Culturally responsive teaching of students with disabilities Term Paper

December 17, 2020 by Essay Writer

Normally, a child is born with all bodily organs functioning perfectly, however at times a child can be born with some form of disability that can be physical, mental, sensory, emotional or developmental. This kind of disability is referred as a congenital condition. Also at times, one may not have been born with disability but is disabled during their lifetime may be due to an accident or health complications; this is referred to as acquired disability.

One common form of disability is learning disability where one experiences difficulties in learning and comprehending as well and as fast as others. It may be inborn or triggered by an event or health complication. Nevertheless, as these disabled children grow up, they should to be privileged with the same rights as the normal children, if not given more special rights.

Among those rights is the right to education. These children have the right to attend school, gain knowledge and skills and be able to give back to the community however way they can because every student has a right to education without discrimination and that provides high quality and equitable opportunities.

The objective of public education should be equal for every student and assist them in achieving their full potential. Importantly, educators should know how culturally responsive teaching can be adopted for the benefit of teaching the students with any kind of disabilities.

Cultural Responsive teaching is a teaching technique used to identify and address cognitive, social, emotional, and cultural and language needs of students with developmental needs as a way of providing them with assistance in all varying lengths from being assisted in regular classroom activities to being assisted in the special education program.

This model of teaching was derived from a research conducted on children with the Down syndrome. Responsive teaching helps parents and teachers learn how to develop and use the teaching model as way of promoting a child’s development in behaviors that would relatively improve their developmental needs.

In schools, this kind of practice helps teachers educate students with varying abilities, language and other different personalities possessed by each individual student (Harris-Murri, King & Rostenberg 2006). In order to fully comprehend the impact of cultural responsive teaching of students with disabilities, we analyze these three articles.

The first article is “Culturally Sensitive Instructional Practices for African-American Learners with Disabilities” by Mary Franklin. This article is about the cultural sensitive instruction practices for African-American learners with disabilities, which is a major challenge facing American schools. The author notes that the teaching mode in American public schools is compatible with the social structure of the dominant culture.

This mode of teaching is replicated in the field for special education. The article emphasis is put across on the fact that those who are concerned with educating students of this nature should consider incorporating culture and language together when planning directives and developmental activities for students of different backgrounds.

When it comes to cultural differences, academic problems arise due to discontinuity of culture regime between home and school. The kind of cultural style adopted at home and that adopted in school are always different hence a student has to use one kind of culture at school and a totally different one at home. A solution to this problem suggested by the writer is to have teachers incorporate the African- American cultural practices while interacting with them (Franklin 1992).

According to the report from the U.S. Census, the African Americans have the highest number of people with disabilities constituting about 20.8% of the overall persons with disabilities, the majority of this being male. According to the article, the assumption made that the African- American students with disabilities should adopt special education should not be seen as the only solution to the problem for the students to become compatible with the school’s monoculture practices.

Although the fact is that the white American students do much better in their academics/regular education and are more successful than their counterparts, the African-Americans among other students of different cultures.

The second article is “Culturally responsive teaching” by Penelope Keough (2008). The article supports the proposal of having cultural responsive teachers for students with disabilities. Keough, who is the director of the special education internship program at Los Angeles campus, finds it necessary to address the needs of students who are at risk of becoming disabled by using cultural responsive teaching technique, stating that almost a quarter of all students in schools do not complete high school.

He estimates about 31% of the adolescent people with learning disabilities are said to be arrested about three to five years after completing high school, while about half of those taken in as juvenile delinquents and have been confirmed that they had learning disabilities.

According to the author, the purpose of supporting culturally responsive teaching is a way by which educators are able to promote democracy and equity in the schools, therefore being responsible of ensuring that the school curriculum is incorporated with a culturally responsive teaching mode.

Statistically, he shows that there is need to make people aware of the new teaching model whereby cultural diversity is finely tuned and appreciation for the individual is encouraged. Students who qualify for special programs need to be acknowledged for their efforts and be praised for their success instead of lamenting on their failures and their disabilities.

The third article is “Reducing Disproportionate Minority Representation in Special Education Programs for Students with Emotional Disturbances: Toward a Culturally Responsive Response to Intervention Model” by Harris-Murri, King and Rostenberg (2006).The aim of this article is to give an analysis for the necessity of a receptive Response to Intervention (RTI) as a way to reduce lopsided minority representation in Special Education Programs for Students with expressive disorder.

Harris-Murri, King and Rostenberg (2006) “give a synopsis of the RTI model as primarily planned for use to determine IDEA eligibility category of Specific Learning Disability (SLD), and underline research-based teaching and involvement practices of culturally responsive pedagogy.”

In addition, it shows that through discussion and growth of a culturally responsive approach to RTI for racially and linguistically varied students, who show social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, lopsided representation and assumptions of within child disabilities that can be well addressed and intervened.

The article gives a culturally responsive Response to Intervention model as a move towards the suitable eligibility determination of culturally and linguistically diverse students as ED, subsequently to rigorous early interventions for students at risk for bigger academic or behavioral challenges. “Since learning and emotional and behavioral difficulties tend to be progressive in nature, prior interventions tend to be more effectual than a remedial move.” (Harris-Murri, King and Rostenberg 2006)

Hence, in order to initiate a decrease of inconsistent representation of CLD pupils in the Special Education category of Emotional disorder, the article calls for culture and the ways in which culture intercedes with actions and knowledge of intervention plans, realization, and eligibility conditions. They emphasize on language and culture as ways, which should be considered and understood in the drawing and implementation of academic and social or behavioral interventions so that every student has an equal potential to succeed.

The aim of the summarizing these articles is to show the importance of providing conducive learning environments for students with disabilities in tandem with the laid down requirements in culturally responsive training and effectual tutoring. A teacher’s attitude, expectation and perception about his/her students determine the quality of education these students receive.

An educator who incorporates culturally responsive teaching practices into the school’s curriculum boosts the student’s confidence and a feeling of efficiency hence good grades. School personnel has an obligation to understand the relation that exists between social behavior and cultural behavior for every student, and also are able to view each student’s behavior within an individual cultural context.

Regardless of one’s racial and ethnic background, a teacher or an educator should be aware that his/her culture and believe can affect their teaching practices in one way or another and that their own way of viewing the world is not universal nor are their cultural norms absolute.

If teachers were to be more conscious and realize that different cultures exist besides theirs and make an effort of ensuring that their students get the best kind education from what and how they teach them, the massive numbers of African American, Asian, Latino and Native Americans, who constitute a large percentage of students needing special education, will have a better chance of getting quality education that they deserve.


Franklin, M. (1992). Culturally Sensitive Instructional Practices for African-American Learners with Disabilities. Exceptional Children. Web.

Harris-Murri, N. King, K. & Rostenberg, D. (2006). Reducing Disproportionate Minority Representation in Special Education Programs for Students with Emotional Disturbances: Toward a Culturally Responsive Response to Intervention Model. Education and treatment of children, vol. 29, No. 4, 2006.

Keough, P. (2008). Culturally responsive teaching. E-Leader Krakow. Web.

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