Method: Sixty-eight classrooms were purposively sampled to provide a diverse composition of educators and classroom demographics, with teachers who identified as: White (66%), Black (20%), Latinx (14%), and Other (1%). Classrooms were balanced between high (>60%), medium (40-60%), and low (<40%) proportions of students of color: 37%-high; 32%-medium, 32%-low.
Borrowing from Banks’ Levels of Integration of Multicultural Content, our team adapted a checklist initially developed by Desdemona and Fleweger (1990) which incorporated the four approaches to incorporating CRP into the curriculum: (1) Novice/Contributive Approach; (2) Additive Approach; (3) Transformative Approach; and (4) Social Action Approach. Our observations indicated that CRP was absent from many classrooms, therefore we added (0) No CRP, and based on deficit comments from teachers we added a (-1) Deficit Lens Approach.
Results: Notably, culturally responsive forms of instruction were entirely absent at Levels 3 and 4, with 84% failing to include any CRP instruction (0); 8% Deficit Lens (-1); 4% Contributive Approach (1); 4% Additive Approach (2).
Primary trends are as follows: (a) White teachers had the highest rates of Contributive approaches relative to all other teachers; (b) Among Black teachers no Deficit Lens practices occurred in any classrooms; and (c) Latinx teachers had the highest rates of Deficit and Additive approaches relative to all other teachers in their classrooms with >60% students of color.
Conclusions: Findings suggests missed teaching opportunities in terms of rigor of instruction and cultural responsivity across educators. Moreover, these patterns strongly point to the need for interrogating barriers to educators’ use of CRP. Cultural responsivity is a slippery, ever-changing domain whose efficacy is bound by context because culture is neither static nor fixed, but rather dynamic, co-constructed, and active. Therefore, we propose a conceptual framework for facilitating educators’ use of CRP by centering educators’ ethnic/racial identity development as a foundation from which educators can engage in CRP. Implications for applying this framework in interventions, pre-service training, and professional development strategies are discussed.