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Diversity Education: Web Resources

EducationWorld is pleased to present this article contributed by Greta Brewster, a non-profit consultant and writer for

Tensions were rising at the high school in South Portland, Maine. A number of international refugee students had entered the school—Maine’s large refugee population comes from Somalia, Iraq, Congo, Rwanda and Sudan—and administrators could see conflicts mushrooming between neighborhood students and their newly immigrated classmates.

Seeking to address the situation before fighting erupted, administrators brought in facilitators from an organization dedicated to preventing hate violence. The facilitators assembled a group of students from all backgrounds and, through a process, had refugee students share their stories.

The results were striking. Neighborhood students were awed by the life-threatening situations to which the refugees had been exposed. The immigrant students’ stories engendered a new respect and appreciation from classmates.

Online resources for integrating multiculturalism into classroom instruction

multicultural resources for the classroom In this age of globalization, the student population is increasingly diverse. Census data indicates that 43 percent of K-12 students belong to a minority population, and 11.2 million school-age children speak a language other than English at home.

As educators, we can help prepare students for the challenges and opportunities inherent in our multicultural society. Fortunately, abundant Web-based resources exist to stimulate young people’s interest in, and understanding of, other races, ethnicities and cultures.


As the South Portland example illustrates, stories offer a powerful way to generate empathy and facilitate cross-cultural understanding. If in-person personal stories aren’t an option at your school, literature options abound. Try starting with the following.

  • Stone Soup publishes multicultural stories written by children, giving young people insight into the lives of non-native citizens struggling to adjust to life in this country, and offering stories from children in countries around the globe.
  • Another good source for literature is the National Education Association, which publishes its well-known list “50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Read,” organized by age.
  • For adolescents, Rhode Island College offers a list of over 50 multicultural young adult books.

Arts and crafts

Making African masks, aboriginal Australian didgeridoos and Japanese fans are only a few of the hundreds of engaging multicultural arts and crafts educators can try with children in the classroom.

  • In its Multicultural Pavilion, EdChange offers a lengthy list of resources for multicultural education and the arts.
  • Another recommended source is KinderArt, which provides a list of multicultural art projects for grades K-12.
  • On, teachers will find 12 multicultural art projects, accompanied by lesson plans for elementary students.

Virtual global communities

The Web offers many opportunities for communication between students who live all over the world.

ePals, a global social network, enables learners to communicate with other students in more than 200 countries around the world. Teachers can moderate email communications, and there’s even built-in language translation. The site also offers lessons and a variety of interactive features. offers a number of innovative programs. “Doors to Diplomacy” is a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of State that has middle- and high-school students produce web-based projects about the importance of international affairs and diplomacy. The site’s International Cyberfair lets youth create virtual exhibits showcasing their communities. Online Expeditions enables students to follow real-time expeditions around the world, giving them glimpses into other places and cultures.


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