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Becoming a more culturally responsive teacher by identifying and reducing microaggressions in classrooms and school communities

Jacqueline Darvin (Department of Secondary Education and Youth Services, Queens College, City University of New York, New York City, New York, USA)

Journal for Multicultural Education

ISSN: 2053-535X

Article publication date: 9 April 2018




There is more to culturally responsive teaching than selecting multicultural texts and designing inclusive lesson. This paper aims to support teachers in becoming more culturally responsive by guiding them in how to recognize and respond to microaggressions in their daily interactions with students, colleagues, and parents.


Microaggressions have been defined as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color”.


When classroom interactions contain microaggressions, students are damaged in both seen and unseen ways. Interactions between teachers, students and parents afford powerful occasions to analyze classroom communication and provide windows into the nature of student–student, student–teacher and teacher–parent relationships.

Practical implications

Regardless of where, when, why or how they occur, these interactions provide brief opportunities for culturally responsive teachers to demonstrate that they respect their students’ home and community cultures, accept who their students are and honor the education that they receive both inside and outside of school.

Social implications

Becoming more adept at recognizing and addressing microaggressions is one way that teachers can become more culturally responsive. For students, being able to identify and respond more effectively to microaggressions creates greater opportunities for all students to think critically and engage in social action.


This paper presents an original viewpoint on identifying and reducing microaggressions in classrooms and school communities.



Darvin, J. (2018), "Becoming a more culturally responsive teacher by identifying and reducing microaggressions in classrooms and school communities", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 2-9.



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