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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

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  4,099 ratings  ·  374 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

Culturally re
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 1st 2014 by Corwin Publishers (first published November 25th 2014)
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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 ·  4,099 ratings  ·  374 reviews

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Start your review of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
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 thi ...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 collecti
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. Hammo ...more
Phil J
Jan 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
A teacher's perspective

My background

After 18 years teaching in a high-privilege private school, I moved to an urban public school. My school population is 99% economically disadvantaged and about 95% African-American. I am struggling with the effects of trauma in the classroom. Many of the things I did well at the private school are either not working or are much harder to do. Also, my school has been in and out of remote learning three times since I started there in the fall of 2020.

Chapter 1 n
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this with fellow educators as a book club at my school. I learned the “why” behind perceived student apprehension to learning and was truly able to contextualize the neuroscience in a tangible and approachable manner. The concepts in this book serve as a reminder that cultural responsiveness in the classroom requires a commitment to embracing conscious incompetence in order to truly teach through a lens of equity.
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.”
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read many reviews on this book before starting it and folks were quick to point out it’s not a road map on how to be a culturally responsive teacher. However, Zaretta Hammond makes that quite clear from the beginning. She tells readers this book is not going to be a “bag of tricks” and even acknowledges readers may “feel frustrated that [she] didn’t give...a step-by-step guide for creating culturally responsive lessons”.

With that said, I personally enjoyed this book. I feel I’ve been a cultur
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
I’m so torn on this review. Beginning with Chapter 6, I really learned a lot from Zaretta Lynn Hammond’s book; however, before that point, so much of what Hammond wrote is stuff that any teacher interested enough in this topic to pick up this book would already know — including her unnecessary foray into brain anatomy. So I’ll take the coward’s way out, forget about the first five chapters and give this book the five stars that the rest of this slim book deserves. Seriously, start with Chapter 6 ...more
Isaac Jensen
An introduction to the concept of culturally responsive teaching which gave me a lot of interesting ideas about how to better support my students, while also frustrating me at times. I found my experience reading this book to be most positive when I picked through it for useful concepts and viewed it as a starting point for conversations around addressing the inequities within our educational system, rather than as a road map for doing so. A fairly accessible read that I would recommend to all t ...more
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? ...more
Stephanie Biese
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
7 stars. Every teacher should read this.
Jul 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
It’s common knowledge that at the root of great teaching lies a commitment to fostering strong relationships with students. This universal adage makes culturally responsive teaching seem like another obvious educational fad capitalizing on a historical trend.

But I have to admit, this book is one of the best I’ve read that explained why—to a neuroscientific degree—relationships, especially with marginalized students, are so important in the classroom and their exact placement in the brain’s lear
Stephanie Fujii
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read this book for a position I'm applying for at work. I was very engaged and it definitely made me think. While I was kind of wondering why alllllll the detail about the brain, it really did click for me and it's incredibly powerful information to be armed with in the classroom. Many of the practices and approaches outlined in the book are things that I have done for years, as have many of my colleagues. But understanding more about WHY those things are so powerful, and how they are function ...more
Molly Dettmann
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Professional Development books about teaching can be really dull and full of buzz words and fads that are already out of date by the time of publication, but this book isn’t like that. It’s incredibly well organized and I love how it looks at some educational psychology and teaching methods and really focuses on (you guessed it!) the brain and culture and how we can be more mindful as educators to take these into account. I loved the charts and lists that really broke down the info presented and ...more
Apr 05, 2022 rated it liked it
An okay introductory book on culturally responsive teaching. I would have loved to see less of a focus on closing the achievement gap in order to raise test scores and more focus on inner work educators can do or at least moving the conversation beyond standardized testing, which sets kids up anyway. The way this book is written also mirrors the rigidity of the K-12 system, and it would have been exciting to see her transcend that framework. But maybe CRT is meant to be more of a rigid, reformis ...more
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!
Bailey Hamilton
Aug 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Textbook for school, but actually really interesting and helpful! Specifically how they talked about and broke down brain functioning in culturally responsive classrooms vs unsafe classrooms for children. Would recommend and will be referencing!
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING BOOK!!! Used as a book study. Would HIGHLY recommend!!
Kristi Beckman
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every educator needs to read this book.
Valen Warner
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great resource for educators. I appreciate that Hammond offers a framework for thinking about Culturally Relevant Teaching, rather than simply offering a random list of strategies. A key takeaway from the book is that Culturally Relevant Teaching is not merely about behavior management or classroom engagement, rather, Culturally Relevant Teaching is about cognition.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the second to last chapter where Hammond explains information processing and off
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 today’s reading:
“Children grow into the intellectual life around them.”
-Leo Vygotsky

Jul 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this more than I did. It didn’t feel concrete enough for me, and at times some of the suggestions felt too young for my students. There’s some really good info here, but I just can’t help but feel that after reading this, a bunch of white teachers are just going to start doing rap battles in their classrooms 🤦🏻‍♀️
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Solid overview of mindsets necessary for CRT, but lacking in depth.
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, nonfiction
Helpful, but even more helpful was this YouTube discussion with the author:

Here are some FIRE quotes which the bookd idn't quite get to in the same way for me: "You can’t begin to be culturally responsive if you don’t have racial literacy. Because you don’t understand why this is happening.Then the myth of meritocracy takes over (“I don’t know why those parents…”)… those parents came from the same broken system. And we’re blaming the parents. This is not
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. Contextualiz ...more
Sean Blevins
Jul 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Most helpful chapters: 1, 6, 7, and 8.

Chapter 1 introduces the concept of dependent learners, the causes of their dependency, and the path to independence. Chapters 6 and 7 have some really helpful ideas about social-emotional learning and building helpful relationships with students who lack self-efficacacy and may have given up on themselves as classroom learners. Chapter 8 connects to what we know about how to move from surface to deep learning and transfer - just good pedagogy.

I happened to
Calvin Isch
Jul 18, 2021 rated it did not like it
Culturally responsive teaching is a fine idea, though it isn’t nearly as revolutionary as it’s advocates claim. As educators hold high academic standards they need to ensure their classroom is safe and empowering, focus on building intent relationships, and embed their teaching in situations that are meaningful to the students. I’m down with that.

BUT, neuroscience has nothing constructive to tell us about CRT. Any finding about how the brain processes information/learns better in different setti
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book provides a framework for implementing culturally responsive practices in the classroom. Hammond’s basic argument is that culturally responsive teaching practices deepen student learning and build students’ capacity to be independent learners and critical thinkers. The book summarizes and synthesizes a ton of complex information in a very accessible way. Each chapter concludes with a list of recommended texts for further reading on that topic making it easy for teachers to go deeper in ...more
Amanda Brogan
Aug 10, 2022 rated it really liked it
I was this as part of a professional development book study over summer vacation, and that was the best way to read this. Part 1 is a lot of technical talk about how the brain works and it’s also the longest of the sections, but once you move past that the book then moves into how to be culturally responsive in education knowing what we know about the brain. Having read this with several people and discussing our questions and thoughts was a great experience. Any educators that are interested in ...more
Nate Hipple
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I quite liked this book and I’m typically hesitant to read books of the “here’s how to do your job better” variety. A good bit of what sold me is that Ms. Hammond isn’t 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: it’s not a spice to sprinkle on lessons, but a framework to redefine the whole flow of the educational kitchen.
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Lane Middle Schoo...: Week 1 - 7/21-7/27 - Chapters 1-4 10 11 Aug 15, 2019 03:23PM  
Lane Middle Schoo...: Week 3 - 8/4-8/10 - Chapters 8-9 2 3 Aug 15, 2019 03:05PM  
Lane Middle Schoo...: Week 2 - 7/28-8/3 - Chapters 5-7 3 6 Aug 15, 2019 02:46PM  

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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. Mary’s College’s Kalmanovitz School of in Moraga, California.

In addition to consulting and professional development, she has been

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