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REL Central Ask A REL Response

Teacher Preparation

December 2018


What competencies and strategies have a positive impact on culturally responsive pedagogy?


Following an established REL Central research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles to help answer the question. The resources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic databases, and general Internet search engines. (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. We have not evaluated the quality of the references provided in this response, and we offer them only for your information. Also, we compiled the references from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant sources may exist.

Research References

Averill, R., Anderson, D., & Drake, M. (2015). Developing culturally responsive teaching through professional noticing within teacher educator modelling. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 17(2), 64–83. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“Much evidence exists that culturally responsive and equitable teaching practices are challenging to develop. Evidence exists that in-the-moment coaching of ‘rehearsals’ of practice can help foster mathematics teaching strategies, but how such coaching can assist the development of culturally responsive practice is less clear. Drawn from a larger study into rehearsals of practice, this article illustrates how teacher educator modelling of instructional activities with in-the-moment coaching can provide opportunities for professional noticing of culturally responsive teaching practices. Such opportunities were identified across seven videos of rehearsals of practice in which teacher educator pairs modelled and coached mathematics teaching. Examples are discussed in relation to facilitation of professional noticing and two aspects of a framework of ‘cultural competencies’ for teachers of indigenous Māori learners. Implications include enhanced equity of access to mathematics learning through pre-service teachers being able to notice, discuss, and use culturally responsive teaching practices.”

Ebersole, M., Kanahele-Mossman, H., & Kawakami, A. (2016). Culturally responsive teaching: Examining teachers’ understandings and perspectives. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 4(2), 97–104. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“This action research study examines a graduate level course on Ethnicity and Education. Eighteen teacher participants enrolled in a Master of Education program. Course instructors analyzed teacher participants’ perceptions of culturally responsive teaching. A teaching plan, a post-course questionnaire, a focus group interview, and a follow up questionnaire were collected after the course. Analysis of the data generated three themes: 1) Doing culturally responsive activities; 2) Moving towards culturally responsive teaching as a perspective; and 3) Being a culturally responsive teacher. This article suggests ways teacher educators might re-conceptualize culture-based courses to deepen teacher perspectives rather than merely enhance teaching activities which support culturally responsive teaching and learning.”

Hsiao, Y.-J. (2015). The Culturally Responsive Teacher Preparedness Scale: An exploratory study. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 8(4), 241–250. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“The purpose of this study was to investigate the competencies of culturally responsive teaching and construct a Culturally Responsive Teacher Preparedness Scale (CRTPS) for the use of teacher preparation programs and preservice teachers. Competencies listed in the scale were identified through literature reviews and input from experts. The preparedness scale was created through an exploratory factor analysis. According to the factor analysis, there were three factors for CRTPS: curriculum and instruction, relationship and expectation establishment, and group belonging formation. The scale is well supported by psychometric analysis including factor loadings, internal consistency, and testing fairness with gender and race. Limitations and conclusions were made for the use of this scale.”

Larson, K. E., Pas, E. T., Bradshaw, C. P., Rosenberg, M. S., & Day-Vines, N. L. (2018). Examining how proactive management and culturally responsive teaching relate to student behavior: Implications for measurement and practice. School Psychology Review, 47(2), 153–166. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“The discipline gap between White students and African American students has increased demand for teacher training in culturally responsive and behavior management practices. Extant research, however, is inconclusive about how culturally responsive teaching practices relate to student behavior or how to assess using such practices in the classroom. Identifying proactive behavior management and culturally responsive teaching practices that are associated with positive student behavior may inform teacher training and bolster efforts to reduce disparities in behavioral and academic performance. The current study examined the association between student behaviors and the observed use of and teacher self-reported efficacy in using culturally responsive teaching and proactive behavior management practices. Data were collected from 274 teachers in 18 schools. Structural equation modeling indicated a statistically significant association between observations of culturally responsive teaching and proactive behavior management practices, with observed positive student behaviors in classrooms. Implications for measurement and practice are discussed.”

Mackay, H., & Strickland, M. J. (2018). Exploring culturally responsive teaching and student-created videos in an at-risk middle school classroom. Middle Grades Review, 4(1). Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“As the United States public school classrooms encounter notable shifts in student demographics and increased access to technology, teachers face the dual challenges of cultural and digital differences as they attempt to build relationships with students and develop responsive and relevant instruction. Framed by culturally responsive teaching (CRT), this qualitative study explored how one middle school teacher and his students in two summer school English classes interacted with and responded to novel technology-based instructional approach that sought to connect the students’ lives outside of school to the classroom. The findings suggest that involving the students within this culturally responsive teaching approach using student-created videos informs the contribution of both the teacher and the students for connecting home and school contexts with a CRT framework.”

Mayfield, V. M., & Garrison-Wade, D. (2015). Culturally responsive practices as whole school reform. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 16. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“Despite our best efforts, black children still lag behind white children in academic performance on standardized academic measures. Unconscious racism and our lack of ability to confront it present the most salient reason for the indefatigable prevalence of inequitable opportunities for children of color which undeniably result in achievement gaps. This study identified specific culturally responsive practices schoolwide in a middle school that is successfully closing academic opportunity gaps between White and Black students. The findings indicate professional development served as a conduit for ongoing discussions on race and building the cultural competency of staff. These discussions served to promote culturally responsive practices found in leadership, parent engagement, learning environment, and pedagogy.”

Olson, J. D., & Rao, A. B. (2016). Becoming a culturally responsive teacher: The impact of clinical experiences in urban schools. Journal of Urban Learning Teaching and Research, 12, 133–141. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“This study focuses on elementary and secondary teacher candidates’ perspectives of how their clinical experiences influence their preparedness in becoming effective culturally responsive educators. Clinical experiences in urban schools embedded within teacher preparation programs have the potential to develop students’ ability to become culturally responsive educators, yet it is unknown how these experiences contribute to teachers’ development in enacting culturally responsive pedagogy. Qualitative data was collected through open-ended survey responses and focus groups with teacher candidates in urban focused elementary and secondary teacher education programs at one college of education. Findings indicated that connecting with students’ cultures and communities, the school/classroom context, and university-school partnerships and alignment impacted teacher candidates’ feelings of preparedness on becoming culturally responsive educators.”

Ramirez, P., & Jaffee, A. T. (2016). Culturally responsive active citizenship education for newcomer students: A cross-state case study of two teachers in Arizona and New York. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 18(1), 45–67. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“This paper examines how two social studies teachers in New York and Arizona engage newcomer youth in active citizenship education. Using a framework of culturally responsive active citizenship education, this article sheds light on how two teachers, in two different social, political, and educational contexts, enact critical citizenship practices and culturally responsive teaching. Findings from this study have the potential to inform how best to support newcomer students’ understanding of and engagement in active citizenship in their local community(ies).”

Samuels, A. J. (2018). Exploring culturally responsive pedagogy: Teachers’ perspectives on fostering equitable and inclusive classrooms. SRATE Journal, 27(1), 22–30. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“This article examines perspectives of in-service teachers related to culturally responsive pedagogy and possible strategies for employing the framework in the K–12 setting. Benefits and barriers to facilitating a culturally responsive framework are explored, as well as approaches and pedagogical tools for fostering equitable and inclusive classrooms. Based on the findings, I posit the value of creating spaces for teachers to be reflective in their practice, as well as examine their own biases, to cultivate culturally responsive approaches to teaching and learning.”

Samuels, A. J., Samuels, G. L., & Cook, T. M. (2017). Examining perceptions of culturally responsive pedagogy in teacher preparation and teacher leadership candidates. SRATE Journal, 26(2), 50–60. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“The study examined a multi-tiered approach for facilitating learning and examining perceptions about culturally responsive pedagogy in teacher preparation and teacher leadership programs. The study aligned with a learning unit we designed to (1) increase understanding of culturally responsive pedagogy and (2) investigate perceptions of cultural responsiveness. We collected data through surveys, collaborative discussions, and active learning projects. Findings revealed participants see value in culturally responsive pedagogy, but have limited exposure to the approach and struggle to imagine how the framework can be regularly implemented. Major themes suggest increased exposure to culturally responsive pedagogy is necessary to promote socially just teaching.”


Keywords and Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Culturally responsive
  • "Culturally responsive" AND teaching

Databases and Resources

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and Google.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the Publication: References and resources published between 2008 and 2018 were included in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority was given to ERIC, followed by Google Scholar and Google.
  • Methodology: The following methodological priorities/considerations were used in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types–randomized control trials, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive analyses, literature reviews; and (b) target population and sample.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Central Region (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Central at Marzano Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Central under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0005, administered by Marzano Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.