Academic journal article Communication Disorders Quarterly

Developing Cultural Intelligence in Preservice Speech-Language Pathologists and Educators

Academic journal article Communication Disorders Quarterly

Developing Cultural Intelligence in Preservice Speech-Language Pathologists and Educators

Article excerpt

Postsecondary educators preparing future clinicians and teachers have an important responsibility to develop cultural competence of their students in order to meet the increasing and ever-changing demands of today's global workforce and diverse workplace. In this article, the authors discuss key components to developing cultural intelligence. These include an awareness of multiperspective identity, an understanding of the concepts of privilege and difference, the development of one's diversity consciousness, and an understanding of and respect for the guiding principles of cultural competence that lead to an understanding of others. Application to practice is presented through multiperspective identity and role-play activities and a case study with questions for facilitating discussion.

Keywords: cultural intelligence; multiperspective identity development; cultural diversity training; preservice SLPs and educators


One of the biggest challenges in the 21st-century workplace is the increasingly global complexity that requires employees at all levels of an organization to function effectively in ever-changing multicultural settings and diverse situations. Postsecondary education faculty members responsible for preparing preservice clinicians and teachers need to provide adequate instructional time to develop the cultural competence of their students. Battle (2000) defines cultural competence as "a process through which one develops an understanding of self, while developing the ability to develop responsive, reciprocal, and respectful relationships with others" (p. 20). To develop cultural competence, one might expect that individuals need inherent skills or predispositions to be sensitive to the needs and worldview of others. However, as postsecondary educators of future speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and teachers, the authors believe that cultural intelligence does not necessarily preclude the innate ability in our students but that it can be developed through thoughtful activities that promote awareness of one's own culture and the ability to discern the cultural reality of others. Throughout this article, the authors use the term preservice clinicians and teachers to mean postsecondary students.

Cultural Intelligence

Definition of Cultural Intelligence

Cultural intelligence (CQ), one component of cultural competence, is defined as "a person's capability to adapt effectively to new cultural contexts" (Earley & Ang, 2003, p. 59). More specifically, cultural intelligence is "an outsider's seemingly natural ability to interpret someone's unfamiliar and ambiguous gestures the way that person's compatriots would" (Earley & Mosakowaski, 2004, p. 140).

Components of Cultural Intelligence

Ang, van Dyne, and Koh (2006); Earley and Ang (2003); and van Dyne (2005-2006) discussed four aspects of cultural intelligence. These include the following:

1. CQ-Strategy, which involves making sense of one's culturally diverse experiences. Individuals employ their metacognitive and cognitive processes and capabilities to acquire cultural information and to form judgments and make decisions about themselves and others. An example of this is when an individual modifies his or her mental concepts and/or images because the reality of an actual experience did not match his or her expectations.

2. CQ-Knowledge, which involves learning about the similarities and differences between cultures with regard to cultural parameters that define a specific cultural group (e.g., values and beliefs about work, health, time, family relationships, rituals, language, and spiritual or religious orientation).

3. CQ-Motivation, which involves an individual's interest and energy in learning about different cultures and functioning in culturally diverse situations. This includes a person's confidence and openness to experience with regard to interacting with individuals from other cultures. …

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