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A World of Inclusion: Celebrating Cultural Awareness in the Classroom

By Maya Rahman-Rios, Elevo Content Manager

One of our biggest priorities is creating an inclusive learning environment to serve all students. Safety, trust, and belonging are a huge part of our approach, and promoting cultural awareness during our sessions is a large part of how we get there. Cultural awareness in the classroom goes beyond simply understanding that everyone is different; it’s about fostering empathy and a sense of belonging. Let’s explore why celebrating cultural diversity is crucial and how we can cultivate it in the classroom.

What is Cultural Awareness and Why Is it Important?

Cultural awareness is the recognition and understanding of the beliefs, values, customs, languages, and practices of diverse groups. It involves being mindful of one’s own cultural background, while actively seeking to learn about and respect the cultures of others.

Cultural awareness is important because it teaches us empathy, respect, and open-mindedness, enabling people to effectively navigate and engage with the diverse world around them. By acknowledging and valuing cultural differences, we can break down stereotypes, promote inclusivity, and build bridges across communities.

How to Integrate Cultural Awareness into Student Learning

When we encourage students to expand their perspectives and expose them to various traditions and customs, we provide an enriching educational experience. Cultural awareness can also promote tolerance, empathy, and open-mindedness, allowing students to become global citizens. Here’s how we can incorporate it in the classroom and beyond.

Celebrate Cultural Holidays

From Black History Month and Eid to Hanukkah and Lunar New Year, acknowledging cultural holidays and awareness months can have a powerful impact on students. They may feel more compelled to share their background with their peers, all while enjoying a sense of inclusion along the way. Food tastings, festivals, and age-appropriate movies or books are great ways to keep the conversation going. You can find a list of suggested holidays here.

Promote Inclusive Language

Be mindful of the language that’s used in your classroom. To create an environment that welcomes all students, it should be respectful and inclusive of all students. Avoid derogatory terms and stereotypes.

Lead By Example

When students see the adults they respect on campus being open and curious about new things, they’ll feel encouraged to adopt the same mindset. Model inclusive behavior and show an appreciation for diversity in both your words and your lesson plans.

Assign Collaborative Projects

Nothing broadens students’ horizons quite like working with their peers from different walks of life. This allows them to learn from one another, as every student brings a new perspective to the table. Plus, it promotes teamwork, a valuable skill that will serve them throughout their lives.


How Elevo Approaches Cultural Awareness

In an effort to help each of our students feel seen, heard, and valued, we are committed to incorporating cultural awareness into our curriculum. Our enrichment curriculum highlights thought leaders and cultures from around the world, allowing our students to learn about global traditions, arts, and customs. We also encourage our coaches to share their own unique experiences during each lesson. Because many of them come from the same cultural backgrounds and communities as our students do, this can provide yet another opportunity for our students to feel included.


Final Thoughts

When we celebrate cultural awareness and diversity in the classroom, we can empower students to become global citizens who are equipped to navigate today’s world with empathy, respect, and understanding. This is our moment to celebrate the beauty of varying perspectives and foster inclusive environments for all students.


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