“Cultural competence…refers to the process by which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each” – National Association of Social Workers National Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (2001).
Cultural influences, beliefs and personal history affect a student’s comfort level regarding personal boundaries. Some students are not inviting of touch and may want more personal space; respect their wishes.
There are five essential elements that contribute to the Children Literacy Project’s ability to increase the cultural competency of its volunteers and staff. The Children’s Literacy Project (1) values diversity, (2) provides volunteers and staff opportunities for cultural self–assessment, (3) is conscious of the "dynamics" inherent when cultures interact, (4) seeks to integrate cultural knowledge into its programs, and (5) develops adaptations to service delivery that reflect a growing understanding of diversity between and within cultures.
Cultural competence is a developmental process that occurs along a continuum. It is very important for CLP staff and volunteers to exercise awareness about where they fall along the continuum. Such an awareness is critical to further development.
For more information about cultural competency visit the follow resources:
OSPI resources on cultural competency
Center for Collective Education and Practice – How Is Cultural Competence Integrated Into Education?
Northwest Education – Getting to “Why” to Solve for “How”: Kids in Poverty Now on Our Radar