Embracing Diversity & Inclusivity

Embracing Diversity & Inclusivity

How to embrace diversity and inclusivity in language education

Willy Renandya, 7 Dec 2023

Diversity and inclusivity are two big ideas that have entered our teaching vocabulary. The concepts are closely linked to an instructional method known as student-centered learning (SCL), which recognizes that the focal point of the learning environment is the students themselves.

SCL acknowledges the fact that our students are diverse, coming from different social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. So if we adopt this method in our teaching, we would need to find ways to address these diversity so that every single student has a chance to learn according to their unique strengths.

Educators today do need see diversity as an obstacle but as a valuable asset that can contribute positively to learning. But the big question is this:

How do we go about infusing these two concepts in our daily teaching?

Here are some ideas: The 6 Ts of Inclusive Teaching.


Teachers should learn new skills of how to connect and communicate better with their diverse student population. More importantly, they should think about how they can offer the right kind of support to the right group of students and at the right time.


Teachers should use a variety of teaching methods to cater for the diverse learning needs of their students. Examples of diverse teaching methods include direct instruction, seminar, flip learning, debate, inquiry or problem-based learning, game-based learning, etc.


Teachers should use not one, but several teaching materials so students can choose the ones that better meet their learning needs. These materials include printed texts, video clips, web-based materials of various topics and difficulty levels. The key is to give students choice in terms of which types of materials they want to learn from.


Teachers should design several task types so students can choose the ones that meet their needs (e.g., problem-solving tasks, self-directed or other-directed tasks, individual/group tasks, intra-mural and extra-mural tasks etc)


Teachers should rethink their assessment procedures and use a wider range of test types so students can choose the best modes of demonstrating their learning. Here is an example of multiple ways of checking student comprehension


Teachers should make use of modern technology that enables students to craft their learning journey in ways that match their unique profiles. Numerous tech tools are now available that can help teachers to customize student learning. See below for apps that can provide customized instruction and feedback.

Harnessing the Power of Technology in ELT

Addressing diversity and teaching for inclusivity can be challenging. This is especially because we have become so used to utilizing an instructional method that is more teacher- rather than student-centred. We are so used to thinking that our students have the same social, cultural and linguistic backgroounds and design and deliver our lessons accordingly. This one-size-fits-all approach is no longer tenable today.

I believe we should now re-think our teaching approaches and use ones that can help each and every student in our class to learn optimally according to their unique initial starting points.

More reading

Demotivation in L2 Classrooms

5 Rules of Engagement

Finding a Viable Research Topic in ELT

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