2022 Colorado Music Educators Association Conference 2022 Colorado Music Educators Association Conference

Being a Culturally Responsive Educator: Starting with a Personal Approach

- MST
Bartolin Hall E-213/214

Carla Aguilar
Metropolitan State University of Denver, Coordinator of Music Education

Carla E. Aguilar is a professor and the Coordinator of Music Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Carla earned her Ph.D. in music education from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She also earned a Master’s degree from the Jacobs School and a Bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, both in Music Education. Her current teaching duties include undergraduate courses in music education including Foundations of Music Education, Teaching General Music, Teaching Secondary Music and The Inclusive Music Classroom. In addition, she observes student teachers in music and works with music students in their  field experience placements. Carla is also the faculty advisor for the collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education at MSU Denver.

Her research interests include policy related to music education, access to music education, culturally responsive teaching, student-centered learning, and arts integration. She has presented her research at the American Educational Researchers Association, the National Association for Music Education’s Biennial Conference, the International Society for Music Education, and the Society for Music Teacher Education.


The call for culturally responsive educators has risen in the last few years. Educators such as Zaretta Hammond (2014) and music educators such as Vicki Lind and Constance McKoy (2016) have championed this call. What does it mean to be a culturally responsive educator? Where can teachers start to understand the aspects of being culturally responsive? The core of being a culturally responsive educator begins with the teacher in the classroom understanding themselves. In this session, we will discuss four personal areas that educators can attend to in order to better understand themselves and how they approach teaching. These areas are privilege, intersectionality, implicit bias, and fragility. Using these areas, we will discuss ways to understand ourselves and how we can best approach teaching from a culturally responsive lens.

Looking to dive deeper into the content of the session? Check out these supporting materials: