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Asset-Based Pedagogies

Asset-Based Pedagogies focus on the strengths that diverse students bring to the classroom. It is a direct response to deficit-based models to education of the past.

Ensuring equity for an increasingly diverse student population relies on today’s educators viewing student differences as assets and not deficits. Asset-Based Pedagogies view the diversity that students bring to the classroom, including culture, language, disability, socio-economic status, immigration status, and sexuality as characteristics that add value and strength to classrooms and communities. Asset-Based Pedagogies recognize that the populations listed above are not mutually exclusive. Students can move fluidly between several different groups.

Over the past two decades, many well-respected educational leaders have written about Asset-Based Pedagogies and given the term many other names, including: Funds of Knowledge (Moll and Gonzalez), Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (Ladson-Billings), Culturally Responsive Teaching (Gay and Hammond) and most recently Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies (Paris and Alim). These pedagogies directly counter deficit approaches which viewed the culture, literacies, and languages of students of color as deficiencies that needed to be overcome.

The most recent educational research, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies, builds upon the asset-based research and pedagogies that came before it and views Ladson-Billings’ Culturally Relevant Pedagogy as the groundwork for this new educational theory. Paris and Alim state that the terms “relevant” and “responsive” do not go far enough and that “sustaining” represents the goal of students maintaining their cultural and/or linguistic roots.

Asset-Based Pedagogies include, but are not limited to:

California Department of Education Asset-Based Pedagogies Resources

The California Department of Education has articulated a commitment to educational equity for all students in California. Using the lens of equity, various resources throughout the Department have included references to culturally and linguistically relevant/responsive approaches in addressing the educational needs of all students in California schools. Below you will find links to some of these resources:

English Learner Roadmap Principles Overview

Multi-Tiered System of Supports

Science Framework-Chapter 10 Access and Equity (PDF)

English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework-Chapter 9: Access and Equity (PDF)

California’s Social and Emotional Learning Guiding Principles (PDF)

Questions:   Teacher and Leader Policy Office | TLPO@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-7331
Last Reviewed: Thursday, January 16, 2020
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