What makes an agency culturally competent?
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.
Cultural competency comes from the understanding of the values and preferences of cultures other than that of the agency in question. It means that the agency respects and does not judge it's clients, despite their differences from the agency's values.
“American classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse. As NEA President Dennis Van Roekel has noted, “Educators with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to value the diversity among students will contribute to an educational system designed to serve all students well.” Cultural competence is a key factor in enabling educators to be effective with students from cultures other than their own. Cultural competence is having an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference, and the ability to learn and build on the varying cultural and community norms of students and their families. It is the ability to understand the within-group differences that make each student unique, while celebrating the between-group variations that make our country a tapestry. This understanding informs and expands teaching practices in the culturally competent educator’s classroom. http://www.nea.org/home/39783.htm
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