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Be Culturally Relevant and Affirming

A culturally relevant and affirming learning experience entails

  • Educators' ability to connect course content to students' lived experiences and cultural contexts (Ladson-Billings, 1995).
  • Centering diverse students in every aspect of teaching and learning experiences.
  • Acknowledging and leveraging cultural strengths and assets to facilitate learning for all students.
  • 'Mirroring' diverse students in course content, perspectives, and materials.

It is beneficial because

  • It addresses students' unique cultural experiences
  • There is value added to students' growth, learning, and success
    • self-efficacy
    • intrinsic interest
    • sense of belonging
    • perceptions of degree utility
    • healthy concepts of identity
  • Contributes to the learning of all students

Diverse Texts - select literature and reading materials that are inclusive of a wide array of students. This is important when creating an online environment that will address the needs of all students. Students from marginalized backgrounds (students of color, immigrant students, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, etc.) normally find that their voices are absent from literature. Having multicultural readings validate the experiences of the students.

Course Images - If the subject of the day is not 'diversity' we often default to stock images of white, straight, able-bodied people. Use images that reflect people of diverse ages, races, genders, etc. 

By exposing students to images that highlilght the contributions of a wide variety of people to society reduces stereotype threat and anxiety, while elevating self-efficacy

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