Classroom with student raising hand
Building Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Classrooms Requires Investigating Systemic Racism
July 30, 2021

Author: Relay Graduate School of Education.

As one of the nation’s leading educator preparation programs, Relay is committed to supporting teachers and principals to create inclusive classrooms where complex issues -- including race and racism -- can be discussed. 

Relay also believes that great educators not only seek out accurate, rigorous, grade-level content -- but also connect this content to real world problems students are facing. 

As educators are facing new constraints about what and how they teach, it’s time to empower teachers and principals with the skills, tools, and mindsets they need to confront race and power in the classroom. Here are three competencies that we instill in the teachers and school leaders we support:

1. Develop identity awareness: examine the intersection of personal identities and experiences and how that impacts work with diverse students and school communities. 

2. Rigorously evaluate curricular materials: select, suggest, and/or supplement resources that elevate the experiences and perspectives that are represented in their classrooms and thus give students’ opportunities to make connections to their lived experiences.  

3. Reflect: Building Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Classrooms Requires Investigating Systemic Racism Engage in a process of self-reflection that is intentional, consistent, and actionable to develop cultural competence, understand oneself as a learner, and interrogate and improve teaching practice.

As our nation continues to grapple with its systemically racist history, Relay is more dedicated than ever to supporting teachers and principals. Our goal is to prepare all educators to build inclusive learning environments where systemic racism can not only be addressed -- but actively dismantled.