Resources for Teachers Who Want to Create Inclusive Classrooms
One of the most prevalent conversations among teachers working today is the urgent need to make classrooms more welcoming for students of all backgrounds, beliefs, and identities. This is a critically important investment that will allow you to reach as many students as possible as well as providing an environment that feels safe and supportive, something all students need in order to truly thrive.
Creating an inclusive classroom isn't something that a teacher can just intuit on their own. Rather, it requires a great deal of training and education to account for the tremendous variety of perspectives that a classroom can contain.
Fortunately, there are excellent resources to help teachers engage meaningfully and supportively with every one of their students. The results won't just benefit your students but your classroom as a whole: after all, the best class discussions take place when everyone has something to contribute.
The list below includes DEI resources to help teachers support students from a wide range of perspectives. In particular, they are focused on lesson plans, course materials, and classroom strategy. These resources are categorized in terms of student needs, though it is worth noting that many of the organizations listed below do work on a broader scale to support minority demographics.
Students with Physical Disabilities and Learning Exceptions
CAST, formerly the Center of Applied Special Technology, is an organization devoted to transforming education to make it more accessible to students of all types. They provide resources for teachers to learn more about Universal Design for Learning, a framework to optimize teaching to meet a diversity of learning needs.
The Council for Exceptional Children is the largest international organization focused on supporting students with disabilities. They provide extensive tools and resources for educators to help uplift students with physical and cognitive disabilities.
The Federation for Children with Special Needs provides extensive resources for teachers to help students with disabilities of a variety of types, including mental and physical impairments.
The IRIS Center is an organization of Vanderbilt University and is supported by the US Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. They provide region-specific resources to help teachers all over the country make their classrooms more accessible and inclusive of students with disabilities.
Understood is an organization that aims to make education more accessible for people with learning and thinking differences. Their website features a wide range of educational materials to help teachers support students of all needs.
Girl Up is an organization devoted to creating more equitable spaces for girls and women. They provide resources for teachers, including lesson plans and activities that promote gender equality in the classroom.
Girls Leadership is an organization devoted to empowering girls and young women through social-emotional learning. They provide tutorials and professional development workshops for educators to help create leadership opportunities for girls.
Girls Who Code is an organization that provides classes and other educational opportunities for girls to get involved in STEM subjects. They also offer resources to educators to help support female and non-binary students in computer science and related fields.
This organization focuses on educational programs related to media representation and its influence on society. Their Miss Representation project, which includes a documentary by the same name, also includes a list of resources for teachers.
This initiative, hosted by Rutgers University, provides curriculum to focus on women's political history including suffrage, women in government, the political rights of women of color, and more. It includes materials for students grades K-12.
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network)
GLSEN is an organization that helps teachers create an encouraging classroom environment for LGBTQ+ students. Their website offers a wide range of teacher resources, including lesson plans and other professional development opportunities.
Gender Spectrum is an organization that helps foster gender-inclusive classroom experiences for young people. Their website includes resources for educators, including lesson plans and tutorials for overall approaches to inclusivity in the classroom.
This guide is created by PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), a national organization that provides advocacy for LGBTQ+ people. This website features resources for educators to create inclusive classrooms and lesson plans, including anti-bullying inititatives.
The Trevor Project is an organization focused on supporting the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. Their website provides a search engine for teachers to find resources to support and affirm students of all gender identities.
Welcoming Schools is a bullying prevention program aimed at protecting LGBTQ+ students in the classroom. Their teacher resources include lesson plans, booklists, and other professional development training to help educators be the best allies possible to students of all gender identifications and sexual orientations.
CCRTL is devoted to promoting cultural responsiveness in classrooms and other educational contexts, including the new frontier of distance learning. They offer workshops, strategy tutorials, and other professional development opportunities for educators.
Learning for Justice
Learning for Justice is a program started by the Southern Poverty Law Center, working with educators to promote racial equity and inclusion in their classrooms. Their website includes resources such as lesson plans, classroom activities, and professional development webinars.
Rethinking Schools is an advocacy organization devoted to making education more equitable and inclusive. Their website provides extensive resources from educational materials to classroom activity ideas and management strategies.
This website is sponsored by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is a branch of the Smithsonian Museum. It provides tools and guidance for teachers, students, and parents alike to explore issues of race in individuals' experiences as well as in history.
The Zinn Education Project is a history-focused program that provides educational resources to help teachers expand their course offerings and address minority perspectives in their history curriculum. Their website features numerous articles and other teaching materials for educators.
AAPI Heritage Month: Resources for Teachers
This website is sponsored by an extensive roster of organizations - the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - who have come together to offer resources to help teachers lead classes that celebrate AAPI history and explore issues and news for AAPI communities. These include a significant number of primary source historical documents and artworks.
This website provides resources for teachers that focus on AAPI women's history and experiences as well as promoting activist causes for students to get involved in.
This organization is devoted to promoting and preserving AAPI history and culture, providing lesson plans and other curricula that help teachers acknowledge and celebrate the Asian American experience.
NAME is an organization that provides resources for educators to promote multiculturalism and equity in education, with some materials specifically highlighting and celebrating the AAPI experience.
Colorín Colorado is a website that provides resources for educators of English language learners (ELLs), many of whom come from the LatinX community. Their website features many resources to help educators support Latinx ELLs, providing materials in both English and Spanish.
This website compiles a wide variety of lesson plans and materials including articles, documentaries, activities, and more surveying LatinX history and culture. These materials are suitable for middle and high school students.
The ADL has provided a list of resources for educators that focus on LatinX culture, history, and personal perspectives. These include curriculum, tools and strategies, and literature for grades K-12.
This guide from CommonSense features a range of classroom materials on the LatinX experience and LatinX history, including articles, videos, and more. These materials are organized by grade level.
UnidosUS, formerly the National Council for La Raza (NCLR), is a civil rights organization that advocates for LatinX communities. The linked web page provides materials for educators to help protect the rights of all students regardless of citizenship status.
Interfaith America is an organization devoted to promoting religious diversity. They have created a reading list for teachers to help support classrooms where a variety of religious beliefs can be respected and upheld.
This program, sponsored by Harvard University, provides comprehensive educational materials on a huge range of religious beliefs to support inclusivity and understanding.
Taking the Next Steps to Become an Educator
If you are inspired to become an educator who can empower and engage students from all walks of life, it's time to take your career into your own hands. Depending on your level of education and desired role in the classroom, there are different paths you can take to become a teacher.
For a complete list of degree levels and a directory of the many programs available, take a look at our guide here.
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