In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Culturally Responsive Teacher Education in the United States

  • Introduction
  • CRTE Books and Journals
  • Commission and Foundation Reports

Education Culturally Responsive Teacher Education in the United States
Daniel Soodjinda, Nat Hansuvadha, Marquita Grenot-Scheyer
  • LAST REVIEWED: 13 August 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 March 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0130


By 2060 people of color will make up 57 percent of the nation’s population, and in K-12 schools, classrooms have steadily become more diverse with respect to race, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, and ability. Despite this increase in diversity, teachers today still struggle with viewing the culture, background, and life experiences of students as a resource, and instead have reduced these students’ home lives to stereotypical notions of race and ethnicity. This translates into superficial pre-packaged “diversity” attempts that link curriculum to “culture” and leads to a focus on a cultural “heroes and holidays” approach that neglects the rich cultural homes of students. On multiple levels this is problematic because the opportunity gaps between persons of color (POC) with white students continue to exist. Teachers, school leaders, and policymakers operationalize these gaps through a deficit lens—blaming students, their homes, and their communities. Thus, to address this gap, which views students’ assets as a deficit instead of a resource, teacher preparation programs must unpack, abolish, and reframe the ways in which they treat “diversity” in their curriculum by legitimizing, normalizing, and centering culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) throughout their program, instead of treating it as an add on. The criteria of CRP includes educational settings where: (a) students must experience academic success; (b) students must develop and/or maintain cultural competence; and (c) students must develop a critical consciousness through which they challenge the status quo of the current social order (Ladson-Billings 2014, cited under CRTE Books and Journals: p. 160). Those involved in educator preparation understand that a caring and competent teacher for each and every student is of paramount importance. While agreement is general regarding the qualities of an effective and caring educator, the same is not true regarding how to develop, prepare, support, and evaluate these educators. In this article, Culturally Responsive Teacher Education (CRTE) is defined as an educator preparation model that results in educators who can effectively teach all students. The simplicity of this definition does not reveal the underlying complexity of the actual endeavor, and this article provides the reader with resources to unpack this multifaceted framework. As challenging as the complexity of teacher preparation may be, schools need teachers and other educators who are well prepared for the increasingly complex and diverse student population. Further, diversity extends beyond race, language, and socioeconomic status to be inclusive of ability, as more and more students with disabilities are educated alongside typical peers in general education classrooms. Students with disabilities are not defined by a single social construct or identity marker of diversity. Rather, disability exists within the larger framework of demographics, which includes race, culture, language, and social class. It is essential for those responsible for educator preparation to think about the whole enterprise of our work, including the beliefs and values of the candidates we prepare, the nature of their content and pedagogical preparation, the ways in which they collaborate to support student success, their understanding and use of various instructional strategies, and their understanding and use of assessment and evaluation practices. Therefore, CRTE comprises five facets: dispositions, content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, collaboration, effective instruction, and formative and summative assessment and progress monitoring. This bibliography begins with a list of seminal books as well as foundation and policy reports, which are followed by a discussion of CRTE with citations and annotations related to the five dimensions of CRTE.

CRTE Books and Journals

Numerous books target teachers’ development and continued reflection of culturally relevant practices (CRP) in today’s schools, and the recommended texts in this article represent seminal books by scholars that have been foundational in the development of culturally relevant and responsive practices in teacher education as well as more recent texts that have pushed the conversation forward. Thus, the CRTE literature embodies a variety of disciplines, research bases, and political movements, including teacher education, multicultural education, critical race theory, and, most recently, the Black Lives Matter movement. To begin, multicultural education is at the foundation of many educator preparation programs, and Banks and Banks 2019 as well as Ladson-Billings 2014 have significantly shaped our collective understanding of the importance of ensuring educational equity for all students. Scholars in works, such as Delpit 2006, emphasize the importance of social justice in schools by exploring the power imbalances in urban schools and the impact on children of color, while Tatum 2017 explains the racial identity development among students of color from early childhood through adolescence. Gay 2018 notably provides a framework for culturally responsive teaching, connecting theory and practice to ensure that teachers understand that curriculum and pedagogy must be filtered through the experiences of the students themselves to ensure educational equity for all students, especially students of color. Ladson-Billings 2014 articulates the history of the author’s theory of culturally relevant pedagogy and the ways it has been translated and misused. She also argues for the importance of dynamic scholarship and acknowledges the need for culturally sustaining pedagogy to push forward the social justice work (Dixson and Ladson-Billings 2017, Paris 2012). Hammond 2014 makes a distinct contribution to the CRP research in drawing on neuroscience to offer an analysis of the connection between brain-based science and culturally responsive instruction, which affects learning relationships. Navarro, et al. 2019 qualitatively examines how teacher educators of color use students’ funds of knowledge to support teacher candidates of color with an asset-based approach while building trust, reciprocity, and students’ experiences. Finally, Mayorga and Picower 2017 challenges teacher educators to embody a race radical approach, which engages teacher candidates in intellectual and political discussions that center on black lives rather than an “All Lives Matter” ideology to truly prepare future teachers to enact transformative and socially just practices in diverse schools and communities.

  • Banks, J. A., and C. A. G. Banks. 2019. Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives. 10th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

    Now in its 10th edition, this bestselling textbook by seminal scholars in multicultural education provides educators with knowledge to effectively respond to the ways race, social class, and gender interact to influence student behavior and learning. Banks and Banks discuss the effects of students’ identities on education; differences in educational opportunities for male, female, and LGBTQ students; and issues surrounding non-native English speakers, students of color, and students with disabilities.

  • Delpit, L. 2006. Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. New York: New Press.

    Delpit explores the power imbalances in urban schools and the resulting impact on children of color. The author makes a cogent case that if teachers are to succeed in improving outcomes for students of color, the power differentials that exist among schools, families, and communities must be acknowledged and addressed.

  • Dixson, A. D., and G. Ladson-Billings. 2017. Special issue: Harambee: Pulling it all together. Teachers College Record 119.1.

    The editors in this special issue of Teachers College Record provide clarity to both teachers and teacher educators of foundational concepts that frame culturally responsive pedagogy and what it means to be culturally relevant. The authors preview the content and purpose of each contributing set of authors and provide both a vision for the future that moves beyond CRP definitions to encourage scholars to continue to innovate.

  • Gay, G. 2018. Culturally responsive teaching, theory and practice. 3d ed. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Geneva Gay, a renowned American educator and scholar, provides a compelling rationale and practical examples regarding the importance of addressing the needs of students of color and emphasizes the importance of ensuring that curriculum and pedagogy are filtered through the experiences of the students. The newest edition reflects research on culturally responsive teaching, a broader range of racial and ethnic groups, and early childhood education issues.

  • Hammond, Z. 2014. Culturally responsive teaching and the brain: Promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students. 1st ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

    Hammond draws on neuroscience to offer an analysis of the connection between brain-based science and culturally responsive instruction. Her book examines the relationship between culture and cognition on how one’s culture programs the brain to process data and affects learning relationships. Hammond makes a convincing case that implicit biases and structural racialization have created a context in schools that positions culturally and linguistically diverse students as dependent learners and denies them the opportunity to develop needed critical thinking abilities and become self-directed learners. Hammond thus recommends “key moves” to build students’ learner operating systems to become independent learners.

  • Ladson-Billings, G. 2014. Culturally relevant pedagogy 2.0: Aka the remix. Harvard Educational Review 84.1: 74–84.

    DOI: 10.17763/haer.84.1.p2rj131485484751

    Ladson-Billings reflects on the history of her theory of culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) and the ways it has been used and misused. She argues for the importance of dynamic scholarship and recommends that a “remix” of CRP is needed via culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP), as proposed in Paris 2012. She welcomes emerging literature on CSP as a way to continue to advance her original goals and vision of CRP.

  • Mayorga, E., and B. Picower. 2017. Active solidarity: Centering the demands and vision of the Black Lives Matter movement in teacher education. Urban Education 53.2: 212–230.

    DOI: 10.1177/0042085917747117

    These authors explain how teacher education typically operates under an “All Lives Matter” approach to teacher preparation and lacks an awareness of intersecting forms of oppression, which can advance anti-blackness. They call on teacher education to take on a race radical approach that engages in a politics that engages teacher candidates into the intellectual and political discussions that put black life at the center of efforts to transform society.

  • Navarro, O., C. L. Quince, B. Hsieh, and S. L. Deckman. 2019. Transforming teacher education by integrating the funds of knowledge of teachers of color. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 41.4–5: 282–316.

    DOI: 10.1080/10714413.2019.1696616

    In this autoethnography study, these researchers examine how teacher educators of color used students’ funds of knowledge to support teacher candidates of color across three universities. Integrating an asset-based approach, the authors anchor their relationships with students through trust, reciprocity, and students’ experiences and knowledge. These scholars exemplify how teacher preparation programs can enhance the learning experiences of those historically marginalized.

  • Paris, D. 2012. Culturally sustaining pedagogy: A needed change in stance, terminology and practice. Educational Researcher 41: 93–97.

    DOI: 10.3102/0013189X12441244

    Paris extends Ladson-Billing’s culturally relevant pedagogy and proposes culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) as a way to embody the best of past and present research and practice more accurately (i.e., culturally responsive and culturally relevant pedagogy). CSP requires teachers to be more responsive or relevant to the cultural experiences and practices of their students, including sustaining their cultural and linguistic competence while simultaneously offering access to dominant cultural competence.

  • Tatum, B. D. 2017. Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? 2d ed. New York: Basic Books.

    Beverly Daniel Tatum is a renowned authority on the psychology of racism and in this second edition of her bestseller, she provides current research, references, and comments on current political and social events. She articulates a framework to explain racial identity development of young black people, whites, and BIPOC (black, Indigenous, and people of color) from childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.