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mid-week Connect: 5/8/24 ~ Cultural Literacies 101

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

I thought we would explore the topic of cultural literacies today and since it’s such a broad topic, we can focus for starters on 2 types of cultural literacy. In future Connects, we can then continue to dig deeper. Today’s focus fits nicely into the PROcess component of our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework because, as we’ll see, we can intentionally take on the PROcess of developing cultural literacy, to our advantage in multiple contexts. [*]

Very basically, one type of cultural literacy encompasses knowing how you do things in your own culture (self awareness…) and a second adds how others do things in their culture. I wrestled with these two in juxtaposition when I was setting up our homeschool in Senegal and developing a curriculum which led us along both pathways. We lived and learned immersed in local African cultures, but I also wanted my American sons to have a solid foundation in what it was to be “American”. 

In that process, I came across a newly published book (in 1988) which became one of my American culture guides for curriculum and content. It was entitled Cultural Literacy & covered by grade level “what Americans need to know”.  It made me feel like my sons were getting acquainted with America, as well as helping me feel at home - a long way from home.  

For those familiar with this domain, you know that this volume and subsequent ones by ED Hirsch became cornerstones for the study of cultural literacy over the past 4 decades, for better and for worse. For better because it helped - at the time. For worse because it was not perfect and, to be sure, Hirsch’s work has its opponents. These days in a 21st century context, while standing firm on at least some of those late 20th century cultural requisites, I think we can agree that cultural literacy has only become more relevant as internationalization has brought the world to our (literal and figurative) doorsteps - with increasingly complexity which we all need to be navigating.

How about you ~ what would be one example of cultural literacy you are aware of for yourself, and for a culture with which you are becoming familiar?

Share about that with a friend or note it here. 

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on this.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,



~ the original book - which I am not promoting, mind you…just offering the link if you are interested in what was then being introduced as cultural literacy: 


Related Connect: 12/2/20 - multicultural; 3/31/21 - teachable; 6/22/22 - wrong language; 3/8/23 - slang (use this link and scroll down to the date in my blog: )

[*] Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model: 

1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR 

PROACTive Framework:                                                                                                  

PRO = PROfile, PROcess (which we explored this week), PROgram

ACT = Applications, Collaborations and Transformations

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming: 

2024 ~  Celebrating 40+ years of working in 

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”

Please Note: this is copyrighted content. 

Please do not reproduce or share without my permission (

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