Module 3: Martha Attridge Bufton

Culturally responsive education
Our readings on culturally responsive education (CRE) this week prompted me to take a step back and ask, “What is culturally responsive education?” After all, assessments are only one component of a broader teaching and learning program and must be compatible with the philosophies and approaches of the curricula in which they are embedded. So I did an online search for sites and materials that discuss and (hopefully) define culturally responsive education. Initially my search was broad (culturally responsive education) and then I added keywords such as Canada, Council of Ontario Universities and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). I also searched Google UK and Google Australia—to see the results differed significantly. Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the top results continued to be from the United States, leading me to wonder about differences in vocabulary.

When I tried “multicultur* education” in Google UK, the results seemed to be more relevant. I have included four Canadian and one American resource in this blog and may include those from the UK and Australia in my fourth blog posting.

Assembly of First Nations: Literature review (2012).
This recent literature review of culturally responsive education provides an overview of scholarly publications from the 1970s to the late 2000s. The literature appears to be primarily Canadian and American in content and covers a broad spectrum including both peer reviewed and grey literature. I am particularly interested in case studies related to CRE in Canada and several of the articles are relevant, such as those by Agbo (2001 and 2004) on Akwasasne, a First Nations and American Indian community located near Ottawa.

Council of Ontario Universities. (2017). Aboriginal learners.
As stated on the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) website, members consist of the 20 publicly funded universities in Ontario along with the Royal Military College of Canada. The council mandate is to promote undergraduate and graduate education and research and members work together collaborate on and promote a range of university issues with government and other stakeholders. This page from the COU website is dedicated to information related to First Nations, Metis and Inuit learners and contains a number of documents and resources that could be relevant for my project—at least in terms of defining and identifying CRE including Deepening our relationship: An overview of Indigenization-related activities on our campuses, published in February 2017.

Manitoba Education and Youth. (2003). Integrating Aboriginal perspectives into curricula. A resource for curriculum developers, teachers and administrators.
This document surfaced in my search, although I have yet to determine if it is still current, i.e., if other policy documents have superseded the information in this resource guide. However, the content may be relevant to my project in that not only is there a clear definition of culturally relevant education in the context of Aboriginal peoples in Manitoba, the document also contains a set of learning outcomes, which are interesting to consider as a framework for assessment.

McGill University. (2017). Teaching for learning blog@McGill University
Taking audiences’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds into consideration when communicating at McGill.
This recent post on the McGill University teaching and learning blog site addresses educators’ concerns when making formal presentations—concerns that could apply to a range of university staff working with and delivering content to students. The main reference is a recent article published in the journal Medical Teacher (which I have ordered through interlibrary library loans here at Carleton). While the focus of the blog post is language, the original article might be relevant in terms of developing CRE in a variety of educational contexts.

United States
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). (2017).
According to the ASCD website, the organization is “ASCD is a global community of educators dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. Our innovative solutions empower educators to promote the success of each child.” Based in Alexandria, Virginia, the ASCD website contains a number of resources including several hundred related to CRE. Although American in focus, there may be some resources, including the full text of some scholarly articles, such as A framework for culturally responsive teaching (1995) which again may provide some useful background for the section of my project on CRE.

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