The 5Ws of Cultural Competency

Who: There are many stakeholders involved in the issue of cultural competency. Within the education system we have everyone from the Ministry of Education, the school boards, the schools themselves and then the people in them; the administration, the teachers, the students and their families.  


What: Cultural competence ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures. 


Where & When: The focus in Ontario for the past decade has shifted from Special Education to English as a Second Language due to the large numbers of immigrants coming into the Province as well as the emergence of the English Language Learners. 


Why: Because we have a duty to address the needs of our students and right now it seems to be that many of them are ESL/ELL and in order for them to meet our expectations for success in the school system, we need to respond to the specific needs of our ESL/ELL students and their families.  One example of schools demonstrating the awareness of the needs of their students is attaching this notice to the top of letters that are sent home from school:

  • This is an important notice. Please have it translated.
  • Ogeysiiskan waa mid muhiim ah. Fadlan, soo turjum.
  • Man ngec ma pire tek. Tim ber gony i leb Acholi.
  • Este es un aviso importante. Por favor asegure que se traduce.
  • Ðây là m?t thông cáo quan tr?ng. Xin vui lòng cho d?ch l?i thông cáo âý.
  • Este é um aviso importante. Queira mandá-lo traduzir.
  • Ceci est important. Veuillez faire traduire.
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