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What does culturally relevant pedagogy have to offer with regard to teaching and learning during a time of physical distancing?

Shamari Reid (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA)

Journal for Multicultural Education

ISSN: 2053-535X

Article publication date: 14 June 2021

Issue publication date: 9 August 2021




This conceptual paper, framed as a letter to educators, explores what the theory of culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) offers us as we reimagine our approaches to teaching and learning amidst a pandemic and during a time of physical distancing.


To make my argument that CRP is a frame for teaching that is based in a particular set of beliefs and ideologies, I draw on my experience as a K-12 educator, teacher educator, and education researcher. In addition, I ground my argument in the extant research on the intimate interrelationship between teachers’ beliefs about teaching, learning, themselves, and their students and the actions they take in the classroom.


In my discussion, I invite teachers to examine their beliefs, with the end goal of aligning these beliefs with those shared across the extensive scholarship on CRP. I argue that once educators have examined their beliefs with regard to teaching, learning and their students and aligned them with those presented in the literature on CRP, they will be in a better position to engage in online teaching that works toward achieving the seemingly elusive goal of educational equity. Furthermore, I make the argument that if we do not engage in this belief work prior to our transition to online instruction, we risk falling into online assimilationist practices that we know do not work and that reinscribe inequitable schooling experiences for our most marginalized students.


This paper will be useful for teachers and teacher educators who are committed to engaging in teaching (virtual, in-person, hybrid) during a time of collective crisis that is committed to bringing about educational equity. I present a new way of thinking about CRP as a set of beliefs and guiding questions to help educators align their beliefs with those presented in the literature on CRP.


Reid, S. (2021), "What does culturally relevant pedagogy have to offer with regard to teaching and learning during a time of physical distancing?", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 129-137.



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