Learning About Diverse Communities in Which We Teach or That Are Near to Us

View or share this material in a Google Doc: Learning About Diverse Communities


To learn about the diverse communities present in our remote and hybrid learning environments and strategize ways to provide culturally competent teaching. 

The estimated time for this activity is one hour.

Stop & Think

(Key: T — Teachers, SL — School Leaders, DL — District Leaders)

On page 23 of the NYSED’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework, a student expectation bullet states: “Challenge yourself to learn about people, cultures, languages, orientations, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds different than your own.”

In this TEDx Talk, “A Tale of Two Teachers,” Dr. Melissa Crum shares her experience as a Black student in school:

She gives her audience a picture of what the classroom can look like, from the lens of both a student and a teacher. Furthermore, she shares her assessment that teachers have a harder time teaching and relating to students who do not share the same cultural background as them. 

  • Reflect upon the teacher and student demographics of your remote and hybrid learning environments. Are the teachers representative of the student body? If not, what steps and initiatives can be put in place to ensure that teachers have an opportunity to learn about the cultural background of the diverse student population? (SL, DL)
  • Reflect upon your own role in your remote and hybrid learning environment. Would you say your approach to diversity training is conservative, liberal, or critical? (T, SL, DL)
  • What steps can you take to ensure a community where educators are better equipped to have conversations around race, sexuality, gender, and cultural differences? (T, SL, DL)

Brainstorm & Design

It is important to create remote and hybrid learning environments where all students are seen, heard, and celebrated. An important first step is for teachers to take measures to learn about their students’ cultural backgrounds, day-to-day life experiences, and family compositions. Take a look at some of the strategies below and brainstorm at least three steps you can take for each strategy in order to learn about and celebrate the diversity in your remote and hybrid learning environment.

Strategy: Get to know your students

This includes learning about students’ cultural backgrounds, living arrangements, financial struggles, hobbies, talents, learning styles, pet peeves, insecurities, and instructional needs.

Strategy: Communication

There should be systems in place for ongoing open and honest communication outside of whole-group instruction. These can be one-on-one meetings, digital  reflection journals with comments/notes, small-group mini-lessons, and video conferencing.

Strategy: Talk about culture

Have students engage in assignments and team builders that encourage them to  research their own and one another’s cultural background. Find creative ways to embed this into your content. Be sure to stress the importance of the between cultural appreciation and appropriation.

View these strategies in a Google Form


Find a peer with whom you can share the ideas you brainstormed for implementation. Swap ideas and give each other feedback.