Culturally Responsive Curriculum

Culturally Responsive Curriculum

Stereotype Threat occurs by triggering a stereotype about a particular group that disrupts the performance of individuals who identify with that group and the domain in which the stereotype is relevant (Stereotype Threat also has universal relevance that sees African Americans as having been deprived of the pride of their connections to Africa and the strength of their contributions to the nation-building efforts in the U.S.). A common stereotype, for example, is that African Americans do not have mathematical minds and have not contributed to professions dependent on mathematics (Engineering, Architecture, Medicine, etc.).

Research has shown that this stereotype has negative effects on the mathematics test performance of those African Americans who self-identify as strong in math, simply because they fear confirming the stereotype. Counter intuitively, the additional cognitive load of trying to overcompensate because of the fear of confirming the stereotype in fact makes such students perform worse.
The Alexandria Project’s curriculum mirrors the tenets of culturally responsive curriculum with these characteristics:
• Respect for the legitimacy of different cultures as integral parts of the American Story
• Empowering students to value all cultures, not just their own
• Incorporating cultural information into the curriculum, instead of simply adding it on
• Relating questions and problems to students’ life experiences (e.g., Community Mapping)
• Addressing a spectrum of learning styles
• Maintaining high expectations for student success

Excerpt from The Alexandria Project Algebra 1 Textbook

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