What is CLR?
CLR stands for cultural and linguistic responsiveness (Hollie, 2017), and it builds on the theory of Culturally Relevant Teaching and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy put forth by Ladson-Billings (1994) and Gay (2000). To be culturally and linguistically responsive means going to where the students are culturally and linguistically first, then leading them where they need to be academically and socially for success. The frame of CLR is based on four words: validate, affirm, build and bridge or VABB for short. VABBing requires legitimatizing the cultural and linguistic behaviors that have been delegitimatized by historic institutional hegemony and providing a counter narrative to the negative, stereotyped portrayal in corporate media. Culturally responsive educators "VABB" by how they talk to, relate to, and teach students differently. Part of VABBing includes providing students texts that are authentically reflective of who they are culturally and linguistically. Dr. Hollie says that VABBing is the "soul" of CLR, and in order to prepare marginalized students for academic and life success, there must be a willingness by educators to understand who they are, and how to best VABB them, and facilitate their learning. To find out more about CLR and VABBing, click here.
3 Key CLR Principles for Understanding Use of Culturally Authentic Texts
1. Racial Identity is not Cultural Identity - The focus in CLR is on CULTURE, not race. Unfortunately, diversity in many texts is based on race. When considering culturally authentic texts, it is important to remember, and/or understand that racial identity, our biological DNA, has nothing to do with our cultural identity. Our cultural identities are connected to learned beliefs, behaviors and values. Our cultural identities frame the way we see the world, and interact with others.
2. Understanding the Rings of Culture - Culture is broad and complex. Since there is no focus on race, the rings of culture is the lens for examining diversity. The rings of culture are a composite of who we are culturally. They inform how we see the world, interact with others, and move through daily life. While race is not ignored in identifying CA texts, it is the rings of culture that most students will recognize and feel validated by. It is important to consider all the rings of culture people belong to, such as age/youth, gender, religion, class, nationality, and sexuality when looking for CA texts.
What texts don't feature stereotypes and misrepresentations?
What texts will validate the readers’ experiences?
What texts will speak to the soul of who they are?
3. Ethnic Identity is Heritage, Home, and Who We Are - While the rings of culture help you move beyond race, considering all the rings of culture that might be represented in a book, it is the Iceberg of Culture that will help you to understand and identify the nuances of ethnic identity that make a text truly authentic. It takes time to recognize the subtle unspoken rules of culture. When you are unsure, check with the experts. Quality culturally authentic texts will include both obvious and nuanced examples of a groups cultural behavior, beliefs and values. See our Responsive Resources page for experts, references and ideas.
Buying in to these 3 principles allows for understanding the process for selecting culturally authentic texts. Click here for more info.