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From seeing to believing: using instructional video to develop culturally responsive teaching

Jordan P. Fullam (California State University San Bernardino, San Bernadino, California, USA)

Journal for Multicultural Education

ISSN: 2053-535X

Article publication date: 12 June 2017




This paper aims to explore the potential for instructional video to build capacity in culturally responsive teaching, and outline an approach developed at NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools (Metro Center) for using inquiry-based, teacher-led teams to study, develop and film culturally responsive teaching in action. The paper explores the use of instructional video in an asset-focused model of professional development that develops culturally responsive teaching through digital videos that can be shared among colleagues, posted online and presented at professional conferences.


The primary aims of the paper are conceptual and include drawing on a review of the literature on instructional video to map onto one model of professional development the learning goals and reflective activities that are most likely to develop the potential of instructional video to change beliefs and develop critical consciousness, and providing anecdotal evidence to explore the potential for using instructional video in an asset-focused, transformative and responsive model of professional development in culturally responsive teaching.


Instructional video can be effective for professional development in culturally responsive teaching because people often need to see transformations in teaching and learning before they can believe such transformations are possible. Instructional videos of effective culturally responsive teaching, in this manner, highlight best practices and provide a way for schools to post an “early win” in their work in addressing achievement gaps.

Practical implications

Instructional video can assist educators in confronting and challenging prevailing deficit-based beliefs about ostensibly “low-achieving” students that limit possibilities for culturally responsive teaching; opening up opportunities for transformative learning and inviting the shift to a culturally responsive mindset; and examining and discussing models of excellent teaching. This model of professional development is asset-focused and transformative because it moves teacher voices from margin to center and empowers teachers as models and stewards of transformative learning.


Although numerous studies have documented the potential of instructional video in asset-focused and transformative models of professional development, only two studies explore the potential of instructional video specifically in the development of culturally responsive teaching (Lopez, 2013; Rosaen, 2015). This paper contributes to this nascent literature through documenting an approach to instructional video that was developed for and with teachers at a K-8 public school in Brooklyn.



Fullam, J.P. (2017), "From seeing to believing: using instructional video to develop culturally responsive teaching", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 131-148.



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