Awareness and Professional Effectiveness
Because so much of our cultural identity is developed out of awareness,
becoming truly aware of the powerful and significant effects of culture
on our personalities is not easy.
To do so requires
that we develop habits of introspection, self-awareness, curiosity,
openness, and observation.
Cultural awareness impacts our own personal functioning.
Through exposure to other cultures, self-observation, and reflection,
we can come to
know ourselves as cultural beings—observing our personal variations
in behavior and attitude in different situations—and have a greater
ability to learn and change over time.
Of great importance, cultural
awareness can positively impact our interactions with others: If we
are aware cultural beings, we are conscious that we
experience other cultural beings through our own cultural lens/filters.
We can be aware of the powerful effect of our ethnocentrism and culture-based
biases on our value judgments about, and responsiveness to, people
from cultures different from our own. These understandings are necessary
for achieving professional effectiveness and cultural competence.