Tips and critical things to be or become a multicultural teacher

Tips and critical things to be or become a multicultural teacher

These three checklists by Paul C. Gorski can help you to be of become a multicultural teacher.

The checklist are taken from the EdChange Multicultural Pavilion website. Visit this website for more more lists, models and factsheet regarding multicultural education.

It’s allowed to print, copy, and distribute the articles form the EdChange Multicultural Pavilion website, as long as you leave the names and email addresses of the creators of the resources on them. 

By Paul C. Gorski for EdChange and the Multicultural Pavilion  

Multicultural Education ISN'T 

Multicultural Education IS 

1. about everyone agreeing and getting along 

1. about naming and eliminating the inequities in education 

2. only applicable to Language Arts and History 

2. a comprehensive approach for making education more inclusive, active, and engaging in all subject areas 

3. a process of watering down good curriculum 

3. a process for presenting all students with a more comprehensive, accurate understanding of the world 

4. related only to curriculum reform 

4. related to all aspects of education including pedagogy, counseling, administration, assessment and evaluation, research, etc. 

5. only for teachers and students of color 

5. for ALL students and educators 

6. achieved through a series of small changes 

6. achieved through the reexamination and transformation of all aspects of education 

7. modeled through cultural bulletin boards, assemblies, or fairs 

7. modeled through self-critique, self-examination, and cross-cultural relationship-building 

8. the responsibility of culture-based student clubs or organizations 

8. the responsibility of teachers, administrators, and school staff 

9. a single in-service workshop 

9. an on-going commitment 

10 Ways I Can Be a Multicultural Educator in the Technology Fields  

By Paul C. Gorski for EdChange and the Multicultural Pavilion 


I can have and demonstrate high expectations for all of my students.  


I can incorporate the voices, experiences, and contributions of a diversity of people in my curriculum.  


I can facilitate dialogues about how particular technologies have impacted people from various cultural, ethnic, gender, language, and socioeconomic groups.  


I can ensure that I do not recreate traditional oppressive gender practices in my teaching. I must consider who I call on most frequently, my language, and my expectations for different types of students.  


I can critically examine my textbooks and other educational materials to ensure that language and images are inclusive of all of my students.  


I can attempt to make the content of my course relevant to the lives, experiences, and perspectives of my students. Concept acquisition can be improved through culturally familiar elaborations.  


I can develop a continual process for examining and confronting my own prejudices and considering how they inform the way I teach and interact with my students and colleagues.  


I can diversify my pedagogy in order to provide a point of contact for students with a variety of preferred learning styles.  


I can provide opportunities for interactive learning experiences. Research shows that peer interaction improves students' concept acquisition, particularly when new vocabulary is introduced in class. (Sometimes students can explain things to each other in ways that I can't.)


I can eliminate bias in the reporting of discoveries. I can even engage my students in a conversation about why such bias persists.

20 (Self-)Critical Things I Will Do

to Be a Better

Multicultural Educator

By Paul C. Gorski ( for EdChange

and the Multicultural Pavilion


I will learn to pronounce every student’s full given name correctly. No student should feel the need to shorten or change her or his name to make it easier for me or their classmates to pronounce. I will practice and learn every name, regardless of how difficult it feels or how time-consuming it becomes. That is the first step in being inclusive.


I will sacrifice the safety of my comfort zone by building a process for continually assessing, understanding, and challenging my biases and prejudices and how they impact my expectations for, and relationships with, all students, parents, and colleagues.


I will center student voices, interests, and experiences in and out of my classroom. Even while I talk passionately about being inclusive and student-centered in the classroom, I rarely include or center students in conversations about school reform. I must face this contradiction and rededicate to sharing power with my students.


I will engage in a self-reflective process to explore how my identity development impacts the way I see and experience different people.


I will invite critique from colleagues and accept it openly. I usually do well accepting feedback … until someone decides to offer me feedback. Though it's easy to become defensive in the face of critique, I will thank the person for their time and courage (it’s not easy to critique a colleague). The worst possible scenario is for people to stop providing me feedback, whether positive and negative.


I will never stop being a student. If I do not grow, learn, and change at the same rate the world around me is changing, then I necessarily lose touch with the lives and contexts of my students. I must continue to educate myself—to learn from the experiences of my students and their parents, to study current events and their relationship to what I am teaching, and to be challenged by a diversity of perspectives.


I will understand the relationship between INTENT and IMPACT. Often, and particularly when I'm in a situation in which I experience some level of privilege, I have the luxury of referring and responding only to what I intended, no matter what impact I’ve had on somebody. I must take responsibility for and learn from my impact because most individual-level oppression is unintentional. But unintentional oppression hurts just as much as intentional oppression.


I will reject the myth of color-blindness. As painful as it may be to admit, I know that I react differently when I'm in a room full of people who share many dimensions of my identity than when I’m in a room full of people who are very different from me. I must be open and honest about that, because those shifts inevitably inform the experiences of people in my classes or workshops. In addition, color-blindness denies people validation of their whole person.


I will recognize my own social identity group memberships and how they may affect my students' experiences and learning processes. People do not always experience me the way in which I intend, even if I am an active advocate for all my students. A student’s initial reaction to me may be based on a lifetime of experiences, so I must try not to take such reactions personally.


I will build coalitions with teachers who are different from me (in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, first language, disability, and other identities). These can be valuable relationships of trust and honest critique. At the same time, I must not rely on other people to identify my weaknesses. In particular, in the areas of my identity that I experience privilege, I must not rely on people from historically underprivileged groups to teach me how to improve myself (which is, in and of itself, a practice of privilege).


I will improve my skills as a facilitator, so when issues of diversity and equity do arise in the classroom, I can take advantage of the resulting educational opportunities. Too often, I allow these moments to slip away, either because I am uncomfortable with the topic or because I feel unprepared to effectively facilitate my students through it. (I often try to make myself feel better by suggesting that the students “aren’t ready” to talk about racism or sexism, or whatever the topic might be, when it’s more honest to say that I do not feel ready.) I will hone these skills so that I do not cheat my students out of important conversations and learning opportunities.


I will invite critique from my students, and when I do, I will dedicate to listening actively and modeling a willingness to be changed by their presence to the same extent they are necessarily changed by mine.


I will think critically about how my preferred learning styles impact my teaching style. I am usually thoughtful about diversifying my teaching style to address the needs of students with a variety of learning styles. Still, I tend to fall back on my most comfortable teaching style most often. I will fight this temptation and work harder to engage all of my students.


I will affirm and model an appreciation for all forms of intelligence and the wide variety of ways students illustrate understanding and mastery of skills and knowledge.


I will reflect on my own experiences as a student and how they inform my teaching. Research indicates that my teaching is most closely informed by my experiences as a student (even more so than my pre-service training). The practice of drawing on these experiences, positive and negative, provides important insights regarding my teaching practice.


I will encourage my students to think critically and ask critical questions about all information they receive including that which they receive from me.


I will challenge myself to take personal responsibility before looking for fault elsewhere. For example, if I have one student who is falling behind or being disruptive, I will consider what I am doing or not doing that may be contributing to their disengagement before problematizing their behavior or effort.


I will acknowledge my role as a social activist. My work changes lives, conferring upon me both tremendous power and tremendous responsibility. Even though I may not identify myself as a social activist, I know that the depth of my impact on society is profound, if only by the sheer number of lives I touch. I must acknowledge and draw on that power and responsibility as a frame for guiding my efforts toward equity and social justice in my work.


I will fight for equity for all underrepresented or disenfranchised students. Equity is not a game of choice—if I am to advocate education equity, I do not have the luxury of choosing who does or does not have access to it. For example, I cannot effectively fight for racial equity while I fail to confront gender inequity. And I can never be a real advocate for gender equity if I choose to duck the responsibility for ensuring equity for lesbian, gay, and bisexual students. When I find myself justifying my inattention to any group of disenfranchised students due to the worldview or value system into which I was socialized, I know that it is time to reevaluate that worldview or value system.


I will celebrate myself as an educator and total person. I can, and should, also celebrate every moment I spend in self-critique, however difficult and painful, because it will make me a better educator. And that is something to celebrate!