Faculty & Staff Resources

The RISE Center recognizes the critical role an equity-minded and culturally competent faculty and staff play in ensuring student retention, success, and completion. Information below may be of assistance when working with students who represent diverse communities.

  • Learn about your own culture. Become aware of how the influence of your own culture, language, social interests, goals, cognitions, and values could prevent you from learning how you could best teach your students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Also, understanding and respecting your own cultural roots can help you respect your students’ cultural roots.
  • Learn about your students’ culture. Understand how your students’ cultures affect their perceptions, self-esteem, values, classroom behavior, and learning. Use that understanding to help your students feel welcomed, affirmed, respected, and valued.
  • Understand your students’ linguistic traits. Learn how students’ patterns of communication and various dialects affect their classroom learning and how second-language learning affects their acquisition of literacy.
  • Use this knowledge to inform your teaching. Let your knowledge of your students’ diverse cultures inform your teaching. This, along with a sincerely caring attitude, increases student participation and engagement.
  • Use multicultural books and materials to foster cross-cultural understanding. Sensitively use multicultural literature, especially children’s literature, to honor students’ culture and foster cross-cultural understanding. Be open to a variety of instructional strategies as students’ cultures may make certain strategies (such as competitive games or getting students to volunteer information) uncomfortable for them.
  • Know about your students’ home and school relationships. Collaborate with parents and caregivers on children’s literacy development and don’t rely on preconceived notions of the importance of literacy within your students’ families.


Three ideas for using Universal Design to teach in a diverse learning envrionment.

  • Teach content in many ways: In a traditional classroom, planning for the lesson is done with the “typical” student in mind. Instead, try to plan a lesson with all students in mind. Use that information to scaffold instruction and make lessons more relevant to students. You can also vary the methods that you use to deliver the direct instruction portion of your lesson—try showing a demonstration or video clip for one lesson, and have students participate in stations or listen to a podcast for another. If possible, use more than one modality within a lesson, and think about supports that students may need for learning. 
  • Provide choices to sustain student engagement: Allow students to choose an activity. For guided practice, they could decide whether to answer questions independently and receive feedback, play a game, do a role play, or practice in a group. Making choices allows them to relate to the content in a way that sparks their interest. Teachers can often offer students other choices in the classroom, beyond instruction. 
  • Provide accommodations for all students: Instead of providing accommodations only to students with an IEP or a 504 plan, think about accommodations that such students frequently need and make them available to all students.  Having documents available online makes it easier for parents, special education teachers, and paraeducators to help students without making extra work for the teacher. Universal Design for Learning allows instruction to become student-centered by creating a more welcoming and flexible classroom environment and a curriculum that is more accessible to all students. 


The LWTech student body is very diverse. Sanchez (1995) notes that:

"the development of educational curriculums that enhance awareness, knowledge, and skills for students is vital if schools are to provide culturally relevant, respectful, and affirming teaching environments. To that end, the development of culturally sensitive assessment and intervention strategies, multicultural consultation, and professional training needs to take place. Structured along the lines of awareness, knowledge, and skills development, such actions will enhance diversity within the school environment. The diverse student and community can be conceptualized as a wonderful and exciting element of the world we live in, and not as a hindrance to the educational process. The authentic involvement of parents as active and empowered members of the school community will link school staff with the diverse learner, further increasing and affirming cultural diversity within our school settings."