Strategies for promoting cultural diversity in college classes

by Linwan Wu
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Linwan Wu

Linwan Wu

Cultural diversity in classroom involves two important aspects: one is to help international students adapt to American cultures, and the other one is to encourage all students to respect cultural diversity.

International students’ cultural-related problems:
(1) Social customs
(2) Language problems
(3) Culture shock

How to help international students in your courses:
(1) Help international students understand “culture is relative.”
(2) Encourage them to be open-minded.
(3) Ask them to use their communication skills.
(4) Encourage them to ask questions.
(5) Help them to find a cultural ally.

How to encourage students to respect cultural diversity:
(1) Emphasize that people from different cultures are similar.
(2) Ask students to share stories of their home life in class.
(3) Establish a culturally responsive learning environment.
(4) Introduce positive role models from diverse cultures.

General tips for college teachers:
(1) Keep in mind the principles of equity:
– Minorities have the right to define themselves and their own issues;
– Learning about other groups may cause us to question some of our basic assumptions;
– Value differences than to pretend that differences do not exist;
– Fairness does not mean treating all students exactly in the same way.

(2) Syllabus design:
– Include the textbooks and materials written by authors from diverse backgrounds and presenting diverse perspectives;
– Pay attention to the words and terms you use.

(3) Classroom behaviors:
– Make accurate statements;
– Give varied examples based on different groups’ experiences;
– Use humor with care.


Linwan Wu is a doctoral student in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. This post follows the teaching presentation he made on this topic in Mass Communication Teaching (MMC 6930).



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