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Goal 3 To achieve equitable learning opportunities for all students 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca 4 Why do educators have to change their thinking in order to be culturally relevant when teaching In a traditional school students are expected to adapt to the educators. In a culturally relevant school educators adapt to the students. The first step in the training to become culturally relevant is for educators to truly grasp the concept of culture and where and how they have developed their belief systems. Through training participants examine their own belief systems and the impact those beliefs can have on the successful delivery of education. Through this process educators realize and recognize their own culture and become conscious of the negative effects on student learning when they expect students to think and work as they believe they should. As Geneva Gay 2010 stated even without our being consciously aware of it culture determines how we think believe and behave and these in turn affect how we teach and learn p. 9. Part of learning to be culturally relevant is understanding that although the teachers culture may be different from students it is just thatdifferent. Through training provided by the HRSB Diversity Team both classroom teachers and school principals learn to understand their students culture and more importantly they recognize why they must value their students and their culture. Teachers and school administrators as well as Central Office staff are learning to see the great strengths that students come to school with each and every day and use that as an avenue to teach. Through culturally relevant training educators also examine documented root causes of low academic success of students of African descent to understand that the basis for low achievement is not because of students race socio-economic status or geographical area. These do not determine a childs ability to learn what educators believe about children does As part of culturally relevant training educators challenge their assumptions of students that have been labelled disengaged unmotivated to learn or incapable of succeeding. As Gay 2010 stated test scores and grades are symptoms not causes of achievement problems p. 17. Culturally relevant teachers understand and expect each of their students regardless of race culture socio- economic status andor geographical area has the ability to meet grade level outcomes or above. Culturally relevant teachers know each and every student comes to school with knowledge language and skills all of which must be valued and appreciated. When students know that the knowledge they bring to school their everyday lived cultural experiences and the way they learn is valued and reflected every day in the classroom learning begins. Hear how some HRSB teachers and staff have changed their beliefs about students as a result of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy training in this video.