In this activity, you will discuss with your classmates the cultural considerations for various client populations, including any client populations you have interest in working with in the future. You will receive some feedback from your peers about how you can grow or adapt to the responsibility of being culturally competent and humble. Before the discussion, you will watch a talk from Professor Michael Gavin about cultural diversity.
As described in Workshop One, consulting others and receiving constructive feedback is an integral aspect of the social work profession. That feedback process has been integrated into every workshop in this course. You are encouraged to offer and receive feedback with your classmates as openly as possible, considering areas in which you and others have strengths as well as opportunities for growth.
Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:
Explore the impact diversity and difference have in shaping life in mezzo social work practice. (PO 2)
Develop self-reflection and self-regulation to effectively manage the intersection of personal and professional values. (PO 1)
Textbook: Social Work Skills with Groups: Comprehensive Practice and Self-Care
Video: “Why Cultural Diversity Matters” by Michael Gavin, TEDxCSU
Social work as a profession has an underpinning of improving the lives of culturally oppressed groups of people. Social workers do this by gaining an understanding of the lives and situations of minority and oppressed groups. Then they work with individuals, groups, communities, and policymakers to make changes that will benefit the oppressed groups.
When working with people who come together as a group or family, social workers need to familiarize themselves with the group members as individuals. They must simultaneously be aware of their own biases as much as possible. To establish rapport while working with people from diverse groups, a social worker should integrate cultural strengths, encourage learning and sharing about cultural beliefs, and be familiar with community resources and cultural supports. According to the National Association for Social Work, learning about your clients’ cultural backgrounds is an important component of effective and ethical practice (NASW, 2017, Code of Ethics). Learning about another person’s unique cultural background requires question-asking skills, active listening, and caring and empathizing for other human beings.
At a basic level, respect, compassion, and empathy are the most important tools a social worker can have when working with others from any background. People may sometimes feel more comfortable working with someone who seems to be from their own group or culture. However, cultural similarity is not the only factor that determines compatibility. Remember that we are all human beings. Most people value respect, compassion, and empathy above all else in working with people and groups.
Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
In your textbook, Social Work Skills with Groups: Comprehensive Practice and Self Care, read Chapter 7, “Working with Diverse Groups.”
Watch the TEDx talk by Michael Gavin, “Why Cultural Diversity Matters.”
Reflect on your responses to the 2.2 Assignment.
Make an initial post by the fourth day of the workshop that responds to the following prompts.
Identify at least one client population that you hope to work with in your future social work practice. What cultural considerations do you anticipate needing to make as you work with that client population, particularly in families and groups?
How will you learn more about your clients’ cultural identities? Give specific examples of ways that you can learn about their culture.
How will the culture of your client population impact your work?