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Preparing for Cultural Diversity: Resources for Teachers

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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.

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:

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Kenya's picture

This is an amazing opportunity for teachers to teach children about diversity. It is very important for everyone to know and accept diversity. I didn't learn a lot about diversity until I come to college. I don't want children to do the same. Children will able to accept and comfortable with people from different backgrounds. I am highly encouraging all schools to use this resources.

Jemeecia Johnson's picture

As a student myself I believe that teachers play a huge part in children's lives growing up. If teachers start preaching diversity consciousness and respect at a young age it is more likely to be effective and stick with children through adulthood. I understand that it may be difficult but if teachers get to know each student and about there background it will make communicating a lot easier. This will help them understand their communication methods and why.

Jemeecia Johnson

BrassyLass's picture

Wow! This is a fantastic collection of information! I just happened to stumble upon this article amongst many others while browsing the internet, but this one was the most thorough when it comes to the sheer amount of useful educational material. As an educator, I am always looking for new ways to educate myself into becoming a better teacher for my students. I feel that there is always room to grow and learn, even long after our standard K-12 years are gone. Thank you for taking the time in creating this post. I will thoroughly enjoy discovering, and learning, the new information that you have presented.

Catherine Browning's picture
Catherine Browning
e-Learning Education Analyst at VIF International Education

As all of you have mentioned, a sense of cultural awareness and intercultural competence is becoming increasingly important for educators in our interconnected world. Gaining a sense of cultural awareness can impact the way that we, as educators, understand our students and also affect the way that our students understand their peers.
At VIF International Education,, our mission is to develop and foster these global learning opportunities. We believe that it is important for educators to incorporate cultural differences and cross-cultural learning opportunities for students, and so we have developed extensive resources that help educators do just that.

Check out as another great resource for educators to gain global professional development opportunities and find extensive global curriculum resources that can easily be incorporated to teach and learn alongside your students!

Catherine Browning - e-Learning Education Analyst at VIF
VIF website:
Twitter: @VIFprogram or @VIFLearn
Facebook: VIF International Education or VIF Learn

Carol Matthews's picture

Diverse learners need certain things to make the learning experience effective for them. As a college instructor, I find applying a learning centered model supports the function of learning for these students. In order the meet the needs of the diverse learner the schools must provide the most supportive learning context. The context must be of value and understand the differences and needs of a diverse learner.
In developing learner centered models we must meet the individual learner needs, while applying a focus on learning. This dual focus then informs and drives educational decision making.

Carol Matthews's picture

Schools are intended to be learning systems that serve not only the student but the teacher. The school serves as the basic function, a place for children to learn, but also a place for teachers to learn about the diverse student. In both cases, schools are the place where the learning process is supported and students learn from teachers and teachers learn from students their heredity, experiences, perspectives, backgrounds, talents, interests and needs. In doing so, they are able to teach the best and effective methods in promoting the highest level in motivation and achievement in all students.

studentteacher97's picture

As a student studying in my multicultural class I was excited to find your blog! You have a wonderful set of web links to go through to help prepare me for my own classroom some day. I hope to be able to create a sense of community within my own room someday and feel that these ideas will certainly help.

Emily.IWU's picture

I am in a transition to teach program through IWU (IN Wesleyan) and I was happy to come across this blog because it provides several linked resources and articles for new teachers. It is important for beginning teachers to understand the responsibility of creating a class culture that is open to multicultural influences from the various students that will be a part of the community. The articles listed about provide great insight for just that. Thank you for sharing!

Dr. Jennifer Davis Bowman's picture
Dr. Jennifer Davis Bowman
Adjunct Professor of Education

I just found this article and find the information very helpful. Specifically, I plan to review the "Awareness Activities" you've referenced. Thank you for sharing concrete strategies for addressing our ever-changing classroom population. I've written about how diversity impacts our classroom management decisions before:

I feel that the resources you present here will help steer us in the right direction.

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