Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume I, Issue 1 2012 understand our own negative beliefs about others. At Cultural Denial we realize how colorblindness denies individuals the right to valued cultural identities. At Cultural Conscious we understand our cultural differences and become more tolerant. We recognize our own cultural uniqueness at Cultural Celebration. At Cultural Conscience we actively work toward building a socially just environment. At Cultural Community we look beyond cultural issues and focus on our common humanity. Transformational leaders who are culturally proficient focus on moving toward Cultural Community, actively looking for markers of cultural growth within their district. The following are some of the indicators or signs that individuals are making progress on their personal and professional journey to becoming more culturally proficient:
Educators have respect for and an interest in students’ cultural backgrounds; Faculty and staff talk and listen to students; Faculty support higher-order learning for all students; Teachers build on students’ prior knowledge, values, and experiences; Students see individuals who look like them in textbooks, on bulletin boards, as mentors and as community leaders; Educators emphasize student assets, rather than student deficits; Educators avoid stereotyping of students and understand that the identification of demographic groups is a cultural framework tool to use only as a guide to assist students in learning; Teachers implement ability grouping flexibly and sparingly; Teachers emphasize differentiated instruction; Teachers adapt instruction to students’ semantics, accents, dialects, and language ability; All educators value the home language; Discipline rules are applied to behavior fairly and sensitively – school discipline is built on consequences, rather than punishment; Educators collaborate with families to support student learning; and Cultural proficiency training is provided to all in the district, including School Board members
As transformational leaders, we work toward cultural proficiency while encouraging the ―capacity to create a compelling vision that takes people to a new place, and translate[s] that vision into action‖ (Bennis & Goldsmith, 1997, p. 4). We demonstrate that we value faculty, children, parents and others who comprise the school community by our actions. Harris (2004, 2005) uses the acronym BRAVO – Building Relationships with Actions that Value Others. In order to be transformational leaders who are culturally proficient, it is not enough to say that we value others; instead we must become BRAVO leaders – leaders who build relationships with actions that demonstrate our value of others. In this way, as transformational leaders we may indeed reach Cultural Community in our journey to become truly culturally proficient.
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