How to Support Culturally Responsive Instruction in Your School

The holiday season is a great time to reflect on what your school is doing to support and value linguistically and culturally diverse students and their families. In their article entitled Culturally Responsive Instruction for Holiday and Religious Celebrations, Cynthia Lundgren and Giselle Lundy-Ponce provide general recommendations for culturally responsive instruction as well as guidance specifically focused around the celebration of holidays in schools.

Four Guidelines for Culturally Responsive Instruction

If you would like to take a deeper dive into culturally responsive practices in your context, please check out SupportEd’s Culturally Responsive School Checklist and Goal Setting ToolThis tool offers classroom and school look-fors in four areas that align to Staehr Fenner & Snyder’s (2017) four guidelines for culturally responsive instruction. These four guidelines specify that culturally responsive instruction: 

  1. Is assets-based 
  2. Places students at the center of the learning 
  3. Values students’ languages, cultures, and backgrounds 
  4. Simultaneously challenges and supports students 

For each of the guidelines, our checklist recommends four possible look-fors and provides you an opportunity to reflect on how well your school is doing in that area. For example, consider to what extent students in your school are provided role models that share their cultural backgrounds. We invite you and your colleagues to use this checklist as a collaborative tool to facilitate conversations around culturally responsive instruction in your school and set goals for improvement.  

For additional tools and strategies, check out SupportEd’s Culturally Responsive Teaching Resource Library.

About SupportEd 
SupportEd is a woman-owned business based in Fairfax, Virginia providing Multilingual Learner (ML) professional development, personalized coaching, technical assistance, and resources for educators across the United States and Canada. Founded in 2011 by Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner, best-selling author and ML expert, SupportEd builds authentic partner relationships and meticulously crafts customized solutions to fit all partner’s strengths and goals. SupportEd equips teachers and administrators with the practical tools and strategies necessary to champion MLs’ success within and beyond the classroom. Visit or call (202) 660-1444 to learn more.