Culturally Responsive Schools

Monterey County Office of Education

Leadership, Support and Service to Prepare All Students for Success

Dr. Deneen Guss, County Superintendent of Schools

Culturally Responsive Schools

"Culture is central to learning. It plays a role not only in communicating and receiving information, but also in shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals."

Gloria Ladson-Billings

Dr. Geneva Gay defines culturally responsive teaching as using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and performance styles of diverse students to make learning more appropriate and effective for them; it teaches to and through the strengths of these students. Gay also describes culturally responsive teaching as having these characteristics:

  • It acknowledges the legitimacy of the cultural heritages of different ethnic groups, both as legacies that affect students' dispositions, attitudes, and approaches to learning and as worthy content to be taught in the formal curriculum.

  • It builds bridges of meaningfulness between home and school experiences as well as between academic abstractions and lived sociocultural realities.

  • It uses a wide variety of instructional strategies that are connected to different learning styles.

  • It teaches students to know and praise their own and each others' cultural heritages.

  • It incorporates multicultural information, resources, and materials in all the subjects and skills routinely taught in schools.

These conditions are essential to developing intrinsic motivation. They are sensitive to cultural differences. They work in concert as they influence students and teachers, and they happen in a moment as well as over a period of time.

CRSS Resources

Craig, A. & Ginsberg, M. "Lessons at the kitchen table." Educational Leadership, March 2007. pp.64(6), 56-61.

Gay, G. Culturally Responsive Teaching 2nd ed. New York: Teachers College Press, 2010.

Ginsberg, M., & Wlodkowski, R. Creating highly motivating classrooms: A school wide approach to powerful teaching with diverse learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.

Gonzales, N., Moll, L., & Amanti, C. Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005.

Wlodkowski, R. J., & Ginsberg, M. "A framework for culturally responsive teaching." Educational Leadership, September 1995. pp.53(1), 17-21.


Esther Rubio

Program Coordinator, School Climate
Phone: 831.755.0843

Gail Kuehl

Special Projects
Phone: 831.755.0368

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