Cultural Proficiency 4-6 - Montgomery County Schools

Dale Ellis, Ed. D
Montgomery County Schools
January 9, 2013
Chapter 4: Framing
Your Work
The key to understanding cultural
proficiency begins with recognizing
the existence of different worldviews.
Differing cultural worldviews become
problematic when one’s worldview
causes one to judge a culture as
“inferior” or “less than” rather than
Step 1 Commitments
 A commitment to examining your own values,
assumptions, and behaviors.
 A commitment to working with colleagues to examine
your school’s and district’s policies and practices.
 A commitment to being an integral part of the community
you serve by learning with and from the community.
Is the community, or certain parts thereof, viewed as a
detriment or a resource?
These commitments
involve the use of…
 Introspection as a means to understand your own
thoughts, feelings and motives.
 Reflection as a means to examine your actions.
 Examination as a means to study current policies
and procedures.
 Analysis as a means to understand all aspects of the
education process.
 Planning as a means to be intentional in serving ALL
Table Talk
 Review the Table on Page 60…starting at the bottom
and working up.
 What possible complications do you see with your
 What possible bridges do you see on your staff from
which to build?
The Barriers
 The presumption of entitlement and privilege makes
some people blind to barriers experienced by others.
 Systems of oppression and privilege are forces that
affect some individuals based upon membership in a
distinct cultural group.
 Unawareness of the need to adapt is a type of
resistance to change where some individuals believe
other groups need to change to adapt to the
dominant group.
The Guiding Principals
 Culture is a predominant force…You can’t not have
a culture.
 People are served in varying degrees by the
dominant culture.
 Group identity of individuals is as important as
individual identities.
 Diversity within cultures is vast and significant.
 Each group has unique cultural needs.
 The family, as defined within the culture, is the
predominant force in a child’s education.
The Guiding PrincipalsCont.’
 Marginalized populations have to be at least
bicultural, which creates unique issues.
 Cross-cultural interactions are dynamic and must be
acknowledged, adjusted to, and accepted.
 The school system must incorporate cultural
knowledge into practice and policy making.
The Continuum
 Cultural Destructiveness – Seeks to eliminate
cultures within the school.
 Cultural Incapacity – Trivializing and stereotyping
other cultures….making others inferior to the
dominant group.
 Cultural blindness – Not noticing or acknowledging
other cultures and being blind to the need for
The Continuum – Cont.’
 Cultural Precompetence – Increasing awareness of what
you and the school don’t know about working in diverse
settings. Can move forward or regress from here.
 Cultural Competence – Inclusive of different views in
such a way that healthy and positive interactions can take
 Cultural Proficiency – Holding the vision that you and the
school are instruments for creating a socially-just
democracy; interacting with your colleagues, your
students, their families, and their communities as an
advocate for lifelong learning to serve effectively the
educational needs of all cultural groups.
The Essential Elements
 Assess Culture – Identify the differences
 Value Diversity – Embrace the differences
 Manage Difference – Reframe the differences so it is
not viewed as a problem to be solved
 Adapt to Diversity – Teach and learn the differences
so you can respond effectively
 Institutionalize Cultural Knowledge – Change
systems to ensure healthy and effective responses
Table Talk
 How comfortable are you with your knowledge of
cultural proficiency?
 What questions do you have?
 What more do you want to learn about the tools of
cultural proficiency?
 How do you see the tools of cultural proficiency
helping you and members of your school community
narrow and close educational gaps?
Chapter 5 – The First
Overcoming Barriers
 “If we tell ourselves that the only problem is hate, we
avoid facing the reality that it is mostly nice, nonhating people who perpetuate racial inequality?
- Ellis Close (1998)
Systemic Oppression
 It is there. It may not be systematic, but it is there. It
is systemic.
 Is there an expectation that ALL children can learn to
high levels? Is there an expectation that ALL children
can accomplish the requirements of the Common
Core, or just a few? A culture of low expectations is
systemic oppression. It’s not mean and maybe not
intentional, but it is there…in society and schools.
Privilege and
 By the very nature of the system, those who are not
oppressed have the benefit of privilege and entitlement.
What was the cause of the Revolutionary War?
What was the cause of the Civil War?
Who were the main beneficiaries of the Industrial Age?
Who was Jim Crow?
 The key is getting those who have been the beneficiaries
of privilege and entitlement to recognize that fact.
Meanwhile, here in
 We have an additional dynamic of poverty
extending deeply into a historically privileged
 How does that impact us?
Unawareness of the
Need to Adapt
 Change is difficult
 That is especially true in areas you are not even
aware that change is needed.
 The biggest need for change in education is in the
Culturally Proficient
 Have an emerging awareness of their strengths, their
limitations, and what they need and want to learn.
 Are not afraid to change their worldview or
paradigms about their students’ cultures.
 Are eager to begin the change process, both
individually and institutionally.
Core Beliefs
 We can learn (improve).
 Paradigms can change.
 Change is beneficial.
Two Responses to
 Acknowledge the feelings of the complainers.
Change is seldom easy and often unwanted,
especially when it involves more work.
 Explain the changes are to better serve the students
and their families. It is not about fixing something
that is broken, but about improvement and to grow
as a school for the benefit of the children.
Table Talk
 What areas of privilege and entitlement do you see
in your school?
 Do you think those in your building see it? If so,
 Has any of these topics been addressed in your
school before? If so, what was the outcome?
 If these discussions have not taken place, what has
been the dominant barrier in your opinion?
Chapter 6 – The Second
The Guiding Principals
 Accepting diversity enables us to see that each of us
is needed. It also enables us to abandon ourselves to
the strengths of others, acknowledging that we
cannot know or do everything on our own.
- Max De Pree (2008)
PDSA anyone? PLCs? Anyone, anyone?
Culture is Ever Present
 You don’t notice culture until it changes.
 It is the predominant force in shaping values and
 It is a defining aspect of humanity.
 Offensive behavior may not be personal but cultural.
Do some of your teachers take discipline cases
Served by the Dominant
 The dominant culture sets expectations.
 Values and behaviors can be adjusted to serve
 The dominant culture will find the overall culture
comfortable and beneficial, and some oppressed
people may find success in the dominant culture, but
what about the many oppressed people who do not?
Diversity Within
 There are wide differences within a given ethnic
 From poor to rich, and all levels in between. That is
why socioeconomic factors impact all within the
“poor” group.
Each Group Needs
 Some schools/policies refuse to adapt to the need for
 We must encourage the change we want to see.
 We must make sure everyone has access to the same
privileges and benefits.
Family is the Primary
Support Structure
 How do we define “parent involvement?”
 If parents send students to school prepared to learn,
do we need them at the school to be “involved?” Are
they not already “involved?”
 What can we do if they are not “involved?”
If not Dominant, They
are Bi-Cultural
 Oppressed people belong to their own culture.
 They are also trying to assimilate into the dominant
 Students are punished if they do not assimilate as
Social and Communication
 We are dealing with history here folks.
 Those who are oppressed continue to be so and the
dominant culture often doesn’t even see it, or they
see slights as small and inconsequential.
 EC vs. AP/AIG for instance…
Cultural Knowledge
Must Be Incorporated
 This book study is the first step….
 Questions?
 Comments.
 Concerns!