eNews - March 23, 2016


Two Ways to Incorporate Multicultural Teaching and Learning

Take a close look at your student population. What do you see? I bet you see a culturally diverse student population and national statistics show that the multicultural trend you see in your classrooms will continue. What is culture, though? Culture includes race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, and learning abilities.

So, how does multicultural teaching and learning support teachers’ efforts in meeting the diverse needs of students? It gives content value by meaningfully connecting and incorporating it with the history, knowledge, beliefs, values, perspectives, and skills of people from different cultural backgrounds. With various cultures represented in classrooms, teachers are presented with multiple opportunities to capitalize on the diversity of their students.

Funds of Knowledge and Culturally Responsive Teaching are two evidence-based practices that improve teaching and learning for students of culturally diverse backgrounds:

  1. Funds of Knowledge

Funds of knowledge is defined as the “historically accumulated and culturally developed bodies of knowledge and skills for household or individual functioning and well-being” (Moll, Neff, & Gonzalez, 2005). Teachers who integrate students’ home knowledge with formal knowledge create engaging and successful environments for multicultural student learning. Below are two videos explaining Funds of Knowledge, a worksheet to gather Funds of Knowledge, and a link to our December 2nd eNews article that helps teachers make connections with students:

  1. Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Culturally responsive teaching is instruction that recognizes and uses the cultural wealth that students bring with them to the classroom. Teachers who integrate students’ cultural knowledge and skills in their instruction present content in a manner that helps students be more academically successful (Ladson-Billings, 1995). Neuroscience has even demonstrated that when students make connections, learning improves. It does not mean that you have to be an expert about different cultures, integrate lessons about famous people of color, or refer to foreign countries in your lessons. It does mean, though, that you respond to students’ cultural history, knowledge, beliefs, values, perspectives, and skills in a manner that makes learning more meaningful.

Below is a video about the elements of culture, a video with culturally relevant teaching in action, and link with three tips to make lessons culturally responsive:


Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). But that’s just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy. Theory into Practice, 34 (3), 159-165.

Moll, L., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & González, N. (2005). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms (pp. 71-87). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishing