Click on the link below to view: “What is Culture?” Mind map.
This a mind map of my thoughts, connections and concepts related to culture. It was constructed by adding information at three different times during the class. The first addition was completed prior to reading any of the course materials in week one. At that time my concept about culture appears to be quite limited. Honestly, when I think back to my first thoughts about “culture” before starting this class I related culture to race, ethnicity and minority populations. Why I did not include those on the initial mapping is beyond my recollection. The second addition to my mind map, visible in orange was completed after reading and viewing the course materials for unit one. By this time I started to become acutely aware that culture was everything around me! I know this may seem obvious to some, but in reality I think we underestimate the gravity that our culture imparts upon us. Our culture is so rooted into our sense of self and our environment; we often fail to recognize those complex factors that create our culture. In that first week I learned about the factors that influence and drive culture, such as sociopolitical power, socioeconomic issues and class, leadership, relationships, history and so much more (Nieto, 2008).
Throughout the course I gained perspective about the complex and transient nature of culture. In this final week of this class I have added my final thoughts and connections about culture, visible in purple to my mind map. Over the past eight weeks I learned about factors that construct individual and group culture. Ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender expression, language and religion are perhaps some of the most prominent aspects of an individual’s culture and are often the subject of stereotypes, prejudices, and other misconceptions (Safe Schools Policy for LGBTQ Students, 2010). I understand now that stereotypes in particular, may be based on inaccurate presumptions and they impact my perception and thoughts about individual ability. This is why self-awareness is so important. It is important to acknowledge that my culture and the culture of those with whom I interact will impact my ability to communicate effectively. As a dental hygienist it is not only helpful, but also essential that I gain cultural competency in effort to break down cultural barriers so that I can improve communication and treatment outcomes for my patients, and to support meaningful relationships with them. Culture should not be underestimated. It plays a role in my actions and the action of others. By responding in culturally relevant ways I will maintain the attention of others and gain their respect so that together we can work to meet common goals. Cultural competency is the groundwork for which constructive interactions can exist between culturally different people. It builds an awareness for which one can be tolerant to difference and respectful of individuals’ right to choose how they identify themselves, their beliefs, values and attitudes (Donate-Bartfield & Lausten, 2002). Ultimately, my goal is to strive for equity and justice.
Donate-Bartfield, E., & Lausten, L. (2002). Why practice culturally sensitive care? Integrating ethics and behavioural science. Journal of Dental Edcuation, 66(9), 1006-11.
Nieto, S. (2008). Chapter 9: culture and education. Yearbook of The National Society For The Study Of Education, 107(1), 127. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7984.2008.00137.x
Safe Schools Policy for LGBTQ Students. (2010). Social Policy Report, 24(4), 3-17.