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Cultural Competency in Art Education

Cultural Competency in Art Education

Investigate how our brains and behaviors are shaped by our experiences and apply research-based methods to create inclusive spaces for young artists.

Cultural competence, or the ability to understand, communicate, and effectively interact with people across cultures, is the cornerstone of effective educational practice. In this course, students will explore the meaning of culturally responsive teaching as it relates to brain research, teaching methodologies, and classroom management. Students will analyze each of these concepts to help teachers bring about awareness in their art curriculum design and instruction and reach every student to help them achieve their highest potential.

See the course syllabus and Graduate Catalog for more details.

Required Materials


Additional Materials

  • Computer with basic audio and video output equipment
  • Internet access (broadband recommended)
  • Basic computing skills (see AOEU’s Technology Requirements)
  • Access to AOEU’s online learning platform, Brightspace, to view course content, submit assignments, and engage in discussion (provided)
  • A Google Drive account (not provided by AOEU)
  • Word-processing platform (Microsoft Office, Pages, Google Docs)
Graduate Credits
All courses will now close at 11 PM Central time on the 27th of each month. Graduate Credits 3 Graduate Credits
Price Graduate Credit $1197.00
Mon 8 Sun
May 1 Weeks Jun 25
Upcoming Course Run Dates
May 1 Jun 25
AOEU Course Code
Morningside Course Code
EDUC500 AOE040

Course Objectives

  • Define culture and culturally competent education and distinguish between the four practice areas of culturally responsive teaching.
  • Identify and characterize multiple factors—such as race, gender, socio-economic status, mass media, and culture—that influence one’s perception of self and others and impact learning in the art room.
  • Build and apply the skills, knowledge, and capacity of culturally responsive teaching to impact student achievement in the art room.
  • Promote authentic engagement and rigor (expansive learning, high intellectual performance, and self-determination) among culturally diverse students through the application of neuroscience research.

Course Breakdown

Week 1
The Power of Culture and Language
  1. Explore and define levels of culture.
  2. Analyze the four practice areas of culturally responsive teaching.
Week 2
Diverse Viewpoints and the Neuroscience of Culture
  1. Connect Hammond’s “Brain Rules” to your classroom practice.
  2. Create a visual representation of the brain’s regions, systems, and culturally responsive brain rules.
Week 3
Our Mindset and Culturally Responsive Teaching
  1. Examine your personal cultural frame of reference.
  2. Identify situations where deliberate culturally competent teaching could be used to enhance understanding and provide support for your students.
Week 4
Building Rapport and Trust
  1. Discover the importance of creating learning partnerships through building rapport and trust.
  2. Analyze the value of the physical or virtual classroom as a safe space for students to meet high expectations.
Week 5
Establishing Alliances in Teaching Art
  1. Compile and create strategies for student partnerships, safety nets, and collaboration.
  2. Connect neuroplasticity to trust, feedback, and learning moves.
Week 6
Information Processing and Brain Power
  1. Strategize and innovate ways to build intellective capacity in your students.
  2. Create a culturally responsive lesson plan.
Week 7
Change Begins with Me
  1. Create a plan to incorporate cultural responsiveness in your art room OR
  2. produce a cultural competency professional development training for colleagues.
Week 8
  1. Reflect on your cultural competence journey from the beginning of the course.


A sample assignment from Week 1 of the class Cultural Competency in Art Education.

1. Research

Deeply reflect on your life’s experiences that led you to ascribe to your different cultural positions. Go all the way to the beginning and think about your childhood household, family traditions and customs, interests you developed as you grew, and characteristics you were born with that may have influenced your beliefs and norms.

2. Discussion

Using the questions for mapping your cultural reference points on page 57 of Dr. Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain (2015), reflect on your implicit biases, beliefs, and triggers and how your overall cultural frame of reference influences instructional practices and values in your art room. Share some of your most noteworthy takeaways from identifying your cultural frame of reference.

3. Practical, Hands-On Application

Create a visual representation of your surface, shallow, and deep cultural traits. This could be a drawing, infographic, collage—the media is up to you!
"Very eye-opening course that broadened my lens of how I see myself and my students. I love that this course was a mix of neuroscience, emotions, SEL, and self-reflection. I HIGHLY recommend this course to anyone!"
Erin W., OH
"I love AOEU courses, this one, in particular, is life-changing. I don't know why this course is not a core class, but I recommend everyone to take this elective. I have been able to evaluate my whole curriculum with the cultural filter during these eight weeks. There is not a cut and dry answer to making a class culturally responsive, thank you for this course."
Lindsey T., TX

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