Lessons for a Teacher Training Workshop in Pakistan: Challenges Novice Teachers Face While Implementing Culturally Relevant Teaching in Elementary School Social Studies Classrooms in the United States
Warraich, Axa Khalid
Recent education reforms in Pakistan push for uniformity in the guise of standardization. This may not only discredit essential parts of students’ identities but also pit students against each other without laying focus on the systemic causes of the “achievement gaps.” It is in this context that I see great value in training teachers to practice culturally relevant teaching in my school in Pakistan. However, due to the lack of research on culturally relevant teaching in Pakistan, I have chosen to research similar literature in the United States. For over three decades now in the United States, culturally relevant teaching has been pushed forward as an appropriate educational paradigm to address the academic needs and improve the academic achievement of culturally and linguistically diverse students in the U.S. Today, this need is felt more than ever because of the increase in culturally and linguistically diverse student population in schools and their continued underrepresentation in successful academic indicators. The existing literature provides ways to use culturally relevant teaching in teacher education programs for preservice teachers and also recounts its successful application by celebrated teachers; however, it does not highlight the challenges that in service teachers may face while implementing it and does not measure its effects on student performance. This research is important for improvement and evolution of existing teacher education programs so that they can address the unmet needs and under developed understanding of teachers dedicated to culturally relevant teaching. This paper is a step in that direction and will employ a systematic literature review method to highlight the challenges that novice teachers face in implementing culturally relevant teaching in elementary social studies classrooms, in hopes of designing an effective teacher training workshop for novice teachers, to address the needs of historically marginalized students, in my school in Pakistan.