Cultural competence is the ability of people from various cultural backgrounds to communicate effectively with one another. It primarily entails comprehending people of various ages, abilities, races, gender, and national origin, among other things. The American culture, for example, is competent and encourages material accumulation, religious freedom, individualism, and equal opportunity for all people (Hecht et al., 2012). On the other hand, traditional African American ideals include traditional kinship, spiritual principles, community versus person thought, and holistic thinking, among others. In a case study, this paper examines African American cultural competence by assessing how a more profound cultural awareness may have affected the teacher’s responses.
In the case study 3.8 which talks more about the African American culture, the time frame is based on the early childhood education of eight years old Jamal who is a student at Simpson Elementary school. Jamal is very disrespectful to his teacher Ms. Anderson since he fails to complete his classwork on the required time. Moreover, Jamal could engage in other activities like sharpening the pencil or talking to classmates thus obstructing other students during the learning hours. This behavior greatly annoyed the teacher who assumed that Jamal had no interest in academics. She ended up developing a perception that the curriculum of Simpson school surpassed Jamal’s ability and recommended a referral to a special education learning center where Jamal could improve on his studies and behaviors.
Despite the fact that Ms. Anderson recommended the referral of Jamal to a special school to improve his studies, Jamal’s parents, on the other hand, did not adhere to this idea. This is because the parents believed that their child was bright and energetic enough to excel in the same school. However, the parents accepted to let Jamal tested for any complications by the school psychologists, Dr. Mann. After the test, it was found that Jamal had a special gift and this was the reason for his argumentative nature in class. Dr. Mann recommended that Jamal should be transferred to a challenging environment that would stimulate him academically.
Also, Ms. Anderson had good working ethics as far as being a teacher is concerned. This is because before making the final decision of transferring Jamal to a special learning center, she decided that Jamal should be tested for any complications. In contrast to this, Ms. Anderson portrayed poor qualities of a teacher by giving up easily on Jamal when she recommended his transfer to a special learning center instead of trying to develop a way to improve on Jamal’s character.
As far as work ethics of Ms. Anderson is concerned, peer pressure in African American culture is a major factor that leads to poor performance of the students. Peer pressure mainly affects the male child who at most times work hard to be assimilated in the peer group other than working hard in academics. This leads to their underperformance as peer pressure rewards underachievement at all times.
Furthermore, the teacher seems to be in a dilemma whether to adapt to Jamal’s behavior or to nurture him to change and become a better student and adapt to the curriculum of Simpson school. However, the teacher seems to rely more on referring the student to a special learning center other than focusing on how to nurture the student. To help the teacher out of this dilemma, it is advisable for the teacher to develop a good and healthy relationship with the student (Hecht et al., 2012). This is because most students work hard when they have respect for the teacher and after they have created a good rapport with each other. Also, creating a good relationship will enable the teacher to understand the student well and work on the negative aspects of the student (Lynch et al., 2013).
The African American communication is mainly the verbal communication which has been drawn from their origin, the West African culture. Their communication styles mainly include The oral tradition, call and reaction patterns, the use of idiomatic expressions, vocal variation and the use of nonverbal communication e.g. gestures to intensify the meaning of the message being passed from one person to another.
It is worth noting that cultural competence plays a vital role in helping people of different cultural background to relate well with each other. In African American culture, they mainly embrace the traditional values like kinship and traditional religious beliefs. In addition, they use the verbal type of communication such as the use of idiomatic expressions and vocal variation, an oral tradition among others. In a school situation, the teachers have to create a good relationship with their students since they come from different cultural backgrounds and they need to understand each other well.
Hecht, M. L., Collier, M. J., & Ribeau, S. A. (2012). African American communication: Ethnic identity and cultural interpretation. Sage Publications, Inc.
Lynch, E. W., & Hanson, M. J. (2013). Developing cross-cultural competence: A guide for working with young children and their families. Paul H. Brookes Publishing.