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S2 Ep3: Being Culturally Responsive in Education with Ken Shelton

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Ken Shelton shares his expertise and experiences on creating culturally responsive learning experiences and really exploring prejudices and biases in the classroom.

Ken is an educator with over 20 years of experience, with a specialization in Educational Technology. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Innovator as well as the ISTE Digital Equity PLN 2018 Excellence Award winner. Ken leads educational workshops that focus on a wide variety of topics, including Educational Technology, equity, inclusion, Multimedia Literacy, Cultural Relevance, Visual Storytelling, and Instructional Design. For more about Ken, be sure to visit his personal website.

Ken shares his ideas on what it means and looks like when our cultural paradigms and prejudices influence how we teach and interact in our communities, including interactions with students, parents, and other educators. He discusses the dominant culture and how it influences our learning environments, and how important it is to examine how welcoming and open you are, through a cultural lens, to your school and your district. This understanding helps to understand how that dominant culture influences things like curriculum, time, acceptable apparel, behavior, and appearance, and determines what is deemed to be acceptable or unacceptable.

In this interview, Ken provides really strong questions to ask ourselves about what matters in teaching and learning. If it doesn’t directly correlate to access and opportunity to learning, or directly correlate to student safety, why does the policy exist? Those from historically oppressed and marginalized backgrounds are often suppressed by the dominant culture and power culture that exists, and Ken provides some powerful arguments for examining policy and cultural ‘norms’.

Throughout the interview, Ken shares personal teaching experiences, stories, and some wonderful ideas and strategies for incorporating student culture into the learning of content. After listening to Ken, you will hopefully really begin to look critically at some of the policies and curriculum in your own schools and examine ways to try to be more culturally responsive to your own students and create culturally relevant learning experiences and look at teaching from a holistic approach versus a linear approach.

Below are links to resources that were mentioned during the interview:

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