Objective: To identify similarities and differences between teachers and students to leverage and prioritize meaningful connections between learning and culture, language, and life experiences.
Use the Cultural Distance Calculator to reflect on how similar you are to your students (download the printable Cultural Distance Calculator PDF file, or note down your scores on a piece of paper):
Cultural Distance Calculator Questions
Using a scale of 1-5, with 1 = extremely close and 5 = extremely different, how similar are you and your students’:
- Familial structures?
- Peer interactions?
- Cultural/media influences?
- Ways of problem-solving?
- Definition of success?
- Intrinsic motivators?
- Extrinsic motivators?
- Long-term goals?
- Social media use?
- Social activities/hobbies?
- In what areas are your highest scores?
- In what areas are your lowest scores?
- What trends do you notice?
Stop and Think
(Key: T – Teachers, SL – School Leaders, DL – District Leaders)
- How can you leverage the similarities you have with your students in your learning environment? (T)
- How can you utilize your awareness of the differences that you have with your students and use it to build a connection and high social capital with your students? (T)
- How can you leverage the similarities and differences among teachers and students across the school? (T, SL)
- How can you utilize your awareness of the differences among teachers and students to create a learning environment that prioritizes connections between learning and culture, language, and life experiences for all learners? (T, SL)
- How can you advocate for a hiring pool and process that leverages similarities between building leaders, teachers, and students? (SL, DL)
- How can identifying similarities and differences among building leaders, teachers, and students create a district culture that prioritizes connections between learning and culture, language, and life experiences for all learners? (SL, DL)
Complete the Cultural Distance Calculator e as a grade level team, co-teaching partnership, department, etc. and reflect on how your scores change as a partnership or team (you can use some, or all, of the reflection questions above).