Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education

What does belongingness look like for students whose backgrounds differ from their teacher’s?  How can educators adapt so that their classrooms create room for students from a variety of experiences, identities, and perspectives?  Nieto lays out a concrete set of actions for educators to orient around student experience through academic content, activities, and relationship.

Preview the book here

How to Use

As an individual: Do a classroom audit of belongingness after having read Nieto’s guidance. Ask yourself - how is there room being made for a variety of cultures?  Is there a monoculture that takes precedent, and if so, how does it show up?  Can different racial or cultural perspectives access learning materials effectively, or is a certain background more prominently featured or catered to than others?  

As a staff: Do a school audit of belongingness.  Across grades and classes, how is the variety of students’ background showing up in content and pedagogy?  How are students from different backgrounds responding to curricular experiences, and what does this tell you about their sense of belongingness?

As a system: Do a system audit of belongingness.  Use the TEN network’s (see link above) student and community belongingness survey to highlight growth areas for teaching and learning.  How can student and community input influence what is taught and how it is taught inside classrooms?

Related Media

Nieto’s early writing on moving past tolerance and into belongingness

Nieto’s biography and resources on

Teaching Excellence Network’s student and community survey for assessing belongingness

Alignment to RIDES Assessment

Part 1 - The curriculum has multiple perspectives woven into it, and celebrates and normalizes diversity

Part 2 - Systems and Structures: All staff and leadership have training and support on rigorous, culturally relevant instruction for all students


Nieto, Sonia. (2000). Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education (Third Edition). New York: Longman. (323-347)

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