Building Academic Mindsets and Thinking Dispositions: The Heart of Culturally Responsive & Sustaining Pedagogy

Friday, April 3rd, 8:30am - 11:30am

Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Pedagogy (CRSP) is an approach that works to disrupt current systems of educational disequity. By sustaining cultural pluralism and by teaching to and through individual and cultural strengths of students, leaveraging CRSP strategies makes learning experiences more relevant and effective (Gay 2000, Paris 2012), restoring a sense of competence and confidence to historically marginalized student populations. Highlander Institute’s Culturally Responsive Framework, which leans heavily on the work of Zaretta Hammond in her book, Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students, establishes a process for incorporating elements of CRSP in classrooms of all grade levels and environments. Through hands-on activities, active discussions, and thoughtful explorations, this session will guide participants through the framework with a deep focus on how to build academic mindsets and thinking dispositions that support rigorous cognitive demands in classrooms. Participants will learn how to scaffold instruction to build grit and motivation, experience strategies for tackling new tasks, methods for getting unstuck, routines that allow students to make meaning of new content, and activities that require students to engage in deep cognitive processing – all in the service of building active, confident, self-directed, independent learners.

Malika Ali
As the Director of Pedagogy, Malika is passionate about working to develop educators to be change agents of instructional and systemic equity and to nurture students’ cognitive development through culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy. Prior to working at the Institute, Malika served as an Innovation Specialist and a high school science teacher. She was a Rhode Island District Teacher of the Year and served on Governor Raimondo’s STEAM and Equity in Educator Preparation Working Group. Malika holds an M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Public Health from Brown University. As a daughter of strong and brilliant Eritrean refugees, Malika has spent her life critiquing the systems that perpetuate educational inequity, and she is proud to be a part of the struggle to ensure that all children have access to, and can take advantage of, an empowering education.