Promote Inclusivity In Your Classroom With These DEI Development Activities
DEI training is becoming more and more common in workplaces worldwide—but what about classrooms? Incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) resources can help create a learning environment where every student feels respected and accepted. So, how can you include DEI development activities in your virtual instructor-led and asynchronous courses to promote inclusivity within your class?
6 DEI Development Activities For Your Virtual Classroom
First of all, incorporating DEI development initiatives into your teaching plan can be beneficial regardless of your class’s age group or existing curriculum. It’s important to regularly peruse your teaching material to ensure everything is up to par and updated to avoid teaching outdated modules. If you want to incorporate some DEI development activities along the way, here’s a list of creative activities to consider.
Storytelling can create a learning framework that presents information in an easily digestible manner and helps boost knowledge retention. In addition, telling stories encourages the storyteller and the audience to connect on a deeper, more emotional level, which can help shift perspectives toward acceptance. Hearing about someone’s lived experience can build a shared sense of solidarity or unity, especially at younger ages. One option is to have learners select their own DEI topic and create stories that contain meaningful messages, which they can present to their peers during your virtual lessons. If your course is asynchronous, ask them to submit a comic detailing their chosen story or record it for later viewing.
2. Online Book Clubs
Starting a book club can be ideal for your DEI development curriculum. Select a set of books or audiobooks that reflect your chosen DEI topics and the level of your class. You can even ask your students to chip in with recommendations of novels or short stories they’ve enjoyed. A book club can become a monthly or bi-monthly occurrence where the entire class gathers to discuss the main plot points and lessons learned. It’s also a great opportunity to delve deeper into the historical background of the novel’s setting to compare it with contemporary situations. Experiencing how the world constantly changes can offer valuable life lessons in how perspectives shift and are molded based on the era and geographical location. Lastly, books can help your students realize the more obscure aspects of different identities or cultures, which cultivates a more inclusive and accepting class environment.
3. Practicing Empathy
Empathy is a learnable skill with transformative power and should be taught in every grade or class, either virtual or in-person. Learning how to practice empathy improves communication and collaboration among peers and helps students respect and accept experiences different than their own. Begin by encouraging positive student interactions and rewarding them. Since digital learning environments don’t always include face-to-face interaction, try to adjust your strategy to identify areas that require extra focus by getting to know every student. For example, even if your course is asynchronous, you can request a personal statement letter from each student to learn more about them and develop your strategy moving forward.
4. Artistic Expression
Combining art with DEI development activities not only helps students’ personal and emotional growth—it can also teach them about self-reflection and self-expression, further building their emotional intelligence. Incorporating art into digital learning environments can also help build healthy learning spaces with various creative outlets and sharpen students’ critical thinking skills. You can commission your students to create digital artwork or mood boards around something that they have found meaningful in your DEI curriculum and host a virtual gallery opening where everyone has a chance to explain why they chose their subject so you can discuss it as a team. Alternatively, you can present famous art pieces that bring interesting points of discussion to your diversity curriculum. The possibilities are endless.
5. Virtual Trips
Exploring different places in the world can help your students learn about other cultures, practices, and belief systems. It also provides them with a broader, more expansive perspective on the mechanics of the world, people, and experiences different from their own, helping them develop a stronger sense of cultural appreciation. Schedule virtual field trips where students venture into a digital learning environment. Assign thematic presentations as a follow-up or provide extra reading material to those who want to learn more about each place. A fun activity for the class would be designing a trip to another country from start to finish, like finding flights, accommodations, tours, activities, and places to eat. As an added bonus, this helps your students develop their organizational skills.
To target your students’ DEI development on a broader level, you can request participation from their social circle during some select activities. They can invite some friends or family members to your virtual class and collaborate to solve puzzles and mysteries or create projects centered around different topics of diversity and inclusion. Not only does it help you better understand your students’ backgrounds, but it also allows your class to incorporate familiar elements into the learning environment. It’s also a good idea to help your students’ inner circle learn how to talk about diversity and inclusion so they can further aid in your pupils’ DEI development.
Approaching diversity, equity, and inclusion in virtual learning environments is essential to creating safe, inclusive places of learning and to developing well-rounded, empathic individuals. DEI development activities can take many forms, depending on your students’ age group or grade level, whether your course is instructor-led or asynchronous, and your class’s curriculum itself. You can also visit our top content providers list to find a content provider that will help you foster inclusion in your virtual class right away.
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