As your students grow to learn about themselves and the world, they will start to piece together what makes humans the same and what makes them different. We are all human beings with the same basic needs and feelings, but we also have differences such as traditions, skin color, cultures, and abilities. It’s important that teachers recognize their students’ differences so that they can develop curriculum and practices that meet the needs of their students. Encourage your students to embrace and celebrate what makes them and the others around them different and curate an inclusive classroom environment. Here are a few ways you can do that.
- Provide a variety of resources to broaden understanding. Encourage students to look into the different cultures that are prevalent in your classroom or region. They can grow in their understanding by reading books, listening to music, watching movies, and talking to people.
- Observe holidays from around the world. Don’t limit your classroom fun to widely commercialized celebrations you’re accustomed to. There are tons of fun and interesting celebrations and traditions around the world. Some holidays to consider are Chinese New Year, Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, Ramadan, and Day of the Dead.
- Interview a family member. You will want to be careful with this project as there may be children of adoption in your classroom who won’t have family members to interview. You may want to give students the option to create a poster or PowerPoint presentation instead of an interview. For those with the option, have your students interview a family member to learn what’s important in their culture.
- Host a culture fair where students share traditional clothes, cultural food, customs, and more.
- Work with music and art teachers to incorporate diverse music and art into your classroom. Have a world music dance party!
- Critically review your teaching resources and look for ways to increase diversity. Share a wide range of materials in your classroom.
- Review your books. Look for books that share a diverse population.
- Celebrate names. It’s common to have students with names that originate from other languages. Some may feel the need to Americanize their name to make it easier for others to pronounce or remember. If your student is comfortable encourage everyone to practice until they correctly pronounce all names.
- Choose a Pen Pal. If your classroom isn’t particularly diverse, it’s still important to foster an inclusive classroom. Kids can connect with pen pals through programs such as PenPalWorld.com. It’s a great way to practice writing while learning from others around the world.
- Take professional development courses that can give you greater insight on diverse learning populations. Here are a few from CE Credits Online:
- Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners
- Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners in the Content Area Classroom
- Identifying and Removing Obstacles for Black Students with Special Needs
- Autism Advocate: Supporting Students with ASD
- Creating Adoption Sensitive Classrooms
- Differentiating Instruction in the 21st Century Classroom
- Strategies for Reaching At-Risk Students
Download and print these classroom posters!Check out CE Credits Online’s online professional development courses for K-12 teachers.