Reflection and Cultural Competency

Cultural Competence is a term coined by Cross et al (1989) to describe a set of behaviors and policies at both individual and systems levels that allow us to work effectively with those whose cultures are different from ours.  

One strategy to improve cultural competency that is particularly appropriate for the end of the year is to reflect over the past year (Tyrone Howard, 2003). This  reflection should include celebrating our successes while simultaneously considering if any biases impacted our work. We do this not to feel bad about ourselves, but to recognize that as products of an imperfect society, none of us are immune to biases. Therefore, self reflection is necessary to better our craft.

Here are a few questions you may ask yourself:

1. What worked in my class this year?

2. How did I make all my students feel welcome?

3. Could I have improved my relationship with any of my students?

4. How did my beliefs about student efficacy impact my teaching?

5. Was there a particular student (or group of students) I was particularly successful with?  Why was I successful?

6. Was there a particular student (or group of students) I was less successful with?  What do I need to learn to become more successful if I ever face a similar situation again?  How/where can I learn this? 

(Adapted from “Fostering Reflection” by Lana Danielson, 2009.)

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