Schools & Institutions of Higher Education

Services for Schools and Institutions of Higher Education:

The United States continues to receive large waves of immigration. With new immigration come many challenges and opportunities for American school administrators. While helping foreign-born students learn English and connecting well with their families are some of the top challenges for teachers and administrators, they also realize, once again, the importance of appreciating diversity in raising their students as global citizens who will become the future successful and resourceful leaders of our “globalized” world.

At StrategicStraits Inc. we like to collaborate with you for developing cultural competence in your learning environment. We offer consulting and training services in the following seven areas:

Cultural competence will enable your school to:

  • Excel in teaching and connecting with your students
  • Develop an organizational culture that is responsive to cultural competence
  • Offer distinguished value to your alumni
  • Differentiate itself among other schools and attract a strong tax base as well as additional government and grant resources that are available to schools

Also, email to join CultureCuriousSchools – a StrategicStraits facilitated listserv for professionals in the education field who are interested in managing and utilizing cultural differences.

Developing the Global Mindset

The global mind is independent from geographical boundaries, can identify resources and human talent across borders and has the ability to face the complexity of global business by analyzing contradictions, recognizing novelties, utilizing technology.

Developing Cultural Competence in Teaching

Cultures differ profoundly when it comes to teaching and learning styles. Knowing about these differences can improve teaching and thus student-teacher communication which ultimately will improve the success of the students. Among the problems students from different cultures encounter in American schools are different attitudes toward hierarchy, criticism, time management, and rules.

Often a student’s failure at school is mistaken for a personal problem, when it really is cultural. If the school is aware of possible intercultural problems, then teachers can meet a student halfway and guide him or her through the adaptation process in order to reach his/her full potential.

Developing Cultural Competence in Communication

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines cultural competence as “a commitment to engage in an ongoing process of learning and developing multiple and various solutions that yield effective practices” and emphasizes the importance of accepting the legitimacy of children’s home language, respecting the home culture, and promoting and encouraging the active involvement and support of all families, including extended and nontraditional family units in order to offer equal learning opportunities to “all” children. Effective communication is a key milestone in building strong relationships with parents, communities as well as fellow co-workers. Being able to communicate across cultures will enable teachers and management staff to communicate effectively with parents, communities and fellow co-workers from different cultures and also create learning environments that offer familiarity, equal learning opportunities and intercultural expertise to students of all backgrounds.

Cultural Competence for Foreign Born Students and their Families

Moving to a new country is a big step for families, and the amount of cultural adjustment needed – combined with the level of related communication – are often underestimated. Students who grow up in between two different, sometimes competing value systems (at home and at school), often struggle to identify the right behavior for the right time and may end up misjudging the right behavior in both spheres.

This is why students as well as families must cultivate a cognitive understanding of the cultural differences so that they can deal with the changes competently and integrate quickly as well as successfully into American culture. While many cultural differences are learned and understood quickly, other fundamental and unspoken ones can prove to be serious stumbling blocks for students’ integration and academic success.

Cultural Competence for U.S. Born Students

Intercultural communication and management rank among the most important job skills in our globalized world. No matter if you’re a one-person entrepreneurial venture or an employee in a large multinational corporation, you often handle business across borders, and culture-smart individuals succeed in rewarding ways.

Schools can bolster the success of their students and alumni by passing on these skills to them and demonstrating the importance of “global citizenship” early in their lives. Celebrating and learning from local diversity are some of the easiest and most effective ways of achieving this goal.

Cultural Competence for Study-abroad Students

Students getting ready to study abroad must be prepared to live in a different culture. A first key step is helping them understand the process they will go through when adapting to life in a new country and dealing with homesickness. In addition, these students need to be prepared for the cultural differences they will encounter in order to adapt faster and better to the different values and behaviors in their new schools (learning and teaching styles differ across the world profoundly), as well as in their dorms or with their host families.

The sooner study–abroad students can adapt their behavior and adjust their attitude the sooner they will feel at home, gain a sense of achievement and make the most out of their experience of studying abroad. Ultimately, students must cultivate self-awareness and the ability to explain and demonstrate to their host culture why they do certain things the way they do. This self-awareness and ability for explanation will help students present themselves confidently and in a trustworthy manner in any society they enter. We offer seminars for students going abroad that are both culture-specific (for a target country) or culture-general.

Cultural Competence in Management and Organizational Culture

Leadership by example is the best way of pulling through change. The “culture factor” needs to be incorporated into any business entity strategically in order to emphasize its importance in all business functions. This means taking the “culture factor” into consideration at all levels – in vision development, performance improvement and professional development.