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Developing Your Cultural Awareness


Developing cultural awareness as an educator is an ongoing process that includes building empathy for diverse learners, intentionally recognizing how one's own identity intersects with learners' identities, and creating an awareness of how the environment can impact learners' Sense of Belonging. This is an active process that often requires self-reflection, training, coaching support, and peer collaboration to identify how explicit and implicit bias shows up in oneself, in the curriculum, and in broader systems. When educators work towards developing critical awareness of different cultures and perspectives, they can actively work to mitigate Stereotype Threat and build authentic relationships with learners. Tools to support developing cultural awareness build on understanding learners' strengths, and incorporating their perspectives and cultures thoughtfully into lesson design.

Use It In Your Learning Environment

Developing cultural awareness is a critical aspect of successfully implementing any strategy in a culturally responsive learning environment. Implementing strategies without cultural awareness can often have a negative impact on historically marginalized learners. Without this critical awareness, educators may not realize how implicit biases can impact their expectations of individual learners and interpretations of learners' behavior.

Ensuring a product is relatable across cultures and contexts requires edtech developers to engage with culturally, racially, and ability-diverse communities at every step of their research and development process. Historically marginalized groups should be centered in design decision-making to disrupt tendencies to build according to the needs of the dominant culture. If a product uses artificial intelligence (AI), it is important to ensure that the training datasets are inclusive of diverse populations and that aspects of the product using AI are clearly identified. Collaborating with learners, educators, and families who have been historically impacted by bias should be a key part of the design process.

Additional Resources

Additional examples, research, and professional development. These resources are possible representations of this strategy, not endorsements.