Cultural Competence Edwin D. Bell Winston-Salem State University
Caution • Constructivism informs us that cultural competence is one possible way to search for meaning, but it is not the only way. Cultural competence is a necessary tool for an effective teacher, but it is not sufficient.
Definition of Culture • Culture provides the blueprint for how people think, feel, and behave in society (Johnson, et al., 2002, p. 65) • Each ethnic community has a unique culture. • Each organization has a unique culture.
Culture = Paradigm • Paradigms tell us how the world works, how we fit into it, and how we experience reality.
Definition of Cultural Competence • Cultural competence is the ability to effectively work, i.e., teach, provide service, cross-culturally (Diller & Module, 2005)
Basic Assumptions • Cultural competence, whether in a school system or an individual, is an ideal toward which to strive. It does not occur as a result of a single day of training, a few consultations with experts, reading a book, or even taking a course….
Basic Assumptions (continued) • Rather, it is a developmental process, that depends on the continual acquisition of knowledge, the development of new and advanced skills, and on-going reflective self-evaluation of progress. (Diller & Moule, 2005, p. 13)
Cultural Competence Skill Areas • Awareness and acceptance of differences • Self-awareness • Dynamics of difference • Knowledge of the student’s culture • Adaptation of skills
Awareness and Acceptance of Difference • The culture of a community impacts values, styles of communication, perception of time, the meaning of success, and other concepts. • Accepting these differences as legitimate diverse realities that exist in their own right and produce value is the goal of a teacher, who seeks cultural competence.
Self-Awareness • Understand how the cultures of your communities impact you; • Understand your cultural limitations; and • Understand potential areas of tension and conflict.
Dynamics of Difference • People who come from different cultures, who are operating with different paradigms, are likely to misunderstand each other or misjudge behavior. • Educators, seeking cultural competence, need to be aware of this possibility.
Knowledge of the Student’s Culture • “Many serious mistakes can be avoided if the teacher prefaces each attempt at motivating students and encouraging academic success by considering what it means within the context of the student’s cultural group” (Diller & Moule, 2005, pp. 16-17)
Adaptation Skills • Adapting and adjusting generic teaching practices to accommodate cultural and individual differences, e.g., Multiple intelligence , the 4MAT Learning model, multicultural education, Sheltered information observation protocol (SIOP), Literature circles, Curriculum integration, and Banks and Banks (2001) curriculum reform.
Banks & Banks Approaches to Curriculum Reform • Contribution – add discrete items of culture to the existing curriculum without any basic conceptual change in material • Additive – adding content, concepts, themes, and perspectives to the curriculum without changing its basic structure
Curriculum Reform (continued) • Transformational – the structure of the curriculum is changed to enable students to view concepts, issues events, and themes from the perspectives of diverse racial and cultural groups.
Curriculum Reform (continued) • Social action – encourages students to make decisions on important social issues and take action to help solve them.
Assignment • Review all the sample adaptation skills, think about the possible uses for each one in your teaching this school year.
References • Banks, J. A & Banks, C. A. (2001). Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (4th ed.) Boston:Allyn& Bacon • Diller, J. V. & Moule, J. (2005). Cultural competence: A primer for educators. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. • Johnson, J.A, Dupuis, V.I, Musial, D., Hall, G.E., & Gollnick, D. M. (2002). Introductions to the Foundations of American Education, 12th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.