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Excerpts from: Practicing the Three C’s: Cross-Cultural Competence in School Psychological Services Emilia C. Lopez, Ph.D. Queens College, CUNY/NASP IDEA Resource Cadre Doris P á ez, Ph.D. Furman University/NASP IDEA Resource Cadre. The Three C’s: Cross-Cultural Competence.

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Excerpts from:

Practicing the Three C’s:

Cross-Cultural Competence

in School Psychological Services

Emilia C. Lopez, Ph.D.

Queens College, CUNY/NASP IDEA Resource Cadre

Doris Páez, Ph.D.

Furman University/NASP IDEA Resource Cadre

the three c s cross cultural competence
The Three C’s: Cross-Cultural Competence

“The ability to think, feel, and act in ways that acknowledge, respect, and build upon ethnic, sociocultural, and linguistic diversity.”

(Lynch and Hanson, 1998)

cross cultural competence

Cross-Cultural Competence

Awareness: assumptions, values, biases

Understanding: worldview of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) clients

Knowledge: cultural differences, assessment and intervention strategies

Skills: providing assessment and intervention services

(Sue et al., 1982)


“An integrated pattern of human behavior that

includes thoughts, communications, languages,

practices, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies, rituals,

manners of interacting and roles, relationships and

expected behaviors of a racial, ethnic, religious or

social group; and the ability to transmit the above to

succeeding generations.”

(National Center for Cultural Competence of Georgetown University:

ethnicity of school psychologists source 2003 nasp membership survey 69 response rate
Ethnicity of School PsychologistsSource: 2003 NASP membership survey (69% response rate)
ethnicity comparison
Ethnicity Comparison

U.S. Population

School Psychologists

linguistic diversity of the u s population source 2000 census
Linguistic Diversity of the U.S. PopulationSource: 2000 Census
  • 17.9 % of the U.S. population (five years old and older) speaks a language other than English at home.
  • Approximately 11% of the U.S. population is foreign born.
linguistic diversity of school psychologists source nasp 2000 bilingual directory
Linguistic Diversity of School PsychologistsSource: NASP 2000 Bilingual Directory
  • 612 school psychologists speak at least one foreign language
  • 97 school psychologists speak two or more foreign languages
diverse states source 2000 census
Diverse StatesSource: 2000 Census
  • 26-61% of the population in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina and the District of Columbia is African American/black
  • 25-42% of the population in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas is Hispanic
  • 5% of school psychologists in the field are people of color

(Curtis, Hunley, Walker & Baker, 1999)

cross cultural competence1
Cross-Cultural Competence
  • Important to develop given an increasingly diverse population
  • Benefits children by improving cross-cultural communication and ensuring that consultation, intervention, and assessments are appropriately designed to meet student, staff, and parental needs
  • Promoted by NASP through partnerships, recruitment efforts, bilingual publications, training, online resources, and advocacy (
six domains of service delivery
Six Domains of Service Delivery
  • Six domains of service delivery needed for cross-culturally competent practice
    • Domain 1: Legal and Ethical Issues
    • Domain 2: School Culture, Educational Policy and Institutional Advocacy
    • Domain 3: Psychoeducational Assessment and Related Issues
    • Domain 4: Academic, Therapeutic and Consultative Interventions
    • Domain 5: Working with Interpreters
    • Domain 6: Research

(Rogers et al., 1999)

domain 1 legal and ethical issues

Domain 1: Legal and Ethical Issues

Knowledge of local, state, and federal laws and regulations, awareness of litigation, and understanding of ethics

Advocate for public policy and educational law

domain 2 school culture educational policy and institutional advocacy
Domain 2: School Culture, Educational Policy, and Institutional Advocacy
  • Knowledge of aspects of organizational culture that promote achievement and mental health for culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students
  • Ability to play a leadership role in the implementation of supportive interventions for CLD students and their families
domain 3 psychoeducational assessment
Domain 3: Psychoeducational Assessment
  • Knowledge of and skills in assessing CLD students, including consideration of variables such as environment, social issues, language development, second language acquisition, acculturation, educational history, quality of educational program, SES and racism
domain 3 psychoeducational assessment1
Domain 3: Psychoeducational Assessment
  • Understanding that normed tests may not be a valid measure for English Language Learners (ELLs) due to inappropriateness of norms, scores reflecting English proficiency, product as opposed to process orientation, fairness of content, and differences in educational background, acculturation, and economic situation
domain 4 academic therapeutic and consultative interventions
Domain 4: Academic, Therapeutic, and Consultative Interventions
  • Skills in multicultural counseling and cross-cultural consultation
  • Knowledge of multicultural education, ELL programs, and school culture/culture of staff and students
domain 5 working with interpreters
Domain 5: Working with Interpreters
  • Knowledge of recommended systemic practices, including guidelines from professional organizations and national and state policies, and plans for hiring, training, and managing interpreters
  • Knowledge of recommended practices for interpreters translating for parent conferences, including using school personnel and community members as interpreters (never children or family members)
domain 6 research
Domain 6: Research
  • Knowledge of research related to culture and language issues and ability to conduct research that is sensitive to cross-cultural issues
  • Awareness of Emic-Etic distinctions (Emic: behaviors or views that are common to an ethnic or minority group; Etic: aspects of human functioning that are more universal to peoples across cultures)
for more information and extensive references
For More Information and Extensive References
  • Curtis, Hunley, Walker & Baker, 1999
  • Lopez E. C., 2002. Best Practices in Working With School Interpreters to Deliver Psychological Services to Children and Families. In A. Thomas and J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology IV. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.
  • Lynch & Hanson, 1998
  • NASP Culturally Competent Practice:
  • National Center for Cultural Competence of Georgetown University:

  • Rogers, M. R., Ingraham, C. L., Bursztyn, A., Cajigas-Segredo, N., Esquivel, G., Hess, R. S., & Nahari, S. G., & Lopez, E. C. (1999). Best practices in providing psychological services to racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse individuals in the schools. School Psychology International, 20, 243-264.
  • Sue, Bernier, Duran, Feinberg, Pedersen, Smith, & Vasquez-Nuttall, 1982
  • U.S. Census Bureau: