Culturally responsive teaching and leading is great teaching and leading. It happens in classrooms, schools, and districts that foster and support students' diverse backgrounds, identities, strengths, and challenges to deepen their learning, build their understanding and respect for other cultures, and address systemic inequities.
The resources on this page define cultural responsiveness, address its importance in our schools and classrooms, include professional development tools supporting culturally responsive teaching and leading, and provide examples of schools engaged in efforts to advance this work.
Cultural responsiveness is an approach to viewing students' culture and identity (including race, ethnicity, multilingualism, and other characteristics) as assets, and creating learning experiences and environments that value and empower them. As conceived by leading scholar Gloria Ladson-Billings and informed by an evolving body of research, culturally responsive teaching and leading promotes three outcomes supporting student learning:
All students in Massachusetts need and deserve culturally responsive teaching and leading. See the resources below for more information.
Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Schools and Classrooms
Culturally Responsive Reusable Learning Object (RLO)
We know from the research and from students and families that when educators are responsive to students' cultures and identities, students will have stronger relationships with educators, better learning experiences, and better outcomes.2 It is important to note that while relationship building is necessary for cultural responsiveness, the ultimate goal is to strengthen student learning and achievement.
Educators must do a combination of technical and adaptive work1 to engage in culturally responsive teaching.
Culturally Responsive Teaching Video Library
Videos of classroom instruction, submitted and selected by MA educators, that showcase culturally responsive teaching.
Classroom Instruction Videos and Culturally Responsive Teaching Rubric
Example videos of classroom instruction and a CRT rubric developed by MA educators that can be used to support professional learning.
OPTIC Content Fellows Culturally Responsive Teaching Collection
A Facilitator's Guide, collection of videos, and other resources supporting the study of culturally responsive practice in math and ELA classrooms using the Online Platform for Teaching and Informed Calibration.
Culturally Responsive Look Fors
Observable teacher and student actions aligned to focus elements from the Model Classroom Teacher Rubric.
Cambridge Public School District
Putnam Avenue Upper School
Cambridge Street Upper School
Holyoke Public Schools — Holyoke High School Programming
1 Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership Without Easy Answers, 1998; Martin Linsky & Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line, 2002.
Last Updated: June 8, 2021
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