The Art of Dealing with Religious and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom

  •  Gillian Warner-Søderholm    
  •  Mark Kriger    


Religion is an intrinsic element of our cultural mind-sets that implicitly impacts how we communicate, not onlyat work but also in the classroom. Indeed, there is a general consensus in the management literature that religiousdimensions within a wide range of work and learning contexts are important variables which impact ourcommunication and leadership. This article fills a gap in this literature by exploring how different religious andcultural based norms may specifically impact the student-teacher (and also student-student) interaction in ahigher education empirical setting. A brief discussion of fundamental values within five world religions is firstoffered in order to explore how these values may manifest themselves in differing cultural contexts. The articlethen reflects upon real classroom experiences in a business school setting. Based on these classroom cases, afive-point plan is provided to offer practical guidelines which can be applied by teachers to make the most ofreligiously and culturally diverse learning environments. By knowing yourself, acting with authenticity andactively seeking out interaction with different others we can practise what we preach and develop personalmindfulness as learning facilitators – this is the art of dealing with religiously and culturally diverse classrooms.

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