We are educators. We are trying to teach future generations to thrive while in this ever-changing environment we still struggle with a very subject-based curriculum. Instead of embracing technology in the classroom and promoting problem-solving, creative thinking and collaboration, we spend most of the classroom time with exams, assessing, testing, and providing information. However, our students are in greater need than ever to learn how to live and work in a society where every individual is unique. If we want to tackle the issue of diversity and inclusion in the classroom we have to focus on promoting and accepting the differences between people. May 21st is the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Let’s ponder how we can support this idea in the classroom and explore different perspectives and good practices from the Teaching with Europeana blog.
How do you manage diversity in the classroom?
The teacher should show genuine interest in learning more about students’ cultural backgrounds, hobbies, learning styles. Thus, they can start a conversation, a dialogue, a debate about respect and diversity as we all know communication is the core to a culturally aware and inclusive school environment. On the Europeana website, you can find ready curated material to use for your projects: How the 20th century changed family life, Shared stories, objects from the past, Migration Stories, An Eye for Detail.
There are several possibilities to reconnect and productively learn from our past. Here are some examples:
- A lesson plan from Historiana using photos from Europeana collection where students learn about controversial monuments and statues Remember the past
- A learning scenario from Portugal including and bringing together people with diverse cultural backgrounds centered on participatory photography and digital narratives: Inclusion Processes through Participatory Photography and Digital Narratives
- A virtual museum made by my Hungarian students from fragments of their grandparents’ untold stories and related objects: Memory Gallery – Art Museum SZLI
The Significance of Communication
Maintaining ongoing communication throughout the school year, students can give feedback and reflect on what degree they felt included in activities. It is in this way that they can learn more about their individual problems and suggest different options to improve the class experience.
The Teaching with Europeana blog gives you examples of how to encourage students to research and learn about their own and others’ ethnic and cultural backgrounds by debating, planning, or expressing support.
Incorporate Diversity into the Lesson Plan
When you start planning your classroom activities, besides acknowledging and respecting students’ backgrounds, fostering cultural awareness, you should also ensure that diversity is respected. Europeana offers you several ready scenarios that could be integrated into lesson plans. These learning scenarios prove that, regardless of the subject, it is always a good choice to connect them to real-life examples or visual representations. You can give the students the freedom to browse and choose, so they can approach the topic from their own diverse perspective.
Some of the learning scenarios that deal with the topic of diversity are:
Students who learn about different cultures during their education not only become more open-minded and empathetic, but they are also prepared for a future diverse working environment. Hopefully, the scenarios from our blog help you to design your own project or classroom activity. Should you have any questions or suggestions we will be happy to answer you in the comment section under each post. Let’s leave no one behind!
by @katalinlorincz Europeana Ambassador (Hungary)