How The SIOP Model Addresses Culturally Responsive Teaching

students in a culturally responsive teaching classroom sitting at desks listening to teacher Suzanne Marie


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Culturally responsive teaching is an essential skill for educators, and the SIOP Model provides a structured approach to developing this competency.

Specifically, the SIOP model supports students’ knowledge of their own culture, along with gaining an appreciation for the values and cultures of others.

Ultimately, the SIOP model addresses sociocultural competence in various ways. This provides teachers with an effective framework for addressing issues of equity and inclusion in the classroom.

This blog post explores how SIOP addresses culturally responsive teaching.


Culturally responsive teaching is an important component of the SIOP Model.

The SIOP Model equips educators like me with the knowledge to design effective lesson plans for students from diverse backgrounds.

As a teacher and certified TEFL specialist, I rely on the SIOP Model to craft high school instructional approaches that prioritize English Language Learners.

With more than two decades in the classroom, a Master’s of Education, Teaching Multilingual Learners, and a Master’s of Arts, I am confident in utilizing the evidence-based strategies provided by the SIOP Model for successful learning experiences.

What is SIOP in education?

The SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) Model (CREDE, 1996) is an empirically-tested, research-based model of instruction.

It’s used as an instructional framework for unit planning and lesson planning to deliver best practice instruction in core subject areas for second language learners.

It is intended for student success with students who need to strengthen their academic language and literacy skills.

SIOP is validated as a high-level instruction model improving students’ achievement.

Student learning is enhanced by using instructional strategies and practices to engage mother-tongue language and the target language used in each lesson.

8 SIOP Model Components

  1. Lesson Preparation
  2. Building Background
  3. Comprehensible Input
  4. Strategies
  5. Interaction
  6. Practice & Application
  7. Lesson Delivery
  8. Review & Assessment

How is the SIOP Model culturally responsive?  

SIOP is an instructional framework intersecting with culturally responsive teaching.

One example is how the SIOP provides multiple ways for English language learners to access and participate in grade-level content.

Students thrive in their school community, academics, and social activities by being equally engaged in the classroom and school. 

Foundational Principle of the SIOP Model

A foundational principle of SIOP is to have high expectations of students’ responses to grade-level learning.

With this foundational principle and equal participation of students in the classroom, student success is planned in the lessons.

Formative assessments include mother tongue language and cultural perspectives to bridge meaning between the English language and students’ first language.

Examples of the SIOP Model and Culturally Responsive Teaching

SIOP promotes culturally responsive student engagement in each of its eight components.

Culturally Responsive Lesson Preparation

Lessons must be based on language learning outcomes. In addition, instructional strategies and activities include mother-tongue comparisons.

Including students’ mother-tongue language in this stage creates opportunities for meaningful engagement and comprehension between students.

For new or emergent English language learners, modified assignments help students learn the same content through different tasks.

The content is best presented as culturally relevant to students’ backgrounds.

Building a Culturally Responsive Background

Classrooms, where teachers use SIOP, are student-centered, and learning experiences are built on students’ background knowledge and personal experiences.

Teachers integrate English learners’ worldviews into lessons to include cultural heritage as a learning opportunity for all students.

Using Culturally Responsive Comprehensible Input

Higher-level teaching strategies like hands-on activities, modeling, and repetition support learners with language learning and comprehension throughout the lessons.

Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies

Scaffolding techniques connect a student’s previous knowledge with the lesson delivery.

As a result, the classroom environment includes each student’s cultural heritage and experiences.

Interaction in Culturally Responsive Lessons

Teachers set a tone of mutual respect and caring in their classrooms to model and encourage students to interact respectively and productively with one another.

Ultimately, creating space in the lesson plan for meaningful and productive interaction between students provides opportunities for small group work and other activities.

As a result, this strategy helps students of different cultural backgrounds and ethnicities to interact and complete tasks together.

Practice & Application

SIOP teachers create lesson activities for students to practice and apply what they learn in each lesson.

As a result, students are encouraged to create work and projects representing their cultural identities. 

Lesson Delivery

Lesson plans with SIOP include culturally responsive activities for the student community.

For example, a poster project highlighting common foods or phrases representing students’ cultural backgrounds.  

Another example is a digital media project providing an engaging presentation about students’ culture and language.

Review and Assessment

Formative and summative assessments consider the various contexts of a student’s life. Culturally responsive assessments include home, school, culture, home language, and literacy development.

Assessments in students’ home langue and English help students build context about the content.

At the end of each lesson, formative assessments review relevant vocabulary or exit tickets to assess each student’s learning process. 


Culturally responsive teaching is an important aspect of SIOP. In addition, it is embedded throughout its eight components.

As a result of using SIOP, instructional strategies, assessments, and student interaction prioritize English Language Learners for successful learning experiences.

Therefore, creating effective lesson plans for students from diverse backgrounds is crucial.

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,


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