in asking the child if you are saying it correctly.
  2. Have welcome or hello in each language represented in your classroom. What a wonderful way to say, “You are welcome here.”
  3. Learn one or two words in the languages represented. Better yet, ask the student to teach you (or the whole class!) a few words.
  4. Learn about the communication preferences of the parents and caregivers of your students and plan for translation and interpretation accordingly.

There are a lot of things as a classroom teacher that are out of your control. Creating a welcoming environment in your classroom is within your control. Look around your room. What do you see? Now, look through the lens of a child who is culturally different than you. What do you see?

Here are a few easy things to do:

  1. Use visuals that reflect diversity.
  2. Display pictures of students and their families. Show visual representations of their cultural traditions.
  3. Have books that represent the different cultures. If you aren’t sure where to find books, ask their families if they have any.
  4. Use pictures with your schedule. Use pictures along with words in the classroom.
  5. Incorporate activities that support language:
    • Parallel sitting: As the 2nd language learner is playing, sit next to him/her. As the child plays/works, give a step-by-step narration of what he/she is doing.
    • Self-Talk: As you, the teacher, are doing something, narrate what you are doing.
    • Total Physical Responsiveness: Use your whole body to act out while speaking.

Check out these ReadyRosie Modeled Moments that can support you: