Culture, race, and ethnicity tend to change how the children adapt to educational processes. For example, many children from families where English is not the first language have learning difficulties during reading lessons that can influence future academic success by targeting students’ motivation. Equally important, the social adaptation of parents can influence the characteristics of children’s development. In my opinion, professionals who work in child development should set the cultural competence to understand and support children of different backgrounds, because the general models may not work for them. For example, children whose parents do not speak English will need particular attention and encouragement during their first years at school. At the same time, children whose parents do not have stable jobs will need some assistance in creating a comfortable environment where they can study.
I understand cultural competence as the ability to respectfully accept and understand alternative worldviews. Wang et al. (2020), in their article “Parental Ethnic-Racial Socialization and Children of Color’s Academic Success: A Meta-Analytic Review,” analyze how parental socialization impact children’s academic success. The scholars imply that academic achievement, motivation, and involvement of children are related to ethnic and racial socialization. They also note that various aspects of socialization affect motivation and engagement differently, which determine overall performance (Wang et al., 2020). These findings require different approaches for various ethnic and racial groups. Equally important, children’s academic potential suggests a variance in educational methodology applied.
As a Psychologist consulting on child development policymaking, I would recommend determining cultural competence as the priority for advancing equity in the education of children of diverse backgrounds. The first strategy in this regard should feature the training for educators, through which they will learn more about the US history and stories of their local communities. The second strategy should focus on developing methodologies to work with children who have academic issues due to their parents’ socialization.
Wang, M. T., Smith, L. V., Miller‐Cotto, D., & Huguley, J. P. (2020). Parental ethnic‐racial socialization and children of color’s academic success: A meta‐analytic review. Child Development, 91(3), e528-e544. doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13254