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How TFA–Baltimore Teachers Cultivate Students' Strengths With Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
“[Achievement] is not the totality of a student’s personal identity, or the essence of his or her human worth.”
—Geneva Gay, Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice
“Every year,” says executive director Cass, “we seek to more fully align the approach of our regional team, corps, and alumni in education to the dispositions, skills, and knowledge reflected in CRP, learning from local and national experts and building on some of the most promising examples we’re seeing through our fellowship.”
Corps members and alumni have noted that CRP is invaluable for teachers of any age group or grade level. Williams has a few examples from his second-grade classroom at KIPP Harmony: “I’ve been implementing a ‘Morning Meeting’ portion of my day that allows students to practice their leadership skills and see how various games and activities apply to their real-world lives. I also frequently allow students time to act out our read-alouds and find solutions to a host of issues on their own.”
Developing her knowledge of and skills in CRP has led O’Connor. who teaches Spanish at Academy for College and Career Exploration High School, to a greater understanding of the power of words in her classroom.
“I make sure that the vocabulary I teach my students in Spanish is correlated to the words they would need to describe their communities,” she says. “I changed my physical description unit to include words such as ‘light-skinned’ and ‘braids’ because they were not included in the city curriculum. I also am working on a lesson on colorism in Latino culture and how that relates to colorism in the black community.”
In the coming year, TFA–Baltimore’s leadership development team will be working to provide support across the continuum of corps members’ development—from the moment they join TFA through a lifetime as an alum. “We have the opportunity to provide more experiences and resources for both alumni and corps members, to deepen their understanding and approach to CRP,” Cass says. “It’s exciting to continue to move forward in this, and to think about the positive effects it will have on student learning and empowerment.”