How can teachers effectively engage with 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 to use. Luckily, there are many useful resources to help new and veteran educators explore the subject.
If you're looking 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 from leading diversity education leaders. One underlying message these researchers agree on is 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 the book excerpt from ASCD's "Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners." In addition to these two articles, here are a few other resources that will help educators develop inclusive learning environments and approach topics of race, gender equality, empathy, and bullying prevention during class.
Resources for Multicultural Classrooms from 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. One favorite is the Using Photographs to Teach Social Justice lesson series.
Awareness Activities from EdChange.org: The EdChange-produced Multicultural Pavilion is a wonderful source 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 and much more.
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. The lesson plan "Connect With Kids and Parents of Different Cultures" is a great place to start.
Teacher Resources for Multicultural Schools from 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.
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.
Covering Race, Class, Civil Rights and Much More with the Zinn Education Project: Inspired by Howard Zinn's book A People's History of the United States, the Zinn Education project features lesson plans on a variety of subjects. The majority are available for free download. Additional sources for primary source documents include Smithsonian's Heritage Teaching Resources collection and SoJust.net, a trove of primary sources for social justice lessons.
More From Edutopia:
- Yuri Kochiyama and How Everyone Plays Their Part, Jose Vilson
- 5 Ways Literature Can Teach Global Lessons in Elementary Classes, Becky Morales
- Teaching Empathy: Turning a Lesson Plan into a Life Skill, Joe Hirsch
- Rethinking Conversations on Race Among Educators, Jose Vilson
- Seven Ideas for Revitalizing Multicultural Education, Andrew Miller
- Creating an Anti-Racist Classroom, Danielle Moss Lee
- Empathy: The Most Important Back-to-School Supply, Homa Tavangar
Originally Published August 29, 2013