Cultural Competence & Culturally Responsive Practices in Education Training by Virginia Department of Education
The Significance of Cultural
Competence & Culturally Responsive
Practices in Education
Dr. Vivian Stith-Williams
Virginia Department of Education
August 4, 2009
• Warm-up Activities
• Cultural Diversity Bingo
• Rationale for Cultural Competency
• Definition of Terms
• Cultural Competence Model
• Cultural Competence Continuum
• Pedersen’s Developmental Model
• Privilege Exercise statements
• Culturally Responsive Practices
• Policies, Practices, and Procedures
• Checklist for Success
Rationale for Cultural Competency Training
• Demographic Shifts in
• Culture Influences All Aspects
of One’s Environment
• Teacher vs. Student
• Limited Preparation in
Educating a More Diverse
• Deepen understanding and increased sensitivity
• Consideration as to what extent you perceive yourselves
to be culturally competent
• Gain a Greater Appreciation of Diversity Issues
• Ethical Responsibility
DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
• CULTURE- Learned traditions, principles and guides
of behavior that are shared among members of a
Codes of behavior, values, and norms, beliefs, customs,
communications or “the way we do things here”. Art,
music, food, literature, and clothing are all visible
aspects of culture.
Ethnic groups have cultures
Businesses have cultures
Neighborhoods have cultures.
It is dynamic and changes over time.
There is diversity within cultures.
Each person is a member of many cultures!
• You continually construct from history,
circumstance, family and community…
• CULTURAL COMPETENCY- It is the integration and
transformation of knowledge about individuals
and groups of people into specific standards,
policies, practices and attitudes used in
settings to increase the quality of services, thereby
producing better outcomes
In the school setting, it involves the ability to acquire
knowledge of education-related beliefs, attitudes
and practices to improve student achievement.
It is a developmental process occurring along
a continuum from cultural destructiveness to
cultural incapacity to cultural blindness to
cultural pre-competence to cultural competence
to cultural proficiency.
• Cultural Proficiency – knowing how to learn and teach about
different groups in ways that acknowledge and honor all people and
the groups they represent.
• Ethnicity – groups in which members share a cultural heritage from
one generation to another; one’s geographical origin, group image
and a sense of identity derived from contemporary cultural patterns
and a sense of history. Many people are of multiple ethnicities.
• Race - a classification system based on physical
characteristics and generalized conceptions of skin
color. A political and social construct that is most often
important in societies with a history of oppressing
• Racial Identity – one’s sense of group identity or
affiliation and association with others who possess the
same racial heritage.
Many terms to describe the work and concept
Culturally relevant Culturally aware
Culturally & Linguistically Competent
Culturally Appropriate Cultural sensitivity
Culturally Competent Culturally Proficiency
Cultural Destructiveness Refusal to acknowledge the presence or importance of cultural
differences; Differences are punished and suppressed; Schools endorse
the myth of universality.
Cultural Incapacity The individual or organization chooses to ignore cultural differences; No
attention is devoted to supporting cultural differences; Emphasis may be
on the cognitive growth and maturity of youngsters versus addressing the
issues of cultural awareness.
Cultural Blindness Individuals and organizations believe that cultural differences are of little
importance; People are viewed through a western cultural mainstream
lens; Messages are communicated to students that their culture is of little
consequence to the learning experience.
Cultural Pre-Competence The individual or organization recognizes and
responds to cultural differences; There is an open
acknowledgement of the need for cultural
competence; Educators may seek out new
information regarding diversity by attending
training sessions or interacting with those individuals
who have insider cultural information.
Cultural Competence The individual and organization value and appreciate
cultural differences; Exploration of issues related to
equity, cultural history, knowledge, and social justice;
Students’ cultural experiences are valued and
integrated into the learning process.
Mason et al.’s Cultural Competence Model (1996)
The Cultural Proficiency Continuum
1. Cultural Destructiveness. See the difference, stomp it out. Negating,
disparaging, or purging cultures that are different from your own.
2. Cultural Incapacity. See the difference, make it wrong. Elevating the
superiority of your own cultural values and beliefs and suppressing those of
cultures that are different from your own.
3. Cultural Blindness. See the difference, act as if you don’t. Acting as if the
cultural differences you see do not matter, or not recognizing that there are
differences among and between cultures.
4. Cultural Pre-competence. See the differences, respond
inadequately. Recognizing that lack of knowledge,
experience, and understanding of other cultures
limits your ability to effectively interact with them.
5. Competence. See the difference, understand the difference
that difference makes. Interacting with other cultural
groups in ways that recognize and value their differences.
6. Cultural Proficiency. See the difference and respond.
Honoring the differences among cultures, viewing diversity
as a benefit, and interacting knowledgeably and respectfully
among a variety of cultural groups.
Valuing Culture and Ethnicity
“People’s religion, culture, and ethnicity often are
not just facts about them, but are central to their
self-definitions. People are not just persons who
happen to be Christians, women, or African
Americans. These characteristics are not
possessions, like clothing, that can be shed or
changed at will. Instead, people are Christians,
women, or African Americans. If so, then one
reason that can be given for respecting
diversity is that to fail to do so is to reject
who people are. It is to deny their worth.
It does an especially insidious kind of
violence to them” (Strike, Haller & Soltis, 2005).
Pedersen’s Developmental Model
• Awareness – consciousness of one’s own attitudes and biases as well as the
sociopolitical issues that confront culturally different youngsters
• Knowledge – accumulation of factual information about different cultural
• Skills – integration of awareness competencies to positively impact children
from culturally distinct groups
• Attitude – belief that differences are valuable and
change is necessary and positive.
Each domain builds successively on the previous
one such that mastery of an earlier domain is
necessary before proceeding to subsequent domains.
• Understands their own cultural heritage and acknowledges
how it affects their values and assumptions.
• Understands other worldviews and perspectives.
• Understands how social change occurs.
• Is familiar with the nature of institutional oppression and power.
• Understands that there are unjust institutional barriers that exist
for diverse groups.
• Demonstrates a realization and understanding of
internalized oppression and its impact on identity
• Understands how class, gender, race, etc.
affect individuals and their experiences.
• Understands the ways that cultural differences
affect verbal and nonverbal communication and
the notion of personal space.
• Identify and openly discuss cultural
differences and issues.
• Gain respect of individuals who are
culturally different themselves.
• Challenge oppressive systems and serve
as an ally to those being oppressed.
• Use cultural knowledge and sensitivity to
defend the rights and values of individuals
• Accurately assess one’s own multicultural
skills, comfort level, growth, and
• Use verbal and non-verbal (body
language) responses to communicate
with diverse individuals and/or groups.
• Resolve conflicts in culturally appropriate
• Use multiple viewpoints in problem-solving.
• Employ critical thinking skills.
• Believes that differences are valuable and that learning
about others who are culturally different is necessary and
• Is open to change, and believes that change is necessary
• Willing to self-examine and, when necessary, challenge
and change their own values, worldview, assumptions and
• Is personally committed to justice, social change and
• Accepts other worldviews and perspectives and are willing
to acknowledge that, as individuals, they do not have all
• Believes that cultural differences do not have to interfere
with effective communication or meaningful relationships.
Five essential elements contribute to a system’sFive essential elements contribute to a system’s
ability to become more culturally competentability to become more culturally competent:
1. Valuing diversity
2. The capacity for cultural self-assessment
3. Consciousness of the “dynamics” inherent when culture
4. Institutionalization of cultural knowledge
5. Developing adaptations to service delivery
reflecting and understanding between and
These five elements must be manifested in every level of
the service delivery system as reflected in attitudes,
policies, structures, and services.
Culturally Responsive Practices
• Provide services that acknowledges that culture is central to
learning and encouraging students and others to learn by
building on the experiences, knowledge, and skills they bring
to the classroom, group, office or meeting.
• Service providers who are aware and respectful of the
importance of the values, beliefs, traditions, customs, and
parenting styles of the children and families they serve.
• Educators and other staff who are also aware
of the impact of their own culture on their
interactions with others and take all of these
factors into account when planning and
delivering services to children and their families.
The Provision of Culturally Competent Services in the
At the Policymaking Level
Culturally competent policymakersCulturally competent policymakers:
* appoint board members from the community so that voices from
all groups of people within the community participate in decisions
* actively recruit multiethnic and multiracial staff
* provide ongoing staff training and support
developing cultural competence
* develop, mandate, and promote standards
for culturally competent services
* insist on evidence of cultural competency
when contracting for services
At the Policymaking Level
* nurture and support new community-based multicultural
* engage in or support research on cultural competency
* support the inclusion of cultural competence on provider
licensure and certification examinations
* support the development of culturally appropriate
interview guides and assessment instruments for
Culturally competent policymakers:
At the Administrative Level
Culturally competent administrators:
Include cultural competency requirements in staff job
descriptions and discuss the importance of cultural awareness
and competency with potential employees
Ensure that all staff participate in regular, in-service cultural
Promote programs that respect and incorporate
Consider whether the facility’s physical plant,
hours, and staffing are accessible and whether
its physical appearance is respectful of different
At the Service Level
Educators and related service personnel who areEducators and related service personnel who are
culturally competentculturally competent:
learn as much as they can about a student’s or family’s
recognizing the influence of their own background on their
responses to cultural differences
include neighborhood and community
outreach efforts and involve community cultural
leaders if possible
At the Service Level continued
work within each student’s family structure,
which may include grandparents, other
relatives and friends
recognize, accept, and when appropriate,
incorporate the role of community volunteers
understand the different expectations people
may have about the way services are offered
(for example, a period of social conversation
may be necessary before each contact with a
person; or access to a family may be gained
only through an elder
adhere to traditions relating to gender and age
that may play a part in certain cultures.
Cultural Competence Checklist for Success
• Make the setting and environment more welcoming and
attractive based on families’ cultural mores.
• Avoid stereotyping and misapplication of scientific
• Include community input at the planning and development
stage of projects.
• Use educational approaches and materials that
will capture the attention of your intended audience.
• Find ways to partner with the community.
Cultural Competence Checklist for Success
• Understand there is no recipe.
• Hire staff that reflect the client population.
• Understand cultural competency is continually
• Be creative in finding ways to communicate
with population groups that have limited
Six Domains of Culturally Competent Service Delivery
(Lopez, Rogers et al., 1999)
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
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
3. Psychoeducational Assessment
• Knowledge of and skills in assessing CLD students, including
consideration of variables such as environment, social issues,
language development, racism, second language
acquisition, acculturation, educational history, quality of
educational program, and SES
• 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
4. Academic, Therapeutic and Consultative Interventions
• Skills in multicultural counseling and cross-cultural
• Knowledge of multicultural education, ELL programs,
and school culture/culture of staff and students
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 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
people across cultures).
Integration of Cultural Knowledge
The knowledge developed regarding culture and cultural
dynamics, must be integrated into every facet of a school,
program or agency. Staff must be trained, and effectively
utilize the knowledge gained.
Administrators should develop policies that are
responsive to cultural diversity. Program
materials should reflect positive images of
all people, and be valid for use with each
group. Fully integrated cultural knowledge
may affect global changes in human service
For example, educational institutions and accreditation
bodies might develop cultural competence standards to
ensure teacher and administrator preparation. Then
these same professionals collaborate with families to
develop school policies that reinforce culturally familiar
values to improve children’s behavior.
Institutionalized cultural knowledge can enhance an
The goal is to see cultural proficiency as a way to
understand, embrace, and talk about differences that
recognizes and respects individuals and their cultures.
Becoming culturally proficient means raising
awareness of and closing the gap between
a person’s expressed values and how he or
she is actually perceived and experienced
by clients, colleagues, and the community.
Shift your thinking!
Focus on diversity and inclusion!
Consider the needs of tomorrow!
Define goals. Movement is not progress and progress is
Identify the components in your system
that are functioning well now!
Have conversations about the issue, using
the cultural proficiency continuum!
Identify and Examine your barriers
“Cultural and linguistic
competence is a life’s
journey not a
• California TomorrowCalifornia Tomorrow, Cultural Competency: What is it and Why it Matters,
• King, Mark A., Sims, Anthony, & Osher, David.,King, Mark A., Sims, Anthony, & Osher, David., How is Cultural
Competence Integrated in Education?
• Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, MCross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M., Towards a culturally
competent system of care: A monograph on effective services from
minority children who are severely emotionally
disturbed: Volume I.: Georgetown University
Child Development Center, 1989.
• Goode, T.D., Jones, W., Dunne, C., & Bronheim, S.Goode, T.D., Jones, W., Dunne, C., & Bronheim, S.
And the journey continues… Achieving cultural andAnd the journey continues… Achieving cultural and
linguistic competence in systems serving children andlinguistic competence in systems serving children and
youth with special health care needs and their families.youth with special health care needs and their families.
National Center for Cultural CompetenceNational Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown
University Center for Child and Human Development, 2007.
• Lindsey, R., Roberts, L., & Campbell-Jones, FLindsey, R., Roberts, L., & Campbell-Jones, F., The culturally
proficient school: An implementation guide for school leaders.
Corwin Press, 2005.
• Keyes, Marian, Burns, Rebecca, Kusimo, PatriciaKeyes, Marian, Burns, Rebecca, Kusimo, Patricia, It Takes A
School: Closing Achievement Gaps Through Culturally
Responsive Schools, 2006.
• Educational LeadershipEducational Leadership, Vol. 64, No.6, “Responding to
Changing Demographics”, March 2007.
• McIntosh, PMcIntosh, P. White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible
knapsack. In Peace and Freedom, 1989.
• National Association of School PsychologistsNational Association of School Psychologists,
Provision of Culturally Competent Services in
the School Setting, 2004.
• Stiff-Williams, H.RStiff-Williams, H.R., ”Increasing Teachers’ Cultural Competence
to Promote Improved Student Performance, Conference
Address, VDOE, 2006.
• Lindsay, R., Robins, K., & Terrell RLindsay, R., Robins, K., & Terrell R., Cultural Proficiency: A
Manual for School Learners, 2003.