The article Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Ingredients for Critical Teacher Reflection by Tyrone C. Howard, is a reading that focused on the need for critical reflection by teachers in the classroom. The article provided a great perspective on the potential positive results from the use of critical reflection in teaching strategies, as well as the difficulties that are often faced by teachers who are implementing culturally related pedagogy into their teaching methods. The research presented in Howard’s writing looks at variety of different topics varying from data on the educational struggles of Latinos and African Americans in the United States to a case study conducted on preparing educators to teach by using critical reflection in the classroom. The reading presents a plethora of information on critical teacher reflection and the value it can present in teaching practice.
The article content provided me with insight on the delicate nature, yet strong value of bringing topics of cultural awareness, race, and ethnicity into classrooms. The research material presented in the reading helped to support the need for significant teacher reflection and to establish a more conducive learning environment for the growing ethnically diverse classrooms in the United States. Tyrone Howard provided strong examples of how the Latino and African American student populations have faced challenges to assimilate to the American school system, while explaining his theory of more critical reflection in teaching, and how it would improve African American and Latino student’s chances for success in education. The information offered by Howard supports the theory that teaching practices that engage in critical reflection can help breakdown some of cultural difference that may cause some of the struggles that these students face in the U.S. school system.
As I reflect on this particular reading now, I also recognize the points made by Howard on challenges that teachers can face in bringing critical
into the classroom. Howard states, “The nature of critical reflection can be an arduous task because it forces the individual to ask challenging questions that pertain to one’s construction of individuals from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.” I can defiantly relate to these topic areas and how they can be intimidating and difficult for an individual to talk about in their classroom, and can see how many educators may shy away from these topics whether inadvertently or not. The article continued to grasp my attention as it stressed the importance of critical reflection and how it engages learners in a positive notion, yet clearly defined that one must be fully committed and trained adequately to bring this practice to fruition successfully in their teaching and learning environment.
This article struck me from the onset as I began to think of the challenges that may arise, “as educators address the demographic divide” (Howard, 2013, p.195) that continues to grow in the United States. As a Latino who attended a predominantly white private religious based educational institution for the majority of schooling growing up, it made me think about how my experience may have been different in a classroom setting of this type. How might my experience have been different, if I were allowed to develop and foster as an individual in a classroom environment that encouraged teachers to embrace cultural diversity in the classroom, as opposed to limiting it? Would I have adapted easier? Would I have been more successful academically at a younger age? There are many questions this reading brought to light for me. My final position is to agree, “the need for critical reflection can be an important tool for all teachers” (Howard, 2013, p.201). If all educators adapt to culturally relevant pedagogy as Howard explains, the results to many struggling students in academia may prosper in the future.
Howard, T. C. (2003, Summer). Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Ingredients for Critical Reflection. THEORY INTO PRACTICE, 42(3), 195-201.