Teachers are: cultural organizers, cultural mediators, and orchestrates of social contexts for learning (Gay, 2000).
Gay (2000) explains that teachers must be competent in understanding the dynamics and uses of culture in their classroom. Daily classroom activities should facilitate learning environments that reflect cultural and ethnic diversity while also promoting academic achievement for all. Students from different ethnic groups should be able to voice their cultural expression in order to enhance content and learning processes.
Teachers should expose students to multiple perspectives and allow students to critically analyze differences between mainstream cultural ideals and those of different cultural systems. Teachers guide students to reflect on their own ethnic identities and facilitate them in honoring other cultures and developing positive cross-cultural relationships. Classroom activities should enhance students' abilities to identify stereotypes and prejudices and also teach students how to avoid perpetuating racism (Gay, 2000).
Orchestrators of Social Contexts
Gay (2000) also asserts that it is very important for teachers to appreciate the impact culture has on learning. Furthermore, they must make their teaching well-suited to the sociocultural contexts and frames of reference of ethnically diverse students. They are also guides in helping students know how to utilize their cultural cognition in order to facilitate their learning. Following is Spring's (1995) definition of a cultural frame of reference, "those elements that cause a cultural group to interpret the world. . . in a particular manner" (p. 5), or the filter through which perceptions of, encounters with, and understandings of the outside world are ordered and made meaningful (Gay, 2000).
Gay, G. (2000). Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, & Practice. New York: Teachers College Press.