Culturally Responsive Teaching versus ARCS Model

Motivational framework for culturally responsive teaching is a pedagogy in which teachers make learning environment more accessible to culturally diverse students. In this model when teachers become advocates for culturally diverse students, they employ good teaching practices that incorporate many of the qualities and principles of culturally responsive teaching. At the same time, culturally responsive teaching is defined as “using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of references, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning encounters more relevant and effective for them”. Mitchell (2011) says that this model teaches to and through the strengths of these students.

The ARCS model unlike culturally responsive teaching is used to measure motivation of learners along four attributes of attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction. The ARCS model has been used to evaluate motivations of leaner’s in a variety of learning settings, including E-learning, environments and classroom face to face setting (Kebritchi, 2010). John Keller developed the ARCS model in conjunction with a motivational design process through a synthesis of available literature concerning motivation. In ARCS model the four factors together with effort and the outcome of motivation have a direct influence on the quantity and quality of a person’s performance (Kebritchi, 2010).

The culturally responsive teaching is respectful of different cultures and capable of creating common culture within the learning environment that all learners can accept, while the ARCS model is an approach of instructional design using multimedia technology based on a synthesis of motivational concepts (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 2010). Unlike in the culturally responsive teaching, the relevance aspect of ARCS model suggests that the familiarity of class instructions to learner’s background affects their motivation, while culturally responsive teaching is a heuristic, functional model for problem-solving and meeting the challenge of teaching intensive and diverse cultures (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 2010).

Another major difference between these two models is that culturally responsive teaching relies heavily on establishing inclusion, developing attitude, enhancing meaning and engendering competence, while ARCS model focuses on four aspects of attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction to create a motivated learning environment (Kebritchi, 2010). 

ARCS model seeks to gain and sustain learners’ attention in a learning environment and it is usually reinforced through perceptual arousal, offering novel and surprising activities, inquiry arousal and stimulating learners by posing questions and problems (Kebritchi, 2010). Relevance in ARCS model refers to the degree that instructions meet learner’s needs and is usually achieved through familiarity which entails adopting instruction according to learner’s background knowledge. Relevance is also achieved through motivation matching, which includes providing instructional strategies according to learner’s profiles.

Confidence in ARCS model is the expectancy of the leaner’s for success, and could be achieved through learning requirements, success opportunities and personal control. Kebritchi, 2010, says that success opportunities in ARCS model provide different achievement levels, while personal control provides feedback and support. Kebritchi (2010) indicated that “satisfaction is referred to as learners feeling about their accomplishments and could be enhanced by providing natural consequence, positive consequences and equity” (p. 51). Satisfaction for an experience is achieved through direct rewards, the establishment of beneficial situations, learner’s methods, which use the newly acquired skills in real setting and in an effective manner. 

In culturally responsive teaching, establishing inclusion creates a learning atmosphere in which learners and instructors feel respect and are connected to one another. Wlodkowski & Ginsberg (2010) say that developing attitude creates a favorable disposition towards learning through personal relevance and learner volition. Enhancing meaning in culturally responsive teaching creates engaging and challenging learning experiences that include learner’s perspectives and values. Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 2010, further say that engendering competence creates an understanding that learners have effectively learned something they value and perceive as authentic to their real world.   

Two academic Sources of Analysis Regarding the Two Models and How they are Viewed in Adult Education

Mitchell (2011) outlines that a research about culturally responsive teaching conducted in a school in California helped in the understanding of how culture actually played out in the daily life of classroom learning in adult education. In adult education with the culturally responsive teaching model, teachers are focused in the curriculum on the cultural diversity, human justice and equal treatment of all students (Mitchell, 2011). The research found out that those teachers in culturally responsive teaching were able to support the cultural complexities in adult classroom (Gay, 2010). Mitchell (2011) further says that the model integrated the adults and their families by establishing school policies and curriculum that respected the culturally diverse groups.

ARCS model plays an important role in adult education. Riddell, Markowitsch & Weedon (2012) says that the model identifies that a positive attitude towards participation which is the first step towards engaging in learning. In ARCS model expectancy relates to the adult learners confidence in his or her ability to complete the course successfully. Riddell, Markowitsch & Weedon (2012) say that in adult learning surveys are conducted on the effectiveness of ARCS model in adult education using WebCT learning environment. It was found out that both reactive and proactive conditions performed better in achievement tests than those in a controlled condition. In adult education, ARCS model’s factors such as relevance, prior knowledge play an important role in effectiveness of games.            

Recent Classroom Experience Using Culturally Responsive Teaching

The class took place on Saturday morning. There were 25 adult learners ranging in age from 25 to 55 years. Most of them hold full time jobs and are women. Wlodkowski & Ginsberg (2010) say that the instructor knew from previous experience that many of these students view research as abstract and irrelevant learning. The instructor explained that much research was to be conducted collaboratively. For the first activity we were randomly assigned to small groups and encouraged to discuss any previous experiences we have had when carrying out research. We were also supposed to come up with exceptions and concerns for the course which revolved around motivational strategy. Each group was required to share its experiences, expectations and concerns as the instructor recorded then on a whiteboard (Wlodkowski, 2011).

After a careful observation the instructor noted that most people were researchers much of the time. After a lively discussion, the class decided to investigate and predict the amount of sleep some members of the class had the previous night. By having students choose the research topic, this strategy engaged adult volition, increased the relevance of the activity and contributed to the emergence of a favorable disposition towards the course. The students developed a positive attitude about the course and learned in a way that included their experiences and perspectives (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 2010). Using the culturally responsive teaching in this course was effective, because the questioning, testing of ideas, feedback, and predicting heightened the engagement, challenge and complexity of learning enhanced the meaning of research. 

Evaluation of the Model that Works Better

Culturally responsive teaching works better. Kugler (2012) says that culturally responsive teaching builds meaningful bridges between the home culture and the school context and uses cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes, creating more successful learners. Kugler (2012) argues that the method values student’s cultural heritages and validates their life experiences students. Gay (2010) on the other hand argues that culturally responsive teaching is better because educators develop and deliver curriculum and instruction in ways that do not silence the cultural voices of diverse students. This model is mindful of critical influences such as ethnic affiliation, gender, social class, personality, individuality and experiential context (Gay, 2010). Wlodkowski (2011) noted that during the class session the culturally responsive teaching strategies and their related activities work together holistically as well as systematically.

According to Wlodkowski (2011), the motivational framework for culturally responsive teaching plays an important role as it crosses disciplines and cultures to respectfully engage all learners. Its purpose is to foster intrinsic motivation with the understanding that human motivation is inseparable from culture. In conclusion, Wlodkowski (2011) stated that this motivational framework provides a holistic design that uses a psychological and neuro-scientific understanding of learning, a time orientation for planning and a culturally responsive approach of teaching to foster intrinsic motivation from the beginning to the end of an instructional unit.

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