Programs and the Academic Achievement of Culturally Diverse Youth

The changing demographics and inclusion of more and more culturally diversified groups in the society have highlighted the need for incorporating culturally responsive programs in the educational sector. Culturally responsive education acknowledges, respects, and employs the backgrounds and identities of students as valuable sources for the creation of optimal learning environment. It has also been recognized as a link between students’ family and classroom culture. A vital aspect of culturally responsive programs is the environment which respects, cares, includes, and connects individuals in the classroom. This implies the development of interpersonal relationships through peer interactions, use of culturally congruent instructions and materials, and observation of student progress. The effectiveness of teachers and discovered that effective teachers emphasized involvement with community and family and developed interpersonal relationships. They also restructured curriculum to appeal to the interests and strengths of culturally diversified students.

Teachers must devote attention at enhancing the intrinsic motivation of students. The Motivational Framework for eliciting the motivation of all learners. This framework involves establishing inclusion, developing a positive attitude, enhancing purpose for engaging learners, and having learners identify that they are learning something valuable.  The need to use cultural references for empowering learners socially, emotionally, politically and intellectually was stressed upon. This could consequently aid in imparting skills, knowledge, and attitudes. Culturally relevant programs involve employing three fundamental principles: learners must succeed academically, cultural competence must be maintained or developed by the learners, and they must challenge the current social order status quo through the development of a critical consciousness. Teachers that are culturally relevant use cultural diversity as a vehicle for learning.

Culturally relevant programs also involve building bridges between academic learning and previous knowledge, understanding, values and native languages of students. Learners took more risks, adapted more readily, and performed new skills with enhanced willingness in situations where educators employed practices for cooperative learning practices. Educators from all backgrounds could effectively present instructions when they understand the cultural and linguistic experiences of their learners.

Along with the inclusion of culturally diversified students and cultural knowledge, culturally responsive programs also set high standards and expectations for all learners. These programs involve designing activities for fostering higher order thinking and encouraging in-depth responses. Furthermore, classroom practices must be cooperative, hands-on, and culturally aligned and lesser emphasis should be on lectures. Teachers and educators should be willing to discover the learning style, culture, and language of their students so as to make relevant modification in the instructions and curriculum.

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