Flipboard EDU Podcast Episode 28: Cultural Competency with Josue Falaise

William Jeffery / December 3, 2020

Josue Falaise

The biggest unwritten rule in teaching is to know the names of your students. This is even more important if you want them to trust you. Especially now, during COVID-19, disregarding a student’s name, forgetting it due to remote-learning fatigue, or plain ol’ mispronouncing it repeatedly will erode classroom culture faster than ever. 

On episode 10 of the Flipboard EDU Podcast, we talked with four experts about racism in the American educational system and it was one of our most listened-to episodes. During the podcast, Josue Falaise taught me a valuable lesson about cultural competence. He reminded me that pronouncing a student’s name properly is the first “contract” an educator enters into with a student, and mispronouncing that name is like breaking this agreement and will therefore erode trust. 

Falaise is joining us again this week to dive deeper into the topic of cultural competence. As founder and CEO of GOMO Educational Services, he trains educators and writes articles on a variety of topics such as “Turning Adversity into Opportunity” and “Dealing with Difficult Students.” While he was director of improving student achievement at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education, he traveled the world to train educators on practices for equity and equal access to opportunity for all students. A former teacher, principal, assistant superintendent/chief academic officer and, his career in education spans 20 years.  

In this week’s episode, in addition to sharing his professional expertise, Falaise recounts a time as a youth when he disregarded his culture and allowed others to use an “Americanized” version of his name. His awakening to his own Haitian roots steered his professional and educational journey. His story resonates with many culturally diverse students and helps him hold educators accountable to strengthen their cultural competency. 

—William Jeffery is curating Flipboard EDU Podcast

Coach Jeffery” is an award-winning digital learning educator and assistant principal at Columbia High School in Texas. His tech pedagogy continues to drive him to curate educational content on Flipboard that highlights teaching strategies, edtech, and ways to improve student success. He started co-hosting the “Flipboard EDU Podcast” as yet another way to share resources with his peers.