Diversity in the classroom: A checklist for culturally responsive teachers

Whether this is your first teach abroad stint or you’re currently on your fifth contract renewal, it’s always worth evaluating your teaching style and pedagogy to look for areas to improve. In both private international schools as well as public schools, you will encounter a great variety of cultural backgrounds and it’s important as a teacher to model acceptance and to value inclusivity. Read below to see what you’re currently doing and to get more tips for an inclusive classroom.

Classroom environment

  • Communicate the value of different genders (if you have a mixed class), family structures, ethnicities, and faiths and religions.

  • Although you may be teaching in English, it’s important to value students’ native languages.

  • Promote inclusiveness and cooperation among students. Look for classroom activities that will promote group work and collaboration.

  • For classroom tasks and responsibilities, avoid gender stereotyping.

  • For classroom images, be certain to choose images that are gender-diverse and ethnically diverse.

  • Challenge stereotypes and inappropriate comments.

  • Ensure that your students see you as an open and warm educator.

  • Model fairness, acceptance, and empathy for your students.

  • Look to include diverse learning materials and read stories that include a variety of individuals.

Pedagogy

  • For take-home or individual assignments, provide opportunities for students’ to choose topics of deep interest to them.

  • When possible, make use of technology to cater to different learning styles.

  • When possible, incorporate students’ family and culture as material for

  • Every culture has different norms when it comes to classroom behavior and respecting these are important, especially around asking questions and disagreeing publicly.

  • Assess your students using a method that values different learning styles.

Classroom resources

  • Use resources and materials that reflect diverse individuals and value diversity. Incorporating materials from a variety of cultures, when appropriate, is great.

  • Choose resources that are gender neutral.

  • Be sensitive to historical events in the country you are teaching and address these events appropriately.

  • You can use international media to examine stereotypes with age-appropriate student groups.

  • Include opportunities to talk locally and globally when you have classroom discussions.

School community

  • Involve family as often as possible to encourage diversity and its value. This can mean a classroom “openhouse”, games days, presentations of exciting projects, etc.

  • Invite parents to share their insights, experiences and concerns within the context of the classroom curriculum.

 

Teachers, looking for more training and support on how to deal with increasing diversity in your classroom? Look no further than Culturally Responsive Teaching, Teach Away's online, self-paced professional development course for educators.