Creating Cultural Competence in Interactions With Children

How does the era when the book was published influence how the book might affect the development of children’s attitudes toward people of other cultures? What is the benefit or drawback of using literature to teach about cultural diversity?

In the book, cultural diversity is presented in a perfect way because Jacob’s parents are tolerant and understanding. Young children are unaware of cultural diversity hence it is the responsibility of adults to ensure that they help children understand it. Juanito never knew where Jacob stayed, even though he knew his house. He decided to visit his friend with a basketball so that they could play.

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On reaching there, he found a number of knew instruments that were used in religious functions. Juanito wondered what the little box was doing at the door (Ramos, 2010). He later learned that it was referred to as Mezuzah, an instrument used when people pray in the Hebrew culture. In the Hebrew culture, children were not allowed to touch the instruments that are used during prayer. However, Jacob’s parents understood because they were comfortable when Juanito joked with one of the religious instruments (Ramos, 2010).

Whenever the Jews entered the house, they had to bow down. This was amazing to Juanito. He decided to spend the night at Jacob’s house so that he could learn Hebrew culture. This shows that he was interested in learning other people’s culture. The book shows that children should be taught how to appreciate other people’s ways of life (Schwartz, & Conley, 2000).

How will this help you professionally in your desired career? What is one issue related to diversity that you would like to explore further in order to become a competent professional? How will you go about gaining more insight into this issue?

The idea that no culture is complete in itself is resourceful as far as cultural diversity is concerned. This would help a professional in a number of ways because he or she would keep off from ethnocentrism. Some individuals believe that their culture is very powerful, given the fact that they are the majority in society (Quintana, 1998). In this regard, they would tend to judge others using their own standards and rules.

Understanding that no culture is perfect would help a professional combine a number of values when executing his or her duties. Cultural distinction is an aspect of cultural diversity that needs further research. Exploration of this issue would help a professional in a number of ways because it would improve his or her orientation to the world (Schwartz, & Conley, 2000). The professional would view the world from other people’s perspective.

Through this, the professional would be able to execute his or her duties diligently. However, understanding how various cultures function calls for thorough research and continuous study of other people’s culture. In this case, the professional would be expected to keep off from uncritical, narrow-minded reasoning. Scholars advise that a professional should start by exercising reciprocity. This means that a professional should place him or herself in other people’s shoe when implementing policies (Berry, 2001).

Assumptions

The case study shows that the three girls were brought up in different cultural backgrounds. Some of the girls appreciate cultural diversity while others were brought up with the culture of sameness. This means that they were brought up knowing that those who do not look like them should always be discriminated. This means that the values and social standards of the girls are not the same. For Miranda, she knows that everyone has the right to interact with whomever he or she wants to relate with in society.

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She was brought up knowing that people have equal rights and opportunities. In this regard, skin color, race, religion, and ethnicity should never be used to differentiate society. When she realizes that her friends think she belongs to an inferior social group, she feels bad and starts crying. She cries because she is disappointed upon realization that she belongs to the negatively perceived ethnic group. On the other hand, Kiana and Vanessa come from ethnic groups perceived to be superior.

Their parents taught them that people from some ethnic groups should be avoided because they are dangerous. This is why they try as much as possible to avoid such ethnic groups. When asked by the teacher, the two girls admit that they were told never to mingle with ethnic groups perceived to be inferior. However, they do not have a solid reason why they should not interact with Miranda (Schwartz, & Conley, 2000). They simply claim that their parents warned them against interacting with Miranda’s ethnic group.

Professionally, it would be productive to understand that the girls are not from the same ethnic group. In this regard, they should not be forced to interact but instead the professional should take them through a learning process, which will result to cultural appreciation. The children should be made to believe that culture is a social creation and no culture is superior to the other. Therefore, they should know that combing a number of cultures would make them complete. This comes through appreciating cultural diversity (Choi, 2001).

Issues that Influence the Behavior of Girls

A number of factors influence the girls since they are very young to hold a grudge against certain ethnic groups. It is noted that cross-cultural conflicts will always emerge whenever there are cultural differences in society. For the girls, a misunderstanding between religions, nationalities, and ethnic groups might have brought about the conflicts. In history, some communities cannot live peacefully with others because of the historical injustices.

In the American society, it is impossible to find a black person living harmoniously with a white person because of the injustices meted out to the blacks before the American Civil War. The blacks have always known that whites exist to jeopardize their economic efforts while whites believe that blacks are inferior because they are not yet civilized. This misunderstanding affects children in case they are not given accurate information when they are still young. Religious conflicts are also known to cause cultural conflicts (Parillo, 2011). For instance, the Irish Catholics are always in conflict with the Irish Protestants because of matters related to faith.

The conflicts are so diverse to an extent that it affects even the socialization of children. In every society, the family plays a critical role as far as socialization is concerned. The family is the primary socializing agent because it moulds an infant into a better person. If the family teaches the young child that certain religion is rebellious, the child would tend to discriminate members of that religious group even in adulthood.

For the case of Miranda, her parents might be holding an ethnic grudge with the parents of Vanessa and Kiana (Schwartz, & Conley, 2000). The conflicts between blacks and whites have existed for centuries meaning that they are passed from one generation to the other. Another cause of conflicts between the girls might be related to cultural ignorance and insensitivity. Vanessa and Kiana might be insensitive to the sufferings of others because they come from the well off families.

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In this case, the two girls, together with their parents, might be unaware that other cultures might even be better as compared to theirs. In some cultures, children are told never to abandon their cultures because they serve as models for others. This is actually untrue because cultures vary in value and importance (Auslander, 1996).

In some societies, people lack knowledge as regards to societal lifestyles and practices. This means that people are unaware of how other people operate in society. This is brought about by cultural practices. For Vanessa and Kiana, they believe that what their parents told them about Miranda’s ethnicity is true. However, they have never bothered to inquire more regarding the ethnic group of Miranda. This might be due to differences in lifestyle practices. These differences are brought about by various practices, including eating practices, dressing practices, and even ceremonies. Some cultures believe that their cultural practices are valuable even to those who do not practice them (Schwartz, & Conley, 2000).

The case is worse if the ethnic groups that were adamant to the cultures start practicing them. This confirms to them that their culture is strong. For Miranda, they might have adopted some cultures that were only practiced by Vanessa and Kiana’s ethnic groups. This makes Vanessa and Kiana think that Miranda’s ethic group is inferior because it drops its traditions in favor of other traditions. Miscommunication and misinterpretation could also be part of the cause of the problem. Many children are usually fed with wrong information regarding the other families. For instance, the two girls could have been brainwashed to believe that they are powerful culturally and even socially. In this case, they should not interact with Miranda, who is perceived to be from an inferior culture (Quintana, 1998).

Dealing with Discrepancies

Before designing strategies aimed at dealing with the challenges, the professional must aim at resolving the conflicts finally. It is known that cultural conflicts keep on recurring because solutions provided are sometimes temporary. In this regard, the possible barriers to the solutions must be identified before attempting to resolve the problems. Finally, the method applied in executing the strategies should be consistent with the age of children.

For young children, it would be unproductive to ridicule them or mock them for not appreciating other people’s ways of life. It is upon the professional to comprehend the cultural practices that bring about differences. Some of these practices lead to prejudice, stereotyping and bias. Some cultural factors contribute to cultural differences. Children to be made appreciate the cultures of others, especially the migrants.

This would be achieved through imparting necessary skills and knowledge to children. Skills and knowledge are transferred through communication. In this case, communication should be made a priority in the group to avoid any conflict. As earlier noted, interpretation plays a critical role in resolving cultural conflicts. Therefore, the role of professionals is to ensure that they interpret some concepts and practices that would bring about cultural conflicts. Through effective interpretation, children would be willing to accept and appreciate other cultures (Quintana, 1998).

In the process of executing the designed strategies, the professional encounters some resistance. This resistance might be internal or external. Therefore, the professional should be well prepared to deal with resistance. In particular, children, such as Vanessa and Kiana would be reluctant to evaluate their own values since they do not believe that they are biased in their decision-making. Vanessa and Kiana believe that a conflict between their ethnic group and other ethnic groups does not exist. In this case, they simply blame others whenever problems emerge. Therefore, the professional should deal with problems at the right time using suitable method (Schwartz, & Conley, 2000).

Pygmalion Effect

Pygmalion effect is a term used to refer to the performance of groups whenever they are expected to perform in a certain way. In other words, it refers to the output of a group, especially when given certain targets.

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Some scholars define Pygmalion effect as the self-fulfilling prophecy whereby a certain group performs according to the set standards (Feldman, & Prohaska, 1979). It is observed that Pygmalion effect influences the performance of individuals because those that are labeled positively perform well while the negatively labeled perform poorly. In social sciences, the term is used to refer to the performance of individuals in education. For Vanessa and Kiana, they are expected to perform well because their ethnic group is perceived to be superior while chances are high that Miranda will perform poorly because her ethnic group is perceived to be inferior (Rosenthal, & Lenore, 1992).

Game Designing

The professional should introduce a game aiming at challenging the children to appreciate cultural diversity. For instance, the teacher would instruct all students to group themselves according to their ethnic groupings. Children will then be instructed to name social injustices related to a certain ethnic group. For whites, social injustices such as perpetrators of colonialism, grabbers of land, and oppressors would be identified and would be associated with them.

For blacks, social crimes such as robbery, mugging, rape, and drug trafficking would be identified. This would be presented in a play form. Each ethnic group would be instructed to stand and the rest of the group would sing a song attributing the social injustices to the standing group (Jussim, & Harber, 2005). The process would be repeated for all ethnic groups. The teacher will then ask students to give their views regarding the song attributing social injustices to their group. Definitely, each group would feel bad. The teacher will then tell students to be careful in future before insulting an ethnic group because it is very painful (Quintana, 1998).

References

Auslander, B. (1996). Bulimia and the diffusion status of ego formation: Similarities of the empirical descriptors of self and parent. Journal of Adolescence, 19(1), 333-338. Web.

Berry, J.W. (2001). A psychology of immigration. Journal of Social Issues, 57(3), 615-631. Web.

Choi, H. (2001). Cultural marginality: A concept analysis with implications for immigrant adolescents. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 24(2), 193-206. Web.

Jussim, L., & Harber, K. D. (2005). Teacher Expectations and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies: Known and Unknowns, Resolved and Unresolved Controversies. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 9(2), 131–155. Web.

Quintana, S. (1998). Children’s Developmental Understanding of Ethnicity and race. Applied & Preventive Psychology, 7(1), 27-45. Web.

Ramos, R. (2010). At Jacob’s house: Learning A-Z. Reading A-Z, 2(1), 1-3. Web.

Rosenthal, R., & Lenore, J. (1992). Pygmalion in the classroom. New York: Irvington. Web.

Schwartz, S. E., & Conley, C. (2000). Human diversity: A guide for understanding. New York: McGraw-Hill Primis Custom Pub.

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