March 15, 2019 marked 18 years since the release of Gloria Ladson-Billings’ seminal work “Crossing Over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms.” Continuing her work illustrated in this book, Dr. Ladson-Billings continues to explore pedagogy to meet teachers’ needs in addressing equity and social justice through the “Teach for Diversity” program at the University of Wisconsin. In 2014, Dr. Ladson-Billings discussed these ideas and more in her keynote address at the AATC Annual Conference.
While teachers may experience some preparation for multicultural classrooms, Ladson-Billings recognized potential improvements in teacher preparation to foster a more comprehensive pedagogy for culturally-responsive teaching. Driven by personal teaching experiences, Ladson-Billings explored teacher education that challenges and develops teachers for diverse classrooms. Culturally diverse learners continue to fill classrooms across the United States, thus maintaining the relevance of the work of Ladson-Billings. Teacher educators as well as in-service and pre-service teachers can be reminded of the importance of developing and supporting practices that are truly responsive to cultural diversity and ensure equitable and socially just learning opportunities for all students.
As we consider the work of Dr. Ladson-Billings, we can strive to continually meet the needs of teachers and students in diverse classrooms. 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:
- In what ways can we better prepare and support teachers in culturally diverse classrooms? What methods can we use to foster culturally responsive pedagogy?
- How can we foster a philosophy inclusive of culturally responsive pedagogy that will ensure implementation in a variety of school settings? How will this philosophy build on or encompass issues of equity and social justice?
- How can we use cultural diversity and related pedagogy to inform educational decisions for learners of various ages and levels?
Written by Dr. Corey Nagle