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Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
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Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,265 ratings  ·  114 reviews
A bold, brain-based teaching approach to culturally responsive instruction

The achievement gap remains a stubborn problem for educators of culturally and linguistically diverse students. With the introduction of the rigorous Common Core State Standards, diverse classrooms need a proven framework for optimizing student engagement and facilitating deeper learning

Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 1st 2014 by Corwin Publishers (first published November 25th 2014)
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 ·  1,265 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you teach, read this book. If you are white and work with anyone of another race, read this book. If you are middle class or above and ever interact with anyone in the working class or working poor, read this book. If you have read Buddha's Brain and want to know how to apply it to ed work, read this book. If you are working on mindfulness, read this book. If you want to build productive relationships with students so they can learn more with you and succeed in college and/or career, read ...more
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
It's hard to write a book on culturally responsive teaching. I'm not quite sure what an excellent one would look like but this one also seemed a bit too... "fluffy" for my taste. For example, there is no way I would do a "verbal battle"/ "trash talk" in my class to capitalize on African American culture, even if I wasn't teaching math.

One thing I really did appreciate, however, was the Individualism-Collectivism Continuum list. It is a list of 65 counties ranked by how individualist or
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've read about a dozen professional development texts about culturally responsive teaching because I am very committed to this pedagogical concept. I particularly liked this text because it offered a new angle. Zaretta Hammond weaves neuroscience with both traditional and contemporary ideas of culturally responsive teaching. She doesn't just say how we can practice this pedagogy, but she tells what is happening in students' brains when we do and do not use culturally responsive practices. ...more
Rita Shaffer
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very thankful to be part of a community of learners who continually push me to think about how to best educate ALL learners ... I learned so much from reading and will continue to build [my] will, skill and capacity to engage in courageous conversations about race, implicit bias and structural racialization that limit the learning opportunities of culturally and linguistically diverse students. ...more
Stephanie Biese
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
7 stars. Every teacher should read this.
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
So. Good!! Reading this in prep for my role as Diversity, Equity, & Inclusiveness Coordinator at a summer training institute for new teachers. It taught me so much about the brain science behind many aspects of CRT I already embraced as best practice - and pushed me in a whole new way to consider CRT as a mindset rather than a set of strategies or practices. Highly recommend to teachers and school leaders everywhere!
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I felt affirmed by Zaretta Hammond's book. It's one of those reads where I kept reading and nodding my head. I'm glad she's getting good press and that her take on the importance of creating independent learners (instead of dependent learners) is getting a lot of play in education right now. The only downside is that it's very conceptual and theory based. There's no practical chapter of strategies that work. Maybe that's coming next?
Lance Eaton
Culturally responsive teaching is often miscategorized as merely including culturally-relevant material when possible or worse, lowering expectations of learners based on cultural assumptions and stereotypes (and racial stereotypes for that matter). As such, it's an approach to teaching and learning that is often taken up by educators who have a stronger sense of implicit bias, stereotype threat, racism and ethnocentrism along with the implications of each for teaching and learning. ...more
Nathan Hipple
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I quite liked this book and Im typically hesitant to read books of the heres how to do your job better variety. A good bit of what sold me is that Ms. Hammond isnt satisfied with surface level lip service multiculturalism and is asking for a deeper understanding and empathy down to the roots of the tree. To switch metaphors: its not a spice to sprinkle on lessons, but a framework to redefine the whole flow of the educational kitchen. ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
4.5 I havent marked up a book this much in a very long time. I appreciate the balance between conceptual ideas and practical actions in this book. There are ideas, practices, and quotes that I can apply both in my context of providing professional development for teachers and in my classroom when I return to it. ...more
Julie Gardner
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Run, dont walk to add this to your list of must-read-before-school-starts. Read with a highlighter and a pencil. Read with page markers. Stop often and tell someone about what youve just read. This one is important. ...more
Beth Honeycutt
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am grateful to have read this book while learning alongside colleagues from across the district and with Stella Villalba as our leader. This is an important read for all educators. So much to think about!

A quote from todays reading:
Children grow into the intellectual life around them.
-Leo Vygotsky

K Love
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for anyone who works with the human race.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book, not just for teachers! But all teachers should DEFINITELY read this.
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read for educators, particularly those a little reluctant to shift their mindset in this era of cultural proficiency. The connection to brain science is clearly laid out here, and its connection to the concept of culturally responsive teaching will motivate a lot of folks who need to reconsider the ways in which they teach. I like Hammond's use of "dependent learners" as terminology for those on the losing end of the achievement gap, as it places the responsibility for making ...more
Kim Johnson
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think that this should be required reading in all teaching degree programs. This book gives foundational awareness of the need for cultural responsiveness but also provides the specific strategies for increasing it as well. Teachers can begin immediately implementing the suggestions that Hammond makes.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
CRT is a mindset that starts with the teacher reflecting on her/his culture with brain based considerations. It stresses the power of relationship in the effort of supporting dependent learning move to independence. A must read!
Fascinating look at what happens to our students's brains while they learn and what happens when stress or trauma occurs. Love how this brain science knowledge is being used at my school to drive instruction, curriculum, rituals, routines and even, or especially, lunch duty! Some real gems in here and the part that asks educators to do their own identity work and the questions Hammond poses makes me realize I have a lot more work to do. Glad that Hammond's book is being so prevalently used in ...more
Jean Owens
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A step toward closing the achievement gap

This book was life changing for me as an educator! I can't wait to share my new learning with my colleagues. The science about the brain and learning is particularly helpful. Hammond offers a way to be culturally sensitive and ways to engage students' cultures to help dependent learners become more complex thinkers! Good stuff!
Joe Wood
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A great read on strategically helping dependent learners become more independent. I loved the focus on the neurological aspects of each of the strategies and ideas. The book is full of helpful ideas and resources.
Amy Gonzalez
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love the asset based feedback protocols here.
Shaeley Santiago
One of the better books I've read in terms of practical application to the classroom of strategies focused on equity. Hammond's focus on diverse students and the role of culture is very helpful.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps most notable about Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, its accessible outline and bite-size pieces of information. After she details the difference between the Dependent Learner versus the preferable Independent Learner mindset, she provides the strategies for building resourceful, self-affirming characteristics and capacities in students. Her feature of building intellective capacity in students using a framework of Ignite, Chunk, Chew, Review is well designed and easily ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read Culture Responsive Teaching & the Brain , by Zretta Hammond as a book study for professional development. This book not only calls attention to a problem that I have witnessed in my classroom, it has given scientific reasons why it happens in a non-judgmental way, and the gives the educator tools to use to 'fix' the problem. Hammond describes the difference between dependent and independent learners, and how cultural differences and the way our brains work set up classroom situations ...more
Heather Munao
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching
3.5 stars. I enjoyed the way Hammond frames teaching and what is neurologically happening in the brains of students, and how those concepts intersect with the culture of both teacher and student. I also really like the different definitions/layers of culture. There are some useful frameworks in here about feedback, dependent learners, and caring demanders, etc. I overall liked this book and would encourage other teachers to read it. I think it has tons of potential for other things to include in ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
At a time when "culturally competency" and "culturally responsive teaching" are brought up in almost every discussion about the achievement gap, but not fully understood or believed to be necessary, this book provides the brain science to validate considering culture in teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students. Hammond also provides a framework for teachers to think about how to be culturally responsive and suggests that this is not something that will happen over night. She ...more
This book was a short and easy read, and I recommend it to anyone looking for an introduction to culturally responsive teaching. There was a lot of interesting content that I can easily relate to my experiences in the classroom, and helped give me some clarity. For example, how common it is for students to respond to challenging material by shutting down and why this might be a natural response. It even gave me some thoughts on how to help these students build the tools necessary to allow them ...more
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was my homework book, and I more or less agree with everything it had to say. That said, it's message for application is basically: analyze, reflect, analyze, reflect and keep repeating until you are good at being culturally responsive. There isn't much in the way of specific strategies, but there's a lot of really good brain research to back up making changes in your classroom. The information in here is all fairly obvious when you're reading the book, but less obvious in the heat of the ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had high expectations and this book absolutely lived up to the hype. I expect it to be a well-paged and well-written-in volume that I will come back to over and over again as I'm working on becoming a culturally responsive teacher. Lots of great theory and frameworks while also feeling very practical. There are ideas I can use right away to re-frame my teaching and ideas to guide me in deep, ongoing inquiries and responses to challenges that come up. It has even in some cases helped me think ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: school
While the preservice teachers in my class found helpful, concrete steps for good pedagogical practices, I also had to challenge them to be much more critical of many concepts in this book that the author under-theorizes (e.g. implicit bias, "learned helplessness"). There's often a skewed relationship between the practical and the theoretical. This book leans towards the practical (which I did appreciate, for what it's worth), but it comes at the cost of needing a more critical lens put onto some ...more
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Lane Middle Schoo...: Week 1 - 7/21-7/27 - Chapters 1-4 10 7 Aug 15, 2019 03:23PM  
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Zaretta Hammond is a former classroom English teacher who has been doing instructional design, school coaching, and professional development around the issues of equity, literacy, and culturally responsive teaching for the past 18 years. She teaches as a lecturer at St. Marys Colleges Kalmanovitz School of in Moraga, California.

In addition to consulting and professional development, she has been

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“Every culturally responsive teacher develops a sociopolitical consciousness, an understanding that we live in a racialized society that gives unearned privilege to some while others experience unearned disadvantage because of race, gender, class, or language.” 0 likes
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