CoverIntroductionWellbeing and Its Importance in SchoolsWhat frameworks exist to promote school wellbeing?What is the best approach for my school/district?Valuable Tools and ConsiderationYour Call to ActionStudent Wellbeing InterventionsPositive Emotion Three Good ThingsCounting BlessingsEnvisioning Your Best Possible SelfUnderstanding HumorThree Funny ThingsOutdoor LearningBringing the Outside InBibliotherapyEngagementRecognizing and Utilizing Personal StrengthsARCS Model of CuriosityCarousel BrainstormingGenius HourPerspective Taking and Role-PlayArts IntegrationDrawing and Coloring TherapyCulturally-Enriching and Arts-Based Field TripsCulturally Responsive PracticesSocial Belonging InterventionEmotional Self-Regulation: RULER methodModeling Emotional Self-Regulation SkillsTeacher PraiseRelationshipsModeling Love, Kindness and ForgivenessActive Constructive RespondingDialogue JournalsSecret Strengths SpottingPeer Praise NotesActs of KindnessVolunteeringFast FriendsBuddy BenchMeaningEducating Students about Benefit AppraisalsGratitude LettersSavoring StrategiesTaking in the Good (HEAL)Mental Time TravelBrief Mindfulness ActivitiesMindful BellMindful BreathingBody Scan RelaxationMindful Walking/MovementFive Senses MindfulnessMindful PhotographyMindful Self-CompassionAccomplishmentFuture Thinking & When/Where PlansHope MapG-POWER Goal SettingEmbedded Self-Regulation StrategiesGrowth MindsetGrit and Deliberate PracticeDeveloping Students' Resilience and Coping SkillsHealth and VitalityHealthy Sleep HabitsClassroom Physical ActivityYogaCreative Playground EquipmentHealthy Body Image InterventionStudent-Led Health ProgramSchool-Led Interventions for Teachers and StaffSupporting Teacher AutonomyMindfulness TrainingCompassion TrainingHumor TrainingIncentivizing Physical ExerciseIndividual Interventions for School EmployeesPositive and Reflective JournalingSelf-Regulation and Coping StrategiesSelf-AffirmationSelf Compassion LetterDiscovering and Utilizing Character StrengthsJob CraftingMindfulnessAdditional Interventions to ConsiderDedicated Wellbeing SpacesIndividual Wellbeing Plans for School EmployeesOther ResourcesPROSPER
Addressing Wellbeing In Schools

Culturally Responsive Practices

Keywords: Elementary Education, High school, Middle School

Students of color are at an increased risk of psychological distress, suicide, problem behavior, and decreased academic success as compared to their peers (Aud et al., 2011; Blake et al., 2011; Cholewa et al., 2014). Culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) in education has developed as a way to improve the belonging, engagement, and academic achievement of students with diverse cultural backgrounds (Cholewa et al., 2014; Sampson & Garrison-Wade, 2011). According to Cholewa et al. (2014), CRP in the classroom involves using language that is respectful of diverse cultures, building on existing knowledge and familiar communication styles, and integrating music and dance. 

Educators’ use of CRP can help students feel more excitement towards the curriculum. One teacher, Mrs. Morris, drew from her students’ unique backgrounds to enhance her curriculum and pedagogy in a predominantly African-American school (Cholewa et al., 2014). She incorporated African-American values, such as communalism, and music and dance styles popular among African-American students. She also used a call and response communication style to engage her students in answering questions. The energy and vitality she created through CRP promoted zest and engagement in her classroom (Cholewa et al., 2014). 

Similarly, one social studies teacher incorporated his students’ cultural backgrounds into his history lessons (Sampson & Garrison-Wade, 2011). Students particularly enjoyed his lessons on the history of the origin and evolution of the usage of the “N word", his rap version of the Declaration of Independence, and field trips to the African American Research Library and a Tortilla Factory. Many students reported that these activities were engaging, fun, and helped them feel valued and understood (Sampson & Garrison-Wade, 2011). 

As you evaluate your use of CRP, it is important to know your students and adapt your lessons accordingly. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley recommends considering the what, who, why and how of your teaching and asking yourself questions such as:


Cholewa, B., Goodman, R.D., West-Olatunji, C., & Amatea, E. (2014). A qualitative examination of the impact of culturally responsive educational practices on the psychological well-being of students of color. Urban Review, 46, 574–596 

Sampson, D., & Garrison-Wade, D. (2011). Cultural vibrancy: Exploring the preferences of African American children toward culturally relevant and non-culturally relevant lessons. Urban Review, 43, 279–309. 

Greater Good Science Center. (n.d.). Making practices culturally responsive. 


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