Where to and Where NOT to Start: Culturally Competent Teaching

Teaching Sex Ed

The concept of culture is so vast that researchers and academics alike can’t agree on a single definition.  Perez and Luquis (2008) utilized Rachel Spector’s (2004) definition which defined culture as, “the sum of beliefs, practices, habits, likes, dislikes, norms, customs, rituals, and so forth that we learn from our families during the years of socialization.”  From another perspective, Irvine (1995) defined culture as, “the set of rules or guidelines that influence behavior.”  These, and many other definitions attempt to define the margins of factors that influence our behaviors. However, because of how individual and specific experience and interpretation of such are, no single definition can be a cover-all for everyone’s individual cultural experiences and makeup.

As an educator looking to be culturally competent, culturally responsive, culturally aware, cultually relevant, or any version thereof, this vastness makes it extremely difficult to know where to start and where to focus your…

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