Pedagogica: Cultural Competence Starter Kit

This series of posts will assist you in the development of cultural competence, namely the knowledge and skills that you need to have to understand yourself as a cultural actor and to collaborate with others whose cultural identity and behaviors differ from your own. In an age when each of us is challenged to become a global citizen, both our work life and our social life increasingly depend on what we need to know and do in the management of our mental and emotional processes in our everyday activity and encounters with others.

Cultural competence starts with understanding, love, and respect for the cultural strains echoed in our being and which make us who we are at present and contribute to whom we will become going forward. It continues in our encounters with each other as we seek to broaden our perception and appropriateness of our responses to situations we face daily. The knowledge and skills that make up cultural competence, though we may think of them in general terms and give them names, are ongoing habits which we acquire, deepen, and continue to develop throughout our lifetime. So, consider these posts as a starter kit, a place to recognize what competence you have and to acquire the tools to build on it.

You can begin with listening to yourself, paying attention to those inner conversations that do their best to tell you what's going on in and about you. We have an instinctual tendency to survival and self-preservation, both as individuals and as groups of people. Not surprisingly, the perception of difference is likely to be met with caution and fear by our neural system. While its cautions are sometimes necessary to keep us from harm, in an exceedingly diverse world we are constantly called to go beyond our automatic frames of reference and challenge them with curiosity, to search for points of connection and new possibilities beneath the surface of what may initially seem alien. These posts will help you to do this. 

Image: Roots by Frieda Kahlo –

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