Developing Skills to Cultivate Culturally Responsive School Climates


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  • Purpose of Session: Aid participants to gain knowledge about themselves and others, while increasing their grasp of the concept of culture/cultural competency.
  • What does that mean? It means that every teacher, aide, secretary, bus driver, custodian, and administrator (and everyone else I missed) should feel valued by both the school corporation and their colleagues. Regardless of your role in the school corporation, you represent a value and contribution that is needed to help make the school corporation one of the best in the state. Not only is diversity important in our schools, but also in the workplace. Talk about my work a little bit.
  • Ask how many years people have taught. By show of hands: 5yrs or more 10yrs or more 20yrs or more Ask the most senior: How many of those years had %100 perfect behavior in every class. How about perfect attendance or 100% high achievement? We rarely get these things, but often we still come into class expecting that each year we won’t have kids with various needs that challenge the boundaries of our patience and sometimes even our skills. We can’t control what kinds of kids we will get, all we can control is our response to those kids. Sometimes those challenges also either have a cultural link to them for the kids, or our response to them are based out of our own values, beliefs and biases.
  • True or False: All of these pictures represent diversity. We are all diverse in different types of ways. Sometimes we can’t always see with our bare eyes the ways we are diverse, but we should always assume that diversity exists around us, even when we don’t visibly see it. (we will talk more about that)
  • Diversity quite simply means variety; difference. We define diversity as recognizing, appreciating, valuing, and utilizing the unique talents of all individuals. The EVSC welcomes the contributions of all individuals regardless of age, experience, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, educational attainment, employee status, family/marital status, function, gender, language, national origin, physical appearance, race, religion, sexual orientation, communication style, thinking style, speed of learning, or any other category of difference upon which one may be differentiated.
  • Diversity actually can be both! Contentious, disruptive, conflict ridden, acrimonious, uncomfortable or unifying, productive, collaborative, safe and morale boosting Our goal: to help others see diversity as an inextricable part of our identity. Nubby Sandals From: Teachable Moments by Dr. Steve L. Robbins 
Reprinted with permission

As I headed out the door, I was unable to find my sandals, so I squeezed into my wife's. They looked like ordinary sandals, but they felt uniquely good. These particular sandals had a bunch of little nubs in the sole that are designed to stimulate the bottom of your foot. And they did a good job of it. So, with a couple of stimulated feet, I went off with Natalie to take our midnight ride and walk. As I pushed Natalie around the store, I thought about how nice my feet felt wearing my wife's sandals. Whoever thought of placing those tiny little nubs in the soles was a genius. I even thought about sending a letter to the manufacturer to tell them how good it feels. But that was a fleeting thought. Ten minutes in the store turned into 20 minutes. At about this time, I began noticing the sandals again. Those little nubs started to hurt a little. The more I walked, the more they hurt. And after more than 50 minutes of walking around the store, my feet were killing me...all because of those little nubs. Fortunately, by this time Natalie had fallen asleep so I could go home and take those nubby sandals off.

The next day I told my wife about my midnight trip to the store with Natalie and asked her how she could walk in those things for so long. "They hurt me at first, too," she replied matter-of-factly, "but I kept wearing them and pretty soon not only did they not hurt, they actually felt good." I told her I'd stick with my nubless sandals.  After thinking about this experience a little, I realized that this is how many people initially experience "diversity." Many well-meaning people get passionate about diversity and want to do something right away. They participate in a workshop or go to an inspiring conference. They feel good about what they are doing, as they should. But then the honeymoon feeling wears off, the new toy luster fades and the work really begins.

Being intentional about experiencing and understanding different people and cultures is difficult. For example, making a point of using diverse suppliers is not easy. Saying something when a coworker makes an "I didn't mean anything by it" racial joke is tough. These actions are like those nubby sandals - they hurt. Are you and your organization willing to proceed through the pain? Are you prepared to be diligent after the "easy stuff" passes? Are you willing to walk not just one mile, but hundreds of miles in another's shoes? Some-times the first mile is the easy one. It's what follows that too many people and organizations are unwilling to journey upon. But if you are committed, the rewards can be many. So take a walk in those nub-filled diversity sandals. But before you set off on the journey, know that there will be pain involved. Also know that those who stick it out will reap the rewards that diversity offers.
  • First Point-compare to learning how to ‘do’ school. Our culture is part of what makes us diverse… (more specifically) culture also influences: eye contact, religious beliefs, religious rituals,  importance of time,  paintings,  values,  literature,  child-raising beliefs,  ideas about leadership,  gestures,  ideas about fairness,  ideas about friendship,  ideas about modesty,  eating habits,  understanding of the natural world,  concept of self,  the importance of work,  concept of beauty,  general world view,  concept of personal space,  rules of social etiquette,  housing Ask for examples from the group. Tell story of what the American flag means to you as an immigrant to the US, and how that flag is a symbol of a shared culture we have as residents of this country. There are also other symbols and artifacts that represents other aspects of our culture that may be different from other people who still also share the culture of being American.
  • The metaphor of culture as an “iceberg” is extremely helpful in that it identifies aspects of culture that are: Immediately visible = explicit, visible, taught (above the water line). Only about one-eighth of an iceberg is visible above the water. The rest is below. Above the surface you can see race and gender (most times, but not always!) Part of the iceberg that emerges & submerges with the tides = “now you see it, now you don’t” (at the water line). Sometimes this is where things like someone ’ s language resides-you don ’ t see it, but you can sometimes assume based on minimal contact. Sometimes these assumptions are incorrect. (can also include race, gender/sexuality, and economic status) Deep beneath the surface = “hidden culture” (below the water line). Those are the things we learn about each others lives and experiences once we actually get to know them. Example, religious beliefs, other values.
  • In general our culture Race, class, gender, nationality, sexuality, ability (physical, mental & cognitive), are all indivisible, equally important components of one’s culture. some of the most fundamental (but often unperceived) cultural differences, such as: 1. Language and Communication 2. Appearance and Dress 3. Food and Eating Habits 4. Time and Time-Consciousness 5. Rewards and Recognition 6. Roles and Responsibilities 7. Values and Norms 8. Sense of Self and of Space 9. Mental Processes and Learning Styles 10. Beliefs, Values, and Attitudes The more that people become aware of the components of culture and learn about their own beliefs, attitudes, and styles, the more competent they can eventually become in dealing with, and working alongside, people from other cultures.
  • Internal-remains constant, or (all thing remaining equal) moves at a constant pace External-impact of societal influences and factors Red-child’s perspective of the same factors Each individual has both commonalities and differences with others based on these dimensions. We are all a part of various cultures/subcultures. Culture does not equal race or ethnicity. Race/SES are only a small part of who we are and who our kids are. Dimensions of Difference in the interpersonal circle you may want to add "the way an individual process and follow orders" In general, our culture …shapes how we see the world, ourselves, and others. Everyone has a culture!
  • Top: characteristics apparent based on first look Bottom: characteristics not apparent based on first look and require more communication/due diligence on our parts to find out. The metaphor of culture as an “iceberg” is extremely helpful in that it identifies aspects of culture that are: Immediately visible = explicit, visible, taught (above the water line). Only about one-eighth of an iceberg is visible above the water. The rest is below. Tangibles (see/hear/touch)-explicitly learned, easily changed, objective knowledge. Implicitly learned/unconscious/difficult to change/subjective. Part of the iceberg that emerges & submerges with the tides = “now you see it, now you don’t” (at the water line) Beliefs Deep beneath the surface = “hidden culture” (below the water line). Values (subconscious) where our biases lie
  • Top=less important. Characteristics that are apparent based on first look. Bottom=more important. Characteristics not apparent based on first look and require more communication.
  • The deeper you go, the more intense the emotional connection/tie. Surface: Things like food, dress, literature, language, The kind of VISUAL elements of culture that are easily identifiable, easily shared, and easily accessed. Just below surface, more behavior based: Holiday rituals (Christmas/Thanksgiving, etc.)- Things that many of us may share, but may do differently. In the United States, that date is Thanksgiving. Depending on your family, you may be eating Turkey, Ham, or nothing special at all. Even if you don ’t celebrate, you may wish somebody “Happy Thanksgiving”. Elements of culture that are perhaps not as easily pointed out, and that are more ingrained into society. (Like learning behavior from ur pack) Like how you know how much to pay for an item at the grocery store. In some cultures everything is negotiable. Courtesy * Contextual Conversational Patterns * Concept of Time * Personal Space * Rules of Conduct * Non-Verbal Communication * Body Language * Touching * Eye-Contact * Patterns of Handling Emotions. Unconscious Rules: Things that don’t get talked about, and often we don’t even realize are happening. They are at the level of our beliefs and values. Notions of Modesty * Concept of Beauty * Courtship Practices * Relationships to Animals * Notions of Leadership * Tempo of Work * Concepts of Food * Ideals of Childrearing * Theory of Disease * Social Interaction Rate * Nature of Friendships * Tone of Voice * Attitudes Towards Elders * Concept of Cleanliness * Notions of Adolescence * Patterns of Group Decision-Making * Definition of Insanity * Preference for Competition or Cooperation * Tolerance of Physical Pain * Concept of “self” * Concept of Past and Future * Definition of Obscenity * Attitudes toward Dependents *
  • This is important because we all have a role in impacting the lives of families and kids, whether directly or indirectly. We have to have employees who understand our community, its residents and what that means for the type of services we offer and approaches we take to serve our community. Customer Service!
  • Managing diversity The purpose/goal of managing diversity has been and should be to develop everyone ’s capacity to accept, incorporate, and empower the diverse human talents in the organization. Diversity is both a national as well as an international reality and we must make it our strength. The population and influence of various minority groups are growing rapidly. An understanding of the demographics of the families we serve allows one to maximize changing educational opportunities.
  • Cultural competency/proficiency/relevance is an approach not a program or silver bullet. It doesn’t mean you have to know everything about every other culture in order to be effective. That would be impossible for most people. Instead it means that you have the self awareness to recognize how your cultural positionality -either by race, gender, economics, position, etc impacts those around you, particularly the people and processes that make up your bldg. Cultural competence is the “ability to communicate, live, learn, and work in cross-cultural situations”— Multi-Ethnic Think Tank Cultural competence describes people and organizations that work well with their culture, and with cultural groups different from their own. It is the attitudes, practices, behaviors and policies that enable a student, teacher, school, or educational system to respond in respectful and useful ways to diverse teaching and learning styles, needs and issues. *Campinha-Bacote, (1999). The Process of Cultural Competence In the Delivery Of Healthcare Services: A Culturally Competent Model of Care (3rd ed).
  • How does the world impact us, and how does it impact those around us?
  • Resources Websites Technology
  • Each of the four aspects are important to becoming more culturally competent and therefore more effective in the workplace. However, it is not enough to just do one of the four. Each of them work together to help us build our self awareness and knowledge of ourselves and others, and must each be increased in order to become more adept at understanding diversity and the impact of culture in the workplace.
  • Balance between respecting the culture of home and ‘compliance’ with the culture of school. Must be ‘give’ on both sides
  • Renae
  • #1-Blink: how we make sense of stimulus #3-we can dig deeper into at a later time
  • Here is an example of questions we can ask ourselves to see how we are doing related to culture. If the answer to any of these is ‘no’, then that is a great place to start in our understanding. And we are here to help! Tim Wise video: Train Yourself to See it: Each of us, regardless of race, gender, or other background, have absorbed stereotypes and prejudices about different groups. It doesn’t matter who you are, no one is exempt from it because it is human nature. It is part of how the brain organizes information: by putting things into categories. Sometimes we put people into categories based on limited information or no information at all. We don’t often question those judgments, they are just part of what we believe. That is how we get on ‘auto pilot’. We let sometimes allow our perceptions of groups to be influenced by media, or by the opinions of others, rather than direct contact with that group. We cannot erase the negative things we have come to believe about people, but we can consciously create new ones or ‘record over the old ones’. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Reference: * Revised From Campinha-Bacote , J (2002b). Cultural competence in psychiatric nursing: Have you “ASKED” the right questions? Journal of Nursing Education , 8(5), 203-207
  • Developing Skills to Cultivate Culturally Responsive School Climates

    1. 1. Considerations for Teaching In Diverse Classrooms Developing Skills to Cultivate Culturally Responsive School Climates
    2. 2. What Is the Vision for Diversity and Equity for EVSC ? <ul><li>To embrace the value of every individual, regardless of background. </li></ul>
    3. 3. What Do We Hope To Accomplish Today? Define/understand the elements of diversity and cultural competence. Begin examining the ways that our individual perspectives and personal experiences influence teaching & learning.
    4. 4. Reflection… Our task is to educate the kids we have… Not the kids we used to have… Or want to have… Or the kids in our dreams… - Anonymous
    5. 5. What is Diversity… <ul><li>And who has it?? </li></ul>
    6. 7. We All Represent Diversity…
    7. 8. True or False? <ul><li>Diversity is Divisive </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity is Inclusive </li></ul>
    8. 9. How Is Culture Different from Diversity? <ul><ul><ul><li>Culture is the acquired knowledge people use to interpret experiences and generate behavior. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It is the composite of beliefs, values, knowledge, artifacts, language, behaviors and symbols we have learned throughout our lives. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 10. The Cultural Iceberg As adapted from Edward T. Hall, 1976
    10. 11. Culture is Complex… <ul><li>Nationality Religion </li></ul><ul><li>Race Ethnicity Family </li></ul><ul><li> Gender Sexual Orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Socio-Economic/Class Geography </li></ul><ul><li>Ability Education </li></ul><ul><li>Profession Language </li></ul>
    11. 13. Cultural Iceberg Theory
    12. 14. skin color body shape sex hair color long hair eye color height age class education family traditions parental status economic status sexual orientation profession heritage values perceptions religion experiences ethnicity Little or no Control marital status Some control Less Important More Important
    13. 15. Surface Culture Above the Surface Emotional Load: Relatively Low Unspoken Rules Just Below the Surface Behavior-Based Emotional Load: High Unconscious Rules Far Below Surface Value-Based Emotional Load: INTENSE Deep Culture
    14. 16. Why Is This Important??!!
    15. 17. Diversity In the EVSC… <ul><li>Race/ethnicity </li></ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual Orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Religion </li></ul><ul><li>Educational Attainment </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Level/Social status (SES) </li></ul><ul><li>Age/Generation </li></ul><ul><li>Work/Life Experiences </li></ul>
    16. 18. Changing Demographics
    17. 19. Changing Paradigms Present Schools have Diverse Ideas And a Diverse Classroom Make-Up Past Schools had a Homogenous Paradigm and Classroom Make-Up
    18. 20. <ul><li>Becoming culturally competent is a developmental process that includes engaging in conversations about culture and equity, reflecting on one’s own culture and beliefs, and gaining awareness of other cultures. </li></ul>Cultural Competence
    19. 21. Awareness
    20. 22. Cultural Awareness <ul><li>The ability to appreciate and understand the values, beliefs, and practices of oneself and others. </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing our sensitivity to issues of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination, increasing personal awareness and understanding of one’s self and others. </li></ul>
    21. 23. Knowledge
    22. 24. Cultural Knowledge <ul><li>An informed knowledge base of various cultures ’ histories, customs, and traditions. </li></ul>
    23. 25. Skill
    24. 26. Cultural Skill <ul><li>The ability to conduct an accurate assessment of your classroom or school and its climate and culture. </li></ul>
    25. 27. Action
    26. 28. Cultural Action <ul><li>The ability to competently work directly with individuals of culturally diverse backgrounds, as demonstrated through verbal and non-verbal messages between school staff/teachers and students, families, and community members. </li></ul>
    27. 29. Awareness Knowledge Skills Action Four Aspects Of Cultural Competency
    28. 30. So how do I Deal with All of this Diversity??!!
    29. 31. VALUE DIVERSITY <ul><li>Recognize difference as diversity rather than an inappropriate response to the environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Accept that each culture finds some values and behaviors more important than others. </li></ul><ul><li>Seek opportunities to encourage and celebrate the presence of a variety of cultures in all activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect on and continuously discuss topics related to DEEP CULTURE. </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate the need for MUTUAL ADAPTATION. </li></ul>
    30. 32. ADAPT TO DIVERSITY <ul><li>Acknowledge the differences that are present in staff, students and community. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop cross cultural communication skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Examine curricular materials and pedagogy to ensure that cultural differences are equitably addressed. </li></ul>
    31. 33. MANAGE THE DYNAMICS OF DIFFERENCE <ul><li>Realize that you may misjudge other’s action based on learned expectations…recognize your own prejudices and stereotypes. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop an understanding of the effects that historic distrust has on present day interactions. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(ex.) Parent Involvement </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Develop effective strategies to resolve conflicts, particularly among people whose cultural backgrounds or values are different. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Working with Families </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Responding to Student Behavior </li></ul></ul></ul>
    32. 34. Have I Asked the Right Questions? Awareness : Am I aware of my cultural background and biases, as well as the inequities that may exist in the classroom? Skill: Do I have the skill to conduct a ‘gut check’ assessment of my school ’s culture and climate? Knowledge: Am I knowledgeable about the worldviews of different cultural and ethnic groups? Do I know where to go to learn more?   Encounter/Action: Do I actively seek out meaningful interactions with individuals who are different  from me in order to broaden my perspective?