Culturally responsive teaching before COVID-19 and after should focus on keeping students’ cultural norms and beliefs in mind and putting time into relating to students who have different life experiences, languages, and values than your own. Being culturally responsive requires a reflection on your own life experiences and how they’ve impacted your belief systems.

Put simply, once we consider the experiences that have shaped us, we can appreciate that despite our differences, we are more alike than we think.

Tackling the overwhelm

When working with teachers with English-language learners, I find that many of them are overwhelmed by language barriers.

Supporting English learners with culturally responsive teaching

Related content: How we turned around our ELL program

As a result, they have difficulty developing a personal rapport with these students. “I don’t speak their language,” they’ll tell me, or “My ELL students don’t have the English language skills yet to ask me questions or respond during classroom conversations.”

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About the Author:

Julie A. Motta, M.Ed & M.A., is a national board certified teacher at Gilbert Stuart Middle School in Providence, Rhode Island. She was 2004 & 2017 Providence Teacher of the Year and currently oversees the Newcomer/SLIFE Program for Grades 6-8.


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