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Use Culturally Responsive Pedagogy to Personalize and Engage Students

By September 17, 2019February 21st, 2022Back-to-School, Curriculum Management, Stories, Teacher Tips

To some, terms like “personalized learning” and “culturally responsive pedagogy” may sound like hot air. But keeping today’s students engaged—while their attention is pulled in half a dozen directions—requires a departure from rigid conventions. In this second article of 2, Content Specialist Eboni Hogan reflects on how teaching playlists can motivate students by using the CRP framework. Find the first article in the series below, and keep scrolling to browse Eboni’s curated playlists of blended learning content, organized by grade band and subject.

Are today’s students unmotivated – or unengaged?

I’ve come to embrace a more comprehensive vision for how CRP can be implemented in a classroom and its link to personalized instruction. In the Framework for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, researchers Raymond J. Wlodkowski and Margery B. Ginsberg address the relationship between engagement and motivation.

The question of how to motivate students implies that they require a teacher to motivate them, as though we are not all born curious. This framework posits that when students are continually engaged, when their perspectives, interests, and diverse learning styles are taken into account, they become motivated students. And motivated students will learn.

The Framework for CRP goes on to outline four ways of creating “motivation conditions.” Learning playlists have the potential to support the establishment of motivation conditions in a classroom.

1. Establishing inclusioncreating a learning atmosphere in which students and teachers feel respected by and connected to one another.

Implementing playlists involves a level of trust between teacher and student. It illustrates that a teacher believes in their students’ abilities to lead themselves. When playlists are customized to include resources that they know will speak directly to their unique classroom, they are creating a learning environment built on inclusivity and mindfulness.

2. Developing attitude—creating a favorable disposition toward the learning experience through personal relevance and choice.

When you invite students to engage with a learning playlist, you’re saying “I believe in your ability to interpret this information in ways that work for you, at your own pace. See you on the other side.” Students are called on to become their own good teachers.

“When students are continually engaged, when their perspectives, interests, and diverse learning styles are taken into account, they become motivated students. And motivated students will learn.”

3. Enhancing meaning—creating challenging, thoughtful learning experiences that include student perspectives and values.

Kiddom playlists contain materials that encourage students to make meaningful connections between the content, the world, and themselves. I often choose topics that are included in many curricular frameworks but may be difficult to cover in depth, due to a lack of age-appropriate resources available. Additionally, our SEL playlists allow for students to explore topics like identity, gender, sexuality, race, and politics, so that they can refine their own value systems, no matter what developmental stage they’re in.

4. Engendering competence—creating an understanding that students are effective in learning something they value.

In the life of the average American student, technology is king but in many schools, the moment they enter the school building, their devices are seen as distractions. Inviting students to engage with playlists digitally shows them that their school believes in the value of having access to technology by showing them alternative ways to harness its power. More importantly, in my opinion, Kiddom playlists take care to highlight perspectives and narratives that many students may find familiar, but that are noticeably absent from textbooks. When we show students their own reflections within the context of history, literature or science, we are telling them that their stories and ideas are important. We are affirming their humanity. We are creating what the CRP framework describes as a “common culture” where different vantage points are mutually respected.

One day, perhaps, the focus will be placed firmly on the students in every classroom and they will be encouraged to learn because they will have been given the tools to do so on their own terms. If I could speak with my former co-teacher-gone-rogue I’d explain that effective teaching is not always good teaching. Choice does not equal chaos. Deciphering the learning language of your classroom may be bells and whistles—but at least your students are awake.

Eboni Hogan has extensive experience in curriculum development, with a focus on culturally-responsive and arts-based approaches. Having spent years creating academic content and providing professional development to teachers, she now curates themed playlists meant to provide educators with valuable, time-saving resources.

Find the first article in this “Bells & Whistles” pairing here.

Early Elementary Teaching Resources

Blended learning playlists for Kindergarten through 2nd grades.

Social Studies Teaching Resources

Socially responsible social studies curriculum! Curated by our content experts.

Grades 3-5 Teaching Resources

Curated content to engage your 3rd through 5th grade students.

English Teaching Resources

ELA-aligned content for blended learning classrooms.

Middle School Teaching Resources

6th-8th grade curated curriculum for middle school students.

Science Teaching Resources

She BLINDed me with SCIence playlists! Props if you get the reference.

High School Teaching Resources

Curated blended learning curriculum for high school classrooms.

Math Teaching Resources

These curated Math playlists really put the M in STEM!

At a typical Kiddom school, hands are in the air, there’s a buzz in the room, and teachers and students are energized. Kiddom was designed to help improve teacher retention and increase student performance and graduation rates.

For the first time, the most important parts of teaching and learning are connected and simplified in Kiddom. Curriculum lives in one place and is easily measured and refined, instruction is personalized to meet the needs of each student, and data serves as a powerful system of support for every member of the learning community to keep students on track.

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