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Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy helps students to uphold their cultural identities while developing fluency in at least one other culture.

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy is a theoretical model that focuses on multiple aspects of student achievement and supports students to uphold their cultural identities. Culturally Relevant Pedagogy also calls for students to develop critical perspectives that challenge societal inequalities.

Gloria Ladson-Billings proposed three main components of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: (a) a focus on student learning and academic success, (b) developing students’ cultural competence to assist students in developing positive ethnic and social identities, and (c) supporting students’ critical consciousness or their ability to recognize and critique societal inequalities. All three components need to be utilized.

Three Components of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Student Learning The students’ intellectual growth and moral development, but also their ability to problem-solve and reason.
Cultural Competence Skills that support students to affirm and appreciate their culture of origin while developing fluency in at least one other culture.
Critical Consciousness The ability to identify, analyze, and solve real-world problems, especially those that result in societal inequalities.


Django Paris and H. Samy Alim eds., Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World, Chapter 8, Teachers College Press (2017)

Gloria Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The Dreamkeepers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishing Co.

Gloria Ladson-Billings, "Toward a Theory of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy" External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), American Educational Research Journal, Vol. 32, No. 3 , accessed January 2020.

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Last Reviewed: Thursday, January 16, 2020
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