Educators cannot truly personalize instruction without carefully considering the “whole child” – meaning current skill level, previous instruction, socioeconomic status, and race. Yes… race! Some argue that race has no place in the conversation around personalization. I disagree. Race is a necessary component of personalization because “teachers [who] ignore the racial component of students’ identity are in effect treating their students as incomplete beings, and student performance can suffer as a result”

Effective and accurate cultural responsiveness must respond to all of the inputs in students’ lives; it must take into account the “whole child.” And, cultural responsiveness is not an “add-on” or just another classroom thing. Cultural responsiveness is part of an ever-evolving orientation and pedagogy… and a necessary component of personalized learning.

Cultural responsiveness is about understanding how varying experiences impact students, about learning how to embrace diversity, and about fostering connections between school staff and the diverse populations they serve. Culturally responsive practices are more likely to occur in schools where principals engage in culturally responsive leadership and work to overcome the barriers that arise against it.

I’d like to share some of my learning with you about what culturally responsive leadership looks like in several areas of principal practice.

  • Hiring – getting the right people in the right seats in schools is critical for student success. While it is important to hire quality individuals, it is equally important to hire individuals who reflect your school’s student demographic.
  • Professional development – A culturally responsive teacher must be willing to engage in deep introspection of personal biases and their impact on classroom instruction.
  • Resource Allocation-A principal must be willing to allocate resources as needed to foster cultural responsiveness.

Read the full article about cultural responsiveness by Dr. Joseph Ellison at Getting Smart.