Cultural Awareness Helps


For many people, dealing effectively with others from other cultures can be a matter of politeness and empathy: learning to be sensitive to others’ needs and concerns, and behaving respectfully towards them. This may be sufficient to avoid offending others, but more may be needed to enable a person to deal sensitively and effectively with cultural differences in particular situations. For instance, a teacher may find that students from another culture behave and learn in ways that not shared by fellow students from the dominant culture, and may find it necessary to look a little further into the issue of cultural difference to find more suitable methods for nurturing the children’s learning. A physician may find that she cannot get clients from a particular cultural group to speak frankly about issues affecting their health, or to follow certain treatments, and realises that her usual approach is not working with them. The health practitioner and teacher will both benefit and develop their professional effectiveness by gaining a deeper understanding of culture and its influence on all aspects of human behaviour. 

Culturally skilled workers are aware of their negative emotional reactions toward other racial and ethnic groups that may prove detrimental to their clients. Culturally skilled workers are aware of their stereotypes and preconceived notions that they may hold toward other racial and ethnic minority groups. They are willing to contrast their own beliefs and attitudes with those of their culturally different clients in a non-judgemental fashion.  

Culturally skilled workers should possess specific knowledge and information about the particular group they are working with. They are aware of the life experiences, cultural heritage, and historical background of their culturally different clients. Culturally skilled workers understand and have knowledge about socio-political influences that impinge upon the life of racial and ethnic minorities. Immigration issues, poverty, racism, stereotyping, and powerlessness all leave major scars that may influence the support process. They understand how race, culture, ethnicity, and so forth may affect personality formation, vocational choices, manifestation of psychological disorders, help-seeking behaviour, and the appropriateness or inappropriateness of support approaches. 


Raise your cultural awareness by studying our Multicultural Awareness Course