Mind the Gap


I cannot believe that summer is almost halfway over. Where did the time go? Luckily, I still have time to figure out how best to inform my colleagues about what I’ve learned regarding cultural competence and social justice. Because I’m a visual learner, I put together a mindmap (a revised version of Buzan’s format) to see areas where my school could address gaps in our efforts to offer a supportive and nurturing environment for our diverse learners.

Because I serve on the instructional leadership team, I am in a position to offer suggestions for our faculty PD day which typically occurs in February. I think perhaps sharing some resources (see below) along with a presentation with key points about multicultural education would be a good place to start. While our staff is ethnically and racially diverse, most of us were educated in America which means that many of us may not be aware of the unconscious bias that may be reflected in our non-verbal and verbal communication with students and parents.

Reflection is an important aspect of personal growth. Most teachers spend quite a bit of time in reflection, of that I have no doubt. But perhaps the reflection needs to be more targeted in that we should consider how we interact with students–our actions, our words, and, more importantly, our expectations for their academic achievement. In other words, we need to take some time for some serious introspection. Perhaps our faculty PD day could offer time for that.


Au, K. (2018). Isn’t culturally responsive instruction just good teaching? Social Education, 73, 179–183.  Retrieved from http://www.socialstudies.org

Borba, M. (2009). Caring closes the language-learning gap. Phi Delta Kappan, 90, 681–685. doi:10.1177/003172170909000915

Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53, 106–116. doi:10.1177/0022487102053002003

Haberman, M. (2010). The pedagogy of poverty versus good teaching. Phi Delta Kappan, 92, 81-87.doi:10.1177/003172171009200223

Lam, W. S. E. (2013). What immigrant students can teach us about new media literacy. Phi Delta Kappan, 94, 62–65. doi:10.1177/003172171209400416

Nieto, S. (2008). Affirmation, solidarity and critique: Moving beyond tolerance in education. In E. Lee, D. Menkart, & M. Okazawa-Rey (Eds.), Beyond heroes and holidays (pp. 18–29). Washington DC: Teaching for Change.

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