Marina Iskhakova

Cross-culturally responsive teaching strategies

With the increasingly changing global demographics mirrored in our classroom, we must reflect and consider the growing mix of cultures, religions, values, norms, traditions, learning styles and assumptions that students from diverse cultures have to offer. Those changes must be reflected in course curricula, assessments design, class style delivery and diverse communication and feedback strategies.  

To improve student learning outcomes, I have adopted a new educational philosophy of cross-culturally responsive teaching (Gay, 2010). The three main guiding principles of cross-culturally responsive teaching are: 

  • the expectation that all students can achieve a high academic level  
  • the inclusion of students’ cultural background and knowledge into the teaching and learning process 
  • the usage of a variety of instructional strategies to meet diverse cultural needs from students.  

Not only is a cross-culturally responsive educator a subject expert in their own field, they are also equipped with cross-culturally responsive strategies. Research indicates that when students’ cultures are used, students’ academic achievements increase (Howe & Lisi, 2017). When cultural background and knowledge are used and relevant in class, it energises, inspires and motivates students.  

Background and genesis 

My culturally responsive teaching philosophy is deeply grounded in my global education and background spanning a total of six countries (Russia, Norway, China, UK, US and Australia), each with a unique education system. My mission is to help graduates develop into truly global, open-minded and culturally equipped citizens. I strive to instill in my students a high level of professional expertise and the best possible job-market readiness, along with unravelling various sophisticated dimensions of cultural intelligence that is fast becoming one of the most critical skills for graduates of the future.

If you have students from more than one cultural background in your class or if you would like to become a cross-culturally responsive educator, then I hope to see you these up coming events. 

Cross Cultural Teaching Events

Coffee Course and Workshop 

In this Coffee Course and subsequent face-to-face workshop, we will introduce several key strategies on how to make your teaching in a global classroom more effective and enjoyable.  

Key questions we will be looking at are: 

  • How do I incorporate cross-culturally responsive teaching strategies in my course, assessments design and in-class delivery? 
  • How do I respond to students’ different communications styles and attitude, e.g. in relation to time, rules, authority, uncertainty, different ways of dealing with stress, emotions and conflicts? 
  • How do I understand my students from different cultures and truly enjoy teaching a global classroom? 

The workshop will be highly interactive with many practical and interactive exercises, scenarios and examples. We will share effective cross-culturally responsive teaching strategies, discuss different mini-cases and each participant will improve their skills and confidence to teach in a global classroom.

Coffee Course Tuesday 18 May – Thursday 20 May 2021REGISTER HERE

Workshop Friday 21 May 2021 – 9.15-11.30amREGISTER HERE

Global Educators Workshop 

This is the first workshop of its kind in the educational sector where educators and teaching and learning staff will be exposed to a wide variety of different educational systems spanning vastly different countries – the home countries of many of our ANU students. You will learn how the main values and priorities of educational systems of China, India, Russia, Brazil, Iran, South Africa, Italy and Canada are shaping the way students think and learn. 

This face-to-face workshop offers an opportunity for open dialogue and to build a shared understanding of how people from diverse cultures have different learning experiences. This is a unique opportunity for you to take the first step on your way to becoming truly global educators. Eight excellent speakers from eight different countries, book your spot as numbers are strictly limited! 

Global Educators Workshop Monday 24 May 2021 – 12-3pm REGISTER HERE 

May 2021


Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research and practice. 2ed, Columbia University, NY and London, p22. 

Howe & Lisi (2017). Becoming a multicultural educator: Developing awareness, gaining skills and taking action. Sage, LA, p41. 

Marina Iskhakova, FHEA, is a Senior lecturer and program manager at the Research School of Economics, ANU College of Business and Economics