This chapter also provides a mechanism for measuring observable CRRP practices through use of an adapted version of the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) standards overlaid with CRRP definitions.
The Case for Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy
As educators, we understand that CRRP is developing as a consistent part of practice. Given the historical injustices that currently uphold institutional racism, white privilege, white supremacy, and our rapidly changing demographics, we acknowledge that more needs to be done to make CRRP central to teaching and learning. We recognize that educators of all races and cultures are products of predominantly White teacher preparation programs in the United States. For example, one recent report found that nationally, 82% of educators graduating from teacher preparation programs in the United States were White females (Albert Shanker Institute, 2015). Currently, within the state of Minnesota, 96% of teachers are both White and female (Minnesota Department of Education, 2017). This profile of an overwhelmingly White female teaching corps represents just one demographic for educators in a state with over 100 different cultures.
For this reason, it is important for teachers to be aware of their race and how it impacts their instruction and curriculum. For teachers who are White, they need to be aware of how Whiteness, white privilege, and white fragility (DiAngelo, 2011) impact their effectiveness.
Thirty years ago, Peggy McIntosh (1989) wrote about white privilege in her seminal essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” McIntosh uses the invisible knapsack as a metaphor to describe white privilege as unearned benefits white people are able to accrue, simply by being White. Robin DiAngelo takes white privilege a step further by stating that it insulates and protects White people from ever having to address racism and experience racial stress. For example, White teachers need to be cognizant of the ways that Whiteness (Cabrera, 2017) shows up and shapes their curriculum and their classroom environment. Teachers who are of color and native also need to be aware of how their beliefs about themselves may lead to colorism, internalized racism, identification with Whiteness, and thus impact their curricular and instructional choices as well.
But Whiteness is also a much larger systemic reality (Lensmire et al., 2013) that operates on all students and teachers. It is not sufficient for White teachers to identify their own white privilege because irrespective of what is done, the knapsack will always be there. Thus, it is critical for White teachers to identify their white privilege and take appropriate actions to ensure a more equitable education system. One way to do this is through the use of culturally relevant and responsive teaching practices. We understand that race, institutional racism, and white privilege are broader and require much more attention than what this chapter entails. All educators, regardless of race, need to examine one’s own journey of racial identity and cultural competence. Culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy is a skill set to be learned. For the purposes of this chapter, these critical topics are left to future authors to develop rubrics of observation regarding how race, Whiteness, and colorism are observed in the classroom. This chapter focuses on how culture impacts instruction.
A prerequisite to understanding CRRP is to first understand how culture is defined in this context. A plethora of formal definitions exist for culture. This chapter utilizes the classic definition of culture by Banks (2010):