MORE culturally responsive language teaching and the brain, adding to Zaretta Hammond

Hi folks, I'm posting on behalf of a colleague.  She's an experienced ESL/LEP instructor, and has been asked to do a keynote address on this concept of connecting brain-based instruction and taking into account cultural background in the process.  She's interested in experiences and writings on the topic beyond Zaretta Hammond's seminal book on the topic.  Any ideas, recommendations?




Hi Eric, This is clearly such an important topic for our field. Zaretta Hammond is the most important theorist to make connections to brain science and culturally responsiveness. (Here’s a link to Hammond’s blog where interested members can find many valuable ideas related to teaching and also details about her book, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain.) Here is a link to Jennifer Gonzales’ interview with Hammond in which they explore “4 misconceptions about culturally responsive teaching” on Gonzales’ wonderful blog the Cult of Pedagogy.

Since Hammond builds on the work of Gloria Ladson-Billings and Geneva Gay, I think it would be important to start with these authors' essential voices. I would say that the concept of "culturally sustaining pedagogy" as put forward by Django Paris (2012) and H. Samy Alim (2017) is an important addition which was embraced by Ladson-Billings in 2014. Adeyemi Stembridge (2019) is also making valuable contributions to the concept of "equity" in education as compared to "equality" as put forward in his new book Culturally Responsive Education in the ClassroomHere’s a link to an interview with Stembridge posted just this week by Larry Ferlazzo in his great blog.

Julia Eisenberg’s The Open Book Blog offers numerous relevant resources as well. Here Eisenberg addresses the question “What is Culturally Responsive Teaching?”.

The following list of resources might be useful to your colleague as well as LINCS members who have an interest in culturally relevant and responsive teaching.

  • Ferlazzo, L. (2017, July 6). Classroom Q & A: Author interview (with Django Paris and H. Samy Alim): Culturally sustaining pedagogy. Education Week Teacher. [Blog post]. Retrieved from
  • Ferlazzo, L. (2020, January 6). Author interview (with Adeyemi Stembridge): Culturally responsive education in the classroom. Classroom Q & A with Larry Ferlazzo, Education Week Teacher. [Blog post]. Retrieved from
  • Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
  • Gay, G. (2013). Teaching to and through cultural diversity. Curriculum Inquiry, 43, 48–70. doi:10.1111/curi.12002
  • Ladson-Billings, G. (2009). The dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African American children. 2nd Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Ladson-Billings, G. (2014). Culturally relevant pedagogy 2.0: a.k.a. the remix. Harvard Educational Review, 84, 74–84.
  • Paris, D. (2012). Culturally sustaining pedagogy: A needed change in stance, terminology, and practice. Educational Researcher, 41, 93–97. doi:10.3102/0013189X12441244
  • Paris, D. & Alim, H. S. (Eds.) (2017). Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and learning for justice in a changing world. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Stembridge, A.  (2019). Culturally responsive education in the classroom: An equity framework for education. New York: Routledge.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, Teaching & Learning CoP