Increasing Understanding of
Multiculturalism to Promote
School Psychologists’ Competence
with Diverse Children and
Sherrie L. Proctor, Ph.D.
NASP-ERT Minority Scholarship Recipient ‘98
Presentation Overview
• Define Culture and Multiculturalism
• The Importance of Multiculturalism To School
• Process of Developing Multicultural Competencies
• Multicultural School Psychology Practices
• Some Things I’ve Learned
What is Culture?
An integrated pattern of human behavior that
includes thoughts, communications, languages,
practices, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies,
rituals, manners of interacting and roles,
relationships and expected behaviors of a
racial, ethnic, religious or social group; and the
ability to transmit the above to succeeding
Source: National Center for Cultural Competence of Georgetown University
What is Culture?
Level 3
Habits, and
Level 2
Shared Values, Goals, Beliefs,
and Attitudes
Level 1
Shared Biological and Physical Qualities
(e.g., height, weight, skin color)
What is Multiculturalism?
 Recognizes broad dimensions of individual identity, including “race,
ethnicity, language, sexual orientation [sexual expression/identity], gender,
age, disability, class status, education, religious/spiritual orientation, and
other cultural dimensions” (APA multicultural practice guidelines and
standards, 2002, p. 9).
 A broad array of differences among people that often hinder
communication and comprehension (Sue et al., 1999)
 As practiced in schools, multiculturalism “is a process, an ideology, and a
set of interventions in which school psychologists and other culturally
competent professionals engage. It is a worldview that recognizes and
values the uniqueness of diverse learners, cultural backgrounds, and
identities.” (Carroll, 2009, p.2)
Ten Components of Multiculturalism
(Sue et al., 1998)
 Values cultural pluralism.
 Promotes social justice, cultural democracy, and equity.
 Promotes development of attitudes, knowledge, and skills needed to
function in a pluralistic society.
 Includes differences in religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, and
geographic region.
 Emphasizes the importance of using multiple perspectives to study multiple
Ten Components of Multiculturalism
(Sue et al., 1998)
 Celebrates the achievements of the U.S. and other cultures.
 Promotes change within individuals, organizations, and society.
 Involves tension and conflicts regarding what constitutes reality.
 Values inclusion, cooperation, and movement towards mutually shared
goals. Concerned with obtaining positive individual, community, and
societal outcomes.
 A crucial component of analytical thinking.
Why is Multiculturalism Important to School
By 2042, the majority of US population will be people of color (US
Census, 2008)
44% public school children are children of color (National Center for
Educational Statistics, 2009)
One out of every five school-age children in the U.S. speaks a language
other than English (Laija-Rodriguez & Restori, 2009).
More than 400 languages represented within the student population with
Limited English Proficiency, with Spanish being the most common (LaijaRodriguez & Restori).
School Psychologists primary providers of psychological services to
children of color (Zhou, Kehle, Clark, & Jenson, 2004)
Why is Multiculturalism Important to School
School Psychologists primary providers of psychological services to
children of color (Zhou, Kehle, Clark, & Jenson, 2004).
Profession is 1.9% African American; Asian/Pacific Islander, 0.9%;
Latino, 3.0%; Native American/Alaskan Native, 0.8%; White, 92.6%; and
Other, 0.8% (Curtis et al., 2006).
98.34% of school psychologists serve students who are members of
racial/ethnic minority groups (Curtis et al.).
School psychology students in APA accredited school psychology
programs reported instruction in working with culturally and linguistically
diverse students as a weakness (Kearns, Ford, & Brown, 2002).
Multicultural “Flashpoints” Toward
Acknowledgment &
Adapted from Carroll (2009) in J. Jones, The Psychology of Multiculturalism in the Schools
We All Belong To Cultural Groups
African American
Middle Class
The Students and Families We Work With
Also Belong To Cultural Groups
Consider All of the Cultural Groups a High
School Student Might Belong To…
High School Sub Culture (e.g., athletes, skaters, surfers, band, arts)
Disability (e.g., Deaf Culture)
Youth Culture
 H8 (H1-H9)
 53x
Multiculturalism and Intervention
NASP’s Professional Conduct Manual Practice Guideline 5.4:
School psychologists incorporate their understanding
of the influence of culture, background, and
individual learning characteristics when designing
and implementing interventions to achieve learning
and behavioral outcomes.
Consider Multicultural Intervention from an
RtI Perspective
Tier 3
Tier 2
Tier 1
Universal Prevention/Intervention
Listen closely and learn …
“I’m not doing turtle, turtle will get you
beat up!” ~ heard in the halls.
Multiculturalism and Assessment
NASP’s Professional Conduct Manual General Principles C.1.b.:
School psychologists respect differences in age, gender, sexual
orientation, and socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic
backgrounds. They select and use appropriate assessment or
treatment procedures, techniques, and strategies.
Multiculturalism and Assessment
Bio-Cultural Model of Assessment
Traditional standardized cognitive and academic
Test the limits using traditional tests. Suspend
time limits, contextualize vocabulary, test-teachretest.
Family/community supports; stage of
acculturation; teacher, parent, student interviews;
across setting observations.
Musical, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal,
intrapersonal, etc.
WISCing alone isn’t enough…
“I bet you don’t know who T.I. is.” ~ a
direct challenge to my cultural
Multicultural Considerations in
 Consultants are sensitive to cultural differences.
 Consultants and consultees acquire knowledge about their
clients’ cultural backgrounds.
 Consultants are mindful of cultural differences in
 Cultural differences influence relationships between
consultants and consultees.
 Multicultural issues are addressed throughout every stage of
the consultation process.
 Consultants acknowledge how systemic issues impact the
cultural context of consultation.
Lopez & Truesdell (2007) in the Handbook of Multicultural School Psychology: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
A few lessons I’ve learned along the way…
We All Have Biases
Nobody is Perfect
Culture Matters
Cultural competence is the integration and
transformation of knowledge about individuals and
groups of people into specific standards, policies,
practices, and attitudes used in appropriate cultural
settings to increase the quality of services; thereby
producing better outcomes.
Davis, K. (1997). Exploring the intersection between cultural competency and managed behavioral health care
policy: Implications for state and county mental health agencies. Alexandria, VA: National Technical
Assistance Center for State Mental Health Planning.
“Multiculturalism is about understanding ourselves
and others who are different from us…at its core
[it is] about people and relationships. And all
relationships are about discovering our
commonalities, our cultural differences, and our
personal uniqueness.” (Reynolds, 2005, p. 111 as
cited in Martines, 2008)
Carroll, D. W. (2009). Toward multicultural competence: A practical model
for implementation in the schools. In J. M. Jones (Ed.), The Psychology of
Multiculturalism in the Schools: A primer for practice, training, and
research, (pp. 1-16). Bethesda, MD: NASP Publications.
Curtis, M. J., Lopez, A. D., Batsche, G. M., & Smith, J. C. (2006, March).
School psychology 2005: A national perspective. Paper presented at the
annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists,
Anaheim, CA.
Esquivel, G. B., Lopez, E. C., Nahari, S. (2007). Handbook of multicultural
school psychology: An interdisciplinary perspective. Mahwah, New Jersey:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Jones, J. M. (2009). The psychology of multiculturalism in the schools: A
primer for practice, training, and research. Bethesda, MD: NASP
Kearns, T., Ford, L., & Brown, K. (2002). Multicultural training in doctoral
school psychology programs: In search of the model program (ERIC
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University of South Carolina.
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