You may have heard about (inter)cultural competence in teaching, which encourages instructors to make efforts to understand the backgrounds and lived experiences of their students. While there are many benefits to learning more about the communities and geographical spaces that learners come from, such a perspective might inadvertently lead to essentializing, despite the best of intentions.
In contrast, a cultural humility framework in teaching asks us to accept that there are limits to gathering knowledge about other cultures and to instead consider the environments and contexts in which intercultural communication takes place (e.g., classrooms and labs). Furthermore, when there are nuanced power differentials at play that could impact access and belonging in the classroom, openness, self-awareness, and self-critique are on-going strategies for instructors to consider in their practice.
During this session, we will:
• distinguish between the concepts of cultural competence (i.e., “skillset”) vs. humility (i.e., “lifelong learning”)
• identify some of our values, norms, and expectations around teaching and learning
• consider how the above might play out in interactions with students, whether overtly or subtly
• discuss how a cultural humility framework can positively support our interactions with students, with salient examples
• share literature and other resources about cultural humility for future reference
This session will include space for reflective and independent writing; discussion with fellow TAs in breakout rooms; and time for collaborating on working documents.