Why is culturally responsive instruction important within an RTI Framework?

Question: Why is culturally responsive instruction important within an RTI Framework?

Beth Harry: If we think about why culturally responsive instruction is important in an RTI framework I think we need to start by thinking about what’s key in the RTI framework and one of the key pieces in the RTI framework is the idea that we’re going to be presenting kids or providing kids with evidence-based practices that are tailored to individual kids’ needs. Well, evidence-based practices are very important, however, we’re not always sure whether the groups on which those practices were developed were necessarily inclusive of the full range of diversity that we are going to be seeing in our classrooms. So we can’t assume that because a practice is considered to be evidence-based that it’s necessarily going to be appropriate for every child or from children from every group, so that’s number one. Secondly, I would say though, even if the practice has been developed with a range of kids in mind that doesn’t necessarily say that there is some universally appropriate way of implementing that practice and that as long as you do that, that kid’s going to learn. I don’t think that’s true. I think that we have to worry about kids’ engagement; we have to worry about an individual child, every child’s engagement in what we’re trying to teach. I could have all the most evidence-based, the most skill, the most whatever practices in mind, I could try to implement them with all kinds of fidelity but if they don’t reach an individual child they don’t reach that child. If the child isn’t engaged it doesn’t matter how scientifically based my intervention or my instruction is because the child has to be with me and part of the child’s being engaged is the child’s feeling respected, feeling welcomed, feeling valued; and my ability as a teacher to connect with where that child is coming from is a key part of showing him that I respect him or her and that I value his or her input. So, that’s the reason that we have to take cultural responsive instruction into account when we think of a response to intervention framework.