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College of Education

Biography-Driven Culturally Responsive Teaching

Biography Driven Instruction (BDI) is a communicative/cognitive method for providing culturally responsive pedagogy that guides teachers to maximize each learner’s potential for language acquisition and content learning by drawing upon students’ sociocultural, linguistic, cognitive, and academic resources.

  • Reflects standards of effective pedagogy and learning
  • Promotes engagement, motivation, and learning
  • Provides research-based strategies

Video Resources: BDI Strategies in Action

Linking Language – Laura Nunnink, 1st Grade
Vocabulary Quilt – Stephanie Wilhite, 2nd Grade
Foldables – Socorro Herrera, 6th Grade
→ Extension Wheel – Megan Valenti, 7th Grade
→ UCME – (Uncover, Concentrate, Monitor, Evaluate) – Kendra Metz, 6th Grade
→ DOTS – (Determine, Observe, Talk, Summarize) – Joanna Euston, 5th Grade

Dr. Socorro Herrera speaks to a student

Accelerating Literacy for Diverse Learners: Classroom Strategies that Integrate Social/Emotional Engagement and Academic Achievement, K-8 book coverBiography-Driven Culturally Responsive Teaching book cover
Crossing the Vocabulary Bridge: Differentiated Strategies for Diverse Secondary Classrooms book cover

Note: For purchasing info, click on the book covers.

Completely revised and updated, this bestselling resource speaks to the social-emotional needs of learners and helps teachers accelerate literacy, language development, and academic growth for students in grades K-8, particularly for English language learners. The authors present best practices, aligned with reading and content standards, and tools for developing academic talk and instructional conversations in the classroom. Special emphasis is placed on using student culture and language as a means for promoting meaningful relationships among communities of learners. The text includes tips for using the strategies to gather knowledge of the student’s background and to promote social-emotional learning.