What does that mean anyway?
“policies and practices of a school or the values and behaviors of an individual that enable one person or school to interact effectively in a culturally diverse environment…” (Davis, Bonnie. How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You)
hmm ok that kinda makes sense.. but what else?
“being able to have the ‘self-awareness to recognize how you- because of your ethnicity, your culture, and your life experiences- may offend or otherwise affect others.’ as well as what you have to offer” (Davis, Bonnie. How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You)
and even more:
“Cultural proficiency: Cultural Proficiency in education is the level of knowledge-based skills and understanding that are required to successfully teach and interact with students and to work effectively with colleagues from a variety of cultures by holding all forms of cultural difference in high esteem; a continuing self-assessment of one’s values, beliefs
and biases grounded in cultural humility; an ongoing vigilance toward the dynamics of diversity, difference and power; and the expansion of knowledge of cultural practices that recognize cultural bridges as going both ways. Culturally proficient services require that both the individual and the institution be culturally proficient.”
Author Bonnie Davis uses the work Randall Lindsay to explore cultural profieceny. Randall Lindsay is “principal associate of The Robins Group. He is professor emeritus at California State University, Los Angeles, where he served as chair of the Division of Administration and Counseling in the School of Education. He has served as a junior and senior high school teacher of history and as an administrator of school desegregation and staff development programs. He has worked extensively with school districts as they plan for and experience changing populations”.
You can check some of his work out here.
Teaching Tolerance has developed a professional development resource titled “The Teaching Diverse Students Initiative“. Let me start by saying that there is an abundance of knowledge to be gained by digging around the TDSi website. At first I felt a little overwhelmed and excited because I stumbled upon a gold mine of multi-cultural teaching resources! It’s the little things right?
Start by creating a user name (don’t let this turn you off-it took less than 2 mins!). Once you are in, you will have access to:
tools: Understanding the Influence of Race, The Common Beliefs Survey
case studies: Engaging English Language Learners- “This case explores what educators can do to meet the language and literacy needs of ELL students in a content area like science”.
references: Find great titles like
- Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). But That’s Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. Theory into Practice, 34(3), 159-65.
- Valenzuela, A. (2008). Uncovering Internalized Oppression. In M. Pollock (Ed.), Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race in School (pp. 50-55). New York: The New Press.
and much much more!
On this website you can hear from experts in the field of Multi-Cultural Education (via short video clips) such as Dr. Sonia Nieto of University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Mica Pollock of Harvard University and more.
Discussion groups are offered so that we can all explore this complex issue that affects every one of us. Discussion is encouraged with this reminder : “be sure to give room for varied outlooks on this very sensitive topic as you respond to others’ posts”.
As you explore the many many resources of the Teaching Diverse Students Initiative please share with me what you like and don’t like. What was helpful, what provoked those “a-ha! I get it” moments, what brought the tears on, and what keeps you motivated.
Mica Pollock (author of Because of Race: How Americans Debate Harm and Opportunity in Our Schools & Colormute: Race Talk dilemmas in an American School) speaks the truth when she says: “these conversations are hard, and we all know that, sometimes i worry about what I say in these conversations. But we have to have a readyness to struggle and to talk because these conversations are necessary for our society”.