Diversity-oriented Teaching

The question of how teaching can be designed to be diversity-orientated can hardly be answered in general terms, as different aspects of diversity are relevant depending on the situation and context. Nevertheless, a few tips can be formulated to help you create the basis for diversity-friendly teaching and learning processes and organise your course in a diverse way.

On this website you will find tips on how to create a learning environment that promotes diversity as well as further materials and resources on the topic.

Diversity in Teaching

Diversity has many facets and manifests itself in different forms, capturing differences as well as similarities. These can lead to the reproduction of stereotypes and lines of difference. Social contexts thus also have an impact on universities and are sometimes even reinforced by them. Depending on how teaching is organised and what attitudes lecturers and students have towards diversity, differences as well as similarities can lead to learning options and a broadening of perspectives or to tunnel vision and conflicts - whether constructive or destructive. At Leuphana University, diversity-orientated teaching takes various approaches:

Diversity as a learning opportunity

Designing teaching and learning settings in such a way that diversity becomes an object of learning and is experienced as an educational opportunity, for example by enabling and promoting a change of perspective, awareness of one's own norms and limits, empathy, tolerance of ambiguity and conflict resolution skills through experiencing and reflecting on diversity.

Diversity as a framework condition for teaching and learning

Reflect on and consider the context and factors that influence learning situations and the learning process in curriculum planning.

Diversity as teaching and learning content

Imparting knowledge about diversity and its social relevance as well as competence to act in contexts characterised by diversity and promoting an attitude that values diversity.

Diversity supportive environment

IIn the following, you will find some suggestions for creating a learning environment that is supportive of diversity:

  • Think of diversity as normal and challenge the notion of the typical student.
  • Clearly communicate learning objectives, course content, assessment requirements and expectations to improve student orientation.
  • Create a pleasant, constructive seminar atmosphere in which mistakes are seen as learning opportunities.
  • Use inclusive language to address all students and avoid generic masculine and discriminatory terms.
  • Avoid generalisations and stereotypes in (case-) examples to prevent unpleasant emphasis and stereotypes.
  • Do not judge students on their knowledge of German. Give them time to find the right words.
  • Bear in mind that international students are often socialised in a different study and learning culture and may not be familiar with German specifics. This can affect, for example, the relationship between students and lecturers, the tone of communication (formality/gender, closeness/distance) or acceptance/directness of criticism.
  • Teach academic (specialised) language in a targeted manner, offer opportunities for targeted appropriation, and use collections of academic formulations (you can find such lists in textbooks on the academic language German/English and for English also on the Internet).
  • If possible, offer students with language difficulties alternative language options for coursework in accordance with the examination regulations.

Further Materials

Portals and Tools

The FU Berlin offers a comprehensive portal on gender and diversity in teaching. It covers methodological and didactic as well as content-related aspects. In the Toolbox Gender and Diversity in Teaching you will find information on competences in the area of gender and diversity, good practice examples, a pool of methods and much more.

With DiVers - Didactics and Diversity in University Teaching (in German), you can test your diversity competence in teaching and acquire basic knowledge. The registration required to use this project of the University of Cologne and RWTH Aachen is free of charge.

The University of Freiburg offers a section on teaching in the form of a toolbox in its Gender and Diversity Portal. It contains checklists on numerous aspects of teaching such as curriculum development, evaluation and learning modules, as well as a glossary.

The University of Duisburg-Essen's publication series Diversity in Practice (in German) deals with everyday problems and issues relating to diversity in teaching and provides ideas and tips.

The University of Plymouth's web portal provides a wealth of information on inclusive teaching and learning, including the particularly exciting aspect of testing. Extensive materials on this topic are available for download.

In the Gender Curricula portal you will find suggestions for implementing diversity aspects in a degree programme: Suggestions for integrating gender research teaching content into the curricula of over 50 degree programmes, the database ranges from agricultural science to business law.


Implementation at Leuphana

Future Centre of Teacher Education (ZZL)

The aim of the ZZL network is to establish a cross-institutional and cross-phase network to further improve the training of student teachers in the fields of "competence-orientated teaching", "inclusion", "mentoring and coaching" and "teacher health" at Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

Diverse University

On this portal you will find an overview of successful diversity-orientated formats on the subpage you will find concepts, guidelines and policies that have been developed on the basis of participation and committee processes.

Office for Equal Opportunities

The Office für Equal Opportunities contributes to the gender-, diversity- and inclusion-oriented development of the university through counselling and coordination. It evaluates the implementation of measures, coordinates projects and processes and actively works on the further development of university structures and cultures.