Preparing Educators for Culturally Responsive Teaching Through Technical Cultural Representations
This paper describes a professional development program that is designed to prepare in-service educators for culturally responsive teaching (CRT) through practice with the development of technical representations of cultural themes in an international context. Six categories of technical cultural representation are introduced with examples from both CRT literature and our program: cultural mapping, inquiring, writing, augmenting, documenting, and making. Our program features Saturday classes in spring, a two-week study abroad immersion in summer with portfolio development, and follow-up classes in fall with project sharing and lesson planning. The program has run seven times in four countries between 2011 and 2019, introducing 128 educators to CRT strategies enabled by technology while developing identities as culturally responsive educators with expanded cultural perspectives. Findings from an impact study are shared, suggesting the program has been successful in helping most educators learn new technologies and strategies for cultural representation with writing frames and global projects, in particular, being reapplied in classrooms. Some educators also noted they had increased in their understanding of culture-focused activities and themes that were more meaningful and tied into social justice issues, while others had learned to better recognize diverse cultures in their own classrooms and were modifying teaching practices to honor those perspectives and traditions. The paper concludes with design recommendations for others seeking to offer professional development in CRT.