Written by Dr. Corey Nagle
Dr. Carol D. Lee, keynote speaker at the 2013 AATC Annual Conference, addresses the issues of literacy and culturally responsive teaching in her book Culture, Literacy, and Learning: Taking Bloom in the Midst of the Whirlwind released in June 2007. Dr. Lee responds to perceptions of underachievement in urban schools with a framework that is subject-matter specific and culturally responsive.
Dr. Lee proposes a framework based on the Culture Modeling Project that builds on student strengths, including African American Vernacular English (AAVE) discourse and hip-hop culture. In the classroom examples presented by Dr. Lee, we can see how students respond to learning and solving complex problems through critical analysis of literature. Students can more fully engage in learning and develop their abilities to reason not only in English/language arts but in all subject areas. When cultural knowledge becomes part of the educational experience in classrooms, schools, and the broader educational systems, students and society can benefit.
As we consider the work of Dr. Lee and the whirlwind that has enveloped education over the past year and a half, we can reflect on our practices in the classroom and meeting the needs of all students in all subject areas.. The following questions may help us to further our work. In the spirit of encouraging dialogue, a foundational component of AATC’s identity, we encourage you to share your thoughts and engage in discourse in the comments section:
- What are the needs of students in your classroom? How could a culturally responsive, subject-matter specific approach to literacy change your practice and be responsive to students?
- After reflecting on current systems, in what ways could Dr. Lee’s framework help us progress in overcoming the systemic challenges of current educational systems? What is your role in advocating for or making these systemic changes?