Anti-Racism, K-12

Culturally Responsive Lesson Design

I am currently attending the TCEA Virtual Convention, so I plan to share a little about what I’ve learned in each post this week.

Education has a reputation for an overwhelming amount of buzzwords and acronyms. When I saw a TCEA session called, “The Heart of Culturally Responsive Lesson Design,” by Nyree Clark (@MsNyreeClark), I knew that I needed to attend, if only to better understand the meaning of “culturally responsive teaching.”

Those of us committed to social justice and anti-racist work may feel that this qualifies as culturally responsive teaching, but it may not be. According to Nyree Clark, we can be covering these topics, and even include multicultural studies in our classrooms, without meeting the criteria for culturally responsive teaching. The significant condition that we need to meet is that we are “trying to accelerate student learning by accessing their cultures and connecting them to the content we teach.”

Clark says we can do this in four steps: Spark, Support, Synthesize, and Share. As she took us through her interactive presentation, she modeled how we can do each step as we consistently weave in depth and complexity as well as social-emotional learning.

When asked for some ways to begin on a road toward culturally responsive lesson design, some of the steps Clark recommended are: working with your grade level, looking for paired texts that show perspectives of different cultures, using the amazing resources at Learning for Justice (once, and highlighting positive role models from different cultures.

Of course there is much more to culturally responsive lesson design. You can visit Ms. Clark’s website to see some books to help you begin your journey here. She also has a fabulous Wakelet where she has curated many valuable resources.

I will be adding this post to my own Wakelet of Anti-Racism resources.

Photo by Keira Burton on

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