Ok, so I realize that this post is a bit hypocritical. I often advocate getting to know things about diversity through the internet and other electronic options. This can be really helpful. But if the only way that you ever expose yourself and your kids to diversity, there is a piece missing. All of that great information won't really translate. Why not? Get ready for a crash course in Behavioral Theory...
If you want the things you are teaching your child to manifest in their actual lives, you have to make it feel real. This means that wherever you want them to actually perform the behavior, it should be in an environment that is most similar to the place where you actually want the behavior to occur. For example, if you want a child to change their behavior in school, teaching them about it in the classroom is more likely to get results than teaching them about it at home. It helps prime a child's memory to do something when they are in the actual place.
The same is true for cultural competence. We want to try and change a child's attitudes, but also their behaviors. It's hard to change those things when the only thing you are doing is watching diversity happen on a screen. It has to happen in a child's real life in order for that child to truly understand and internalize it.
So how will you unplug and apply some of these things in the real world? How will you make it personal to your child? Below are some suggestions that you can do no matter where you are:
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Dr. Sweeney is a licensed school psychologist and cultural competence expert. Here are her musings on life in a multicultural world.
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