Culturally Inclusive Classrooms

A culturally aware and inclusive classroom recognizes that identity is complex and multi layered and encompasses race, gender and gender identity, socio-economic status, sexual identity, ethnicity, and religion.

As we build culturally inclusive classrooms we need to be mindful about shifting from:

Viewing culture as a single story . . . viewing culture as lived experiences

Exclusive practices . . . to inclusive engagement

Judging . . . to knowing

Culturally Inclusive Teaching and Learning

  • Builds respect among all members of the classroom and school community
  • Honours the funds of knowledge of all members of the classroom community
  • Uses home language as a foundation for learning additional languages
  • Maintains high expectations for all
  • Focuses on effective communication: teachers and students develop their skills of listening through a appreciative perspective
  • Values oral language: time is provided for students to talk about topics that are authentic and meaningful to their lives
  • Understands the reciprocity of teaching and learning – everyone in the classroom community has a role as a teacher, learner, and provider of feedback
  • Uses information about a wide range of cultures in purposeful and authentic ways:
    • Fiction and nonfiction student reading materials are intentionally chosen by the teacher to provide a “sample of the world”
    • Classroom projects extend the sampling of the world to deep learning about the people of the world
    • Teacher read alouds reflect the literature of the world
    • Community members are invited to share their stories and knowledge
    • Global current event discussions do not perpetuate “single stories” about people and cultures
    • A wide range of oral and written languages are introduced, sampled and discussed in authentic ways
    • Genre studies include text and videos from a wide range of authors and cultures
  • Discussions about people who made a difference includes people from all races, ethnicities, and cultures
  • Problem solving scenarios used in project based learning reflect a wide range of authentic cultural references

And something to think about:

“. . . Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person. The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti writes that if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story, and to start with, “secondly.” Start the story with the arrows of the Native Americans, and not with the arrival of the British, and you have and entirely different story. Start the story with the failure of the African state, and not with the colonial creation of the African state, and you have an entirely different story. . . The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”(Chimamanda Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story).

View the full TEDTalk here:

For more professional conversations about education, please visit:Beyond the Apple . . . Reframing Conversations in Education or contact us at Beyondtheapplecontact@gmail.com

About Beyond The Apple

Beyond the Apple provides everything a Professional Learning Community needs! Designed to follow Beyond the Apple's Tenets of Adult Education, our videos re-ignite the excitement of professional conversations among educators in the classroom, university, colleges and professional training. Our free teaching and learning resources provide a follow up with more information that is current, research based and practical.
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