Cultural Diversity in Education

The Cultural Diversity in Education program is a cognitive-affective developmental model for educating educators for long-term comprehensive cultural transformation of the classroom, the school, the college and the university. It is a particularly useful model for predominantly white or monocultural institutions that are experiencing changing student and community demographics and are also concerned about gaps in achievement, retention and graduation for culturally diverse and minority students. There are two versions - one designed for higher education institutions and one designed for K-12 schools - each with resources and strategies appropriate to that educational context.

The first four workshops provide a philisophical foundation for creating inclusive educational communities for culturally diverse and minority students so that in workshops 5 and 6 participants can generate proactive strategies for change that can be implemented in their own classrooms, schools and colleges.

Usually a group of 30-40 faculty, administrators, and professional staff from the same school or college will participate together in all workshops over the course of a year. The 7th workshop on diverse hiring can be offered independently of the other workshops.

Workshop 1

An overview of diversity work, issues and concerns in education

  1. To understand how and why changing demographics are significant to your school or college.
  2. To examine how the diversification of the U.S. population can affect the way you teach, administer and serve students.
  3. To analyze the academic, social, psychological and economic costs of racism, sexism, ethnocentrism and other biases and stereotypes in schools and colleges.
  4. To explain the purposes, process and effects of diversity work in education.
  5. To evaluate the climate, image, policies, curriculum and teaching styles of your school or college from the perspective of "excluded" or minority groups.
  6. To discuss the process for facilitating awareness, change and empowerment in your school or college.

Workshop time: 3.5 hours

Workshop 2

Understanding how our biases, assumptions and stereotypes impact educational climate and achievement

  1. To evaluate our categorization of the world in terms of them versus us, particularly how culture influences the composition of in and out groups.
  2. To discuss the origins and sources of biases, assumptions and stereotypes, focusing particularly on the relationship of culture to individual history and experience
  3. To describe how biases, assumptions and stereotypes may affect student relations faculty/staff relations and educational climate.
  4. To examine the distinction between individual bias/prejudice and institutional racism, sexim, classism, cultural chauvinism and privilege within an educational context.
  5. To illustrate how biases, assumptions and stereotypes can create a hostile educational climate for culturally diverse and minority students.

Workshop time: 3.5 hours

Workshop 3

Creating inclusive educational communities for culturally diverse and minority students - Seeing the school/college as a social system

  1. To illustrate how culturally diverse and minority students experience and perceive schools and colleges.
  2. To analyze how exclusionary monocultural schools and colleges can impact the success, achievement, retention and graduation of culturally diverse and minority students.
  3. To review the limitations of traditional paradigms and principles for improving the educational success and achievement of culturally diverse and minority students.
  4. To examine both the total educational environment and the dominant school or college culture for intrinsic barriers and ethnocentric structures that cause culturally diverse and minority students to disengage partially or totally from classrooms, schools and colleges.
  5. To discuss how schools and colleges serve as social systems that often force culturally diverse and minority students into a "no-win" situation: either to assimilate and to risk cultural identity or to resist cultural assimilation and to risk failure.
  6. To describe characteristics of inclusive educational communities for culturally diverse and minority students.

Workshop time: 3.5 hours

Workshop 4

The hidden curriculum: Causes and effects of intercultural conflict in the classroom - Parts I and II

  1. To view the traditional American classroom from the perspectives of culturally diverse and minority students.
  2. To analyze the major aspects of the "hidden curriculum" in the traditional American classroom - i.e. relational dynamics, expectations and assumptions, communication and non-verbal styles, authority/power/voice, physical environment and traditions/rituals/protocols.
  3. To understand how the "hidden curriculum" in the classroom can affect the participation, achievement and success of culturally diverse and minority students.
  4. To analyze and to illustrate how culture can influence communication styles, non-verbal communication, learning styles, teaching styles, etc.
  5. To examine how classroom culture and teacher style might cause miscommunication and conflict for culturally diverse and minority students

Workshop time: Two parts, 3.5 hours each

Workshop 5

The chilly climate in the classroom: Creating inclusive classrooms for culturally diverse and minority students

  1. To review the philosophy and principles of gender-balanced, multicultural education for transforming curricula and pedagogy in the classroom.
  2. To learn strategies for creating a caring and respectful classroom culture and for reducing intercultural conflict in a classroom of cultural differences.
  3. To contrast the assimilation model of classroom culture with the constructive pluralism model.
  4. To discover which teaching methods and designs are most effective for the learning and communication styles of culturally diverse and minority students.
  5. To generate ways of creating personal, culturally relevant connections to the classroom and to the curriculum for culturally diverse and minority students.
  6. To share methods of assessing the "chilly climate" in the classroom for culturally diverse and minority students in your school or college.

Workshop time: 3.5 hours

Workshop 6

The Chilly Climate Outside the Classroom: Creating Inclusive Student Support Systems for Culturally Diverse and Minority Students

  1. To review the philosophy and principles of gender-balanced, multicultural education for making student support services and activities more inclusive.
  2. To analyze the continuum of student support necessary in a multicultural school/college—from providing empowerment for diverse student identities to creating intercultural community.
  3. To generate strategies for infusing the educational climate with the value and meaning of cultural diversity and for promoting awareness and understanding of race, ethnic, gender, and cultural differences.
  4. To discover how to foster productive, intercultural dialogues about cultural diversity issues and concerns.
  5. To understand the role of student support staff in creating an inclusive institutional climate that supports and retains culturally diverse and minority students.
  6. To share effective models for climate assessment and evaluation.

Workshop time: 3.5 hours

Workshop 7

Actualizing Diverse Hiring Policies in Schools and Colleges: Uncovering Cultural Biases in the Search and Hiring Process

  1. To describe the rationale for and the benefits of a diverse faculty and staff for students, the institution, and the community.
  2. To understand the common experiences, struggles, and challenges of culturally diverse and minority faculty and taff in predominantly-white schools and colleges.
  3. To analyze how the culture of an institution and/or department could be creating an unwelcoming and exclusionary climate for culturally diverse and minority faculty and staff.
  4. To identify cultural biases in a school's or college's search and hiring process that might be discouraging and/or excluding culturally diverse and minority candidates.
  5. To identify institutional, departmental, and individual obstacles to hiring diverse faculty and staff.
  6. To create new paradigms, strategies, resources, and practices for recruiting, hiring, and retaining culturally diverse and minority faculty and staff.

Workshop time: 6 hours

Since 1995, approximately 5,000 K-12 and college/university faculty, administrators, and staff have participated in the Cultural Diversity in Education Program. Virtually all of the quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the Cultural Diversity in Education Program indicate that participants acquire a more comprehensive understanding of the barriers that minority students face in schools, colleges and universities; increase their awareness of their particular roles in creating inclusive classrooms, schools, and colleges; and plan to implement changes in their classrooms and in their institutions. In addition, recent results from Milton Bennett's and Mitch Hammer's Intercultural Development Inventory (used as a pre- and post-program survey) indicate a direct correlation between participation in the Cultural Diversity in Education Program and increased levels of acceptance or and cognitive/behavioral adaptation to cultural differences.

In October 1998, the Cultural Diversity in Education Program was named a “Promising Practice” by President Clinton's Initiative on Race. In January 1999, the Cultural Diversity in Education Program was one of only six programs from Illinois included in the book Pathways to One America in the 21st Century: Promising Practices in Racial Reconciliation, published by the President's Initiative on Race.

Please note that DiversityWorks, Inc. provides training/licensing in the Cultural Diversity in Education Program for schools, colleges, and other educational organizations/institutions that want to use this model to offer an ongoing, in-house diversity education program for all faculty, administrators, and staff.