Cultural Competence of Teachers

The increase in globalization has resulted in culturally diversified classrooms. This implies that teachers and instructors must possess competencies for dealing with the unique differences of students. Various authors have argued that along with other factors, poor educational outcomes result from cultural differences among school and home. Though culturally sensitive curricula and robust instructional strategies also play a critical role, however; the sensitivity and responsiveness of teachers to cultural differences amongst students are more significant. Culture tends to have a great impact on the beliefs and behaviors of individuals and thereby affects the manner in which things are taught and learned.

Present day teachers must possess the relevant skills for embracing their learner’s rich culture. During the last few decades, researchers and authors have presented different models and approaches for the development of cultural awareness and cultural competencies amongst teachers. The “ABCs of Cultural Understanding and Communication” model that facilitated teachers in promoting school and home connections for successful learning and classroom community development. This model comprised of five steps: (1) writing a comprehensive autobiography, (2) writing biography of an individual who is culturally different, (3) analyzing the differences and similarities of these two life stories, (4) analyzing differences while justifying discomforts and comforts, and (5) preparing communication plans for developing and making connections between home and school. This aids in establishing relationships and minimizing the barriers created by prejudices and stereotypes. The foundation of Skilled Dialogue approach was on three fundamental beliefs: (1) diversity is a context-embedded and relational truth; (2) effectively dealing with cultural diversity challenges requires comprehending cultural dynamics; and (3) developing reciprocal, responsive, and respectful cross-cultural relationships with families is the key to developing cultural competencies. The Skilled Dialogue approach serves as a means for addressing challenges faced by teachers due to cultural and linguistic diversity.

The uses of observational tools employed by ethnographers for learning new cultures and investigate ways through which individuals share values, activities, and traditions. The focal point was the cultural similarities instead of ethnic or racial differences. The effectiveness of the Cultural Self Analysis project was examined that aims at preparing culturally responsive teachers. The researchers discovered that this project met its aims through increasing comfort and confidence amongst teachers, enhancing preparedness for facilitating home connections with individuals that are culturally diverse and enlightening responsibilities beyond academic teaching.

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