How The SIOP Model Addresses Culturally Responsive Teaching

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

This blog post is part of a series where we unpack each of the eight components of the SIOP Model. In this blog post, we will focus on the essential question of where and how the SIOP Model addresses socio-cultural competence for culturally responsive teaching.

The SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) Model (CREDE, 1996) is an empirically-tested, research-based model of instruction 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 also intended for student success with students who need to strengthen their academic language and literacy skills.

Used for ‘language development with content teaching and provides teachers with guidance for planning and delivering effective lessons’ (, 2011). It has been validated as a high level model of instruction improving the achievement of students whose teachers use the model. Student learning is enhanced by using instructional strategies and instructional practices to engage both mother-tongue language and the target language used in each lesson.

The SIOP Model includes 8 components:

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

Where and How the SIOP Model Addresses Socio-Cultural Competence    

The SIOP Model is an instructional framework that ‘intersects quite naturally’ (jechevarria, 2020) with culturally responsive teaching (CRT). One example is how the SIOP model for teaching provides multiple ways for English language learners to access and participate in grade-level content (2020). ‘Every child deserves to be equally accepted as part of her class and/or school’ (2020). By being equally engaged in the classroom and school, students are engaged in not only the academics but also the social activities of their school community. 

Foundational Principle of the SIOP Model

A foundational principle of the SIOP Model is for teachers 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 and formative assessments could include mother tongue language and cultural perspectives to bridge meaning between the English language in instruction and students’ first language.

Examples of How the SIOP Model Intersects with Culturally Responsive Teaching:

Lesson Preparation

Teachers create lessons based on language learning outcomes and create lesson instructional strategies and activities. In this stage, teachers can include mother tongue comparisons to build opportunities for meaningful engagement and comprehension between students. Modified assignments are another way for students to learn the same content but through different tasks and can be presented as culturally relevant to students’ backgrounds (2020). 

Here is an example of how to plan lessons using The SIOP Model:

Building Background

Classrooms, where teachers use the SIOP Model, are student-centered and learning experiences are built on students’ background knowledge and personal experiences. Teachers can integrate English learners’ worldviews into lessons to include cultural heritage as a learning opportunity for all students (2020).

This post shares examples of how to build background using The SIOP Model:

Comprehensible Input

Teachers using the SIOP Model incorporate higher level teaching strategies like hand-on activities, modeling, and repetition to support learners with language learning and comprehension throughout the lessons.


Scaffolding techniques as a method to connect a student’s previous knowledge with the lesson delivery is one way teachers can connect background cultural heritage and experiences to the classroom environment. 


Teachers can set a tone of mutual respect and caring in their classrooms to model and encourage students to interact respectively and productively with one another (2020). Creating space in the lesson planning and allowing time for a meaningful and productive interaction between students provides opportunities for small group work and other activities where students of different cultural backgrounds and ethnicities interact together and complete tasks together.

Practice & Application

Teachers who use the SIOP Model can create lesson activities where students practice and apply what they have learned. Students can be encouraged to create their work including representation of their cultural identities. 

Lesson Delivery

Lesson plans created with the SIOP Model can include activities and resources that are culturally responsive to the student community. 

Review Assessment

‘Formative and summative assessments are multifaceted and take into consideration the various contexts of a student’s life including home, school, culture, home language, and literacy development in both their home langue and English’ (2020). Formative assessments at the end of each lesson may include a review of relevant vocabulary or exit tickets to assess the learning process of each student. 

The SIOP Model


Teaching with The SIOP Model


If you are an educator, parent, or grandparent and looking for practical strategies to use with children, concepts to understand, and ideas that can be easily implemented about how to create space for self and others, you have landed in the right spot.

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Children learn how to solve problems the same way they learn how to read, write, and add. Like reading, writing, and adding, there are three specific components to solving problems. These are teachable skills children can learn at any age.

Published by suzannemarie

Educator and published author of conflict management and children's books. Living life to its fullest. I believe in courageously honouring my truth and living my legacy. Lover of meaningful conversations, coffee, food, art, and building connections. I love writing about my fascination with culture, food, adventure, self-love, and living a healthy and fulfilled life!

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