Teaching standing in front of a diverse classroom.

Cultivating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Education Environments

Racial and cultural diversity are hallmarks of our society. To celebrate this diversity, and cultivate harmony and respect for all peoples, educators must nurture equality and inclusion within the classroom. Students enter the classroom carrying an assortment of beliefs. This may include racial and cultural prejudices picked up from their neighborhoods, pop culture, and their families. Educators can help combat prejudice and racial discord by supporting positive behaviors among students, fostering a sense of belonging for all students and their families, and instilling respect for all peoples.

We’ve gathered a range of resources to help educators create a culturally inclusive classroom, one that celebrates diversity and inclusion in education while encouraging students to spread the values of inclusion and cultural respect in their everyday lives. Providing instruction through a lens of diversity promotes tolerance of people with differing ideals and practice. It fosters cultural respect and understanding of ‘the other,’ and may even reduce bullying.

Providing equitable access to education and supporting tolerance of those who look different or have special needs creates a positive effect on learning. Classroom management falters when students experience friction with other students. By actively engaging in learning activities that instill respect for diversity, the classroom can become a place where respect is a cornerstone and intolerance becomes abhorrent.

The classroom isn’t an island. Its walls, even adorned with posters of diverse figures from history, are porous to ideas. By teaching students about the contributions that all cultures bring to our society, educators can encourage them to spread this respect for diversity beyond school. Integrated and diverse classrooms promote critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. Racial and economic diversity within the classroom results in higher test scores – a quantifiable benefit, of course – but the less tangible reward, a respect for the dignity of every human, is the bedrock of any healthy community.

Teaching Styles

The cultivation of diversity, inclusion, and equity starts in the classroom. How an instructor teaches a class is important and influences how well students absorb these concepts. Should a teacher adopt a one-style-fits-all approach? Or should they personalize their instruction according to the learning environment? These articles introduce educators to different teaching style approaches that help students embrace diversity and inclusion.

Diversity Activities in the Classroom

The following section includes links to resources containing activities designed to help students understand the importance of empathy and respect for other cultures and cultural activities, including language, religious practices, cuisine and other cultural markers. By nurturing an awareness of other cultural beliefs and customs, educators can create a multicultural classroom that cultivates learning via cultural diversity activities. Ultimately, these cultural diversity activity ideas can help students from different backgrounds succeed in the classroom environment.

Inclusive Teaching

This section features inclusive education activities for teachers, helping them find ways to effectively manage an inclusive classroom for the benefit of all students.

Creating an Equitable Learning Environment

“Am I biased?” To support equity in the classroom, each teacher, regardless of race or cultural background, must learn to assess their own biases in order to view every student as an individual. Some of the resources in this section can help educators identify and overcome their own biases and embrace difficult conversations. These conversations within the school environment are crucial for creating fair school policies and for cultivating a willingness among teachers to build positive bonds with their students and their families or guardians. Fair student-teacher relationships can make all the difference in a student’s life, while an unfair relationship can sabotage a student’s views on education for the rest of their life. Working to create a fair, equitable environment based on values like respect and inclusivity, isn’t simply important to promote an improved learning environment, but also to instill life-long values that enrich the human experience.

One comprehensive resource you can explore that’s related to inclusive learning environments is this Antiracist Teaching Resource Website that showcases additional tips for creating diversity and inclusiveness in the classroom.