• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

You are the Expert on Your Community



Last month, I ran two webinars with Dr. Essam Daod on how to be culturally competent when working with people of different backgrounds and building culturally appropriate trainings.


My biggest takeaway from this discussion was that there is something powerful in finding a connecting experience. Essam suggested making coffee. Each culture has their way of making and enjoying coffee.


Can a teacher use something like that as a uniting experience?


In an Empowerment Self Defense class, it might be hard for us to just stop to make coffee, so I offered music as my idea for connecting experience.


Many of us have a childhood song they love, or a cultural or national song that they could teach the rhythm to as part of a sharing piece of a group experience.

Many of us have a childhood song they love, or a cultural or national song that they could teach the rhythm to as part of a sharing piece of a group experience.


We did something like that this past February, which seems so long ago and kind of dreamy, when 50 participants came to El Halev from 23 countries to learn how to teach Empowerment Self Defense.


The Saturday night before everyone left, we had a social gathering where a bunch of people shared songs and dances from their countries for everyone to learn.


It was a magical moment.



So when you go out to teach a new group, even if it is one that seems like you “understand,” find something that you can ask them to share from their life experiences so that you too can learn.


And don’t forget, no matter what, your students will always be the experts of their experiences, and the cultures they come from.

And don’t forget, no matter what, your students will always be the experts of their experiences, and the cultures they come from.


Not you.


Honoring that is the best way to open their hearts to receiving what you have to offer.


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