Why Teaching Cultural Competency Matters

One of my students put together these pamphlets for the whole class. Thomas Paine: Common Sense

—– As a High School Government and Debate teacher I see the world a little differently than the average bear.  I believe in teaching civic virtue (personal living that benefits community) but I also understand that I must first find a way to hook my students so that they actually want to learn not only about US Government but about our global community.  My hope is that student leave my class with the motivation to participate in their communities throughout their life. As they leave High School and tell me they are registered voters and getting ready to participate in their first election I truly believe my heart grows a bit larger.

A group of my students working to get a local park ready for the upcoming holidays.
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—–One way I help my students understand the global community is through international travel.  Please consider purchasing a candle at the end of this post to help fund this years student trip to China.  Why should you?  Let me explain a bit…

—–Cultural competence refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, particularly in the context of human resources, non-profit organizations, and government agencies whose employees work with persons from different cultural/ethnic backgrounds. Cultural competence comprises four components: (a) Awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, (b) Attitude towards cultural differences, (c) Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and (d) Cross-cultural skills. Developing cultural competence results in an ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures.  Studies have shown students that travel abroad not only have a deeper understanding and appreciation for other cultures but also have better grades and are more likely to participate in government.  For me, travel gives the students a chance to see not only the wonders of our own government and culture but a chance to look at different opinions and ways of life.  A chance to respect others choices and an opportunity to express civil discourse.

—–This Spring Break I am taking a group of ten students to China for nine days.  On a tour bus with students from all over the world, we are going to explore the Dynasties, work with elementary kids, visit the Great Wall and so much more.  Please consider purchasing a candle to help fund the students as they learn to appreciate another  culture other than their own and become Student Ambassadors.   If you are interested click here www.glowscentedcandles.com , to enter the secure site, click on the “shop online” button and paste in our ID: 201611 as your shop choice.  A 10 oz candle is only $13.00. 

Yours on this beautiful Thursday,  —-J

Information on Cultural Competency from: Mercedes Martin & Billy Vaughn (2007). “Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management” magazine, pp. 31-36. DTUI Publications Division: San Francisco, CA.

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