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Five Steps for Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Learning Environments


1. Build Trusting Relationships

  • Know all of your students as people not just as learners
  • Learn about the communities where your students come from and the migration stories that shape the world
  • Invite students to share their stories of movement and migration with each other to create a shared understanding.

2. Ensure Safety and Inclusion

  • Identify the “in” and “out” groups at school and the ways that people define who is “we” and who is a “they”
  • Notice the way that students and faculty talk about, and respond to, immigrants and people who are perceived as newcomers
  • Intervene to support those that are targeted by discriminatory language and behavior when it is necessary

3. Make Diversity Visible

  • Embrace and honor the diversity of languages, identities, cultures, and family practices in your school and community.
  • Infuse school rituals, daily routines, and the rhetoric you use with the value of diversity.
  • Display messages of inclusion in the hallways, in public spaces, and in classrooms.

4. Set High Expectations and Deepen Learning Opportunities

  • Build upon the knowledge and language that your students bring with them to the classroom.
  • Recognize that migration is a throughline of the human story and a lens through which to see the world connecting students’ lives to core themes in the humanities and STEM.
  • Build habits of perspective-taking, inquiry, and help them recognize inequities and opportunities to take action to nurture inclusive communities and healthy democracies.
  • Encourage engagement with the civic issues that are connected to migration and teach about bridge-builders across communities

5. Learn and Grow

  • Prepare yourself and your colleagues to support the social and emotional needs of all students.

This resource was developed by Adam Strom and Veronica Boix-Mansilla and it first appeared as a blog on Share My Lesson.