Not all models are Culturally Sensitive: Be careful!

Hello Frontliners,

I hope everyone is keeping warm as we approach the winter months.

So, I am thinking..You are a front line for many years down in urban areas and you decide to pick up your bags and move to a different area! Great! you want to experience and work in a different culture.

Question: Do you maintain the same practice? Do you use evidence-based models that worked for classrooms, communities, or other settings in one culture and bring it over to the next culture hoping it will have the same effect?

Four months ago, I moved from an urban area to an Inuit reserved land in Northern Quebec. As I reflect on some of my practices and techniques, one thing is for sure…I was very very very careful how I approached any sort of intervention and strategy.

As a pre-caution, I asked the local people around me….

This idea of coming in and using certain models and techniques from when I was in the south has a bad taste in my mouth. Too intrusive in my opinion…

So what questions should we be asking? 

  1. Does the technique or strategy that we want to implement inline with the cultures values?
  2. Is it the best interest for the child or youth?
  3. Can we modify the technique or strategy that would incorporate those cultural values?

I want to be clear: sometimes it just does not work! Please do not force your values and beliefs on to another culture. The best way to avoid ignorance is to ask questions and to collaborate with the young person’s family or school team.

In a nutshell, I have been critical and more analytical. What works and what does not work…what are some things in my practice that I can keep and what are some ideas and strategies I need to be more creative, so I am inline with their cultural values.

There will be more talks from me in the New Year about Cultural Competency– I am looking for resources and books to do more research in, maybe some of you frontliners can help me out 🙂

Thanks for reading as usual- Enjoy the rest of your weekend!



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