8. Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy
The concepts we presented so far concern Critical Pedagogy as a philosophy of education – but certainly, Critical Pedagogy translates in a number of pedagogical tools and strategies. Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy is one of the pedagogical methodologies that springs out of Critical Pedagogy – and which is specifically applicable to educational contexts that involve students from cultural minorities.
Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy aims to accept the backgrounds of students and to connect to students’ cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and frames of reference – but not only. It aims to create a means through which their culture can be sustained, rather than eradicated.
In practice, this happens by including topics relevant to the culture in question in the curriculum – not as an “add-on” but as a central and integral element of it. It also entails engaging in conversation with the community itself, to understand its desires as for what aspects of the culture should be sustained through schooling. Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, just like Critical Pedagogy, also supports students to critique and question the dominant power structures of their society.