10 Ways for Promoting Diversity in the Classroom


1. Play dress-up. Dressing up lets children literally step into someone else’s shoes. Provide a variety of traditional costumes from all over the world.

2. “Accept linguistic/cultural hybridity (e.g. combined use of the native language and English for instruction, allowing code-switching) as a viable and authentic way of being and communicating so that students may not learn to value one language/culture over another” (DaSilva Iddings & Katz, 2007, p. 313).

Dia de Reyes, Magi, Nativity Scene

3. “Structure classroom activities so as to promote a multiplicity of perspectives (i.e., voices)” (DaSilva Iddings & Katz, 2007, p. 313)

Promoting Diversity in the Classroom

4. “Provide opportunities for ELLs (and their families) to adopt identities of competence in the classroom” (DaSilva Iddings & Katz, 2007, p. 313). Ask students to teach their peers about their home language and culture. This lets the student learn to draw on his knowledge of Spanish (or other home languages) to better understand English. Additionally, students are able to act as an expert within the classroom, which improved his self-esteem.

5. “Learn how to correctly pronounce all students’ names” (Díaz-Rico & Weed, 2006)

6. Books should reflect a wide variety of languges and experiences, featuring themes and people of different races, religions, countries, ages, abilities and family structures. “Include books in the class library written in languages other than English” (Díaz-Rico & Weed, 2006). The selection of books in your classroom should be language and culturally diverse.  Include bilingual books; make sure you have books in all of the languages that are spoken in your classroom.  Have books in English about different etnicitys, cultures, family structures and abilities. Exposing children to different cultures will open up opportunities to discuss differences and highlight similarities. Bilingual books can be sent home or kept in the classroom to integrate students’ home languages.

boy and girl reading book in spanish with dog

7. “Welcome class visitors who speak home languages and ask them to talk about being bilingual” (Díaz-Rico & Weed, 2006). Parents can read or tell stories in their own languages, and share music, food, games, hobbies, or traditions in the classroom. You can use the help of parents to translate stories or teach you how to say important words in their language, such as hello, goodbye, and thank you. This will enrich de education of the whole classroom will give children and families the certainty that their culture and language is valued in the classroom.   Parents will feel useful as they are the experts in their language and culture, and it shifts roles as you will feel humbled when you are the one that doesn’t understand the language.  Sometimes it’s difficult for parents to come to the classroom, so ask them to contribute with clothes for dressup, toys, pictures or objects from their culture that you can use in the classroom.

8.“Create occasions for family and community lives to intersect with school experiences” (DaSilva Iddings & Katz, 2007, p. 313). Host guest speakers. The best way for children to understand new information and appreciate diversity is for them to see it with their own eyes.

9. Allow students to preview material in their home language.  If a child will be learning about animals encourage for the child to talk about his favorite animals at home in their home language, That way students will be able to familiarize themselves with the content in their native language. Thus they can better understand the material and participate when they go over it in English in class.

10. “Be honest about and aware of your own cultural biases” (Díaz-Rico & Weed, 2006).

10 Promoting Diversity in the Classroom

For more ideas be sure to check my article: More Great Ideas to Promote Diversity in the Classroom

You can also read: Having a Multicultural Classroom is Good for Everyone

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

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6 thoughts on “10 Ways for Promoting Diversity in the Classroom”

  1. Hola Paula,
    My husband and I are both from the US but learned Spanish as adults and teach Spanish. OUr 5 year old started Kindergarden this year and has several hispanic kids in her class. They are learning English of course, but our kids are not interacting with them in Spanish. Do you have any suggestions or know of any programs that have been successful in public elementary schools that promoted spanish learning from the hispanic children?
    Best, Laura

  2. This is great advice! I am an elementary teacher and I absolutely love integrating student’s cultures. I also always tried to find ways for students to learn about different countries and to bring food and dress like the countries they studied. I think the more culturally aware we make them, the more tolerant they grow up to be. Great post 🙂

  3. Great post! I love how you recognize how important it is to pronounce everyone’s name correctly because that creates a very inclusive environment! Thank you for sharing.

  4. I recently came across this post and I would like to cite it for a class discussion regarding educational diversity, but I cannot find the date. Can you provide the month, day, and year? If not, just the year alone would be sufficient. Thank you!


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