The Power of Cultural Competence in the Classroom


Cultural competence in teachers and students is a necessity for effectively creating a state-of-the art classroom. To be able to understand, appreciate and effectively engage with students across cultures is the hallmark of a culturally competent teacher or classroom.

To acquire such magnificent competence, teachers must be proactive, researching and studying the lifestyles, rituals, traditions, beliefs, and values of his or her multicultural classroom.  The ability to effectively understand and engage with a diverse student population separates great teachers from those who are perceptually in the dark.


Impactfully, a great teacher can do extraordinary things with multicultural classrooms. He or she possesses the cultural intellectuality to create a classroom with equity and inclusion. Students will have an opportunity to learn about the cultural of their peers, to interact with trust, and to express themselves without fear of rejection and criticism.

Students feel protected under the management of teachers who understand them as well as prevent others from making them feel uncomfortable.

Both teacher and student will come to appreciate multi-cultural. This is the beginning of true cultural competence.

Cultural Challenges

However, for some educations, becoming culturally competent may be a challenge. Sometimes misconceptions about race gets in the way. Because of unpleasant experiences with students of diverse backgrounds, teachers must be careful not to develop an assumption that some students or cultures are beyond reach when it comes to appreciating differences in others.

To get beyond such damaging assumption, teachers must approach a diverse classroom with the acknowledgement that building cultural competence in the classroom is possible, although there will be challenges.

Great teachers understand that creating a classroom environment in which appreciation and inclusion among students is a project. It happens over the course of the entire school year. There will be ups and downs, but in the end, if approached with passion and faith, cultural competence can be established.

The First Day of Class

Establishing cultural competence in the classroom begins with a vision on day one. Teachers must seek to create among students an appreciation for diversity. It will be a challenging task in some instances. Nevertheless, it is important to approach it with patience and consistency.

Teachers will establish cultural competence via:

  • Special Projects
  • Books and Videos
  • Field Trips
  • Class Themes on culture
  • Cultural research and study reports for older students
  • Classroom discussions

Students should have clarity of purpose regarding every initiative in creating cultural competence. In addition, teachers should engage the classroom in regular discussions and resolutions whenever situations arise in the community or on the national stage.

Once an educator has established a sense of cultural competence in the classroom the vision has been achieved. The image of such unity and inclusion among students and their teacher will be a role model for the entire school.