Our classrooms are culturally diverse with students coming from different racial, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds. Diversity is a pedagogical strength which we should draw on to prepare culturally responsive spaces where students learn about the importance of respecting and accepting each other’s cultural practices. As the adage goes, diversity is the spice of life and cultural awareness is the antidote to prejudice, racism, bias, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and discrimination.
Being culturally aware means “recognising and understanding that we all have different values shaped by our diverse cultural backgrounds. What we consider to be ‘normal’ behaviour in one country can be entirely different in another.” It is only through embracing the ethos of cultural awareness that the world becomes a more inclusive and a safer place to live in.
To help you educate students on the importance of cultural diversity, equity and social justice, I invite you to check the resources I cured below. These are websites that provide a wide variety of educational materials to help you prepare inclusive classrooms where students learn to value their differences and cherish their diversity.
1- Common Sense Education
This section in Common Sense Education features over 30 tools and websites that you can use with students in class to open their minds and “get them to reflect on their own privileges, and help them better understand other people, perspectives, and cultures. Some of these picks will also cultivate students’ perspective-taking and integrity, putting students on the path to social change and activism.”
2- Google Arts and Culture
Google Arts and Culture offers tons of helpful resources to introduce students to our world’s rich cultural heritage. Students can get access to knowledge and stories curated from over 2000 cultural institutions from 80 countries. “From the suffragettes who fought for women’s rights, to performing arts at the Paris Opera, to NASA’s archive of stunning images, discover stories about our cultural heritage. It’s your doorway to explore the art, history, people and wonders of our world.”
Learning for Justice features curated resources to teach students about concepts related to social justice and equity. Resources offered touch on diverse topics including: race and ethnicity, religion, ability, rights and activism, bullying and bias, gender and sexual identity, immigration, and more.
4- The National Museum of African American History and Culture
The NMAAHC offers resources to help students learn about the African American culture through interactive exhibitions. The museum “was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members.”
Country Reports delivers content regarding culture, language, religion, history, geography, economy, food, and more on each country of the world. Simply select the country of your choice and click to access its information.
This resource from CIA provides “basic intelligence on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, environment, communications, transportation, military, terrorism, and transnational issues for 266 world entities.”
7- The World’s Digital Library
The World Digital Library offers a treasure trove of materials to teach students about the world’s diverse cultures. These include: “historical documents including books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, journals, prints and photographs, sound recordings, and films.”
8- Equity Literacy Institute
The Equity Literacy Institute offers free and downloadable resources designed by EdChange and the Equity Literacy Institute touching on topics related to multiculturalism, equity, and social justice.
So Just provides access to primary source documents on social justice. The site’s collection features “historic speeches, songs, poetry, and manifestos on human rights and social justice. So*Just is a free resources from EdChange and the Equity Literacy Institute.”
10- Macmillan Education Cultural Awareness Collection
Macmillan Education offers this selection of courses to use in class to teach students about cultural awareness.
Pikes Peak Library District
The Respect Diverse Foundation