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Cultivating cultural humility

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

To be a more effective teacher, you need to recognize fully your cultural identity and how it affects your teaching practices. Cultivating cultural humility is crucial to the success of every educator.

The first step is to recognize who you are. Then, you can learn more about cultures other than your own. When you understand and can recognize common misperceptions about your own culture and other groups' cultures, then you're ready.

Understand who you are

If you don’t know your own values and your own culture, then you’re really not yet equipped to teach anyone else. Understanding your own cultural identity is a step toward being a more effective teacher.

Invest a lot of time and energy learning about your culture. It ties into your higher learning and your profession as a teacher. Learn all you can about the culture, its hopes, fears, and hopes for the future.

Build trust and positive relationships with students — these are essential to a successful educational experience

The basis of a good relationship with your students is trust. And to build trust, you have to be respectful. Students will be more comfortable in your classroom, more likely to ask questions, and more likely to trust your advice if you are respectful of them, their culture, and their background. Read books, adopt new languages, or whatever else you can to learn about cultures that are foreign to you.

Cultural awareness is more than just observing customs. You are taking small steps that contribute to building an inclusive community. Small actions add up.

Learning about different cultures cultivates emotional intelligence. It helps you to understand — as good facilitators and good teachers do — where other persons are coming from, why they do what they do (even when you disagree), and what intentions are behind the actions that they are taking.

Recognizing the biases of those around you, including those within you

It’s important to recognize the biases of those around you, including those within you. We all have biases and it’s important to recognize them so we can learn to face and assess them rightly. This is crucial to achieving cultural humility.

Cultivating a sense of cultural humility and responding to others with respect will help you be a more effective teacher regardless of your students' cultures or backgrounds. It will improve your ability to be creative and flexible as you try to meet the needs of your students.


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