Culturally responsive pedagogies can reduce the gaps between the highest and lowest achievers while at the same time raising overall levels of achievement. Culturally responsive pedagogies raise student achievement for all cultural groups, ensuring that all students are given the encouragement and support to realise their educational potential regardless of their social, economic or cultural background or individual needs.
While student diversity is increasing, there is a general lack of diversity amongst New Zealand’s teachers. Cultural gaps between students and teachers, when left unaddressed, can lead to misunderstandings of teacher expectations on the part of the student, or of student behaviour on the part of the teacher. Most schools, teachers, curriculum documents and texts reflect, transmit and reproduce the discourse, knowledge and values of the mainstream culture, while excluding or negating those of minority or diverse groups.