Author: British Council | Published on 1 November 2022


Look at each of the questions in turn. Think carefully about how they relate to your own training experiences. Then click on each box to see tips, advice, guidance and further information.

1. Think about training which you have participated in or conducted. How did the trainer encourage the participants to treat others positively?

As a trainer you should model of the sort of behaviour the teachers should show to their students as well as the other participants in the group. Make sure that you model positive attitudes to diversity through the training by showing respect to all the teachers in the group.

2. How can you make trainees aware of how different people can work together effectively?

Don’t be afraid of explicitly discussing the diversity within you training group. Sometimes trainers think that it’s better to ignore or not make reference to the diversity which is in the group. However, by drawing attention to differences in age, gender, experience, language and culture, you are normalising it. You are indicating that diversity is a good thing which should be celebrated, rather than something which we hide from. Discuss how diversity makes the group more interesting, more fun to work with and how the different ways of looking at topics helps everyone learn more. Drawing a profile of the group showing the differences and similarities can help teachers to visualise the diversity.

3. How can you use your training sessions to mirror what should happen in the participants’ own classes?

The best type of training shows teachers what is possible in their classrooms. Trainees can learn not only from the content which you share with them, but also the way in which you deliver the training. Three strategies which you could use are:

  • Share with participants the information which you gathered about them (e.g. the profile diagram suggested in #2) and ask the teachers to think about their own classes. They should draw a similar diagram of their learners, and then share in small groups. 
  • Discuss how the teachers feel when they are included / excluded from a session. Get them to empathise with their learners. 
  • Use activities which can be adapted to the classroom. In this way, you model a way of getting diverse participants to work together. If you play a game like Onion Rings, use questions that relate to the teachers e.g. How did you learn your mother tongue? What is your favourite festival? At the end of the game, ask the teachers what questions they would ask their own classes e.g. Who are the main characters in the story we have just read? 
  • Make the training as positive an experience as possible. Make sure that the teachers leave feeling that they are valued and cared for. This will encourage them to treat their learners in the same way.

4. What pedagogical strategies could you use in your training session which would encourage positive attitudes towards diversity?

There are many different teaching strategies which can encourage positive attitudes to diversity in training. Five ideas for doing this are listed below: 

  • Learn and use the teachers’ names. If you aren’t sure how to pronounce them, ask the teachers to tell you. This is always a positive exercise and may produce lots of happy laughter!
  • Use group work so that teachers can work with others and hear different ideas and points of view. Make sure the tasks are at the appropriate level.
  • Think of how you can change groups so that teachers get to work with a variety of people. This should be seen as positive and fun and not a punishment. You can either plan who is going to be in particular groups (in order to ensure a mix), or you can do this randomly. For example, give each teacher a colour or number, and tell them to work together in these groups – or divide into 12 groups according to which month you were born. In doing this, the participants have to talk to each other. 
  • Ask groups to divide tasks according to the teachers’ different strengths e.g. the most artistic draws the pictures, the one who likes public speaking reports back, etc. In this way, everyone’s skills are used.
  • Play games with the group. Games like Onion Rings, 20 questions, Charades, reading and writing races, and other team games make teachers work together in a fun atmosphere. These all help build a positive atmosphere and encourage teachers to work with others they might not know. Making the games competitive and with a clear end point can mean that the group has a specific focus, which can also be very helpful.

5. What challenges do you anticipate in helping teachers develop a positive attitude to diversity? How could you minimise these challenges?

Some teachers are unwilling to see diversity as a positive force in the classroom. You might hear some of the following comments: 

‘Trying to work with a diverse group is too much work.’ Ask why we teach. The answer is to maximise the learning outcomes and experiences for the learners. As teachers, we should do whatever we can to make this happen. 

‘I can’t prepare activities for all these different learning styles.’ Point out that it isn’t necessary to have activities for every type of learner in every lesson. As long as everyone has something they enjoy during a period of a week, the learners will feel supported. The same task can often be done in different ways. 

‘It’s easier to ask the boys questions. The girls are always silent.’ Ask the participants to think about why this might be the situation – e.g. the boys are louder, more dominant or sitting nearer the front. Also there may be no culture of asking girls questions in the classroom. To create a fair and equal classroom, all voices need to be heard. Point out that you need to be aware of who you are asking and make sure there are equal numbers of boys and girls.

‘Having learners from different cultures is difficult.’ Ask participants to reflect on learning about different cultures in this training. Hopefully they will have found this a positive experience. Suggest this and then ask them “Don’t you think your learners would also enjoy doing this?”

What changes are you going to make in your training sessions to develop positive attitudes to diversity?

This is up to you! The more you model positive attitudes, the more the teachers will imitate you. Use different strategies to help your teachers see diversity as something positive and not negative.


See also