Curriculum and Instruction

Curriculum is the foundation for how lessons are produced and what is to be presented in classes. The question which needs to be asked is if the curriculum representative of the ideas of the dominant group or culture or is it representative of multiple perspectives. The danger is to introduce concepts which highlight diversity during pre-determined months (i.e. Black History Month) or as a special activity (i.e. dance, eating food). Also, activities should be looked upon as venues by which other courses and viewpoints can be presented.

In order to become culturally responsive teachers, we need to actively be aware of how to monitor bias in our instruction. This includes taking into account different learning strategies and the use of non-verbal gestures. The simple statement of inquiry asks “Is what you’re saying equal to what you are doing?”

Depending on the activity, 60-90 percent of most communication is non-verbal. Let’s ponder this. Students may well pay attention to what you do more than what you tell them. When diverse learners are constantly surrounded by images which reflect the dominant culture in terms of curriculum, practices, languages, routines, and activities, the smallest of details which are familiar to these learners can assist in promoting success for these students. These details could serve as a first step in breaking barriers, relieving tensions, and addressing apprehensions.

Finally, assessment takes into account learning characteristics such as speech, language, cognition and when students enter into school. If there is no assessment of teaching, then how will we know if we are approving? Assessment can happen via videotaping, recording, enlisting peer evaluation or having students providing feedback on what is presented in your classes.

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