The Heroic Journey of Unpacking Culturally Responsive Teaching

Learning to design culturally responsive activities does not happen overnight. Instead, educators go through multiple phases as they unpack culturally responsive education and develop culturally responsive practices.

In this booklet, Dr. Williams draws from The Hero’s Journey concept to illustrate five distinct phases educators experienced during his PhD study as they unpacked culturally responsive teaching and designed culturally meaningful activities. Practitioners went from implementing prescriptive, preplanned, and prepackaged curricula—practices that ignored the cultural values, community practices, and lived experiences of culturally diverse learners (Phase 1)—to abandoning traditional practices and designing culturally meaningful activities (Phases 4 and 5).

Throughout their journey, they experienced problems, co-designed tools to transform those problems, and employed co-designed tools to develop culturally responsive and transformative SEL activities. From their journey, they became more knowledgeable, skillful, and confident in transforming prescriptive curricula in culturally meaningful ways.



The LEARN Framework

LEARN: A 5-Step Framework for Designing Culturally Meaningful Practices

Thousands of educators across the country read popular books on culturally responsive teaching and attend hours of training on the topic, yet cannot design culturally responsive practices. Do you fall into this category? Have you read popular books or articles on culturally responsive teaching and attended hours of training on the topic but struggle to design culturally responsive practices in the classroom? Is this your experience?

The LEARN Framework will help you

● Unpack culturally responsive teaching in a practical way,
● Identify your “why” when considering culturally responsive teaching,
● Employ culturally responsive frameworks as guides when planning for   lessons,
● Design culturally responsive activities using practical tools,
● Avoid missteps that most educators take with culturally responsive teaching–and more!

The LEARN Framework highlights what you must know and do to design culturally responsive practices in five steps. It includes four practical tools that you’ll need to start designing culturally meaningful activities right away!

By the end of this booklet, you will be able to

◉  Describe why culturally responsive teaching is a heroic journey with multiple phases,

◉  Articulate where you are on your journey with culturally responsive teaching,

◉  Describe the 3-Step Problem Transformation Process Dr. Williams used in his PhD study to transform problems and design culturally meaningful practices,

◉  Employ the 5-Phase Hero’s Journey Framework to reflect on your history—your journey—with culturally responsive teaching,

◉  Employ the 3-Step Problem Transformation Framework to transform obstacles that prevent you and your colleagues from designing culturally responsive practices!

This book is filled with self-awareness activities to guide you as you reflect on your journey with culturally responsive teaching. It provides tips on getting unstuck and untangled if you have fallen into a ditch along the way!

Dwayne D. Williams, PhD

Researcher-Practitioner | Creative | Problem Solver

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