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; you'll also find insight into preparation and information about 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.
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. 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.
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.
Resource Library (Inclusive Schools Network): This library is rich with resources covering a range of topics on diversity, with a focus on creating equity for students with disabilities. Start with the Inclusion Basics, which provides a great overview of creating an inclusive classroom. The Culturally Responsive Teaching resource page offers great ideas, tips, and strategies for reaching culturally diverse students with disabilities. You can also dig deeper into subjects like assessment, collaboration, and working with families.
More From Edutopia
You'll find a trove of insightful articles on Edutopia. Check out the Culturally Responsive Teaching page for additional resources. Here are a few popular blog posts from Edutopia writers:
- Equity for English-Language Learners by Rusul Alrubail (2016)
- Teaching Toward Consciousness by Joshua Block (2016)
- Equity vs. Equality: 6 Steps Toward Equity by Shane Safir (2016)
- Social Justice Projects in the Classroom by Michael Hernandez (2016)
- How SEL Can Help Students Gain a Multicultural Perspective by Maurice Elias (2015)
- Five-Minute Film Festival: Talking About Race and Stereotypes by Keyana Stevens (2015)
- Empowering Educators Through Cultural Competence by Jose Vilson (2015)
- Creating an Anti-Racist Classroom by Danielle Moss Lee (2012)
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
- Calling All Students to the Front, Please
- Creating Space for Risk
- Strategies and Resources for Supporting English-Language Learners
- Literacy Through Photography for English-Language Learners
- Meeting the Needs of All Students: A First Step