Andrea Stowell's Mini-Course: Culturally Responsive Teaching Practice


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Hello! Welcome to my mini-course.

Needs Assessment


Instructional Problem
Accommodating the needs of diverse learners is an essential task to cover for educators of all age groups. In addition, differentiating and providing various types and levels of support is nothing new for teachers to take on. When educators welcome English language learners into their classroom, they must prepare to teach with a modified mindset compared to general education students. Although teachers are aware of the fundamental needs English language learners require, sometimes cultural differences are forgotten. English language learners already take on the monumental task of learning a new language, so having to adjust to a new lifestyle in and out of school can add more stress or setbacks to their learning and social experience. As McLaughlin-Phillps (2010) states, "The creation of culturally responsive schools and classrooms is of the utmost importance to the learning, development and overall health of newcomer students and their families."

What is to be Learned
This mini-course will define culture to help participants understand its importance in the classroom. It will also explain how culture and cultural differences play a significant role in student behavior and academic achievement. Then, participants will learn about a variety of educational practices and strategies that help increase the achievement of culturally diverse students. Finally, the course will address how educators can create a welcoming learning environment going beyond teaching strategies and practices.

Course Goals
The goals for this mini-course are for participants to walk away understanding the importance of cultural responsiveness and ideas of different ways to respond to it.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Prerequisite Knowledge

  • Participants should read and write at the college level
  • Students should understand basic education terminology
  • Students should be able to work in groups and understand basic rules of teamwork

The Learners
This mini-course is designed for all educators of any age group. The content involves information on how to address and respond to culturally responsive practice for anyone working with English language learners. This mini-course is meant to be taught as online professional development. Participants will have the opportunity to sign up for the course and complete it like an online college class.

Participant Analysis

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Learners partaking in this mini-course are most likely educators or studying to become one. With the percentage of English language learners rising, teachers must prepare for a culturally diverse class by understanding the importance of "differences" and how to approach certain situations. Figure 1 from Englis Language Learners in Public Schools (2018) shows the percentage of public school students who were English language learners in the year 2015. Some states have much lower numbers compared to others, for example, Maine and California, but there is not one state with 0%. These statistics support the idea that teachers, regardless of location, should hold a high level of cultural competence to practice culturally responsive teaching.

In addition, American schools do not require general education teachers to have any certification in teaching English as a second language, unless they want to become an ESL specialist. Even though some schools have ESL specialists to give ESL and ELL's extra support, there has been a problem with a shortage of teachers and general education teachers that do not receive proper training. According to Sanchez (2017), "ELLs are often concentrated in low-performing schools with untrained or poorly trained teachers. The shortage of teachers who can work with this population is a big problem in a growing number of states." With that said, most teachers participating in this course probably teach general education and could benefit from a mini-course that covers culturally responsive practice.

Instructional Context
The ideal setting for the mini-course would be in a school building, used for professional development because students can easily interact with one another. Participants can complete the mini-course online, or in person. The expected time to complete the mini-course for online professional development is five days. The number of hours students spend depends on their schedule, but all modules will be completed within five days. The expected time to complete the mini-course in person is five hours with a 30-minute break.

Performance Objectives

  • Students will be able to define and list elements of cultural diversity.
  • Students will be able to define and summarize cultural responsive practice.
  • Students will be able to explain the purpose and importance of instructional strategies.
  • Students will be able to apply effective instructional strategies to create a culturally responsive learning environment.
  • Students will be able to indicate what it takes to be a culturally responsive educator.
  • Students will be able to modify and illustrate how I will use specific techniques and non-instructional strategies to create my own culturally responsive learning environment.

Task Analysis

Unit 1: Defining and Understanding Culturally Resposive Practice

Unit 2: Effective Practices - Instructional Strategies

Unit 3: Effective Practices - Positive Learning Environments

Curriculum Map

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References and Resources

English Language Learners in Public Schools. (2018, April). Retrieved November, 2018, from

McLaughlin-Phillips, K., Neth, H., Ritchie, S., Groth, L., & Michael, P. (2010). Understanding ESL Learners: Moving Toward Cultural Responsiveness— A Guide for Teachers. Retrieved November 15, 2018.

Sanchez, C. (2017, February 23). English Language Learners: How Your State Is Doing. Retrieved November, 2018, from