Embedding Cultural Competency in Pre-service Teacher Curriculum

By: Sheelagh Daniels-Mayes  

In 2017 a team of education academics were tasked with the work of embedding cultural competency into pre-service teacher education. It was relatively straightforward to decide that the new curriculum would initially be delivered in a first year mandatory introduction to education course. However, the task became challenging to navigate once we began the process of what to teach. We inherited the University’s Graduate Quality of cultural competency: “work productively, collaboratively and openly in diverse groups and across cultural boundaries." This institutional description did little to inspire us. Critics of the cultural competency model argue that it is essentially ineffective and that its tendency to equalise oppression under a ‘multicultural umbrella’ unwittingly promotes a colour-blind or sameness mentality that conceals the significance of systemic discrimination. Furthermore, critics argue that cultural competency fails to recognise other sources of oppression including gender, sexuality, disability, age and religion. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the question of how do critical educators work with concepts that they personally and professionally reject but are bound to implement due to their institutions’ demands. Specifically, it will be illustrated how the default term of cultural competency was deconstructed to it’s various parts and how these elements were in turn mapped and embedded into a reconstructed pre-service teacher curriculum.

Cultural Competency Education
Organizational Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Sheelagh Daniels-Mayes