Cultural competence is one of those phrases which is thrown around a lot, but which isn’t always clearly defined. If you google it, over three million responses are returned. I use Cultural Proficiency, a Manual for School Leaders to create a basis for working towards cultural competence in schools that work with KnowledgeWorks.
The definition of cultural competency I like states that proficiency has to be present both at the individual (teacher) level as well as the organizational level (school or district). The skills that are needed include both value-based ones (respect, tolerance and acceptance of difference) as well as behavioral ones (listening, problem solving, appropriate communication). It’s also a proactive and dynamic proposition:
You never fully achieve cultural competence as you are constantly adapting to changes in your environment as well as changes in your own perspectives.
Achieving cultural competency is not a one-step, one-stop activity and it certainly won’t happen in a one-hour break out session. But my hope is that a general exposure to the concepts in this publication – along with some examples of the essential elements which in my mind form the road map to proficiency – will help participants begin that journey.
Can’t attend the 2017 Experience Conference? Here are some other resources you can use to deepen your understanding of cultural competency: