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Cultural Awareness

VI. Cultural 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 prerequisites for achieving professional effectiveness and cultural competence.


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