Bridge Building, Intersectionality and Inclusion
Culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) is an educational paradigm that encourages instructors to prioritize and value the experiences of culturally diverse students. This approach decenters the teacher as expert and invites learners to co-create knowledge. Instructors should “consider the global identities that are emerging in the arts, literature, music, athletics, and film. It also points to the shifts of identity that now move us toward a hybridity, fluidity, and complexity never before considered in schools and classrooms” (2014, 82). CSP considers “the languages and literacies and other cultural practices of students and communities to ensure the valuing and maintenance of our increasingly multiethnic and multilingual society” (Paris 2012, 94). CSP is a global pedagogy, and key to this pedagogy is cultural fluidity (2012, 95).
Paris and Alim (2014) explore cultural fluidity by incorporating Hip-Hop pedagogy into their instruction. Hip-Hop pedagogy is a global phenomenon and part of a multi-layered and complex youth culture; students can access its concepts through this shared culture. Paris and Alim explain that “CSP’s two most important tenets are a focus on the plural and evolving nature of youth identity and cultural practices and a commitment to embracing youth culture’s counterhegemonic potential while maintaining a clear-eyed critique of the way in which youth culture can also reproduce systemic inequalities” (2014, 85). In other words, youth culture is brought into the classroom as a bridge to the dominant curriculum, and at the same time is held up to a critical lens. The intangible quality of CSP aligns with some of the most prominent discussions about critical information literacy.
Information professionals have long engaged in information literacy instruction, and as our communities become increasingly more diverse, so should our techniques and pedagogical approaches. One-size does not fit all in library classrooms, and instructors should celebrate and incorporate the cultural richness of students into the overall learning process. This session will introduce the evolving notion of culturally sustaining pedagogy, and provide rationale and suggestions for using it to enhance library and information based teaching environments.