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FEATURE O COMPETENT CULTURALLY Y C H By SHERRY POSNICK-GOODWIN Photos by SCOTT BUSCHMAN a different culture and different ethnic background than your own. "Does a fish swimming in water realize he's in water? You may think you are operating in the norm, but your norm is not somebody else's norm," says Lisa Adams, a CTA Human Rights Department trainer. "If you are part of the majority culture — which most white people identify with — you don't realize what you are bringing to the classroom." Being culturally competent improves teaching and Chances are several of your students come from provides educators with resources to connect to students' families. It can also help close the achievement gap, since the "cultural gap" between students and their teachers can contribute to achievement gaps among different student groups, reports the NEA. June/July 2012 19 • • • • • • • • • • • • A A T R ? U E R E A E LOOK AROUND YOUR CLASSROOM

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