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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Preparing for Diversity: Resources for Teachers

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 solution.

If you're looking for answers, start first with How Teachers Can Prepare to Work with Culturally Diverse Students and Their Families, an article from the Family Research Project at Harvard University. Highlighting research from leading diversity education leaders, the article touches on tips and strategies teachers can use in the classroom. Of all the responses, researchers agree that communication plays an integral role, but there’s also insight into preparation, connecting with students and building relationships with families.

It's just one of many great resources online that will help educators prepare for diverse classrooms. Here's a few others that will get you started in welcoming students, as well as approaching the subjects of race, gender equality and bullying in class.

  • Resources for Leveraging Diversity in the Classroom: The University of California at Berkeley’s Multicultural Education Program offers a valuable list of resources for teachers. There’s plenty of research and articles from program staff, as well as links to outside resources on e-tools page.
  • Resources for Multicultural Classrooms from Teaching Tolerance: A project of The Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance’s classroom resource page offers free lesson plans teaching race and ethnicity, gender equality and sexual orientation. The plans offer printables, links to open resources and other useful lesson tools.
  • Awareness Activities from EdChange.org: The EdChange-produced Multicultural Pavilion hosts many resources for educators, but their awareness activity list provides educators with a host of ideas and activities to introduce diversity into class discussions. There are primers on strategy and preparation, as well as useful resources for breaking the ice and encouraging students to explore their own unique histories and backgrounds.
  • Lesson Plans and Resources for Multiculturalism and Diversity: Scholastic produced this resource for teachers, and along with some engaging lesson plans, there’s also a list of professional articles and resources sure to help educators in diverse schools.
  • Teacher Resources for Multicultural Schools from RaceBridges for Schools: Inclusion, creating welcoming environments and diversity lesson plans featured here. Inclusion is the key, though, as RaceBridges’ mission to unite people from diverse backgrounds.
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    Comments (6)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

    DbaiG's picture

    Educative and learning post! The issue relates to educational psychology. All the points you have made are worth-considering. Teachers must find creative ways through different opportunities that our era offers. And above all, the communication with students plays a vital role.


    andrearpns's picture
    1st grade teacher from Belmont, Calif.

    There definitely isn't just one prescribed solution to working with children of diverse backgrounds. I found that communication is key. Primary students love to share their world and it is important to incorporate lots of opportunities for this throughout the school year. It's the best way to build a sense of community, tolerance, and acceptance. I'm sharing this post with my colleagues.

    Syolivette Ramirez's picture
    Syolivette Ramirez
    3rd grade teacher fro Colorado

    AS an ELD teacher multicultural awareness is a key component of my lessons. It is important to me to make sure that my students can share about their culture, while the rest learns to respect other views and traditions. This is also an opportunity to make them feel like experts on the topic. Thanks for all the valuable resources.

    OliviaYangZii's picture
    Communication major student

    As a communication major student, I have learnt a lot about diversity conflicts due to differences. I notice that teacher is playing an important role on influence people's attitudes toward difference. Teachers have to help young kids establish right thoughts and behaviors when they meet people who are different from them. In order to decrease stereotype, discriminations and prejudice, we have to concentrate more on young generation, and that is why education matters. This blog provides precious resources about how teachers can lead children to have better understanding and treatment about diversity, like diversity of gender, race or social classes. As the development of globalization, conflicts cause by difference may become more serious. So teach students how to treat difference should become a necessary ability for each teacher to grasp. To be proactive is a useful way to communicate in this context of diversity, and education is something that can make effort.

    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

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