The Power of Culturally Responsive Teaching

One of the pillars of an Ellis education—being a positive community member—extends to our faculty as well. The Middle School teachers have started a more intentional journey to dialogue, listen, and reflect on their practices so that they can demonstrate for students what it means to positively contribute to the classroom environment and to the larger school community.
Our division meetings and school-wide faculty meetings have focused on culturally responsive teaching, which encourages teachers to reflect on how the cultures of both students and teachers influence the learning environment. When students’ experiences and perspectives are affirmed and integrated into the curriculum and instructional practices, the classroom becomes a place where students feel connected and their learning is maximized.

Our knowledge was further expanded when we invited Upper School students who attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee to share with teachers about their experiences of being students of color at Ellis. The girls were honest and brave, and the teachers responded in kind. This opened a dialogue about classroom practices and how to best reach a diverse group of learners.

Culturally responsive teaching and dialogue contribute to creating a warm, welcoming, and healthy school community because the teachers and the students learn together through the wealth of knowledge that each community member brings to Ellis.