12 strategies for maximizing cultural diversity in the classroom

by Toluwani C. Oloke
Ph.D Student, University of Florida

Toluwani C. Oloke

Toluwani C. Oloke

Here are 12 tips for teachers to help them improve course design and instruction to recognize and promote cultural diversity in the classroom.

  1. Appreciate the diversity; understand the diversity as a quality of wealth of perspectives and differences in terms of: language, personalities and learning styles.
  2. Consider students’ cultures and language skills when developing learning objectives and instructional activities — technology use and familiarity, perceptions of personal space, and individual vs group projects.
  3. Facilitate conducive learning and classroom environment that promotes sense of belonging, mutual respect and value for others’ opinions.
  4. Incorporate multiple assessment and teaching styles to engage all students in ways that are culturally, cognitively and linguistically responsive and appropriate. individually.
  5. Monitor student progress individually when possible, even when they are working in groups.
  6. Build a relationship with students.
  7. Culturally contextualized illustrations in class do not always help. Use neutral non-stereotype illustrations that all students can understand or easily learn.
  8. Make class participatory.
  9. Use simulations.
  10. Let students explore their strengths and understanding in multiple ways.
  11. Hold all students to high expectations.
  12. Eliminate stereotype biases and myths about students; instead, know your students as individuals.

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4 questions teachers should ask themselves to improve their students’ motivation

by Barbara Myslik
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Barbara Myslik

Barbara Myslik

Motivating students to can be one of the most challenging tasks a teacher faces, but it can also be one of the most exciting. There are several factors important to consider when thinking of ways to achieve that goal.

Here are four questions teachers should ask themselves as they consider how to motivate their students.

Question #1: Is the student intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? (Motivation type)

Students who learn for their own satisfaction, and are motivated by internal factors, more then by external rewards, respond well to tasks that are both challenging and give them sense of personal control. For an intrinsically motivated student sense of control over the task is fun and rewarding, so it is important to let them create as much of their learning experience as possible.

Students motivated by external rewards respond well when the subject is made applicable to them. It is important to praise their accomplishments, as positive feedback motivates them to work harder. Also, introducing an element of friendly competition can work really well for an extrinsically motivated student.
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Tips for teaching college students with different learning styles

by Sining Kong
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Sining Kong

Sining Kong

Learning style can be described as a set of factors, behaviors, and attitudes that facilitate learning for an individual in a given situation. It influences how students learn, how teachers teach and how the two interact with each other. The idea of learning styles usually refers to a preferred way of learning. It implied that each individual has a natural inclination toward learning, and if that preference can be identified, both teaching and learning experiences can be more effective.

Teachers can use VARK questionnaire http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/ to know students’ learning styles. According to VARK inventory, there are four types of learning styles: 

* Visual learners prefer to use pictures, images, diagrams, colors, and mind maps.
* Aural/Auditory learners prefer using sound, rhythms, music, recordings, clever rhymes, and so on.
* Reading and writing learners enjoy reading and taking notes, turn diagram and charts into words.
* Physical (Bodily-Kinesthetic) learners prefer to use their body to assist in their learning, such as drawing diagrams, using physical objects, or role playing.

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