Self-assess - Learn what inclusivity looks like by understanding what you and your organisation already does. Use Diversity Works’ Inclusivity Matrix to identify your areas for improvement, then address them.


Reflect - Work to understand how other cultures might feel and seek other’s viewpoints to help break down any cultural barriers. Reflection is trying to put yourself in other people’s shoes – this article explains how racism can affect people and make them feel like an outsider. As tutors, it’s your job to help break down feelings of isolation.


Educate yourself - Determine the top three cultures you’re working with and learn the basics about them. Go to Culture Ready to gain a better understanding on different cultures practices, beliefs and languages. If you want to learn a language of your learners, try Duolingo – it teaches you pronunciation and vocabulary through games.


Develop in collaboration - Consult with learners in surveys or small focus group to understand how they imagine an inclusive tech-enabled learning environment could look. What do they feel they need?


Build a safe and supportive environment - For culturally diverse learners, quality relationships with tutors are the main driver of good course results. Set aside time for informal catchups so you can have conversations with your learners to get to know them in more meaningful ways.


Check out the Code of Practice - A new code of practice for pastoral care for tertiary and international learners was released in 2021. It outlines rules and expectations that makes sure tertiary providers support international learners in a way the makes sure their online learning environments are safe, inclusive, supportive and accessible.


Set a positive example - Show learners what effective cultural competency looks like.

  • If you see racist actions or language, stop it straight away and talk with the person afterwards to explain why it wasn’t appropriate. Go to Unteach Racism for information on how to recognise racism and how to shut it down.
  • Share your commitment to creating a culturally responsive learning environment clear with your learners, whether in print, online, or face-to-face.
  • Demonstrate this commitment by encouraging all learners to share their experiences and views by reminding them that everyone’s perspectives (so long as they don’t harm others) are welcome. Doing this can make learners feel more comfortable and confident.


What NOT to do

  • Do not mock, be racist to or single out any groups. This includes people who are of a different ethnicity, religion, gender or sexuality.
  • Do not allow racist or discriminatory actions or language in your classroom.
  • Do not single out people for their perspectives just because they are different. A culturally inclusive classroom should feel safe and encouraging, so that all learners feel confident to contribute.

Building relationships with students is at the forefront of our ethos.


Related tips and tricks

Before you run a class, have a look at our tips and tricks on how to personalise teaching for Māori learners.

Additional resources

Additional helpful resources to refer learners to:

  • Te Mana Akonga, National Māori Tertiary Students’ Association – focuses on improving Māori learners experiences, building collaborative networks, and advocating at a local and national level.
  • Tauira Pasifika Facebook group – group that ensures the voices of Pasifika learners are heard on issues of national significance that impact them.
  • NZ Newcomers Network – helps people new to New Zealand find community and connections.

Suggested professional development

  • Try these free interactive modules for tutors around the participation and core values of Pacific learners based on different Pacific nations: Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu.

* Industry training organisations (ITOs), Institutes of technology and polytechnics, Wānanga, and Government-funded private training establishments