Culturally Responsive Teaching In Special Education

Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2023

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Keri DeSutter


Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) is a pedagogical approach that recognizes the significance of including students’ cultural backgrounds in all aspects of learning. CRT seeks to bridge the gap between student’s home and school environments while acknowledging the diverse experiences and characteristics students bring to their learning. CRT emphasizes the importance of respecting and incorporating cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic diversity into teaching practices and curricula. This approach facilitates better engagement, fosters a sense of belonging, and improves the academic achievements of all students, particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Moreover, it encourages the development of critical thinking skills by challenging cultural biases and stereotypes. The implementation of CRT, however, requires continuous teacher learning and adaptation to ensure its effectiveness in a constantly changing educational landscape.

Students with special needs are often faced with dual marginalization due to their disability and cultural background. CRT in Special Education seeks to facilitate a more inclusive and effective learning environment by acknowledging and respecting these differences. The application of CRT in Special Education involves using individualized instructional strategies relevant to the student's cultural background. It promotes higher engagement and academic success by making the learning content relatable and meaningful to the students. In addition, CRT in Special Education encourages the cultivation of a positive self-concept in students, helping them see their cultural and personal identity as strengths.

The application of CRT in Special Education requires a commitment from educators to continuous learning and adaptation. It necessitates a deep understanding of both the cultural backgrounds of the students and the pedagogical strategies that can effectively cater to their unique needs. The ultimate goal of CRT in Special Education is to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment where all students, regardless of their abilities and cultural backgrounds, can thrive.

This project provides insight to CRT and how to implement it within the classroom. I will show how CRT impacts a student's life both within and outside of the classroom. My research sources will show how I, as a teacher, impact a student’s life when being Culturally Responsive and respecting a student’s cultural background. I will also provide a short guide to share with colleagues to increase their awareness of CRT and its benefits in a classroom setting.

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