Do you embrace the diversity of students in your classroom, or do you shy away from learning their cultural backgrounds? A fear of offending people and racial color blindness (ignoring racial and ethnic differences to encourage racial harmony) can cause many educators to ignore the diversity of students. However, teaching children about the different racial and cultural biases society has helps prepare them for the real world and also gives educators opportunities to deliver more appropriate and authentic instruction for a diverse group of students. If you struggle with embracing diversity, here are a few tips you can utilize in your classroom:
- Learn about students' cultural backgrounds. Ask students and their parents about their cultural backgrounds, and give students time to share information about their culture, customs, and holidays with other students in the classroom.
- Don't be afraid of offending people. Remember that you as the teacher are not promoting specific cultures and customs—you are only allowing students to share with their classmates.
- Don't ignore examples of race and culture. Be sure to bring attention to examples of race and culture in classroom literature and other curriculum materials. For example, you can discuss how a character or historical event was impacted by race and/or culture.
- Incorporate cultural education practices. Find websites, journals, and other publications that have great tips and advice on ways you can embrace the different cultures of your students and include them in your lesson plans and teaching strategy.
Teaching children to treat the people who are different than they are with kindness is important to their social and emotional learning and will help them develop good character traits. Be sure to visit our Differentiated Instruction section if you're looking for educational materials you can utilize in developing teaching strategies and lesson plans for differentiated classrooms.