Creating an environment that is considerate of cultural influences is very important to conveying core subject information and motivating minority students. This kind of environment (aka “school culture”) can assist in transcending the negative effects of the dominant teaching pedagogy. Not seeing one’s history, culture or background in the textbooks (or when that information is distorted) causes students to want give up on education because they don’t feel that it’s relevant to their lives.
Additionally, non-academic factors also play a role in motivating these students academically. School culture can sometimes perpetuate feelings of low self-worth and low levels of motivation among students of color by indirectly fostering an environment of isolation toward students who are failing academically. Their predicament is exacerbated when cultural tools are not employed to assist them in the learning process. Scholars say teachers and parents worry that students are unmotivated, but in reality they are highly motivated to protect their sense of self-worth. There are organizational features, academic routines, qualities of leadership and staff support that, if followed, will end in high achievement for minority students consistently. For example, when the staffing pattern of the school, all teachers and the principal are White and only the janitors and cafeteria workers are persons of color, it is hard to see yourself in another capacity. They need to have models of success who look like them. Students will think, ‘if they can do it, so can I.” One of the most effective avenues for improving student motivation is a school's culture. According to some scholars, school culture can be embodied and transformed through channels such as shared values, heroes, rituals, ceremonies, stories and cultural networks. Some suggest using a wide variety of activities and symbols to communicate motivational goals. "Visible symbols," some say, illustrate and confirm what is considered to be important in the school. School newsletters, statements of goals, behavior codes, rituals, symbols and legends should be employed to convey messages of what the school really values. Staging academic awards assemblies, awarding trophies for academic success and displaying them in trophy cases, scheduling motivational speakers and publicizing students' success can help them see that the desire to be successful academically is recognized and appreciated. A culturally relevant school embraces the idea that there should be at least one institution in American society that provides a common experience of citizenship and equal opportunity, regardless of birth.
Culturally relevant teachers show students the importance of their connection to a wider community and make once left behind students lead the way. They will then by prepared for higher education and ultimately will have the skills necessary to function effectively in today’s labor market. We must create an educational environment that not only celebrates diversity, but also equips children of color with the skills they need to survive in this society and contribute to its creative environment.