Work through the challenging command of Jesus: Love one another as I have loved you.
As Christian educators it is our role to model the teachings of Christ in our professional practice but how do we operationalize that when our cultural values and beliefs are different from others? Can we do that while ignoring the crippling legacies of racial inequities in our society? Is it possible to do this while serving as a passive witness to the dehumanization of groups of people? What does this mean when the racial and ethnic diversity of our school begins to shift? Can we even do this if we fail to confront our own unconscious biases or pretend we are immune?
This strand challenges us to reimagine Christ’s instruction to Love One Another within the context of cultural competence in schools.
Learn concrete steps toward building and sustaining a more civil, equitable, inclusive, and just learning environment. Interactive activities with colleagues are utilized to expand your capacity to understand, discuss, confront and challenge the long-held beliefs in our culture while crafting an environment where each student and staff member feels loved, accepted, welcomed, and respected for their authentic selves. There is power and liberation in loving one another.
- Examine belief systems and practices that create barriers for groups of people.
- Understand internalized oppression.
- Learn how classroom/school practices affect feelings of inferiority and superiority in students.
- Learn what we can do to support positive identity development in students.
- Explore evidence based culturally responsive instructional practices.
- Explore how to promote a greater sense of belonging.
- Learn ways to foster civil discourse despite personal differences.
Vernita Mayfield, PhD, hails originally from Los Angeles, California, where she began her career teaching elementary school. As a teacher, Mayfield found her first love serving and supporting students who have been historically marginalized. Since then, she has continued to do so through numerous positions of service, including secondary school principal, researcher and lecturer, and educational consultant at state and national levels.
In 2012, she founded Leadervation Learning to support organizations seeking to build leadership capacity, particularly in marginalized communities. The company evolved into a vehicle supporting leaders at all levels to understand and dismantle inequitable systems and organizations by building the cultural competency of staff.
Cultural Competence Now provides a structure to begin meaningful conversations about race, culture, bias, privilege, and power within the time constraints of an ordinary school. The 56 exercises include activities, discussions, and readings in which to engage during each of the four quarters of the school year. School leaders will discover how to facilitate learning through the four steps—awaken and assess; apply and act; analyze and align; advocate and lead—as you and your colleagues
- Increase your awareness of privilege and bias.
- Adapt your professional practices to meet the needs of all students.
- Examine policies and practices that inhibit opportunities for marginalized populations.
- Align resources to eradicate inequity in your school.
Mayfield offers advice on establishing a safe environment for professional conversations, setting goals for cultural competency, overcoming resistance, reviewing school data and the school’s vision and mission through the lens of race and culture, and strategically managing what can be a transformative yet uncomfortable change process. Cultural Competence Now responds to the urgent need to build the cultural competency of educators—for the sake of children and in the interest of supporting and retaining all educators.
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The PD content refers to the following pages within the book:
- Pg 63-64 – Exercise 2: Personal Mission Statement
- Pg 65 – Exercise 2 Handout: Examples of Personal Mission Statements
- Pg 69 – Exercise 4 Handout: Learning Partner Discussion Questions
- Pg 96-98 – Exercise 21 Handout: “Lazarus Middle School” Scenario