This resource focuses on approaches to communicating effectively with teachers about concerns regarding the ways cultural diversity is (or is not) being included in your children’s curriculum and school environment.
While this “How To"? installment explicitly addresses communication with teachers about school, much of the thinking here is transferable to other adults and contexts (coaches, for example).
By “cultural diversity" we mean aspects of individual and/or group identity like socio-economic status, religion, sexual orientation, gender, race/ethnicity, national origin, and disability. Other aspects of cultural diversity present in the backgrounds and experiences of students – like regional, language, or political differences – can also create opportunities and challenges as parents and teachers partner to create inclusive and respectful learning environments
Our assumption is that parents and other adults responsible for insuring that children's educational experiences are positive might benefit from developing effective approaches to addressing concerns about the curriculum, culture, and protocols that those children encounter at school. While we do not encourage anyone to assume that schools are not doing a good job of creating welcoming and respectful environments, as well as developing thoughtful lesson plans and programs, we sometimes hear from parents who are not sure what to do when their hopes or expectations around these issues are not being met.
The following suggestions are based on preliminary research as well as on the personal experiences of Dartmouth staff and faculty who have been generous enough to share their challenges and strategies for the benefit of others. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this project!
Last Updated: 10/22/08