Creating Culturally Considerate Schools: Educating without Bias


Kim L. Anderson & Bonnie M. Davis

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Dedication

    In fond memory of Richard Ashburner.


    View Copyright Page


    This book has been writing itself as long as Bonnie and I have known one another. It has percolated as aromatically as the coffees we have shared over the past twelve years. We are very different women, yet we are united in our appreciation of things rich in flavor and fairness.

    Creating Culturally Considerate Schools: Educating Without Bias blends the best of our individual work. Bonnie is a veteran educator and author with five titles to her credit and three more in the works. I am a veteran clinician and clinical educator with one title of which I am very proud and another in press. My contribution to this book begins with the phrase culturally considerate, a central theme of Culturally Considerate School Counseling: Helping Without Bias, published by Corwin in 2010. I am partial to this term because, for me, it opens the dialogue to include the parallel journey implicit in personal growth and professional development. Cultural consideration expands the notion of culture and allows for the variations within groups as well as between them.

    As a result of my personal history, multidisciplinary training, and professional experience, I have come to use a very broad definition of culture. I value the importance of critical race theory, disability rights, and antipoverty initiatives, though make every attempt to avoid assumptions or prejudicial words that limit culture to issues of race and ethnicity, disability or socioeconomic status. Instead, I consider Heritage and Historic Memory, Geographic or Regional Origin, Circumstance and Situation, and Affinity or Relational Bonds. For me, this is the essence of intersectionality.

    As I begin writing this book, forty-seven years have passed since Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech at the Washington Monument sharing his dream for children. This week, Glenn Beck, with a dream of his own, rallied supporters to the same site. That is the beauty of our country. Two men with differing dreams can stand free in one place and share visions of a perfect world.

    I see clients in a lovely office in an upwardly mobile part of the city. For most of my career, I had my own office. This is the first time I have sublet space in thirty years. Some of my clients have followed me from social service agencies to private practice. They do not always fit in with the decor of my current clinical space. I have been told that some of my clients “bother” other clients. I ask why. One day I was told one of my clients wore camouflage pants. I asked which one? I had two clients who wore camouflage pants that day. One was a mentally ill man who takes Medicaid transportation to my office from a rural county each week. The other was a petite woman who was delighted to show me the smart pair of camouflage leggings she found on sale at Neiman Marcus.

    A single mom and her two teenage children move out of the apartment next door to me. They have lived there less than six months. She tells me the rent has been raised and it seems like very much to pay for a two-bedroom apartment. She is right. Two blond, blue-eyed university students move in a few weeks after Mrs. Lopez, Maria, and Jaime move out. I am saddened to think that we like our baseball players to be from Latin America but not our neighbors.

    Each day I wonder what children make of events and incidences like these. Each day I wonder if an adult is correcting the misinformation or reinforcing it. What is that old sixties saying? If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. I choose to be part of the solution. I assume if you have picked up this book, so do you.



    I am deeply grateful to our editor, Dan Alpert, for his unwavering support of this project. He never doubted the importance of the message nor our ability to present it. I am also grateful to our reviewers who embraced the material and gave us valuable feedback for sewing up a few frayed edges. Special thanks to Dorothy Kelly who reads with a wise eye and open heart.

    I am most grateful to Bonnie Davis, my coauthor and coconspirator. Bonnie has been a source of inspiration and intrigue from the day we met in a mystery writing class some dozen years ago. I am proud to share this creative journey with her.

    Finally, I am grateful to my family and friends who endure the obstacle-course floors and cluttered dining tables when the muse comes calling. I could not do this work without them.

    ~ kla ~
    Publisher's Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers:

    William A. Howe

    State Title IX Coordinator/Civil Rights Compliance

    CT State Department of Education

    Bureau of Accountability & Improvement

    Hartford, CT

    Barbara Heuberger Rose

    Associate Professor

    Department of Teacher Education

    Miami University

    Oxford, OH

    Tiffany S. Powell-Lambright

    Assistant Professor

    The SAGE Colleges

    Graduate School of Education

    Troy, NY

    Deborah L. Misiag

    Elementary Instructional Facilitator

    Administrative Office of the Department of Special Education

    The Old Cedar Lane School

    Howard County Public School System, Howard County, MD

    Ben Williams

    Project Director

    The Ohio STEM Equity Pipeline Project

    Perkins Coordinator

    Columbus State Community College

    Richard Gomez

    Coordinator, Educational Equity

    Utah State Office of Education

    Salt Lake City, UT

    Maria Whittemore

    FCPS Minority Achievement Coordinator

    Frederick County Public Schools

    191 South East Street

    Frederick, MD

    About the Authors

    Kim L. Anderson's career path has been a diverse and divergent one. Prior to obtaining a graduate degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis, she was a freelance writer, photographer, and graphic artist with interests in “outsider art,” expressions of oppression and liberation beyond conventional artistic borders or boundaries. After many years of private practice as a licensed clinical social worker, clinical supervisor, and educator, Kim received a post-graduate certificate in art psychotherapy and now is a board certified art therapist. She is the author of Culturally Considerate School Counseling: Helping Without Bias, published by Corwin in 2010. Ms. Anderson presents her eclectic work at numerous local, regional, and national events and venues, engaging her audience through compelling narrative, careful research, evocative experiences, and instructive storytelling.

  • Appendices & Tools


    In the following pages, we have provided the worksheets we introduced within the book, supplemental self-care information, and a list of resources for continued personal and professional growth. We are happy to share these with you. Much of the material is original and/or copyrighted so we also would appreciate appropriate credit if you copy and distribute them within your professional learning communities.

    You will find

    • Inward Bound: A Wholistic Plan for Body, Mind, Psyche, and Spirit
    • Scenarios to Study
    • Wholistic Reflection Worksheet
    • Cultural Consideration Event Summary
    • Personal Rights
    • Guidelines for Clear Communication
    • Emotions/Feelings and Body Signal List
    • Cultural Awareness Matrix
    • Rules of Engagement
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Problem Solving Steps
    • Culturally Considerate Resources
    Inward Bound

    Inward Bound (Anderson, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2011) is a wholistic wellness practice for mind, body, psyche, and spirit, all of which are important to wholistic wellness. Thinking clearly, identifying feelings (body and emotion), integration of what is known at one's core, and a sense of connectedness are all important factors in healing and in physical and mental health. Establishing a daily wellness practice to address each of these important aspects of the self is essential. They may feel awkward, irritating, or time-consuming at first, but once integrated into daily life, these practices can become second nature.

    Sunrise Pages

    This practice is similar to Julia Cameron's morning pages in that she suggests writing Morning Pages as a way to begin rediscovering the creative process, but also as a way to release thoughts and feelings that are barriers to creativity. In the context of Inward Bound, we use Sunrise Pages as a psychic constitutional—a healthy way to purge mental and emotional toxins through a brief free write.

    Soon after you awake in the morning, sit down with pen and paper and write nonstop for five minutes. Use an egg timer or your phone. Don't use a computer; the physical act of writing is important. Don't stop writing until the five minutes are up, even if you repeat yourself or write nonsense words. When you are finished, do not read what you have written. Close the tablet, put the pages in a folder, or store them in a drawer. You are done with your morning pages and it's time to move on.

    Daily Intention

    Setting an intention for each day is a simple way to begin discovering purpose. Intentions can be as general as “It will be a good day today,” or as specific as “I will find three things of beauty today.” At first, it may be necessary to set an intention such as “I will not use derogatory slang today” but soon that can be amended to a positive statement and become, “I will treat my colleagues with respect today.” Write your intention on a small piece of paper and put it in a pocket. If things begin to feel out of balance, take the paper out and read your intention aloud three times.

    Food Plan

    A food plan is just that—a plan for food. There are no bad foods but sometimes people don't make the best choices about food due to the lack of planning. Food plans help to take the mystery and sometimes evil magic out of food intake and assist in overall physical and emotional health by setting food intention. It is often random or responsive eating that becomes problematic.


    Thirty minutes of low impact aerobic movement daily helps keep the body flexible and endorphins flowing which are extremely important in sustaining wellness. Depression and stress generate both mental and physical exhaustion, and pharmacological research now has caught up to what psychotherapists have known for years—depression and stress cause pain and jeopardize immune function. The release of endorphins reduces pain, strengthens the immune system, anDoffsets other symptoms such as sleep disturbance, appetite changes, lack of focus, and energy depletion.


    Affirming the positive in one's life is a manifestation of our well-ness foundation. Stating out louDor writing statements that affirm what is good and true may bring to mind an old Saturday Night Live skit, but the eventual impact on self-concept and confidence is serious business. As with intentions, begin with short and simple statements: I can do this. I am intelligent. My body is strong. I am a caring person.

    Twilight Pages

    Nighttime is often difficult for people in the throes of emotional challenges or work overload. Not only is the dark and quiet unsettling, but biorhythms may either begin to wane or in some instances, an individual body clock may be in contradiction to the rest of the world. Establishing an evening routine is probably one of the most important components of health and wellness.

    Twilight pages are much like sunrise pages in that they are designed to collect thoughts and feelings and set them aside, however in this instance, the positive and productive portions of the day are collected, put out onto paper with pen in hand, and gently tucked away.

    Set your timer for five minutes (soon you won't need a timer—you'll just know when to stop and start) and begin to write about the accomplishments of the day. Don't let your hand stop writing. When the five minutes are up, stop. This time, take three deep, cleansing breaths, and walk around the room for another five minutes. Come back to the twilight pages and read them. Take three more cleansing breaths and give thanks for fulfilling your day's intention by making an offering to your gratitude grotto.

    Gifts of Gratitude

    Whether it is a grotto, altar, treasure chest, or shoe box, craft a receptacle for symbols of gratitude. Becoming aware of gratitude in our lives takes us beyond pain and frustration and brings us out into the world where goodness survives amidst tragedy and freedom exists after oppression.

    Each night, create a symbol of something for which you are grateful. It can be anything: a poem, a drawing, a clipping from a magazine, a rock, a puff of cat fur. It needs to be tangible—something you can see and touch, hear or smell. The senses must be involved so that you can fully take in the significance of the person or event for which you are grateful.

    Deposit your symbol into your gratitude chest. These tangible objects will be there for a rainy day when it might be more difficult to find a rosebud for which to be thankful.

    Centering Before Bedtime

    Western medicine calls it “sleep hygiene.” Zen Buddhists will not call it anything as sleep is what it is and does what it does. But a few things will help increase the odds of a good night's sleep.

    • Establish a regular sleep routine and time.
    • Create a pleasant sleep space which takes all senses into account.
    • Reduce all other sensory stimulation at least one hour before bed.
    • If you are prone to bad dreams or nightmares, understand that this is information for growth, not to terrorize. Nightmares will subside when they are embraced and the lessons they bring are learned.
    • Associate your sleep space with sleep—not watching TV or doing work or homework.
    • Be comfortable when you get into bed. Wear PJs which are soft and not binding. If a new mattress is not in your budget, maybe a foam topper or new pillows are.
    • Center yourself by taking deep, relaxing breaths.
    • Affirm that you will sleep and sleep peacefully. Welcome the information dreams may have for you but ask that it come gently so you may listen and learn.

    Along with these daily practices, the following facets of day-today life need to be carefully and considerately attended.

    Connecting with Family and Friends

    Human connection is vital to becoming a vital human being. Sometimes it is necessary to find a new circle of friends or adopt an extended family, but it is a necessary part of health and healing. Trust cannot be rebuilt or newly discovered without having people to push against and pull toward us.

    Education, Vocation, Avocation

    Finding a “right livelihood” brings self-esteem and builds self-confidence. Whether it is finishing another degree or getting the job of your dreams, finding an environment in which you feel comfortable and respected is important. It is likewise important that you respect your colleagues. Unfortunately money is necessary, though not evil as the often misquoted adage states. But money must be secondary to comfort or the likelihooDof joblessness increases.


    Everyone has the capacity to create. Creativity is not a gift bestowed upon the deserving. It is a human quality. We may not be able to draw as well as another person or sing our way to stardom, but we can create. There are many vehicles that are rarely considered for creative transportation of our thoughts and feelings. In addition to the “fine” arts, sewing, gardening, carpentry, cooking, or rebuilding cars may be your vehicle of choice. Don't diminish anything you create.

    Nurture Something

    Closely aligned to creation, nurturing a pet, a plant, or a talent validates our stamina. Yes, as educators and helpers we nurture each day, but nurturing something unrelated to our jobs shows that we can see things through without a paycheck to prompt us. We can grow.


    Have fun! All work—internal and external—and no play makes for a tired and resentful person. Activities must simply be fun for the sake of fun—not purposeful. Fun has no purpose other than to invoke joy and happiness. It may take a few tries and trying new things, but recreation is just as important as any other column on the healing chart.

    Helping Others, Giving Back

    Bonnie and I feel very strongly about Reparation as an important step toward Equity and Social Justice. I also feel it is an important part of personal growth. It may seem overwhelming to help others when we give at the office each day, but stepping outside of our comfort zone to make someone else more comfortable gives perspective and a sense of accomplishment that is unsurpassed. Some ideas are volunteering at a community garden, tutoring new immigrants in English, cooking or serving food for those in need, building houses with an organization like Habitat for Humanity. Efforts do not have to be organized. Watering an ailing neighbor's lawn or taking pets to the vet for an elderly or physically challenged person can be just as rewarding. Set a limit of time devoted to your efforts each week. Balance in all things, even volunteerism.

    Spiritual Practice

    Faith or belief does not have to mean organized religion or naming a deity, but becoming reacquainted with a sense of something beyonDourselves can give purpose and direction. For those who identify as agnostic or atheist, this may seem culturally insensitive. Though that is not my intention, I acknowledge the contradiction. The truth is, I have never found alternative verbiage that didn't sound awkwarDor pandering to me.

    Connecting with Nature

    Connecting with Nature can be grounding, calming, and can assist in becoming more connected to one's body and inner voice of reason. Make outings as simple as possible. Carry little with you. Return with less. Breathe deeply. Walk gently. Attune to the sounds. Quiet time in Nature can stand alone as a meditation.


    When we deliberately withhold information from those affected by that knowledge, we are making a choice to segregate ourselves from the whole. In turn, in doing this, we don't allow others to make decisions or act based upon fact.

    There is a difference between “privacy” and “secrecy.” Privacy is a choice and does not adversely affect anyone else. Secrecy is generally helDout of fear of consequence or reprisal. Privacy is a right when practiced properly. Secrecy is most often self-serving, destructive, and unnecessary. Secrets also often have a way of slithering out when least expected, causing far more damage than any honest disclosure or confrontation ever could.


    Going by this information alone, it would seem that the teacher may be hypersensitive to the boy's racial makeup to the exclusion of other possible factors. Being a culturally considerate educator includes taking ethnographic elements into account, but does not assume they are the sole cause for all academic achievement concerns.

    This may be an example of “narcissistic altruism” (see page 61). Sometimes the more we know, the less we listen. Seasoned professionals in the fielDof education and diversity can be the most challenging when it comes to equity skill building. If an educator specializes in special education, he or she may see intellectual differences before other causes for a student's struggle. The school counselor may see emotional or mental health problems. If a teacher has specific interest and credentialing in diversity or multicultural issues, he or she may look for cultural reasons in situations where there may be other more pressing reasons for a student's performance or behavior.

    Paradoxically, by unnecessarily focusing on cultural issues, the issue of culture DOES become an issue. Cultural consideration and educational equity mean a holistic view of all students, taking into account all facets of a chilDor adolescent's heritage, history, geographic origin, circumstances, and relational bonds (page 65).


    Realizing that the African American literacy director probably recognized correctly that Joey was protective of his family's financial situation, it is imperative that no one make assumptions about any student without verification or validation by the student, his or her family, or the official record. In many instances, information such as this may be none of the school's concern.

    There are many reasons children keep family business within the family. Financial reasons are among them. Unconventional family configurations are another. BlendeDor extended families, unmarried parents, gay or lesbian parents, undocumented families, illness, or a family member who is or has been incarcerated are just a few of the reasons children and adolescents feel protective of their families.

    Pushing a child to disclose anything rarely helps anDoften hinders. If there is a piece of information necessary to the student's schooling, it probably is somewhere in the student's file or it can be obtained in other ways.

    Wholistic Reflection Worksheet

    I think ____________________________________________________________


    (What my mind tells me about this person, event, situation, or problem.)

    I feel ____________________________________________________________


    (The emotions I feel and the physical sensations I have in my body in response to this situation.)

    I know ____________________________________________________________


    (Considering my thoughts and feelings, what facts have I concluded.)

    I believe ____________________________________________________________


    (What does my intuition or faith tell me in regard to this person, event, situation, or problem.)

    Cultural Consideration Event Summary Date ________________

    Description of Event







    My First Thoughts _________________________________________________________________________

    My Body Felt ______________________________________________________________________________

    I Knew ___________________________________________________________________________________

    I Believed ________________________________________________________________________________

    What I Wanted to Do _______________________________________________________________________

    What I Did ________________________________________________________________________________

    Result ____________________________________________________________________________________

    What I Will Do Next Time



    How I Feel About How I Handled Things




    Personal Rights

    The Right to Promote One's Own Dignity and Self Respect

    The Right to be Treated with Respect by Others

    The Right to Say “No”

    The Right to Experience and Express One's Feelings

    The Right to Take Time to Think before Acting

    The Right to Change One's Mind

    The Right to Ask for What One Wants

    The Right to Achieve Less than is Humanly Possible

    The Right to Ask for Information

    The Right to Make Mistakes

    The Right to Feel Good About One's Self

    Cultural Self-Awareness Matrix






    Body Signals

    Tired, Exhausted, Numb

    Tense, Tight, Teeth ClincheDor Grinding

    Anxious, Jittery

    Joint or Muscle Pain, Achy, Hurt

    Stomach Trouble, Nauseous, Diarrhea, Stomach Pain

    Dizziness, Fuzzy, Light-headed, Spacey

    Funny, Weird, Skin Crawling, Tingly

    Flashbacks, Body Memories; Intrusive Thoughts, Beliefs, or Voices

    Can't Sleep, Bad Dreams, Sleep too Much

    Hungry, Cravings, Empty

    Satisfied, Full, Too Full

    Strong, Beautiful, Energetic

    Rules of Engagement

    Arrive Unencumbered

    Enter with Intent

    Attend to Self-Care

    Respect Others


    Ask Questions

    Leave Satisfied

    Guidelines for Clear Communication

    Clear communication includes

    • Respect of one another
    • Being honest
    • Speaking one at a time and allowing equal time
    • “I” statements
    • Clarifying by repeating
    • Giving reasons
    • Making compromises
    • Admitting mistakes
    • Time-outs and taking breaks
    • Observing the guidelines agreed upon

    Clear communication does not include

    • Name calling
    • Generalizations
    • “You” statements
    • Tangents
    • Violence, threats, or intimidation
    • Changing the rules
    • Expecting a winner and loser
    • Expecting a right or wrong
    • Saving up issues and dumping them all at once
    • Mind reading
    • Assumptions
    • Denying the facts
    • Gloating over a victory
    • Stonewalling or ignoring the other person

    Barriers to communication include

    • Habit
    • Fear of displeasing someone
    • Mistaken sense of responsibility
    • Protecting the other person
    • Guilt and/or shame
    • Misinformation about personal rights
    • Reluctance to give up benefits of silence
    • Financial insecurity
    • Chemical abuse or dependency
    • Abuse or violence
    • Secrets

    Causes of poor communication are

    • Anger
    • Depression
    • Misinformation/ignorance
    • Feelings of vulnerability
    • Lack of empathy for the other person
    • Mistrust of the other person
    • Control feels good

    Additional communication considerations:

    • Facial Expressions
    • Gestures
    • Touch
    • Interrupting
    • Tone and volume of voice
    • Control over space
    Conflict Resolution
    • Deal with one issue at a time.
    • Set a time limit.
    • Follow the guidelines for clear communication and rigidly abide by them.
    • Stay current. Do not talk about past problems unless they directly relate to the present.
    • Allow both talking and listening time.
    • Do not interrupt.
    • Arrive at a solution good for both parties. A problem has not been solved if someone has to “give in” for the sake of ending a conflict.
    Problem Solving Steps
    • Define the problem.
    • Specify the desireDoutcome.
    • List ways to attain the goal.
    • Narrow the focus to the top three choices.
    • List positives and negatives of each choice.
    • Calculate findings.
    • If things remain unclear, re-examine the problem definition and desireDoutcomes. It may be that the core issue[s] have not been stated clearly.


    Amnesty International

    The Equity Alliance

    Human Rights Watch

    International Institute

    National Association for Multicultural Education

    National Center for Cultural Competence

    Southern Poverty Law Center

    Teaching Tolerance

    The White Privilege Conference

    Anti-Defamation League

    Ontario Consultants on

    Religious Tolerance

    Box 27026

    Kingston, Ontario Canada K7M


    PO Box 128

    Watertown, NY 13601-0128

    Fax (613) 547-9015

    The PJ Library

    Disability Resources

    Disability Rights, Education, & Defense Fund

    National Institutes of Health


    9000 Rockville Pike

    Bethesda, MD 20892

    National Alliance of Mental


    3803 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100

    Arlington, VA 22203

    (703) 524-7600

    Fax: (703) 524-9094

    Child Welfare Information


    Children's Bureau/ACYF

    1250 Maryland Avenue, SW, Eighth Floor

    Washington, DC 20024

    (800) 394-3366

    The Ophelia Project

    American Association of University Women

    Expanding Your Horizons

    Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming-Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families

    Authors Chastity Bono and Billie Fitzpatrick, Little, Brown, & Company, 1999

    My Princess Boy

    Cheryl Kilodavis, KD Talent, LLC, 2010

    And Tango Makes Three

    Authors Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Simon & Schuster, 2005

    Girls Inc.

    GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network


    National Center for Lesbian Rights

    National Abstinence Education Association

    New Moon Magazine

    Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

    Planned Parenthood

    Real Boys' Voices, William Pollack, Random House, 2000

    Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and Crisis of Masculinity (Video)

    Media Education Foundation

    Why Boys Don't Talk and Why We Care: A Mother's Guide to Connection

    Authors Susan Morris Shaffer and Linda Perlman Gordon

    Rosalind Wiseman

    Author of Queen Bees and Wannabes

    Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, 2000

    Women's Educational Equity Act

    National Network of Partnership Schools

    Johns Hopkins University

    3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 200

    Baltimore, MD 21218

    (410) 516-8800

    Fax: (410) 516-8890

    National Parent Teacher Organizations

    541 N Fairbanks Court

    Suite 1300

    Chicago, IL 60611-3396

    (312) 670-6782

    Toll-Free: (800) 307-4PTA (4782)

    Fax: (312) 670-6783

    National Service Learning Partnership

    National Service Resource Center

    ETR Associates

    4 Carbonero Way

    Scotts Valley, CA 95066

    (800) 860-2684 or (831) 438-4060

    TTY: (831) 461-0205

    Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

    National Staff Development Council

    Educating for Change

    Band Shades: Multicultural Bandages

    Diversity Tool Kit

    Enchanted Learning

    The Multicultural Toy Box

    The Artist's Way

    Author Julia Cameron, Jeremy

    P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2002

    Between Therapists: The Processing of Transference and Countertransference Material

    Author Arthur Robbins, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1988

    Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity

    Author Julia Cameron, Jeremy

    P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2003


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