Article: Creating a Culturally Inclusive Classroom Environment

Creating a Culturally Inclusive Classroom Environment

By: Michelle Barker, Elisha Frederik’s and Brona Farrelly

Creating an inclusive classroom does not only focus on age, gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and socioeconomic orientation. It involves recognizing, appreciating and capitalizing on diversity. According to scholars a culturally inclusive classroom is associated to positive interaction between a student and a teacher, using inclusive language, encouraging open, honest and respectful class discussion and discouraging classroom incivilities. The source proceeds to outline multiple examples for implementing strategies. For example, engaging in positive interactions with students may include meet and greets, celebrating similarities and discovering differences, informal one on one interactions, understanding culturally differences and displaying positive nonverbal behaviors. Scholar provide a wide range of strategies, tips and good practice example for educators to implement.

Besides the strategies for creating a culturally inclusive classroom the scholars provide educators with a road map for reflection. It is essential for an educator to reflect on his or her practices to ensure the students are benefiting from their learning. Scholars have developed a self development checklist so guide teachers in the right direction.


10 Questions to Guide Self-Reflection: Creating a Culturally Inclusive Classroom

  1. What is my definition of “diversity”?
  2. What national, cultural, linguistic or religious group(s) do I belong to? How do my teaching practices reflect this?
  3. What do I know about the cultural, linguistic, religious and educational backgrounds of my students and other staff?
  4. How could I learn more about the diversity of my students and staff colleagues?
  5. What are my perceptions/assumptions of students and staff colleagues from diverse cultural groups? Or with language or dialects different from mine? Or with special needs or requirements?
  6. What are the sources of these perceptions (e.g., friends/relatives, media, stereotypes, past experiences)?
  7. How do I respond to my students (emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally), based on these perceptions?
  8. What experiences do I have as a result of living, studying or working in culturally and linguistically diverse cultures? How can I capitalize on this experience?
  9. How can I adapt my teaching practices to be more responsive to the unique needs of diverse student groups?
  10. What other knowledge, skills and resources would help me to teach from a more culturally inclusive perspective?

Barker, M., Frederik’s, E., & Farrelly, B. (2016). Creating a Culturally Inclusive Classroom Environment. In GIHE Good Practice Resource Booklet on Designing Culturally Inclusive Learning and Teaching Environments (1st ed.). Retrieved from

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