Come on, give me that CRT!-updated 6/23

Culturally responsive teaching is a multifaceted approach to education that takes into consideration the importance of an individual’s culture. In CRT, several strategies are employed in order to emphasize and experience various cultures. Bringing in community involvement, grounding the lesson in a specific place, and setting up all of the students for success are some of the features that help contribute to effective CRT.

Paula Savikko shared with us many different strategies that could be used to bring the students’ education to be focused on Place. Field trips, outdoor science experiments, and community involvement were key to her style of education. I think the most powerful tool she used was in getting the students involved in the community and the community involved in her students. The involvement from the students by making fliers and public service announcements allowed the students to feel like there was a purpose to the tasks they were being asked to do. I have no doubt that this increased most of the students’ confidence, and it may have given them the courage to take on more challenges in the world around them. The involvement from the community also showed the students that they had the support from several different people. It was not just their parents and teachers that wanted them to succeed, but it was their neighbors, friends, community leaders, Elders, politicians, and local celebrities that all took part in the growth of the student. Imagine how awesome it must have to feel as if you had an actual impact on the community as a young teenager, and that the community was rooting for you!

Though we saw CRT examples in science and math classes, combining different disciplines to allow different students’ talents to shine is necessary in CRT. English classes can be used to write short stories or poems depicting science or math lessons. Songs and pictures could be created by students to help understand and learn about complicated cycles and processes with biology and chemistry. History classes can be used to help put different scientific discoveries into context for a specific time period and region. As CR teachers, we are not only expected to teach within our own disciple, but we are expected to combine different subjects in order to teach the students in a more holistic fashion.

David Katzeek said something that really touched me. I do not have the direct quote, but it was something along the lines of, “it is food to the Spirit when we acknowledge, accept, and respect another being”. I believe that this statement gets at the core of CRT. Without appreciating the history that an individual brings to the table, we, as educators, fail that person. We fail to acknowledge their history, we fail to accept them for who they are, and we fail to respect the core of their being. When we fail to be a CR teacher, so much is lost in the classroom. And the things that are lost may never be able to be recovered.


Scott came to class a few days ago and gave his lesson on combining a large lesson plan with several disciplines as a way to make the tasks and activities more relevant to a larger number of students. His lesson was very well organized and showed a variety of ways to use CRT in the classroom. However, the biggest takeaway from his lessen was a much simpler idea.

Almost in passing, Scott mention and recommended that we should try and shadow a student for an entire day. I had never thought of this idea before, but I think it could be an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. All of us have been out of high school for at least four or five years, and many are more removed than that. Following a student for a day would allow us to see many different teaching styles, experience the monotony of sitting in class, and feel the excitement and anxiousness of being in a new situation. If nothing else, this type of experience could open our eyes and make us more cognizant of what the student sees while sitting in their desks. I fully intend to try and work this into my internship in the fall.

Featured image from http://www.livescience.com/images/i/20946/i02/cool_image_colored_proteins.jpg?1318450243

6 thoughts on “Come on, give me that CRT!-updated 6/23”

  1. Reuben, I like your approach on CRT. Also the problem solving on Friday with SOH, CAH, TOA made me smile (not everyone is science based). 🙂

  2. Reuben- I was also really impressed with community involvement in Salina’s class. I loved the idea that by widening the audience for your work, it makes your work more important and meaningful. Another facet was learning by doing. The students were doing the work of a scientist, thinking and acting like a scientist. I think this helps them on so many levels. On one hand these are skills that they can build on down the road. Second is that it is a heck of a lot more interesting. And third, it shows students who may not have much support at home, that this is something that they can really do – this is how you become a scientist.

  3. I clicked on your post– because of the title. Marketing works for me. Good work!

    Thanks for reminding me of that important idea that Scott Christian gave us in his lesson: to shadow a student for a day! It is a brilliant idea and something I think we should all do. – And maybe a few students.

  4. I also connected deeply with what David said and I thank you for sharing it. I also thought the idea to shadow a student a day would be really cool and exhausting at the same time. I bet it would make us think about the way we teach.

  5. Hearing Paula talk about the community aspects of CRT in her science lessons was inspiring and moving to me, too. I think that by engaging the community, students become more engaged in their learning process and see the real world outcomes and applications of the knowledge they gain in school! I really liked the perspective you shared about community engagement as a way for students to gain the confidence and support to take on greater challenges. Feeling lifted up by the community can lead to greater successes for the student, and that is awesome.

    Thank you for reminding us about Scott’s suggestion to shadow a student for a day. That is a valuable way to gain insights into the perspective and learning style of a student, and I would like to try it, as well.

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