Cultural Vibrancy: Exploring the Preferences of African American Children Toward Culturally Relevant and Non-Culturally Relevant Lessons

Document Type


Publication Date



Despite the laudable intent of various educational initiatives in raising the achievement level of all children, limited progress has been made. In an effort to diminish the achievement gap of students of color, some researchers have examined the cultural relevancy of the curriculum in promoting student achievement. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore the preferences of African American children toward culturally relevant and non-culturally relevant lessons, through a six-week series of lessons in an American History classroom. Critical Race Theory and Racial Identity Development provided the theoretical underpinnings of this study. This study takes place in an ethnically diverse high school in Colorado. Culturally relevant lessons were rich in oral traditions, music, historical connections, and a structured culturally relevant field trip. Non-culturally relevant lessons were administered devoid of cultural referents, and utilized the existing curriculum guide. Study results revealed statistically significant findings for African American children’s preferences for culturally relevant lessons. These lessons were found relevant to their culture when administered by a culturally responsive and caring teacher. Recommendations are made for educators and administrators in promoting achievement through culturally relevant lessons and curriculum.