Assessing the impact of cultural proficiency training for central office administrators
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The purpose of this study was to explore participants’ perceptions of the impact of a cultural proficiency workshop that discussed concepts of race and racism. Moreover, I was interested in understanding the factors and experiences associated with a greater likelihood that people would want to engage in dialogue on race and racism. The literature suggests that when discussions like these are broached, people can often become disinterested and disengaged (Derman-Sparks & Phillips, 1997; Diem & Carpenter, 2012; Singleton & Linton, 2006; Tatum, 1997). Therefore, if it is indeed pertinent for educators to be presented with knowledge that can be critical to student success, it is vital to understand what aspects of the training and what qualities of the participants lend themselves to a higher level of engagement and interest. To research these phenomena, a mixed method study design was employed. School district central office personnel were required to attend a culture proficiency professional development session which covered concepts of race and racism. I surveyed these participants to gather their perceptions about the impact of the training. In addition, several participants were interviewed. To answer the second research question, certain participants were asked to participate in a follow-up interview to determine the qualities and characteristics that created a greater likelihood that these individuals would see the importance of race-based discourse and continue these conversations. Findings suggest that workshop participants perceived that the workshop helped to increase their level of racial awareness and change their behaviors or disposition. However, it was found that additional follow-up was needed to sustain these efforts. They also expressed that these kinds of workshops are essential. For those who were likely to engage in race-based discourse, it was found that these individuals were racially aware, rejected notions of colorblindness, discovered race at a young age, were more likely to attend diverse schools and live in diverse neighborhoods and were likely to have faced discrimination as a person from an oppressed group or due to a close relationship with someone who was.