Analyzing Cultural Relevance in Instruction

Analyzing Cultural Relevance in Instruction

Ashford University

EDU 693: Creativity, Culture, and Global Contexts in Education Decision Making

After viewing the video, I observed Jeff Bliss expresses his perspective on Ms. Phung’s classroom and the way she was not interacting with the class. I do think Mr. Bliss may have been being a disturbance of some kind due to the fact the class was not interesting. I do agree with Mr. Bliss and the importance of having a teacher that is engaged. Mr. Bliss made a great point when he mentioned it is just a paycheck, this should never be a teacher’s reason for teaching (AHDAPTING, 2013, 0:46). Students know and can feel when a teacher is just teaching for their paycheck. As a teacher, I can understand Ms. Phung could have felt a certain way toward this student because he was calling her out in front of other students. I do think that Ms. Phung could have used this time to interact with the students while they completed the packets. She could have walked around the classroom ensuring that the students had an understanding or be more interactive during class. The problem could have been stemmed by Mr. Bliss not working to complete his packet and instead he might have been talking. I would think the students benefited from what Mr. Bliss after the video became so public because the teacher may have started to see her demeanor and perspective of teaching. I think the student was not out of line with the way he expressed himself. He stood up for what he believed the problem was with the way Ms. Phung teaches her class. He made so many great points in the video and if teachers continue to sit behind their desks and pass out packets for the students to complete. I applaud Jeff in the video because he pointed something great about equity. Each student does not learn the same way and he expressed the importance of how other students cannot learn by just completing packets.

The teacher could have created a better classroom outcome by not relying on packets to teach the students. Not all students can be taught by simply giving work, some need more one on one instruction time. The class environment was not exciting and did not give the students a sense of belonging. To help with this she could move the students into group tables to work together. Student grouping could help students to be engaged and provide those students that needed extra help with the help they need. Student recognition/leadership could create a better atmosphere so that the students felt encouraged to learn in class. In her article, “Relevant: Beyond the Basics”, Irvine (2009) stated that “…culturally relevant teachers create learning opportunities in which students’ voices emerge and knowledge and meaning are constructed from students ‘perspectives” (Irvin, 2009). If Ms. Phung would take the time and allow students to take charge of their learning experiences, they will become more involved. In the video, Mr. Bliss suggested that Ms. Phung change the way she teaches and interacts in her class. He pointed out that the students in the class do not learn from sitting and reading packets. I did not see any evidence of culturally relevant pedagogy in the action from Ms. Phung. I did hear Mr. Bliss make so many statements to Ms. Phung about ways she can reach her students and learn about them.

A more culturally relevant classroom can be created by maximizing academic success through relevant instructional experiences. Ms. Phung could use the packets and help the students to learn more. Engaging with them as they work through the packets together can help keep the students involved in their learning. Another strategy would be to involve students in the construction of knowledge. “The focus of the human relations approach is to help students learn together harmoniously in a world that is becoming smaller and smaller” (Wardle, 2013, Ch.10.3). By having students work together they can learn from each other and learn about how others see things. The final strategy that can be used to help create a more culturally relevant classroom would be to examine the curriculum from multiple perspectives. These perspectives can come from students and other teachers. Collaborating with others can help instructional time be more engaging and can help the students to learn from peers of different races and backgrounds.


Bliss, J. (2013, May 8). Student “Jeff Bliss” mad at teacher at Duncanville [Video file]. Retrieved from

Irvine, J. (2009). Relevant: Beyond the basics. (Links to an external site.) Teaching Tolerance.

Retrieved from

Wardle, F. (2013). Human relationships and learning in the multicultural environment. [Electronic version]. Retrieved from