EETAP: On the Ground: Learnings
"On the Ground: Learnings," from Still Developing the Toolbox: Making Environmental Education Relevant for Culturally Diverse Groups authored by Joanne M. Lozar Glenn and published by Environmental Education and Training Partnership (page 10)
- Stop reading. Get in the field. Be willing to make-and correct-mistakes.
- Be aware of your own biases, including thinking that all people of one ethnic group are alike.
- Be sensitive to language. "Diversity' is a self-serving perspective; inclusion is an enriching one. But remember that inclusiveness is a person-to-person connection.
- Submit to the community as a guest. Rather than bulldoze ahead, take a step back and be deliberate in your approach.
- Have multi-lingual staff and offer program materials in other languages to eliminate language barriers. But remember that relevance is more than bridging language barriers-it's about cultural understanding and approaching programming by listening as much as possible.
- Find an ambassador, someone who will help you understand the community and help the community understand you.
- Inspire and invigorate-and connect to what is important to community members.
- Find a mentor so you can learn the intricacies of this work.
- Deal with the tough stuff and strive for open dialogue. Consider the platinum rule: Do unto others as they would have done unto them.
- Remember that the work is never done.
EETAP (Environment Education and Training Partnership) is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The partnership's Web site is http://www.eetap.org/. Intercambios is a binational, bicultural consulting group assisting education professionals in making their program services culturally relevant through offering training, facilitation, and diversity content. The University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point offers a ten-week online course on "Making EE Relevant to Culturally Diverse Audiences (MEER)."