Cultural Relevance

Learners connect the particular content or tasks they are focused on in the moment with their individual cultural identity or community context.


person juggling balls in the air

Identify and activate cultural or community knowledge or processes during the learning experience

Evidence of Learner Behaviors

  • Share with peers or the class how the current task or project is part of something in their culture or community

  • Use a process during learning that makes sense to their culture and identity (e.g., using self-talk in their home language, working with peers for oral rehearsal)

Questions to Ask Learners

  • How does this task/project have some part of or connect with who you are in it?

  • How can you learn more about this?

a wrench and a gear

Engage meaningful learning in simulations, tasks, and experiences that are cultural or community-embedded

Evidence of Learner Behaviors

  • Work with their learning facilitator to create a task or project that deeply explores the topic through their own identity or community (e.g., include an interview section in the task so they can get their grandmother's opinion on the event if she lived through it, create a survey to gather more views on the topic)

Questions to Ask Learners

  • Why does this learning experience have meaning for you?

  • How does it connect to your identity or community?

Scales of justice

Demonstrate how current tasks or projects relate to their understanding of culture, identity, community, and social inequities

Evidence of Learner Behaviors

  • Explain an approach they took in a current task or project to identify a connection with their culture, identity, or community

  • Describe how their motivation in a learning task or project is connected a social inequity, stereotype, prejudice, or bias they would like to draw attention to

Questions to Ask Learners

  • How have you made this task more meaningful or relevant to who you are?

  • How does this learning task relate to something you feel is unfair and should be changed?

  • Why does this matter to you?


Learning takes place through the relationships between people; learners transform the knowledge from cultural knowledge to individual knowledge. Real-world applications, such as addressing relevant societal issues, link concepts to context.


When learning can connect academic content and skills with learners' personal identities, learners are better able to make sense of their identities in relationship to the world. When we connect our learners to meaningful cultural experiences that validate their identities and help them learn about successful people who share similar identities, we expose learners to an enhanced vision of what is possible in their lives.

Educator Actions

Learning facilitators incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy and connect learning activities and objectives with learners’ cultural identities or community contexts.

CSTPs: 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.7

ribbon graphic


Design learning experiences that connect to topics of your learners’ identities and contexts and integrate them with the Cultural Sphere of Lifelong Learning.

When learners see themselves reflected meaningfully in their learning experiences, they are more invested in demonstrating mastery!


  • Incorporate important topics or representatives from the local community into learning activities (P)

  • Provide learners with meaningful choices in what and how they learn that allow learners to tap into culturally resonant topics and methods (P)

  • Provide learners with opportunities to process learning in a way that is authentic to their cultural backgrounds, including ones based in oral traditions (P)

  • Connect learning to culturally relevant examples and metaphors from learners’ communities and everyday lives (P/F)

  • Help learners recognize, understand, and critique social inequities (P/F)

  • Model the recognition and rejections of cultural stereotyping, prejudice, and bias (P/F)

P = planned F = facilitated spontaneously