Texas Tech University



A notoriously difficult term to define, in its simplest definition, culture can be thought of as the avenue in which our background influences our perception of the world and the people within it. Ginsberg and Wlodkowski (2009) write that "who we are culturally and how we interact with the world is an intriguing intersection of language, values, beliefs, behaviors and experiences that pervades every aspect of a person's life and continually changes and evolves" (pg. vii). Culture can arise from our racial, ethnic, national, religious, or social context, but it is important to note that it is NOT a fixed, homogeneous, or intrinsic characteristic of individuals or groups (Guarnaccia & Rodriquez, 1996; Kirmayer, 2012). Art, music, food, landscape, dance, literature, lifestyle and architecture all reflect who we are and how we think, and are observable elements of our cultures; however, culture is not just comprised of things we can "consume." Less concrete reflections include behaviors such as how we display courtesy, engage in nonverbal communication, utilize personal space, or conceptualize time, or even more complex, "deep culture" things like how we conceptualize good vs. evil. Embracing your own as well as other cultures can contribute to a well-rounded and rich relationship with colleagues, friends, the community, and world around you.
Cultural responsiveness is the ability to learn from and relate respectfully with people of your own culture as well as those from other cultural backgrounds, heritages, and traditions. (National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems). Some good practices for cultural responsiveness include (Cross et al, 1989):

• Confronting your own personal beliefs and engaging in cultural self-assessment
• Being conscious of the dynamics inherent when cultures interact
• Possessing institutionalized cultural knowledge
• Developing adaptations reflecting an understanding of different cultures

Additional Resources on Cultural Responsiveness
• Edutopia. Culturally Responsive Teaching. https://www.edutopia.org/topic/culturally-responsive-teaching

• Hammond, Z. Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. https://crtandthebrain.com/blog/