Resources for Working with Culturally-Diverse Learners

This guide includes selected readings in the following areas:

  1. Definitions
  2. Academic Integrity
  3. Engaging International Students in Critical Thinking
  4. Intercultural Competence
  5. Inclusive Teaching Strategies
  6. Curriculum and Assessment Design
  7. Further Reading
  8. E-Books

1. Definitions

Cross-cultural understanding
Cross-cultural understanding arises from more than exposure to mere information; it is an active appreciation of the unique histories world views, and perspectives of people of diverse backgrounds. It arises from more than tolerance; it is a function of the active and respectful engagement of human beings across differences (p.6).
from: MacPherson, S., Khan, D., Hingley, W., Tigchelaar, A., & Lafond, L. (2004). ESL and Canadian multiculturalism: Multilingual, intercultural practices from the 21st century. TESL Canada Journal, 4, 1-22.

Intercultural competence
An interculturally competent person understands that all individuals’ views of the world have been unknowingly shaped by one’s own culture. This personal also has sufficient knowledge of the target culture, including history, geography, customs, and so on, to put observations into meaningful perspective. Also, given the fact that culturally important and unique words often do not have a direct equivalent in the English language, the culturally competent person understands the limitations presented by a lack of proficiency in the other culture’s language (p. 366).
from: Grandin, J.M., & Hedderick, N. (2009). Intercultural competence in engineering. In D.K. Deardorff (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence (362-373). Los Angeles: SAGE.

Internationalization of education
The internationalization of higher education is the process of integrating an international, intercultural, and global dimension into the purpose, functions (teaching, research, and service), and delivery of higher education at the institutional and national levels.

Intercultural activities include:

  • the infusion of international, cultural, global, or comparative dimensions into existing courses
  • the active involvement of international students and cultural diversity in the classroom in teaching/learning processes
  • the integration of international materials, intercultural case studies, role plays, and reference materials

from: Knight, J. (2008). Higher Education in Turmoil: The Changing World of Internationalization. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

2. Academic Integrity

Bradshaw, J. & Baluja, T. (2011, Sep. 02). Why many international students get a failing grade in academic integrity. The Globe and Mail.

Colorado State University.
Reducing Plagiarism with Non-Traditional Assignments.

Lehigh University.
Plagiarism Proofing a Course.
Topics include: choosing course materials, crafting assignments, and building-in project milestones.

York University.
Designing Assignments that Foster Academic Integrity.
Topics include: specificity, embeddedness, and process. Includes links to examples and other resources.

Further Reading

East, J. (2010). Judging plagiarism: A problem of morality and convention. Higher Education, 59(1), 69-83. DOI: 10.1007/s10734-009.9234-9

3. Engaging Students in Critical Thinking

Higher Education Academy.
Critical Thinking.
Designed as part of a teaching international students project. Topics include: the universal vs. culture-specific nature of critical thinking and offers activities and strategies.

4. Intercultural Competence

Deardorff, D. (2009). Exploring interculturally competent teaching in social science classrooms. ELiSS, 2(1).

Institute of Intercultural Communication. Intercultural Film Database.
A database of films that are accurate from an ethnographic standpoint and can be used to highlight intercultural situations.

Langara College. The Global Classroom: Intercultural Communications Resource for Langara Faculty
Includes tips and strategies for teaching a diverse group of students.

UNESCO (2013).
Intercultural Competencies: Conceptual and Operational Framework.
Topics include: teaching intercultural competences, promoting intercultural competences, and enacting intercultural competences. Outlines specific steps for operationalizing the concepts.

University of Washington – Bothell
Intercultural Competence Toolkit
Includes: activities & strategies to develop intercultural competence and increase engagement of culturally diverse learners.


Darla Deardorff
Assessing Globally Networked Learning.

5. Inclusive Teaching Strategies

Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence.
Inclusive Teaching Strategies.
Includes examples on inclusive teaching strategies.

Dixon, B. (2010).
Practical Strategies for Teaching Immigrant, International and Generationally Diverse Students Faculty Guide.
Topics include: diversity awareness, do’s & don’ts, and strategies for overcoming language, academic and cultural challenges.

Friesen, E. & Kristjanson, C. (Eds). (2007).
A Handbook: Teaching at the University of Manitoba.
Topics include: teaching and learning with Aboriginal students, tips for working with second-language students, and practical and simple teaching accommodations for international students.

GIHE. Managing communication and language issues.
Good Practice Resource Booklet: Designing Culturally Inclusive Learning and Teaching Environments.
Includes: strategies, tips, and good practice examples.

Humber College.
Teaching International Students.
Includes videos and text materials covering the following topics: plagiarism, academic integrity, attendance & lateness, supporting note taking & reading, and tips for engaging the multicultural classroom.

University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.
Inclusive Teaching Resources and Strategies.
Topics include: course content, problematic assumptions, accommodations, attendance, groups for learning, inequities in the classroom, and student identities.
Inclusive Teaching Framework and Strategies.
Topics include: student-student interaction, instructor-student interaction, content & process, community building.
Teaching International Students: Pedagogical Issues and Strategies
Topics include: strategies to help bridge differences, teaching non-native speakers of English, and academic integrity.

University of Virginia Center for Teaching Excellence.
Teaching a Diverse Student Body.
Topics include: teaching a diverse student body, gender dynamics in the classroom, strategies for teaching international students, strategies for dealing with conflict, students with disabilities, and teaching strategies effective for all students.


Purdue University Center for Instructional Excellence – Global Learning Faculty Development Program
Intercultural Learning Teaching Tips
Intercultural topics include: academic integrity, lecture, writing, communication

6. Curriculum and Assessment Design

American Council on Education.
Internationalization in Action: Internationalizing the Curriculum, Part 1 – Individual Courses
Topics include: course content, course materials, activities & assignments, learning outcomes, and examples of internationalized course syllabi.

Arkoudis, S.
Teaching International Students: Strategies to Enhance Learning
Topics include: internationalizing the curriculum, making lectures accessible, small group work, plagiarism, critical thinking, and assessment expectations

Internationalising the Curriculum Tip Sheet: Classroom Strategies
Demonstrates transforming standard curriculum into internationalized curriculum and provides examples.

Higher Education Academy.
Internationalising Higher Education Toolkit.
Includes: a framework, tools, pedagogic research, teaching resources, and case studies. Also offers discipline specific resources.

Toulouse, P. (2008).
What Works? Research Into Practice: Integrating Aboriginal Teaching and Values into the Classroom.
Includes: seven principles and their associated implications for the classroom and applications.

University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.
Internationalizing the Curriculum.
Topics include: learning outcomes, teaching international students, assessing intercultural competence, options for internationalizing the curriculum, and cross cultural group work.

UNSW Australia
Assessment Toolkit: Responding to Cross-Cultural Diversity
Topics include: benefits & challenges of assessment in a diverse classroom and strategies for designing assessment

Williams, S. (2015)
Internationalizing the Curriculum: A Remedy for International Students’ Academic Adjustment Difficulties?
Includes an outline of the challenges, approaches, and practical solutions.

 7. Further Reading

Carnegie Mellon University. Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and International Communication Center.
Recognizing and Addressing Cultural Variations in the Classroom: Teaching in an Increasingly Multicultural Setting: A Guide for Faculty.
Topics include: background issues, cultural variations, and suggestions for instructors.

Ryan, J. (2013, May 18) Academic Shock: Thoughts on teaching international students. The Guardian.

Thompson Rivers University. (2010). A Handbook for Educators of Aboriginal Students.
Topics include: educational context, effective and innovative educational practices, and the Aboriginal student profile.

Guidelines on Intercultural Education.
Topics include: key issues & challenges, international standard setting instruments, and guidelines on intercultural education.

8. E-Books

Berardo, K., & Deardorff, D.K. (Eds.). (2012). Building cultural competence: Innovative activities and models. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Ikpeze, C.H. (2015). Teaching across cultures: Building pedagogical relationships in diverse context. Rotterdam: SensePublishers.

Whitsed, C., & Green, W. (2015). Critical Perspectives on Internationalising the Curriculum in Disciplines : Reflective Narrative Accounts From Business, Education and Health. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Williams, R.D., & Lee, A. (Eds.). (2015). Internationalizing higher education: Critical collaborations across the curriculum. Rotterdam: SensePublishers.