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The Guiding Principles and the Critical Third Pillar: Sociocultural Competence

The Guiding Principles and the Critical Third Pillar: Sociocultural Competence

February 9, 2021

Did you know that the earlier editions of the Guiding Principles referred to the third pillar as “cross-cultural understanding” rather than “sociocultural competence?” The change in terms in the 3rd edition was deliberate. It reflects a shift in thinking in two important ways:  first, “cross-cultural understanding” infers that developing cultural competence is viable only in two-way programs attended by fairly equal numbers of English home-language students and “partner” home-language students and, secondly, that cultural competence may be limited to positive attitudes and feelings of self-esteem.