Monday, March 9, 2015

Cultural competency

Why cultural competency is Important?
Cultural Competence is a set of values, behaviors, attitudes and practices within a system, organization, program, or among individuals that enables them to work effectively across cultures. Cultural competence refers to the ability to honor and respect the beliefs, language, interpersonal styles and behaviors of children and families receiving medical care, as well as those of the staff who are providing such care. Cultural competence is a dynamic, ongoing developmental process that requires a long term commitment and is achieved over time.  Being culturally competent in which involves being aware of and sensitive to other cultures, ethnicities, genders, and beliefs—can help you establish a good rapport with them. In this case, you’d know not to shake hands, but to bow or nod your head. People with different culture will value your effort to understand each of them.

For me as a Teacher of the universal language, when I meet students for the first time, I am aware that their beliefs and practices may differ from my own. Understanding our culture is important so that we understand how we interact with individuals from cultures that are different from ours. This understanding helps us see our students more clearly, and shape policies and practice in ways that will help our students to succeed. So, I try to learn as much as I can about the students’ life and how they view the world. It is important to understand the different cultures of my foreign students. I can be an effective teacher if I have the ability to understand cultural differences that make each student unique. It will be better if teachers like me will provide an environment of respect and reciprocity of ideas and let students learn from each other’s culture. The impact of having educators who have the ability to challenge and motivate diverse student populations can dramatically improve our educational system and student outcomes. That’s the reason why Cultural competency is very important.

Cultural competency is very important not only for teachers like me but also for members of different organization. Culture is in our minds. Cultural competency is about understanding and working effectively with people who have cultures that is different from ours. The advantage of using a cultural competence approach is that you can identify the cultural competence gaps that need targeting what members of an organization need to know in order to work more effectively together.
We are now in a competitive world. Changes in one part of the world affect people everywhere. Considering our increasing diversity and interconnected problems, working together seems to be the best strategy for accomplishing our goals. Because social and economic change is coming faster and faster, organizations understand the need for cultural competence. There are many benefits of cultural competency; it helps us to overcome our fear of mistakes, competition, or conflict. For instance, by understanding and accepting many cultures, everyone is more likely to feel more comfortable. If they feel more comfortable in an organization or group, they will be more creative and productive.

Can it make a difference?

Building culturally competent organizations means changing how people think about other cultures, how they communicate, and how they operate. It means that the structure, leadership, and activities of an organization must reflect many values, perspectives, styles, and priorities. Changing how an organization looks is only the first step.

 A culturally competent organization also emphasizes the advantages of cultural diversity, celebrates the contributions of each culture, encourages the positive outcomes of interacting with many cultures, and supports the sharing of power among people from different cultures. To really change, an organization has to commit to continuing programming, evaluation, and the creation of a place that is inclusive of all cultures and celebrates diversity.

In an organization, if people are culturally competent, they tend to be more open about their opinions based on who they are. Cultural competence is non-threatening because it acknowledges and validates who people are. It removes the need to place blame and assume guilt because everyone is involved in the process. Valuing diversity means accepting and respecting differences between and within cultures so, there will never be wrong suggestions.

People from different places with different culture might share historical and geographical experiences, it is one of the reasons why cultural competency is very important because they can learn from one another and they can come up with good ideas. With the use of communication members of the organization will learn the dos and don’ts of different cultures, so they will become more aware of the organization's way of doing things and can help it adjust to other cultures and that could create a magic that happens when people are truly working together; understanding one another deeply, and in total agreement about their beliefs and goals, at least as far as their work goes. When you recognize, respect, and value all cultures and integrate those values into the system, culturally competent organizations can meet the needs of various groups.

There are many benefits being in an organization in which people have different culture because there will be a great source of alternative ideas on how to do things, creating multicultural organizations makes us deal with differences and use them to strengthen our efforts. This can lead to success and survival in an organization.
We all know that “Communication” is the basic tool of an organization, we can use it to unite people. If you learn to listen for what is being said and not what you want to hear, you will be a culturally competent person.


Building Culturally Competent Organizations Chapter 27 n.d, retrieved from
Cultural Competence for Educators n.d. Teaching Strategies retrieved from

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