Cultural Competencies- Essential Elements of Caring-Centered Multicultural Education.pdf

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Action inTeacherEducation,33:560-574, 2011Copyright © Association of Teacher EducatorsISSN: 0162-6620 print/2158-6098 online S " \ Taylor&Francis CroupDOI: 10.1080/01626620.2011.627050i j Routledge5 ^ ^Taylor&Francis CrouCultural Competencies: Essential Elementsof Caring-Centered Multicultural EducationValerie Ooka PangRachel SteinMariana GomezAmanda MatasYuji ShimogoriSan Diego State UniversityCaring-centered multicultural education is a framework in thefieldof education with the major goalof providing all students with equitable education and to address the achievement gap between main-stream and culturally diverse students. Within this orientation, culture is seen asacore component ofeffective teaching. Therefore, cultural competencies must be foundational in teacher preparation andprofessional development. Cultural competencies for K-12 educators must include reviewing biasesand cultural misconceptions, implementation of English language development strategies, teachingof high-level discipline content, and guiding students in decision making and critical thinking skills.Cultural competencies are fundamental elements in the caring-centered framework formulticultural education (Pang, 2010). Attention to culture is one of the foundations of effec-tive teaching especially in a nation like the United States where 45% of students in 2008 and2009 were from culturally diverse families (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Unfortunately,many culturally diverse students do not do well in schools demonstrating a large achievementgap with mainstream learners. The Civil Rights Project (2005) at Harvard University foundthat culturally diverse students achieved much lower graduation rates in 2002: only 57% ofAfrican Americans, 60% of Latinos, and 52% of Native Americans graduated in comparisonto71%of all students in California. The results of this study demonstrate the need for culturallycompetent educators. Individuals who have cultural competencies comprehend, understand, andbehave effectively when faced with culturally diverse situations, where assumptions, values, andtraditions differ from those traditions with which they are accustomed (Stevens, 2009).Cultural dissonance often occurs in schools when students come with a variety of world-views,expectations, and motivations that differ from their classmates and teachers (Grant, 2008).However, culturally competent teachers know how to tap into the diverse cultures of their stu-dents to make leaming meaningful and comprehensible. In this way, students then are able tomake sense of what is being taught and to utilize the new content, abilities, and attitudes in theCorrespondence should be addressed to Valerie Ooka Pang, San Diego State University, College of Education, SanDiego, CA 92182-1153. E-mail: [email protected]
CARING-CENTERED MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION 561development of high levels of content area knowledge, citizenship- skills, and critical thinkingskills (Pang et al., 2011).

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