Silhouettes of a diverse group of people

Everyone has their own perspective, or way of looking at the world.

  • These perspectives are formed by your environment, culture, and involvement with other people.

  • They can be influenced by geography,  race, and socioeconomic status as well as many other factors. 

  • A group — in education or any environment — is stronger when people with diverse perspectives interact and communicate effectively.

A syllabus is a document that tells you about a course, including the work, resources, and methods used for learning.

There are clues on the syllabus that help you to see if the course includes diverse perspectives on the course topic.

Cartoon stick figure thinking

Intercultural Competence

Understanding and respecting diverse perspectives is linked to intercultural competence. A person with intercultural competence has:

Diagram listing main areas of intercultural competence: awareness, knowledge, sensitivity, and skills..

Quiz

A manager is dealing with a problem in their department. Which of the following problems is MOST LIKELY to be addressed by the development of intercultural competence?

international monetary transactions

increasing quality of a product

staying on track in a client project

communication problems in a team

Benefits Of Intercultural Competence

A crowd of cartoon people communicating with each other through speech bubbles

People with intercultural competence are more likely to:

  • communicate effectively with others

  • consider other people’s perspectives

  • respond with respect

  • listen to ideas

  • adapt to change

Including diverse perspectives is important for learning because it:

  • improves critical thinking

  • prepares students to be citizens

  • promotes creativity

  • builds social competence

A group of silhouettes of people circled around a globe

How Can I Tell If A Course Covers Diverse Perspectives?

Look at the readings, activities, and policies of the course. Do they:

  • represent different cultures or experiences?

  • ask students to learn about other's ideas, perspectives, and experiences?

  • encourage students to evaluate and understand their perspectives on the content?

  • include languageabout respecting other’s beliefs in discussions?

  • ask students to consider the same issue from multiple points of view?

  • use readings from multiple authors from different backgrounds on the topic?

Check for activities that:

  • support perspective-taking from different points of view

  • introduce other cultures and expectations

  • negotiate common ground and goals

  • encourage exploration of new ideas and experiences

A group of diverse people posing under the text

Quiz

Which of the following courses is most likely to include diverse perspectives? One that focuses on:

technical skills

one author's works

scientific experiments

a historical event

Take Action

Does your course syllabus take into account many perspectives? Are there:

If not, consider talking to your professor and making some suggestions for better representation.

Diversity + intercultural competence = inclusion

Remember, developing intercultural competence is not just for the classroom — it's a valuable skill in your personal, social, and career lives! The first step is exposure, which can happen through the classroom, but mastering this skill is lifelong learning!

images by Geralt on Pixabay.com

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This Byte has been authored by

KD

Kassie Dwarika

Director of Content Programs | Debate Coach

BL

Bridget Lepore

Helping others learn is my passion