Enhancing Cultural Responsiveness: Continuing Professional Development for K-12 Teachers

external image 5484267477_c8dd005dd1.jpgCultural Responsiveness Professional Development for New Teachers: An Introduction to an Induction Module

Research demonstrates that new teachers often experience challenges for which they were not prepared during their student teaching experience. Many new teachers begin their career in schools and school systems with a population that requires cultural responsiveness in order to experience success. Teachers lacking this awareness often find themselves unable to relate to their student and parents, ultimately pushing many to leave these schools, taking with them the passion for their content and teaching. Any teacher who recognizes the importance of cultural responsiveness can benefit from this resource and begin to create bridges of understanding that will help them experience a fulfilling teaching career. While the use of the resource does not guarantee success, it does offer any educator the opportunity to honestly evaluate the level of cultural competence he/she possesses.

Why is Cultural Responsiveness Important?

Current research continues to demonstrate that the achievement gap between Caucasian, African American, Hispanic students continues to grow, despite various initiatives over the past decade focused on narrowing this gap. The National Association of School Psychologists notes that nearly 93% of school psychologists are white, yet and serve populations that are described as approximately 98% culturally and linguistically diverse (Sullivan & L’Vant, 2009). The importance of cultural competence is demonstrated by its inclusion in the both the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the Illinois State Board of Education Professional Teaching Standards, both of which refer to respecting the cultural differences in their students. Until all educators understand the importance of culturally responsive teaching, students will continue to be undereducated and the achievement gap will continue to widen.