Connecting the Unknown to the Known

Submitted By:
Rachel Veto Chabot, Stratford Academy, Macon, GA

How to Develop Culturally Responsive Teaching for Distance Learning by Amielle Major, citing Zaretta Hammond
KQED Mindshift, May 20, 2020

As independent schools continue to reimagine education in the face of the novel coronavirus, they must consider their historical constructs and how to benefit those who have been traditionally disadvantaged. Zaretta Hammond, a major voice for such work, recently offered a webinar on "culturally responsive teaching for distance learning." It is summarized in this article by Amielle Major. The goals of culturally responsive teaching include "improving the learning capacity of students who have been marginalized educationally because of historical inequities" and "pushing back on dominant narratives about people of color." Culturally responsive instruction aims to place students at the center of their own learning, empowering and improving cognitive capacity. The summary speaks to our current moment by offering three strategies to implement during distance learning: deepen background knowledge, cultivate cognitive routines, and build word wealth. By drawing on marginalized students' own interests and experiences, and creating practices that consistently guide students to connect the unknown to the known, teachers can help these students make the shift from compliant learning to processing. Hammond insists that schools must continue to build brain power and agency in their students during distance learning, particularly for those students who have been historically marginalized.

Teaching Practice