Friday, November 15, 2013

What are the Differences Between Cultural Competence and Cultural Sensitivity?

Before you begin this module, you need to consider the differences between being culturally sensitive and culturally responsive. It might seem like we are splitting hairs but there is a tremendous difference and understanding these differences impacts your classroom. It is important to understand that children come from different cultures, but 'understanding' alone is not enough to create culturally responsive classroom.

In the space below, describe what you think are the differences between the meaning of culturally sensitive and culturally responsive. Please know that this question is intended to be a pre-assessment as opposed to an assessment to test if you know the 'correct' answer. Please write what you think at this moment instead of researching an answer. 

76 comments:

  1. I think cultural responsiveness is much deeper than cultural sensitivity. Cultural sensitivity is an awareness of the cultures around you, and an understanding of differences between these culture groups. However, I think that cultural sensitivity might be prone to stereotyping by culture and having expectations for a child based on that child's culture. Cultural responsiveness, however, takes the whole child into account, and refuses to generalize based on the child's culture but instead uses it as a reference point to adapt one's own teaching when needed. Cultural responsiveness recognizes that every child is different, and the purpose is to respond based on the individual.

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  2. Competence is having ability or knowledge of something. I believe that having cultural competence means that a person may have the understanding and ability to move forward with cultural activities and feelings, but that's where it ends. A person may acquire cultural sensitivity when he/she is exposed to varied cultural differences and can relate empathetic feelings toward all cultures. However, a person must move beyond "understanding" and empathetic or sympathetic feelings of cultural differences and take proactive action to be culturally responsive. Cultural responsiveness means that you consciously create classroom activities that allow students to express their differences in various ways as well as learn to be accepting and open-minded to others' differences. Cultural responsiveness can also be displayed through the purposeful connection to students' parents and communities in order to learn more about less familiar cultures. In summary, cultural competence is the understanding, cultural sensitivity is having true feelings of each culture as "human beings" who have the same feelings as everyone else; and cultural responsiveness is the purposeful action taken to allow all students' share and take pride in their unique differences.

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  3. I think cultural competence/sensitivity is related to the amount of awareness that a person has about the cultural beliefs and values of others. It involves having the knowledge and understanding, but this knowledge does not necessarily influence our actions or thinking towards others. In fact, only having this basic knowledge may force us to believe untrue stereotypes about others. On the other hand, cultural responsiveness takes this awareness a step further, and a person (in our case, the teacher) makes instructional decisions based on the knowledge of his/her students and seeks to understand the individual differences of people/students within a larger culture group.

    I really liked how the video talked about the tangibles and intangibles of cultures. I think most people who are "culturally sensitive" are probably aware of many of the outward/tangible attributes of certain cultures, but they may not have a true understanding of the deeply rooted beliefs and values of a cultural group. A person/teacher who is culturally responsive seeks to understand these intangibles and differentiates instruction in the classroom based on these understandings.

    I also thought the portion of the video where she talked about the "filters" we force children to learn through was thought-provoking. Our natural "filter" is teaching the way that we were taught or have learned in the past, or the way we understand information and concepts ourselves; however, this may not be the best filter for our students, especially those who are from culturally different backgrounds from ourselves. I know this is definitely one thing that I have been guilty of in the past, and I didn't understand why a student didn't "get it"...perhaps some of my filters and mechanisms of instruction were not aligned with the student's natural methods of understanding.

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  4. Cultural sensitivity has to do with being aware and understanding the different cultures/traditions around you. Being a music teacher and a former music student, I was and still am aware of the variety of cultures this world has to offer. Bringing those cultures into the classroom is wonderful and helps students understand better, the world around them.
    In regards to cultural responsiveness, the students shouldn't have to adapt to the school, rather the school and teacher(s) should adapt to their population of children. What are these kids bringing to the table? What are they used to and what should we expect from them? The aspects of culture we don't usually see or experience ourselves (the 'intangible' attributes) are the ones we need to learn and take into consideration when planning. We need to have a differentiated learning environment so all students learn and feel welcomed.

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  5. I believe that being culturally sensitive and culturally responsive are very different. In my opinion, being culturally sensitive is being aware that there are other cultures besides your own and that you need to be respectful to those other cultures. Recognizing other races, religions, backgrounds, economic situations, etc. will allow us as teachers to learn to be culturally responsive. Being culturally responsive is when you modify your teaching style to respond to the needs of all cultures represented in your classroom. As teachers, we must recognize that children have different learning styles and a lot of their needs and interests come from whatever culture they belong to. We should create a learning environment where all cultures feel comfortable and can achieve at the highest level.

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  6. I think that cultural sensitivity refers to recognizing the differences and empathizing with the other cultures. I believe that you must be culturally sensitive, but as a teacher, you also have a responsibility to respond to the sensitivity that you have. In doing so, you are molding your teaching style and curriculum to (as the video stated) tap into the students' prior knowledge and experiences in order to help the reach the ultimate understanding and concept of what you are teaching. I believe being sensitive to different cultures is not only recognition but being respectful of their differences and beliefs. Responsive is more of the actions in which we take in moving forward after recognizing those differences.

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  7. Cultural responsiveness goes beyond being aware of your students' culture. A teacher can be sensitive to her student's culture, but does not create an environment that allows for children to explore and learn about other children's cultures. I think a teacher need to celebrate these individual differences and allow for the other children in the classroom to learn from each other. The teacher should provide real world examples that apply to their culture. The teacher should create a respectful environment that provides ample opportunity for children to share about their background.Students need the to be engaged in positive cultural activities that recognize their individual background including race, values, beliefs and home-life. I believe that the true difference between culture sensitivity and cultural responsiveness is that it surpasses just the teacher's knowledge of the children's culture and opens the doors for the other children to learn and share about their neighborhood, community, family and/ or religious beliefs.

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  8. I see being culturally sensitive as an awareness (and respect) of others who may look, feel, worship, etc. differently than yourself. A person can be so sensitive, in fact that they might shy away from anything that brings forth discussion regarding multi-cultural differences. To me, being culturally responsive goes further. It means an open dialogue that is respectful of all people and the experiences and beliefs they bring with them to the classroom or workplace. Cultural responsiveness seeks to utilize the differences we all bring to make learning or working together more meaningful.

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  9. In breaking the question down into parts I see competence as awareness, sensitivity as a type of respect as it relates to the students individual state and responsiveness as action or doing. In listening to the thought s shared in the video I thought it very thought provoking when one of the speakers mentioned individualization or the moving away from "branding" in that "my African American students need X and my Latino students need Z". In my experience I have yet to find a situation where I am able to generalize to that degree and I agree with her opinion that students should be seen as individuals and that teachers should be AWARE (educated, well-read in the areas of research and current trends as they relate to culture and classroom instruction) SENSITIVE ( in that they see each student with a vision of how that students thinks, feels or might even interpret material, words and actions in our classrooms) and RESPONSIVE ( in that they do something in their classrooms and for their students with all of the above awareness and sensitivity.)
    Lindsey Irvin

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  10. According to Stafford, Bowman, Eking, Hanna, and Lopoes-DeFede (1997) cultural sensitivity means being aware that cultural differences and similarities exist and have an effect on values, learning, and behavior. Whereas being culturally responsive is the application of using cultural values, learning, and behavior of diverse students to make their education more appropriate and effective for them. By getting to know and understand a child’s background and cultural values, teachers have the ability to teach the whole child. The intangible attributes that students bring into the classroom are often the attributes that are misunderstood by both students and teachers. These attributes should be taken in account while planning lessons and adjusting teaching style to better meet the needs of different cultures within the classroom.

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  11. Being culturally sensitive means understanding that a person’s culture has an effect on how they conduct themselves and that may be different from other students’ and even my own conduct. It also means respecting those differences and not putting students into positions that would compromise what their culture values.
    Being culturally responsive entails having cultural sensitivity but also seeing each individual child as having his/her own culture. Because while students can be categorized by demographical information, the stereotypes concerning a particular demographic may or may not apply to them. Being culturally responsive forces a teacher to not only consider demographics but learning styles and interests to create an environment that is most conducive to learning for every child.

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  12. Cultural sensitivity is having an awareness of the cultures surrounding you and having a grasp of the differences among them. Having an awareness of other races, beliefs, and backgrounds and using that to redefine the way you deliver instruction to ensure you meet the needs of all cultures is being culturally responsive. We must create a positive environment conducive for learning based on the needs of a culturally diverse population.
    Teresa Harris

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  13. Before class yesterday, I would have said cultural sensitivity entails being aware of other cultures and respecting their beliefs, principles, and practices. Culturally sensitive people might work to show openness to the beliefs of others cultures; however, like the video shared, this can lead to stereotypes. Culturally responsive teachers not only respect other cultures, but also look at how individuals bring differences to the classroom. They work to challenge their students and rid them of the stereotypes of cultural sensitivity. Instead, culturally responsive teachers seek to give all students an opportunity to explore and explain their own culture while learning about the other cultures around them. Essentially teaching students that culture is as much an individual identity as it is a social identity.

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  14. A culturally sensitive teacher is one that is aware that cultural differences exists among her students without placing judgment. However, being sensitive is not enough. We must be willing to work effectively with others that are different from us. A culturally responsive teacher does that. She first examines their backgrounds and then embraces their differences with respect and tolerance. Using prior knowledge, a culturally responsive teacher can more effectively meet the needs of her students. A culturally responsive teacher provides learning opportunities that allows students to be comfortable with themselves as they celebrate their differences.
    Demisha Stough

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  15. Previous to starting this class, I would have to say that I wouldn't have really known a true difference between being culturally sensitive and being culturally responsive. To be sensitive to something means that you understand it and you are aware of it, but you don't necessarily act on your knowledge. To be responsive means that you take that knowledge and you act on it. This applies to being culturally sensitive and culturally responsive. When one is culturally sensitive, I think that they are aware of others culture, race, beliefs and backgrounds. I like how the lady in the video said that she thinks of culture as filters and that culture is the tangible and intangible. I like to believe that as teachers we are sensitive to the cultures of our students, but are we responsive? This is something that I have been looking back on. To be culturally responsive we take what we know about our children-their culture, background, beliefs, etc and we create an environment that responds to their needs. The lady said in the video that teachers should be bridge builders. We are the ones that know our students best, we should be the ones to bridge the gaps between the cultures in our classroom.

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  16. I believe that a culturally sensitive teacher is aware of the student’s different cultures but not always responsive to their cultural needs. A culturally responsive teacher is a teacher who knows her student’s cultural backgrounds and is able to embrace them. A culturally responsive teacher is also open to other cultures and has explored the different cultures in the class, and the teacher has high expectations for ALL of the students. This teacher includes cultural lessons on a daily basis, incorporating these lessons in with her daily lesson. This teacher also knows her students and is able to differentiate instruction (scaffolding) to meet the needs of the students. Overall, I believe that we want to be the best teachers we can be and in order to accomplish this we need to be a culturally responsive teacher who is aware and understanding of all cultures.
    Casaundra Taylor

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  17. I believe that to be culturally sensitive means that you recognize that students are not all the same and that they each have different learning needs.Understanding the fact that students are different and learn in different ways is not enough. We must take action. I believe that culturally responsive teaching comes into play in the way that we handle and take action attending to these different needs. The way that we study and grow ourselves to a point of being able to reach students from wherever they are in their beliefs, opinions, thinking, and values about topics. Culturally responisive teachers need to have high expectations all of their students.We as teachers need to help students make a connection between what they already know about a subject and what they need to know. Our students are all unique and need to have instruction that meets them where they are and then expands to take them to the next level of understanding and helps them to be successful.

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  18. I believe that being culturally sensitive is something that teachers exhibit when they are aware of the fact that our students come from different cultures. The culturally sensitive teacher is careful to accept the differences that kids of different cultures bring into the classroom. However, being culturally responsive takes this awareness and applies it to the learning process for every student. By being responsive to different cultures, we can link what students already know and what they experience in their day to day cultures to what the learning outcome is. It is proven that if a student can connect with something, learning occurs. By being aware and educated on different cultures, we can allow the student to make the vital connection needed and help turn the classroom into a diverse learning environment.

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  19. Playing off of my previous blog post for Module One, I think that being culturally sensitive involves educating ourselves about different cultures and understanding the differences and how these differences could present themselves in our classrooms. Being culturally responsive to me involves integrating different perspectives, especially of the different cultures in the classroom, into every part of the curriculum. We all read and make sense of the world through different lenses. Helping students learn to consider different perspectives can not only help them to be understanding of their classmates, but to use critical thinking skills, as well. Looking for role models from different cultures and adding primary resources from different cultures into the curriculum, especially in areas that different perspectives are historically left out, could be another way to be culturally responsive.

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  20. Cultural sensitivity implies an understanding of and possibly even deference to cultural differences. However, cultural responsivity suggests one’s ability to act upon those sensitivities—simply knowing that people are different, and even being sensitive to it, doesn’t necessarily imply action. Responsivity requires that a person take the knowledge of different backgrounds and utilize it, rather than merely acknowledging its existence. A teacher might be culturally sensitive, realizing that his or her students have varied backgrounds and expectations, but that is not sufficient; the teacher must also be able to use his or her awareness of these differences to help students to succeed.

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  21. I’d love to believe that, as teachers, we are a culturally sensitive group. We all realize and understand that our students come from varying backgrounds bringing with them sundry experiences, beliefs, and traditions that affect the way in which they act and interact within our classrooms. So, being culturally sensitive is knowing and understanding that differences exist.

    Cultural responsiveness, on the other hand, takes it a step further. I feel like a culturally responsive teacher strives to weave those cultural differences into the fabric of their classroom in order to facilitate authentic learning. Knowing cultural differences exist is one thing; tapping into those differences and making them an integral part of learning is another.

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  22. I think that a big difference in cultural sensitivity and cultural responsiveness is understanding versus action. A culturally sensitive teacher is one who gets to know their students and understands their cultural differences but doesn't necessarily DO anything to create a culturally responsive classroom. However, to be culturally responsive they take action to make all students more represented in the learning environment. The culturally responsive teacher makes sure that posters, literature, topics of study, etc. are all culturally diverse to meet the needs of ALL students in the class. They make a conscious effort to recognize their own cultural differences and create ways to connect with their students to maximize learning and form relationships with students as well. The culturally sensitive teacher RECOGNIZES the cultural differences where the culturally responsive teacher TAKES ACTION to create an environment that is welcoming to all cultures and students are made to feel comfortable in being themselves in their learning environment.

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  23. Cultural sensitivity is being aware that differences exist. It is being mindful of the fact that people from different cultures approach learning, living, and life from a perspective grounded in the cultural norms and backgrounds from which people come. Cultural responsiveness is not only being aware that differences in perspectives, opinions, backgrounds, and life are present; it is taking action with the cultural differences in mind as one strives to construct the best learning environment possible for each student. Cultural sensitivity is a precursor to cultural responsiveness. A teacher must educate him or herself about the potential cultural barriers to learning and education, the cultural norms that make certain types of learning environments both successful and unsuccessful, and the cultural backgrounds that frame the educational view for a student and their family. The development of such cultural sensitivity should lead to a cultural responsiveness that enables and empowers the teacher to construct a learning environment that will not constrict the student based on their cultural perspective, but instead, allow them to thrive because new content, concepts, and applications are being taught in an environment where cultural barriers are minimized. The culturally responsive teacher also aims for understanding within the class of learners. Not only is the learning environment sensitive and responsive to the needs of the learner, an attitude of celebration and acceptance of all cultural norms can lead to greater understanding, across the board, of why and how perspectives, actions, opinions, and backgrounds are different. The culturally sensitive seek to understand; the culturally responsive act on the understanding.

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  24. I believe that having cultural competence involves a teacher who knows the cultural differences of the students in the classroom. Having cultural sensitivity goes much deeper than that. A culturally sensitive teacher will create a learning environment that is accepting of all. He or she will have high expectations for each student and expect all to succeed. He or she will also explore different cultures with the students to help them to gain a deeper knowledge of the differences and similarities that we all have. This could be done through class discussions, guest speakers, field trips, and other avenues. I believe that the most endearing difference is that a culturally sensitive teacher will model tolerance and create an environment that is respectful of each student. In this classroom each student would be proud of who they are and where they have come from.

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  25. Being culturally sensitive involves awareness and tolerance. I realize that these are "buzzwords" in our current society. I think that we as a nation are learning to embrace a attitude of sensitivity. This is an encouraging realization; however, our society needs to now move towards an attitude of cultural response. An individual who is culturally responsive sees the culture that exists outside of his or her own and designs behaviors accordingly. Obviously we are looking at this idea in terms of education. A culturally responsive teacher sees the culture represented in the classroom and designs curriculum to which all students can connect. If students see their own cultures represented in what is being presented to them, they are much more likely to succeed in their studies. They are set up to develop pride and comfort in their own skin and can be more easily guided toward reaching their fullest potential.

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  26. I define cultural sensitivity as being aware of the differences we all have based on our family, background, experiences, race and interests. Knowing there are differences, but being conscious not to let that prevent us from working together and learning from each other. Being culturally responsive is taking action from the knowledge of being culturally sensitive and helping students succeed. As a culturally responsive teacher, I use that knowledge to help my students be successful in and out of the classroom. It means creating an atmosphere that all students feel comfortable in learning and taking an active role in their learning with the students around them. It also means providing a venue for students to use the differences and similarities of their culturally-rich views and ideas to enrich their learning.

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  27. Prior to our first class meeting, I associated culture with race for the most part. However, after one meeting I believe that I am becoming more culturally aware. The difference between culturally sensitive and responsive I feel lies in how you use your students’ cultures to bring awareness to all students. As teachers, we must make a conscious effort to really know our students. We cannot be afraid of what we do not know or understand. As adults, chances are we know a little more than our students so if we are not sensitive or responsive-- how can our students be?
    I agree with the video that we cannot teach our students morals and values but we can introduce them to different beliefs and cultures. Before the holiday break, I asked each student to tell the class about a family tradition they had for the holiday. Out of approximately 50 students, I had over 10 tell me they did not have one. I wonder if we need to teach our students about their own cultures before we can truly expect them to appreciate and understands others.

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  28. Being culturally sensitive and being culturally responsive are very different. When a teacher is culturally sensitive, they are away of the ‘cultural norms’ of their students with different backgrounds than their own. They use this knowledge to make sure they do not “step on any toes” or insult their students. They are understanding of the needs and differences from student to student; however, they do not incorporate this knowledge into the classroom environment in a way that addresses culture dissimilarities and brings new understanding to everyone. When a teacher is culturally responsive, they use their knowledge of their students’ diverse cultures to expand learning in the classroom and bring students together based on their similarities and differences. A culturally responsive teacher includes opportunities for students to share their culture with the class. A teacher must first seek to being culturally sensitive - developing a knowledge and appreciation of their students’ cultures. The teacher must then use that knowledge to create a culturally responsive classroom that allows students to express themselves and their individually as they grow while also developing their own knowledge and appreciation of their fellow classmates’ cultures.

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  29. A cultural responsive teacher is one that consciously creates a classroom that celebrates and allows students to express their differences in various ways. In addition, a culturally responsive teacher creates projects that focuses on the diversity and differences of all students. In addition, the teacher must offer various diverse activities that promote individual differences. Cultural responsiveness can also be displayed through the purposeful connection to students' parents and communities in order to learn more about less familiar cultures. However, cultural sensitivity simply addresses the various needs and differences of students - rather than celebrating them. .Culturally sensitive teachers are aware of the many differences of students and respect them - yet they do not celebrate the diversity of the variety of cultures among the students within the classroom. The cultural competence is the understanding, cultural sensitivity is having true feelings of each culture as "human beings" who have the same feelings as everyone else; and cultural responsiveness is the purposeful action taken to allow all students' share and take pride in their unique differences. I believe the chapter about Native Americans is a perfect example of the difference between cultural competence and cultural sensitivity, Being sensitive to the Native Americans is a great concept. However - teaching the in a way that they ( as a whole) can succeed - mainly visual/spatial is a teacher who has cultural competence and responsiveness.

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  30. Being culturally sensitive and being a culturally responsive teacher are two different things. Being culturally sensitive means that you are aware of cultural differences in the classroom, and you are familiar with different cultures. Being culturally responsive means that you know how to use the knowledge you have concerning different cultures to help unite students and increase learning for every student in your class. Being a culturally responsive teacher is very important because it helps provide every student with the education they are entitled to.

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  31. Kimberly Hazel JohnsonJanuary 28, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    To me the major difference between being a culturally sensitive teacher and a culturally responsive teacher is action. A teacher who is culturally sensitive would recognize the differences of the cultural backgrounds of the students in his/her classroom. A culturally sensitive teacher would even have some knowledge about those cultures though it might be basic knowledge or biased by stereotypes. A culturally responsive teacher would have an in-depth knowledge of the cultures represented by his/her students. The cultural responsive teacher would recognize that culture is multifaceted as well. Most of all though a culturally responsive teacher would allow that knowledge to change the way he/she teaches. Being a culturally responsive teacher would really alter even the most basic interactions you would have with your students and for the better. It's the action of the culturally responsive teacher that would set him/her apart.

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  32. I believe that being culturally sensitive means that you are aware of cultural issues. You may have researched them, participated in them and/or discussed them at length with the appropriate cultural representative. You may even consider yourself an expert on cultural issues. However, being culturally responsive means that you are incorporating knowledge of cultural issues into daily life and work. This means on top of being aware of issues, you are actively trying to repair them or bring them to light. This also means that you are working to try and involve others in your understanding of other cultures, their views and beliefs and ways of life.

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  33. This is Michelle Burns. I believe that to be culturally sensitive, one has an awareness that there are other cultures present in the world other than yours. You understand that they are different in traditions and beliefs. However, you respect the differences in a way that does not display judgement or prejudice. To be culturally responsive means that you enlighten others on the cultural differences that are different from your own. You teach or discuss it to gain and establish a better understanding of the beliefs of others who may be different from your own.

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  34. To me, sensitivity is just recognizing the differences between cultures and just leaving them there to be different. While being culturally responsive seems to notice the differences but embraces them and builds off of who the students already are – not just forcing each student to fit into the same “cultural box”. Like the video says, each student comes in with different prior knowledge – especially culturally. It’s kind of like a melting pot versus a tossed salad – one makes everyone fit into the same mold, while the other allows everyone to be what they are but come together to make something great. A culturally responsive classroom should be a mosaic – a bunch of different pieces grouped together but keeping their individuality and allowing one another to shine in their own way. ~~Anna Miller

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  35. In formulating a response to this question, I started thinking about my first year teaching. I was welcoming most of my students, who had already entered my classroom, when there was a knock at the door. When I opened the door, there were five sweet-smiling Hispanic students waiting to enter, with only one of them actively speaking English. I had not been prepared for this in college, at least not to the extent that would be needed, and I was nervous.

    My response to the situation was what I would consider culturally sensitive. I allowed the students to speak Spanish as needed in the classroom, and I had things translated before sending home. I learned to speak enough Spanish to handle basic communication, and I had nearly-constant correspondence with the girls' ELL instructor. I certainly realized the differences that we were facing, and I was accepting of the language barrier with which we were working. However, I realize now that much of my concern was about language, not necessarily the whole student.

    Through my experience, I think a culturally responsive teacher is one who makes a conscious effort to have all students build upon all of the facets of their multiculturalism to be successful. Looking back, I could have had my Hispanic students teach the class about some traditions, or I could have had instructional materials featuring pictures with which they could identify. Instead of making them fit into our American classroom, I should have helped them create a balance that celebrated their heritage. If I hadve been a culturally responsive teacher, I also would have had the same high expectations for these students that I had for the rest of my English-speaking class.

    To me, this experience shoes the difference between culturally sensitive and culturally responsive. My hope is that throughout the years, as I have learned better, I have done better!

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  36. Although culturally sensitive and culturally responsive go hand in hand, there are notable differences between the two concepts. Prior to my teacher education program in undergrad, I was not a culturally responsive or sensitive person. I grew up in my own bubble and did not recognize the differences of my peers. As I began researching and learning the importance of diversity, I became a more culturally sensitive person. The knowledge that I gained through inquiry and exploration of various cultures helped me to have a better attitude towards other cultures. I was also able to travel to a South American country where the culture was vastly different. My cultural sensitivity began to grow and it is continuing to grow. I am now more aware of the diverse cultures. I believe that it is only through awareness and sensitivity that a teacher/person can become culturally responsive. As I learn about other cultures, I am more aware of how I need to approach my students and create lessons to meet all cultural needs.
    This year I have put my knowledge into practice. I have a variety of different cultures in my classroom this year. Even some of my students from the same ethnic group have been raised very differently. At the beginning of the school year, I had the students complete a questionnaire regarding their learning styles and background. I continue to dialog with my students about their beliefs, values and culture. Since I have an awareness of the different cultures, I am sensitive to their beliefs and values. This knowledge helps me to respond culturally. I incorporate activities and topics into my lessons to make sure that I am including all the cultures represented in my classroom.
    Overall, I believe that a person can be culturally sensitive without being culturally responsive. For me, I had to grow in my cultural sensitivity in order to be able to respond to the diverse cultural needs in my classroom.

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  37. As I finish up my ninth year of teaching and reflect on all of the relationships that I have built with parents and students, I feel as though I am just now understanding the differences between being culturally competent and culturally sensitive. When we briefly touched on this topic in our first class, I was really unaware of the terms and how they related to my bond with my students. I want to be more to my students than the teacher that knows generalized views of their culture. I want to go deeper and truly understand what it is like to grow up and actively live in homes, with their traditions, and with the expectations of their family and beliefs. I have really started to think about the many children I have taught over the years and the current children in our schools. It is easy to categorize the students in our school with general statements. I see that there are so many more pieces to solving the cultural puzzle and forming even better relationships with my kids.

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  38. The difference between cultural sensitivity and cultural responsiveness is the save difference as knowing and acting upon. Just knowing or understanding that our students have different cultures and planning activities that tiptoe around cultured inferences in order to more or less not offend a student's feelings is different than planning activities to help students with different cultures understand the learning topic at hand. To be culturally responsive, you have to be more than just sensitive. You use culture as a teachable moment in the classroom to help students have information to relate to.

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  39. Kiyomi Moore SPE 584 Spring 2016January 22, 2016 at 11:01 AM

    I believe the main difference between cultural sensitivity and cultural responsive is one focuses on getting to know the student and the other focuses on re-teaching what they have experienced. Cultural Sensitivity is a set of skills that enables you to learn about and get to know people who are different from you, thereby coming to understand how to serve them better within their own communities. Culturally responsive teaching recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning, enriching classroom experiences and keeping students engaged.

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  40. The difference between being culturally sensitive and culturally responsive is the difference between having knowledge and acting based on that knowledge.
    You can be sensitive to a situation and have no input in the situation. If you are responsive to a situation it means you act on the knowledge you have to change the situation or the better.
    Responsive teaching means I not only must be sensitive and educated about the different cultures in my classroom but I MUST also take this knowledge and turn it into ACTION (a response).

    Being culturally responsive is multidimensional but below are a few things I think teachers can do to leave the world of being culturally sensitive and become more culturally responsive in their classrooms:

    1) value differences
    2) celebrate differences
    3) connect curriculum to different cultures
    4) allow students to teach about their culture

    Lydia Hinshaw

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  41. Culturally sensitive is knowing there is a difference of cultures present and culturally responsive is reacting to the knowledge of different cultures. Being culturally sensitive goes beyond merely being aware, but it needs to be combined with responsiveness or acting upon the knowledge. Once you have gotten to know the students and their backgrounds, you must decide how to respond. Tiptoe around as to not offend or include and allow learning to take place for everyone. Students and adults alike can be naïve, but providing information and helping them develop a knowledge base helps in being culturally responsive.

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  42. Based on the terms, I am assuming that being culturally sensitive is knowing the different cultural backgrounds of your students. For example, I might be culturally sensitive if I can tell you that I have two students from Guatemala, three from Mexico, etc. and their ranges of socioeconomic status. However, being culturally responsive means that I would actually use that knowledge to shape my attitude and the choices I make for my classroom. This could include things such as choosing stories with settings/characters from the countries my students' families are from, writing about a variety of holidays instead of one holiday chosen by me, inviting the students to teach their classmates some words from the language spoken at home, etc. It's making their culture a part of our classroom culture.

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  43. People immigrate to The United State from many parts of the world. They come from different countries, speak different languages, and grow up in cultures that are very different from ours. This gives educators in the U.S. the unique challenge of meeting the needs of students from many cultures. Cultural sensitivity is the ability be aware of the different needs of each student in your classroom and to accept each student's differences. Cultural responsiveness, on the other hand, is the ability to respond to each of your students unique needs, based on the culture they come from. It is important for all students to feel welcome and invited into your classroom. It is also important for your students to understand each other's difference. This includes interviewing parents to become more familiar with their expectations and the type of education system they came from. It also includes being sure to include every student's culture in your curriculum. For example, you could include books, songs, and games from the countries your students come from. You could have a multicultural day where students share artifacts, clothing, and food from their countries. You could invite parents and/or grandparents in to talk about their experiences growing up in a different county. You could display the flags of those other countries represented in your classroom. The more activities you do to teach your students about each other, the more smoothly and effectively your classroom will run.

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  44. Cultural sensitivity is knowing that cultural differences as well as similarities exist, without assigning values, i.e., better or worse, right or wrong, to those cultural differences (National Maternal and Child Health Center on Cultural Competency, 1997).
    Cultural competency is when a person or group of people come together, based on this knowledge of diversity, and formulate a plan, develop attitudes and consciously make an effort to have successful interactions with those who may be of a different culture.
    For example, cultural sensitivity is just a basic knowledge or awareness of different cultures, and the students who belong to them. It is being aware of these special needs and empathizing with these students to help them have a successful school experience.
    Cultural competency takes it a step further and zooms out of the picture as to help develop specific and appropriate attitudes about those of different cultures and come up with strategic plans, habits, and policies for helping these students.
    The key is finding out where the students are individually and making sure you start there first. You cannot just assign attributes to a student just because he/she belongs to a certain ethnic group...i.e. not all Asians are good at math. The main purpose is to help the student to feel comfortable with his personal experiences and values, and to be able to join those with the content being taught without having to send it through a double filter. It is important that a student feel valued in the classroom and that diversity is celebrated, rather than shoved in the cookie cutter assembly line of education along with everyone else.

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  45. I think the difference between being a culturally sensitive teacher and a culturally responsive teacher is the way the teacher reacts. A teacher who is culturally sensitive will recognize differences in cultural backgrounds of their students and may have some knowledge about different cultures. A culturally responsive teacher would have extensive knowledge about the cultures of his/her students. Being a culturally responsive teacher would mean change - change in the way we teach students from different cultures. Being a culturally responsive teacher will determine the way we react to our students.

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  46. Cultural sensitivity is a set of skills that enables you to learn about and get to know people who are different from you, thereby coming to understand how to serve them better within the community. Cultural sensitivity allows you to understand and learn about people whose cultural background is not the same as yours. Being culturally sensitive means valuing and respecting diversity and being sensitive to cultural differences.
    Culturally responsive teaching means using what every student brings to the table. This teaching capitalizes on the strengths that the students bring to the classroom. Culturally responsive teaching focuses on issues that are important to the students and makes use of their expertise, perspectives, and skills. This teaching means involving them emotionally. It also means that students are engaged socially by allowing them opportunities for getting to know one another.

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  47. Initially, I learned about culture in the capital C, western civilization sense of the word meaning the body of literature, art, politics, and philosophy of certain representative groups that have been focused on in what has since been identified as a comparatively narrow group of traditions that have, in many ways, dominated, for good or for ill, the intellectual climate of our time. Then I realized that there was more to culture and that it is really much more expansive and overwhelming than I had initially imagined. Every group, large or small, develops a culture of work and play and ideas about life that can occasionally be systematized in ways that allow analysis and insight into the manifold complexities and possibilities that our world cultures provide. I think being culturally sensitive means acknowledging that, where ever you come from, there are cultures that are going to appear radically different than yours, but that this is not to be met with excessive skepticism, but with tolerance and openmindedness. I think reading a wide variety of materials and participating in events or activities from outside one's culture do a lot to expand one's idea of what it means to live in a pluralistic world. Sensitivity is something one should cultivate so that one can also be culturally competent. Cultural competence is the proper outgrowth of this sensitivity, in that it allows you to navigate the various cultures of the world in such a way as to properly accommodate people outside your culture into your world and work life. Cultural competence is being able to recognize one's own potential prejudices that were inculcated as a result of a the culture you have grown up in. Cultural competence is being active in a pluralistic world. to generalize, I would say that cultural sensitivity is passive and cultural competence is active. Sensitivity is self reflection and analysis of various cultures, while competence is revealed in the actions of culturally sensitive people.

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  48. Earlier this semester I answered what it means to be a culturally responsive teacher: In order to be a culturally responsive teacher one must be able to acknowledge, understand and appreciate each and every student for who they are and what they come from. We must steer away from stereotyping or placing students into “groups” in to which many of them don’t belong. Unfortunately, many teachers are quick to assume that all white students are the same or all Asian students are the same. It is important to realize that culture is much more than just the color of our skin or our ethnicity or religion. Every single student is completely different than the next. Some students have two parents at home while others only have one. Grandparents are raising some students. Some are being raised in church and some are not. Some are taught the importance of education and have a wonderful support system and some do not. It’s important to take all of this in to consideration when teaching a classroom full of children. Culturally responsive teachers must also make sure they have an inviting classroom. Not only do teachers need to make sure that all children feel welcome and safe in their classroom, but they also need to make sure their students feel that their race/ethnicity/religion is respected and appreciated. Looking back, I now think that I may have defined “culturally sensitive” instead of “culturally responsive.”

    In order to be a culturally responsive teacher, I think one must be more than just aware and respectful of individuals’ differences. I think the classroom curriculum, activities and lessons should cater to each and every student’s culture. They should feel as though their culture is important—important enough for everyone in the classroom, including the teacher, to delve into it. Extensions on lessons should be created in order to learn more about one another. Learning each other’s names and every day interests should no longer be enough. It may sound like a lot of work, but I think the end result would be worth the effort. Students would feel like part of a family and I think a teacher would end up seeing their true abilities as a result.

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  49. When I first heard the phrases, "culturally sensitive" and "culturally responsive," I didn't really think about there being differences. However, I feel now that there are very distinct differences between the two. I think that a teacher who is sensitive to a student's culture is someone who is aware that each student is different in his or her own way and is mindful of this when creating the classroom environment and lessons. That being said, I think that a teacher who is culturally responsive is one who acts on these feelings that they get when they see these differences. Being responsive-to me-means to put a plan into action rather than just being "aware" or "sensitive" to something.

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  50. I believe a culturally sensitive teacher knows about the cultural differences in the classroom. This, of course, is very important. But more important, I believe, is being culturally responsive - knowing about and responding to the cultural differences in the classroom. Being a responsive teacher is more than just being aware of differences. A teacher should respond to those differences in the classroom and use those differences to plan for meaningful learning experiences for the students.

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  51. I think a culturally sensitive teacher would be aware of the various cultures of his/her students and try to promote and model a safe cultural environment for all students. This teacher would try to help dispel cultural myths or misconceptions some students might have. I think a culturally responsive teacher does this, but also goes further and tailors instruction to promote diversity and cultural learning among the students in the classroom exposing them to an understanding of other cultures and the great accomplishments in each.
    Kim Stephenson

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  52. I think that a culturally senstitive teacher is one that is aware of possible different cultures in their classroom and attempts to be sensitive to their needs. I think that a culturally responsive teacher is one that is aware of the different cultures in their classroom and is proactive in tailoring the instruction to incorporate cultural connections between the instruction and the students. As a class the whole can learn about the different cultures that make it up. I think that culturally sensitive may be prone to fall into typical stereotypes of cultures based on the teachers limited knowledge of a particular culture. Culturally responsive teaching is on purpose and intentional.

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  53. I feel that being a culturally sensitive teacher means that you are consciously aware that the students in your classroom come from different cultures, have different backgrounds, and different ways of learning. I think that a culturally responsive teacher goes a step further by not just being aware of the students’ cultures, but responding to the cultures. This means creating a safe learning environment so that all learners are able to freely share about their culture. Also, a culturally responsive teacher uses his/her students’ cultures to teach the other students in the class. Culture is not just about race, political preferences, religion, etc. It goes much deeper to the core of how each child is raised and the beliefs that each child is taught to hold as important. We as culturally responsive teachers must be aware of all the aspects of a child’s culture and respond to those aspects to best help the child and promote education.

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  54. Being a culturally responsive teacher means you are aware of the different cultures and background in your classrooms. The students that make up your classroom come from different backgrounds as well as different cultures and it is important for educators to be consciously aware of these backgrounds. A culturally responsive teacher is one who responds to the cultural differences in the classroom. A culturally responsive teacher is aware of the differences and then acts on them in a way that is educational for all the students. I personally don't think you can be culturally responsive without being culturally sensitive, but I do think you can be culturally sensitive without being culturally responsive. I believe some teachers are worried to "open a can of worms," as I've heard them say, when being culturally responsive. But it isn't just about race, religion, or political preferences. Every child comes from a different home and was raised differently and it is important to take these things into consideration and then act upon them in order to be a better educator for your students.
    Abigail Moore

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  55. A culturally sensitive learning environment recognizes the specific indicators and characteristics of a culture. A culturally responsive system uses the specific information and provides a supportive learning environment. It takes prior experiences and knowledge related to a culture and empowers the learner to absorb new information. It encourages learning styles/modalities to strengthen how the learner processes new information to merge with learned knowledge. Being culturally sensitive includes the values of a home environment and not just race or ethnicity. This may present a challenge when the majority of the population perceives a conflict with the "home" culture.

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  56. There is definitely a huge difference between being culturally sensitive and culturally responsive. Cultural sensitivity is the understanding and feelings one has toward another person and his/her culture. This is merely a base understanding. Cultural responsiveness is the set of actions that are done by an individual in attempt to accommodate another individual and his/her culture. This is a crucial aspect of teaching because no two students are alike nor do they have the same exact cultural background.

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  57. I think being culturally sensitive is knowing everyone is different and being tolerant of their differences. Where as being culturally responsive is inviting others to be include their differences and cultures. In ESOL classes a teacher may acknowledge that others speak different languages but not include them. I n being culturally responsive the teacher may let students share a word a week form their language.

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  58. I believe that cultural sensitivity is having an awareness and understanding of different cultures, along with showing kindness and being a good host to all the children in your classroom and community. Respecting the culture, traditions, and cues of your students by doing some of the things we wrote about in the last blog; including posters, banners, and materials that reflect the makeup of your class and community. Cultural sensitivity is about celebrating the tangibles like music, art, food, dress, etc.
    Conversely having culturally competence, responsiveness, and relevance involves teaching from different perspectives as necessitated by your students and community. It’s breaking apart the components of those cultures and using those values, feelings, and beliefs, all those intangibles, to teach; and then using student’s cultural filters or prior cultural knowledge to help them make sense of new material. It is not a one size fits all recipe of teaching, as each person has individual needs, attachments, and life experiences.

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  59. After watching the video, I believe cultural sensitivity is having an awareness of cultural differences. As a teacher it would be realizing that your class was comprised of Caucasian students, Hispanic students and African American students. The awareness is a visible awareness and one that a teacher could know few if any cultural attributes of. This is evident in all schools with all teachers.
    Cultural responsiveness is becoming informed of the attributes of the culture and using these to make learning meaningful and inspirational. As a teacher we should differentiate instruction to accommodate and incorporate these attributes. A culturally responsive teacher makes a point to develop relationships with her students to know and understand their culture, likes, dislikes, and ways that they learn best and has a keen realization that not one mold fits all students.
    Written by Michele Reaves

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  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  61. After watching the video, I believe cultural sensitivity is having an awareness of cultural differences. As a teacher it would be realizing that your class was comprised of Caucasian students, Hispanic students and African American students. The awareness is a visible awareness and one that a teacher could know few if any cultural attributes of. This is evident in all schools with all teachers.
    Cultural responsiveness is becoming informed of the attributes of the culture and using these to make learning meaningful and inspirational. As a teacher we should differentiate instruction to accommodate and incorporate these attributes. A culturally responsive teacher makes a point to develop relationships with her students to know and understand their culture, likes, dislikes, and ways that they learn best and has a keen realization that not one mold fits all students.
    Written by Michele Reaves

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  62. You are definitely on track....!

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  63. I think cultural sensitivity is being aware of the cultural differences of your students. Cultural responsiveness would be implementing procedures to connect with your cultural students and to communicate with culturally different families. In the video, “Introduction to Culturally Relevant Pedagogy,” Geneva Gay said, “…rather that always insisting that the students adapt to the cultural of the school, the school needs to adapt and modify some of its sending messages, its sending mechanism.” To be culturally responsive, you need to modify your procedures to meet the particular child’s cultural needs. By being culturally sensitive you know what the cultural needs are. By being cultural responsive you’re implementing those needs.

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  64. Cultural sensitivity is knowing there are cultural differences among students. Cultural responsiveness takes it deeper; it is embracing the differences. As a teacher, one should aim toward being cultural responsive in that differences are not only recognized, but implementing diverse strategies allows each student group to have the highest educational opportunities. Learning is to be equally accessible for all student groups.
    After watching the video, it has made me think about my nephew's education. My sister-in-law is from China, and she continuously teaches us about her culture. I hope my nephew is embraced by teachers who are culturally responsive to his heritage.

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  65. I believe that being culturally sensitive means being able to identify the different cultures of your students. You are aware that there are differences among your students, and they come from different backgrounds. Being able to identify this is a teacher is a positive, but being able to implement different strategies and make learning important is being culturally responsive. It is not only important to identify, but you must modify your teaching style to explore all backgrounds and cultures. As Mrs. Campbell said in her post, “Teaching is not a one size fits all recipe.” I believe you must implement strategies to make every student have the best opportunity to learn. Jessica Baker

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  66. Cultural responsiveness and cultural sensitivity can be distinguished from one another. Cultural responsiveness is oriented with the type of openness that encourages dialogue about differences, confidence-building, effective and understanding reception of students’ concerns while taking culture into account, and putting cultural competence into action. Cultural sensitivity may be viewed as something of a check or balance to this all-to what may be construed as a “hyperactive” approach.
    I like the teacher who brought up that students are not simply representatives of a cultural or ethnic group and makes the point that viewing culture as a “trait”- equates to conflation. I think this is where well-meaning people, who are making it a point to bring up these issues in order to open dialogue can actually end up coming across as insensitive in doing so. It seems as if people who are members of the cultural minority are subject to what I might brand as overzealous inquiry from the majority and the consequence of this is the minority being made to feel like a curiosity to be prodded without the social “right” to reject this type of treatment.
    Ultimately, it equates to an infringement on the rights and feelings of others. So, sensitivity, I would say, entails being competent, aware of, and inviting of cultural differences; acknowledging ways in which culture impacts needs, learning styles, and behavior; and being sensitive to this “trapped zoo feature” feeling that minorities are often vulnerable to. Acting upon this sensitivity means promoting equal opportunity sharing of culture- focusing on each culture in a similar manner (not singling people out based upon the group to which they belong). It means, letting the student lead the discussion and invite inquiry and giving permission to abstain if that inquiry becomes invasive. It means saying no to invasive, interrogatory questioning and yes to receptivity, invitation, and respectful discussion as agreed upon by the whole.

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    1. Thoughtful insight, Kelly... KW

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  67. Being culturally sensitivity is just that, being sensitive to the diverse cultures around you and in your classroom. To me, it means, just being aware that someone is different, being careful of how you act or speak, and being together in the same space. Being culturally competent means that you go above and beyond to make that person and/or students feel comfortable about expressing his/herself comfortably. Being culturally competent means that embrace the culture by learning all you can and teaching your students about the difference and unique beliefs, values, views, and languages. I like the phrase used in the video, “building a bridge” to help all students show respect and compassion to various cultures, not just those in the classroom, but all cultures. We must show our acceptance and set tones for a culturally rich classroom.

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  68. Cultural sensitivity is acknowledging that differences exist between cultures, but not valuing one difference over another. We must consider all aspects of culture, and not just focus on race. A cultural competent teacher acknowledges and validates each child's culture. She learns the cultural needs of her students and develop ways to address those needs in the classroom.

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  69. I think that cultural sensitivity is being aware of the different cultures that surround you and trying to be conscious of the things you say to or around those people as to not show disrespect. Whereas cultural competence, I think is more of learning about the different cultures and addressing the needs of the culturally diverse students in your classroom. In the book, Castellano and Frazier stated that one of the best things we as educators can do would be to have a desire and passion to learn more about our students (p. 30). I think that goes along perfectly in describing a culturally competent teacher.

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  70. I feel that cultural sensitivity is a very basic understanding of cultures other than your own. Cultural sensitivity involves a respect of other cultures and a vague sense of others feelings and belief systems. Cultural competence to me, is not only awareness and sensitivity, it goes much deeper. Cultural competence enables an individual to create a seamless environment for students of different cultures where they feel valued and included. Cultural competence is not built upon eyesight and assumptions but through background knowledge of each individual.

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  71. I think that cultural sensitivity is being aware of difference cultures, yet perhaps not necessarily digging deeper and making personal connections to this information. Cultural competence reflects all the best practices of teaching authentically and effectively across all differences and cultures, as the gentleman in the next video states, as well as teaching across learning styles as the teachers in the video on this thread suggest. It means knowing your students, connecting with them personally and as individuals, exposing them to new ideas, as well as being a reflective practitioner about your own journey as a learner and perhaps the biases that you yourself bring.

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  72. Cultural competence is a key factor in enabling educators to be effective with students from cultures other than their own. It is the ability of educators to alter teaching practices to reach different cultural groups. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel stated, “Educators with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to value the diversity among students will contribute to an educational system designed to serve all students well.” Both cultural competence and cultural sensitivity involve the educator’s awareness and acceptance of cultural differences. However, cultural sensitivity does not incorporate the concept of altering teaching practices to reach different cultural groups.

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