The world today is filled with many different cultures. An important job of education, then, is to draw attention to these cultures – their values, traditions, and people. It is through this awareness that all students will feel a sense of belonging and worth, and will be able to respect those around them who may be different from themselves.
How can schools make sure this happens – that everyone is included? Below are a few tips for creating a multicultural classroom:
- Support cultural curiosity. Encourage questions and discussions on culturally based topics.
- Show respect. Facilitate discussions on stereotyping and bias, and its negative effect on others.
- Be open. Discuss individual backgrounds and customs as a class.
- Discuss similarities. Share with students the values that nearly all cultures connect with: peace, justice, equality, freedom, compassion, etc.
- Include educational materials that carry a diverse voice. For example, math story problems and grammar exercises should use multicultural names, readings should address various cultural traditions or should be of culturally diverse authors, and art projects should include typical cultural objects or crafts.
- Empathize. Put yourself in students’ shoes. Recognize what it might be like if you were in their place.
- Educate yourself. Attend workshops and in-services that enlighten, read books and articles that inform, participate in trainings that promote awareness..
The many lesson plans and resources on this site will aid you with ideas and exercises for bringing inclusion and welcome into your classroom or group.