Call for Papers: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

It’s Time for Systemic Change: A Call for Action in Implementing Inclusive and Culturally Responsive Educational Practices for Young People

Guest Editors: Lenwood Gibson, Jr., Ph.D., BCBA-D; Temple S. Lovelace, Ph.D.; Lefki Kourea, Ph.D.

Highly complex, or wicked problems, such as poverty, social service disruptions, the systemic exclusion of vulnerable people in healthcare, racism, unequal access to all levels of education, and gender and ethnic disparities across various social and educational sectors have forced countries across the world to adopt the 2030 global agenda for sustainable development, which has served as the impetus for implementing bold answers to complex problems (Hopson & Cram, 2020; United Nations, 2015). Six years later, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) followed a similar tactic by encouraging its members to utilize behavior analysis for producing socially significant changes to the above worldwide challenges (Cihon & Mattaini, 2021).

Eliminating gender and ethnic disparities in education and ensuring equal access for underserved students, including children with disabilities, indigenous children, second language learners, students experiencing poverty, and racially and ethnically diverse children call for more in-depth discussions and applied empirical work around diversity, equity, and inclusion. More specifically, considerations should be placed on how social systems—from macrosystems (e.g., culture ideologies) to exosystems (e.g., mass media, governmental bodies) to mesosystems (i.e., school, community, health care) should be restructured to become more inclusive, socially attuned, and sustainable for supporting the diverse needs of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners from birth to 21 years. Given the current conditions in education, utilizing an ecological systems approach (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) allows one to understand not only the needs of the individual child and their assets, rooted in their cultural ways of being, but also to reexamine the detrimental impact social systems and the corresponding contingencies around them have created as an integral reason for the level of transformation that is needed to enhance student growth and success.

There are a growing set of indicators that children and adolescents of all ages are not receiving the instructional opportunities (Camera, 2021; Milner, 2012); intervention support (Wang et al., 2020); or access to the post-secondary options (Banks, 2013) that they need—which should compel all disciplines to transform how they provide support to diverse populations. Emerging contributions in service of culturally responsive behavior analytic practice have provided recommendations to improve applications (Fong & Tanaka, 2013), guidance to overcome perceived and existing barriers (Dennison et al., 2019), and implementation of strategies to consider cultural variables when working with diverse communities (Beaulieu et al., 2018), as well as the use of culturally responsive pedagogy in practice (Hugh-Pennie et al., 2021). As researchers and clinicians continue to refine their practice, a systems-level approach must be an additional and important component to support the development of new tools and supports that meet the needs of learners and their families across multiple contexts and employ supports that are culturally aligned, sustainable, and inclusive. In order to do this, innovative paradigms that build off of the work within behavior science, culturo-behavior science, and/or reflect work in other fields, that promote anti-racist practice, culturally responsive pedagogy, and social justice are needed. 

The aim of this special section is to publish an interdisciplinary perspective on what this moment for transformation can be if we adopt a systems-level approach to implementing culturally responsive practices that are inclusive, intentional, and evidence-based. We invite authors to contribute their new paradigms for culturally responsive practice that have created systemic and sustainable changes in the lives of young people in their school or community environments. Our goal is to create a special section that offers a set of inclusive culturally aligned practices and serves as a resource for professionals, service providers, and researchers in the field of behavior science and beyond. 

Contributions that involve collaboration with other disciplines are strongly encouraged. Behavior and Social Issues welcomes submissions that: 

  • Explore the impact of intersectional oppression that is faced by learners, educators, service providers, etc. in our education systems
  • Demonstrate promising, new interventions that directly counteract racism, ableism, and/or gendered educational or intervention approaches 
  • Investigate the role of educational technology in providing culturally responsive instruction and intervention
  • Explore the role of policy in pursuit of new frontiers in behavior science and culturally responsive practices
  • Expand the research-based development and implementation of culturally responsive practices within and beyond behavioral sciences 
  • Illustrate innovative school-community-home partnerships that provide systems-wide support for historically marginalized populations
  • Expand the development of training programs/protocols that prepare culturally competent professionals
  • Investigate the impact of community-wide and school-wide organizational frameworks that promote culturally responsive pedagogical practices and culturally competent professionals
  • Expand the current research body on reducing implicit bias across macro-, exo-, and mesosystems

To receive consideration, manuscripts must be submitted no later than May 1, 2022 via the journal's online system and should be flagged for the special section on culturally responsive practice by using the Article Type pull-down menu in the journal's online portal.

We invite manuscripts that are original research, review articles, case studies, or reflect new methodologies or methods in service of our call. Papers should be a maximum of 20 manuscript pages (excluding tables, figures, and references) and should adhere to the requirements for submissions to Behavior and Social Issues. Submissions should be formatted in APA (7th edition) style. It is recommended that papers be professionally proofread prior to submission.

Inquiries regarding possible submissions should be sent to, Guest Editor. 

Banks, J. (2013). Barriers and supports to postsecondary transition: Case studies of African American students with disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 35(1), 28-39.

Beaulieu, L., Addington, J. & Almeida, D. (2019). Behavior analysts’ training and practices regarding cultural diversity: The case for culturally competent care. Behavior Analysis Practice 12, 557–575.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979).The ecology of human development. Harvard University Press.

Camera. L. (2021, October 14). America’s kids earn disappointing grades on nation’s report card. U.S. News and World Report.

Cihon, T. M., & Mattaini, M. A. (2021). Editorial: The path forward. Behavior and Social Issues.

Dennison, A., Lund, E.M., Brodhead, M.T. (2019). Delivering home-supported applied behavior analysis therapies to culturally and linguistically diverse families. Behavior Analysis Practice, 12, 887–898.

Fong, E. H., & Tanaka, S. (2013). Multicultural Alliance of Behavior Analysis standards for cultural competence in behavior analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 8(2), 17–19.

Hugh-Pennie, A. K., Hernandez, M., Uwayo, M., Johnson, G., & Ross, D.  (2021). Culturally relevant pedagogy and applied behavior analysis: Addressing educational disparities in PK-12 schools. Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Milner, H. R. IV. (2012). Beyond a test score: Explaining opportunity gaps in educational practice. Journal of Black Studies, 43(6), 693-718. 34712442539 

United Nations. (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Wang, C., Barlis, Do, K. A., Chen, J. & Alami, S. (2020). Barriers to mental health help seeking at school for Asian- and Latinx-American adolescents. School Mental Health, 12, 182-194.