A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute
Guidelines for Teachers: Creating an
Environment that Respects Diversity
From the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute Anti-Bias Study Guide (Elementary/Intermediate Level)
What is present in the school and classroom, as well as what is absent, provides children with important information about who and what is important. Every effort should be made to create a setting that is rich in possibilities for exploring cultural diversity. The list of things to include is limited only by one's imagination. Children's artwork, books, magazines, pictures, musical instruments, baskets, pillows, jewelry made from a variety of materials, puppets, rugs, wall hangings, eating and cooking utensils, and recordings of music in many languages are just a few examples of the many objects that can be used to reflect the world's cultures.
Such an environment assists children in developing their ideas about themselves and others, creates the conditions under which children initiate conversations about differences and provides teachers with a setting for introducing activities about diversity. It also fosters children's positive self-concept and attitudes.
The following guidelines suggest the types of images that are desirable in the classroom:
- Images of the children and their families and/or caregivers, as well as images of staff and their families - on walls, at learning centers, in art activities.
- Images that accurately reflect people's current daily lives in the United States, including home, work and recreation.
- Images of children and adults representing all groups in the children's community.
- Images of all the cultural groups within the community, across the United States and in the world.
- Images that show people of various cultural groups engaged in both similar and different activities.
- Images that reflect diversity in gender roles - women and men engaged in a variety of tasks, in and out of the home.
- Images that reflect diversity in family styles and configurations - single-parent, two-parent and extended family homes.
ADL's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute operates on the premise that educators are most likely to be successful in integrating anti-bias content and methodology practices in their classrooms when they have had hands-on experience and training with the materials they use. For this reason, ADL's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute curriculum materials are available only within the context of a six-hour (minimum) staff development workshop, and are not for sale through ADL’s Resource catalog. In the interest of providing specific examples of the Institute's curriculum materials, this sample exercise has been made available. For more information on how to organize an A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE ® Institute training program in your school or community, contact your ADL Regional Office, ADL National Headquarters (212) 885-7700, or by E-mail.
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