4 Books to Help Teachers Create Culturally Relevant Classrooms

Dec, 19, 2019

 4 Books to Help Teachers Create Culturally Relevant Classrooms

This year I wanted to learn more about education outside of the professional learning at my district and school. I wanted to learn more about being a teacher that supported students’ social and emotional needs. This led me to seek out more information on culturally relevant/responsive teaching. 

These books flow together perfectly and are great tools to help you meet the social-emotional needs of all your students. 

Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.

Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

This book is a great starting point to your Culturally Responsive Teaching journey. You’ll get a good foundation about Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) from this book, so I recommend that you read this first. 

Once you learn the background information you need to know to understand CRT, you’ll learn how to identify your biases (we all have them), and how to apply what you learned in your classroom.

Better Than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management

Better Than Carrots or Sticks, focuses on how and why we should move away from punitive discipline. A lot of times in education, we do things because we’ve always done them a particular way. Many discipline policies that we’ve used for years, have the opposite effect on students that we’re expecting. They also disproportionately target minorities, which many times is because we don’t understand our students’ culture and our own biases. 

In this book, you’ll find research-based information as to why we should only use restorative practices in our classroom and schools. Like the previous book, the authors give you tips and tools on how to implement these practices with your students. 

The Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

The Pushout explains what happens to black and brown girls after years of ignoring cultures, ignoring our biases, and punitive discipline. There are many books and research studies that focus on black and brown boys, but you can’t find a lot of information on the girls. 

Studies show that black and brown girls are equally harmed in the education system. We push them out of the school system and often into the other harmful systems. 

If you’re a teacher, whether or not you have black or brown girls in your classroom, you need to read this. Even if YOU are black or brown. 

Sing a Rhythm, Dance a Blues: Education for the Liberation of Black and Brown Girls

This is a follow up to The Pushout. Monique W. Morris gives us Sing a Rhythm, Dance a Blues to help us with the next steps to solve the pushout of black and brown girls. This book gives you tips on how to work with students who many would label as troublemakers, loud, or disrespectful. 

We have a lot of work to do when it comes to supporting all students. A major part of becoming a culturally relevant educator is letting go of our biases. It is letting go of your “power.” Our students’ education isn’t about us; it is about them. Reading these books is not enough, but they will help you make shifts in your practice.


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Melissa Nikohl

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