At a recent P.A. Day, we were learning about “Cultural Humility” and how every person should somehow reflect on this on a daily basis. One definition I found is, “Cultural Humility Is: A personal lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique whereby the individual not only learns about another’s culture, but one starts with an examination of [their] own beliefs and cultural identities.” (inclusion.uoregon.edu)
Cultural Humility is a lifelong process
During our discussions, we talked about how this is a lifelong process, not just something you think about for a month. You need to always be aware of your own biases, maybe based on your personal beliefs or your cultural beliefs. As educators, it is even more important that we take time to think about this on a daily basis.
Everyone is equal
Part of this process is to recognize that no culture is superior and to also learn about other cultures. I think we can do a great job at this by making sure our classroom libraries reflect all cultures, that we make sure we are learning about every celebration and not just one from one culture, and also making sure that the articles and curricular content we are sharing is based on more than one cultural story. This is how we can start to make sure our cultural humility is shown in our own practice.
Be honest when you are unsure
We do not have to know all the things at all times (even though students think we do). It is okay to look things up, to be aware of what we know and do not know. There are so many great resources especially within our own ETFO articles that can help us learn more about this topic. I particularily enjoyed the content during February, having discussions about the Black History Month poster, etc. So it is best to be honest when you are not sure about a specific topic.
Learn about other cultures
I remember being a 13 year old in a Catholic School unsure of the other cultures around me. I knew there were other religions and other nationalities but I had never really learned about anything outside of my inner circle (my own culture). It wasn’t until high school that I started to find out about other cultures and by then, I had already lost so much time getting to know other people. This is why I love how creating these opportunities to learn about other cultures will help others see outside of their inner circle. I have a grade eight student who is so hoping to run a Culture Day by the time she graduates and I hope we have time to get it going. I think this is important of us educators too- if there is a culture we are unsure about, we could do some more research to find out about it.
Our school board has a program that was created to help our students understand more about this topic. Our program is called “LDR (Learn, disrupt and rebuild) and our Module 3- Exploring Human Rights helps students dig deeper into these topics. I challenge you all to think about your own cultural humility as it is a personal commitment but also a lifelong one.