Cultural and linguistic competence (CLC) refers to the beliefs, behaviors, knowledge, skills, and systems through which individuals and organizations demonstrate empathy and understanding of and respect for the values, historical context, expectations, language and experiences of a diverse population.
Cultural competence specifically refers to a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, organization or group to enable the individuals within these settings to interact effectively (Cross, et. al, 1989). The word “culture” is used because it implies the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values and institutions of a demographic group (e.g., race, ethnicity, religion, sex, socioeconomic class, nationality). The word “competence” is used because it implies the capacity to function effectively within cross-cultural situations (Jackson, Francis, 2010).
Linguistic competence specifically refers to the capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively, and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences including persons of limited English proficiency (LEP), those who have low literacy skills or are illiterate, and individuals with disabilities (Goode & Jones, 2009).
With the appropriate policies, structures, practices, procedures, trained staff and dedicated resources in place in schools to support it, CLC can:
cultural relevance, culturally and linguistically appropriate
This brief discusses conflict, ethnic/cultural differences in teacher-student and student-student relations, and disproportionate disciplinary action. It also covers teacher biases perceived by students, disproportionate use of zero tolerance on specific student subgroups, and recommendations to address exclusionary practices.
This document discusses how culturally and linguistically diverse students are represented disproportionately in special education and disproportionately subjected to suspensions and expulsions.
This chapter of Special Education for ALL Teachers, presents definitions for cultural, racial/ethnic, and language diversity; explains that difference does not necessarily mean deficient and that diversity in learning exists; and recommends specific teacher dispositions and practices to support culturally and linguistically diverse students.
This paper provides a conceptual framework to help stakeholders collaborate on culturally responsive, evidence-based interventions to address the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education. It also explains a concern about educators’ cultural understanding and disproportionate school discipline actions.
This brief presents a framework for culturally responsive school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (CRPBIS), which includes five processes aimed to address equity issues like school discipline disparities.
This document explains the overrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education and some immediate actions that parents can take if they think such overrepresentation is an issue at their children’s schools.
This article provides some research-based, culturally responsive approaches that educators can consider and implement.
This brief explains the importance of rethinking teacher education pedagogy and provides guidelines for developing culturally responsive teacher education pedagogy.
This guide provides strategies aimed to assist communities in developing cultural and linguistic competence. It is based on seminal work in the health field and also is relevant for stakeholders of educational school systems.
This article emphasizes the need to understand evidence-based interventions as “what works with whom, by whom, and in what contexts” and presents a potential Response-to-Intervention model to help culturally and linguistically diverse students.
This handout presents some existing research and aims to influence stakeholders to increase research and development of cultural and linguistic Response-to-Intervention models that help diverse students.
This webpage presents information on four equity issues—schools, culture, language, and community social status—that school personnel of diverse students can reference to develop family/teacher relationships and positive communication between homes and schools.
This website’s leadership training series aims to help stakeholders incorporate principles and practices of cultural and linguistic competence. This series was designed in response to health stakeholders’ strong desire for instructional materials, curricula, model programs, and multimedia products. These resources also are relevant for stakeholders of educational school systems.
This article provides information on several innovative teacher education programs, mostly in early childhood education, designed to prepare teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse children.
This webpage briefly explains the importance of cultural competence and presents some ways for educators to develop collaborative, effective relationships with culturally diverse students and families.
This guide includes a self-study tool through which district teams can examine their policies and practices related to disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in specific circumstances.
These self-assessment checklists aim to help personnel evaluate and develop cultural and linguistic competence. These checklists are specific to personnel who serve:
These forms aim to help educators determine whether culturally and linguistically diverse students are represented disproportionately in their schools’ special education. It also aims to help educators assess areas (e.g., family involvement, curriculum) in which they can improve culturally responsive services.
This checklist of strategic questions aims to help stakeholders evaluate and develop their cultural and linguistic competence. It also includes links to resources related to these strategic questions.
This guide outlines the benefits of and steps to plan and implement a cultural competence self-assessment.
This webpage briefly discusses race and ethnicity issues and provides some strategies to help educators better understand their students’ cultural and linguistic needs.
This article explains how a professional development, empathy-based initiative helped many teachers come to value some cultural differences and overcome specific cultural misconceptions. This article also provides recommendations to help teachers develop cultural competence.
This document describes an urban middle school in Phoenix, Arizona that incorporated proactive, positive interventions rather than punishment in the school’s daily practices. It explains how the school not only reduced student discipline problems but addressed the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education.
This article highlights a school district in the Navajo Nation that created a program to help students with behavioral problems reflect on their behavior, reconnect to a communal spiritual perspective, and improve their self-esteem and motivation to change positively.
Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M., (1989). Towards A Culturally Competent System of Care, Volume I. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development.
Goode, T., and Jones, W. (2009). Linguistic Competence Definition. Washington, DC: National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development.
Jackson, F. (2010). Cultural and Linguistic Competence Guide, Prepared for the TA PDS Project, Department of Labor, 2010)
National Center for Cultural Competence