How can teachers effectively engage students from diverse backgrounds? It's a question many teachers face at the beginning of the school year, and of course, there isn't one prescribed strategy that works. Luckily, there are many useful resources to help new and veteran educators explore the subject.
If you're looking for a starting point, How Can We Prepare Teachers to Work With Culturally Diverse Students and Their Families? (an article from the Family Research Project at Harvard University) features insightful advice and useful tips from leading diversity education specialists. These researchers agree on the underlying message that communication plays an integral role, but there’s also insight into preparation, connecting with students, and building relationships with families.
Two other sources of inspiration are Yvonne Pratt-Johnson's article Communicating Cross-Culturally: What Teachers Should Know and this book excerpt from ASCD's Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners. In addition to these articles, here are a few other resources that will help educators develop inclusive learning environments and approach race, gender equality, empathy, and bullying prevention during class.
Resource Library (Inclusive Schools Network): This library is rich with resources covering a range of topics on diversity. Start with the Inclusion Basics and Culturally Responsive Teaching resources. Then, dive deeper into other subjects, like assessment, collaboration, and working with families.
Resources for Multicultural Classrooms (Teaching Tolerance): Produced by The Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance’s classroom resources page offers free lesson plans for exploring topics like race and ethnicity, gender equality, and sexual orientation with students. For specific teaching practices, start with Teaching Tolerance's Critical Practices for Anti-Bias Teaching, a self-paced, four-part, professional development learning program.
Awareness Activities (EdChange.org): The EdChange-produced Multicultural Pavilion is a wonderful assortment of resources for educators. This Awareness Activities collection provides plenty of engaging ideas and activities to introduce diversity at the beginning of the school year. Plus, don't miss the Teacher's Corner for curriculum ideas, strategies, and much more.
Teaching Diverse Learners (Brown University): This website is "a resource dedicated to enhancing the capacity of teachers to work effectively and equitably with English-language learners (ELLs)." You'll find great practical teaching strategies, ideas for engaging elementary ELLs, and tips for reaching out to families.
Lesson Plans and Resources (Teaching for Change): Teaching for Change is a nonprofit, with a mission of providing "teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write, and change the world." The site features thoughtful and engaging lesson plans, tips for addressing race and diversity in the class, and links to great teacher resources.
Lesson Plans and Resources for Multiculturalism and Diversity: Scholastic produced this collection of resources for teachers. Along with some engaging lesson plans, there are also plenty of articles featuring tips and strategies to help educators engage students and families from diverse backgrounds. Connect With Kids and Parents of Different Cultures is a great place to start.
Teacher Resources for Multicultural Schools (RaceBridges for Schools): This resource roundup from RaceBridges is a great source for ideas on creating inclusive classroom environments, rethinking how you approach diversity, and lesson plans covering a variety of subjects. If you're looking for primary sources for in-class lessons, check out Smithsonian's Heritage Teaching Resources collection and SoJust.net, a trove of primary sources for social justice lessons.
Strategies for Teaching Culturally Diverse Students: This TeacherVision-produced article is full of useful and ready-to-use tips for welcoming and engaging diverse students. Discover more useful ideas and lesson plans in TeacherVision's Diversity Resources for Teachers collection.
More From Edutopia
You'll find a trove of insightful articles on Edutopia. Check out our Diversity landing page for all resources related to the subject. Plus, here are a few popular blogs from our writers:
- How SEL Can Help Students Gain a Multicultural Perspective by Maurice Elias (2015)
- Cultivating Cultural Assets: An After-School Story by Clare Roach (2015)
- Five-Minute Film Festival: Talking About Race and Stereotypes by Keyana Stevens (2015)
- Empowering Educators Through Cultural Competence by Jose Vilson (2015)
- Empathy: The Most Important Back-to-School Supply by Homa Tavangar (2014)
- Creating an Anti-Racist Classroom by Danielle Moss Lee (2012)
- Seven Ideas for Revitalizing Multicultural Education by Andrew Miller (2011)
In This Series
- A Lesson Plan for Helping Young Children Learn to Accept Differences
- Preparing for Cultural Diversity: Resources for Teachers
- The Basics of Open Technology
- 3 Ways to Plan for Diverse Learners: What Teachers Do
- Strategies and Resources for Supporting English-Language Learners
- Literacy Through Photography for English-Language Learners