What is Cultural Proficiency?
Cultural proficiency is the result of finding out what makes us feel valued. It is responsiveness. The ability to find out what someone needs… to feel valued, seen, and heard.
The ultimate goal of each of us is to feel valued and be appreciated for who we are. Being seen by others is a huge reason why we do things, and is a result of the things we do.
When we come into a situation with breath first, we are more open to being genuine and authentic. This is a culture of care, one that supports accountability and humility. Working to align our inner voice to our goals in order to support the work. The vision must be at the center of what we do each day.
What is the GOAL of our existence?
What is it that we do what we do for… what do we want to build, create, share, express, learn, experience?
I believe when we begin questioning ourselves in such ways, it leads to deep self reflection and self awareness. It leads to building community and creating innovative experiences for the good of all. When we being to spend time aligning ourselves with our vision, then we are able to connect to one another on a deeper level.
I was invited to the Maryland Cultural Proficiency Conference in October, at Morgan State University. It was my first time at the conference and visiting Morgan State. The conference theme was A Reckoning: Equity, Consciousness, & Healing.
The presentations that I attended and speakers I saw were fantastic. There was a diversity that reiterated what the conference is about equity, diversity, and inclusion, and social emotional learning.
Climate of Mutual Respect
When Dr. Amer F. Ahmed spoke he shared his journey and the experiences that lead him to arrive on our stage. He shared that we must create climates of mutual respect that consists of self-awareness, empathy, tolerance for ambiguity, flexibility in thoughts and behaviors, patience, curiosity, and active listening.
This reminded me of the Seven Teachings of our Anishinaabe grandfathers; Love, Trust, Humility, Honesty, Bravery, Courage, & Wisdom.
Culturally Responsive Curriculum
This presentation was on ways we can incorporate more culturally relevant articles, materials, and learning into our curriculum. Attending this presentation opened my eyes up to new ways to incorporate different cultures into my art classroom. Simple things like teaching my students something about my culture, such as how to say hello in Anishinaabe. We need to normalize multiple perspectives!
Positive Schools Center
The presentation by the Positive Schools Center was perfect. We participated in practices we are being asked to use with our students. We sat in a circle and started with a welcoming ritual. Then we shared something we needed. This presentation was so inspiring and helpful in getting a handle on how I can implement more meaningful interactions with my students.
Lead with vision, integrity and passion says Dr. Gregory C. Hutchens Jr. He shared with us highlights from his book, Getting into Good Trouble at School. Six things we can do to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom:
- Know your history
- Commit to racial equity
- Eliminate de-facto segrigation
- Differentiation, discipline vs. policy.
- Engaging in strategic thinking and planning
- Display courageous bold leadership.
During the conference, we were treated to mindful moments, chair massage, reflexology, great food, and time to socialize. This is vital during any professional development as it assists with practicing what we are preaching. How do we want and deserve to be treated, and how do our students?
I have gained so much from this conference. I am excited to bring the knowledge back to my classroom and to my professional learning communities!