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DIVERSITY: THE ADVANTAGES OF APPRECIATING OUR DIFFERENCES Aaron Thompson, Ph. D March 2011
• Refers primarily to the differences among groups of people, that, together make up the whole of humanity • Commitment to recognizing and appreciating the variety of characteristics that make individuals unique in an atmosphere that promotes and celebrates individual and collective achievement
• The relationship between humanity and human diversity is similar to the relationship between sunlight and the spectrum of colors. Just as the sunlight passing through a prism is dispersed into all groups of colors that make up the visual spectrum, the human species that’s spread across the planet is dispersed into all groups of people that make up the human spectrum (humanity).
DIVERSITY SPECTRUM of DIVERSITY HUMANITY Gender (male-female) Age (stage of life) Race (e. g. White, Black, Asian) Ethnicity (cultural background) Socioeconomic status (educational level/income level) National citizenship (citizen of U. S. or another country) Native (first-learned) language National origin (nation of birth) National region (e. g. raised in north/south) Generation (historical period when people are born or live) Political ideology (e. g. liberal/conservative) Religious and Spiritual beliefs (e. g. Christian/Buddhist/Muslim) Family status (e. g. single parent/two-parent family) Marital status (single/married) Parental status (with/without children) Sexual orientation(heterosexual/gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender) Physical ability/disability (e. g. able to hear/hearing impaired) Mental ability/disability (e. g. mentally able/challenged) Learning ability/disability (e. g. absence/presence of dyslexia) Learning styles (e. g. visual, auditory, kinesthetic) Mental health/illness (e. g. absence/presence of depression) This list represents some of the major dimensions of human diversity, it does not represent a complete list of all possible forms of human diversity. Also, disagreement exists about certain dimensions of diversity (e. g. whether certain groups should be considered races or ethnic groups. )
• Netherlands: – 16, 783, 092 (July 2010 estimate) • United States: – 310, 232, 863 (July 2010 estimate) • Amsterdam – 756, 347 (January 2009 estimate)
• Immigrant Population in Amsterdam (figures from 2007) – 64, 588 Moroccans – 37, 421 Turks – 10, 244 British – 6, 670 Germans – 5, 609 Surinamese
• United States – 36. 8 years • Netherlands – 40. 8 years
(2008 estimate) – Dutch 80. 7% – EU 5% – Indonesian 2. 4% – Turkish 2. 2% – Surinamese 2% – Moroccan 2% – Caribbean 0. 8% – Other 4. 8%
Non-Hispanic (2009 estimate) – White – Black – American Indian/ Alaskan Native – Asian – Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander – Two or More Races 65% 12. 3%. 08% 4. 4%. 1% 1. 5% Hispanic (2009 estimate) – White – Black – American Indian/ Alaskan Native – Asian – Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander – Two or More Races 14%. 06%. 03%. 01%. 04%. 02%
United States (2007 estimate) Netherlands (2006) – Protestant 51. 3% – Roman Catholic 23. 9% – Mormon 1. 7% – Other Christian 1. 6% – Jewish 1. 7% – Buddhist 0. 7% – Muslim 0. 6% – Other /Unspecified 2. 5% – Unaffiliated 12. 1% – None 4% – Roman Catholic 30% – Dutch Reformed 11% – Calvinist 6% – Other Protestant 3% – Muslim 5. 8% – Other 2. 2% – None 42%
• Individuals are also part of a larger social unit – their community. • This social circle includes friends and neighbors at home, school, and work.
• Individuals are also members of a larger society that includes people from different regions of the country, cultural backgrounds, and social classes.
• Individuals are not only members of a society, they are citizens of a nation. • Immigrants who become a part of any country retain pieces of their own cultural backgrounds that preserve their distinctive heritage (e. g. , food).
• Individuals are also members of an international world that includes multiple nations. • Communication and interaction among citizens of different countries is greater than at any other time in world history, due in large part to rapid advances in electronic technology.
• A process that embraces the richness of difference within our society • Valuing diversity recognizes that all groups have contributed to the human experience, and that all contributions have given humanity its strength and edge.
MOVING FROM DIVERSITY TO CULTURAL COMPETENCE
ASAP of New York State • “DIVERSITY refers to variation in populations, such as race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, disability, age, language, and gender; while COMPTENCY refers to the ability to understand respond effectively to student needs based on these variations. Thus, diversity is a feature of the population, and competency is a measure of effectiveness. ”
Cultural Competence Cultural Action Cultural Acceptance Cultural Acknowledgement Cultural Awareness CULTURAL SENSITIVITY Bias Stereotyping Prejudice Discrimination Genocide Aaron Thompson, Ph. D Copyright © 2007
• If we as individuals have biases, the way that we act on those biases determines whether we move to the top or the bottom of the stair step. • Most individuals tend to be on the bias step of the staircase. The goal is to be on the middle step (cultural sensitivity).
• An understanding that our internal biases have affected those around us, both those we know personally and those we do not
• An awareness of your own cultural biases and affects they may have on yourself and others
• The act of acknowledging the differences that exist between individuals, races, and entire cultures, and viewing those differences as positive rather than negative
• Valuing cultural differences and similarities, and viewing the differences as positive
• The process of recognizing differences and responding to them in a positive manner; it represents an advanced step in the process of becoming culturally competent
• How you apply your values as a professional • How you apply your values as an individual
• The ability to appreciate cultural differences and to interact effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds
A MODEL FOR DEVELOPING SELF AND OTHERS
Action A Awareness 4 th Acceptance Acknowledgement Aaron Thompson, Ph. D Copyright © 2008
• Become aware of your own belief system. • How do you know what they truly are? • Are you willing to acknowledge them?
• Ability to gain knowledge from internal and external resources • Ability to admit to internal biases • Listens to and respects the opinions of others
• Can you acknowledge the affects your beliefs have on others? • Are they positive or negative? • How do you know?
• Social intelligence • Impact of individual thought and actions on people that you serve (e. g. , students)
• Has the ability to understand how beliefs affect your job, family, community • Understands how belief system may be transmitted to others • Recognizes the short and longterm effects of beliefs
• Empathy – a crucial element of emotional intelligence • Able to see and understand the connection between cause and effect of behavior that has been internalized
• Where do you go now? • Development of action plan • Use knowledge gained from Awareness, Acknowledgment, and Acceptance to move forward
• The application of intellectual, social, and emotional knowledge • Seeks to eliminate biases held • Builds relationships with a diverse group of individuals • A strategic process for cultural competence • A summative assessment of the holistic A 4 th
THE IMPORTANCE OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURAL COMPETENCE WITHIN HIGHER EDUCATION
• Research studies have demonstrated a link between interactions of students with a diverse group of peers and increases in a number of student learning outcomes: intellectual and self-confidence, openness to diversity and challenge, critical thinking, leadership and cultural knowledge, moral reasoning, and the development of pluralistic orientation.
• A particular form of interpersonal interaction that has been found to be strongly associated with improving students’ performance in college and their motivation to complete college is student to student (peer) interaction.
• Research indicates that humans learn more deeply when their learning takes place in a social context that involves interpersonal interaction and collaboration (Cuseo, 1996).
• Research consistently shows that we learn more from people who are different from us than we do from people who are similar to us (Pascarella, 2001; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).
• Research on college students shows that students who experience the highest level of exposure to different dimensions of diversity (e. g. , interactions and friendships with peers of different races, or participating in multicultural courses and events on campus) report the greatest gains in: – thinking complexity – the ability to think about all parts and all sides of an issue (Gurin, 1999) – reflective thinking – the ability to think deeply (Kitchener et al. , 2000), and – critical thinking – the ability to think logically (Pascarella et al. , 2001).
• Experiencing diversity can enhance your ability to think creatively. • Diversity experiences supply us with different thinking styles that can help us to be aware of our own cultural framework. • These experiences also help us to be aware of our perceptual “blind spots” and avoid the dangers of group think – the tendency for like-minded groups of people to think so much alike that they overlook the flaws in their own thinking – which can lead to poor choices and faulty decisions (Janis, 1982).
• Whatever career students choose to enter, they will likely find themselves working with employers, employees, co-workers, customers, and clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. • Successful career performance in today’s diverse workforce requires sensitivity to human differences and the ability to relate to people from different cultural backgrounds who work in the U. S. and across different nations (National Association of Colleges & Employers, 2003; Smith, 1997).
INCORPORATING DIVERSITY INTO THE CLASSROOM
• Utilize class time to allow students to work with and learn from one another. • At the beginning of the term, provide diversity exercises for students to introduce themselves to one another and to you as the instructor. • Bring other individuals into the classroom that students can connect with.
• Ask students to do a cultural interview as a class assignment to introduce them to new and different cultures. • Require or give extra credit for students to engage in cocurricular experiences relating to diversity awareness.
• Ask students to list the five most important events or five most important people in history.
• Allow students to share their own personal histories and life journeys – Writing assignments that focus on turning points in their lives, past experiences (positive and negative), or role models or sources of inspiration
WAYS STUDENTS CAN INCREASE OPPORTUNITIES FOR INTERACTING WITH DIVERSE PEERS
• Have students create opportunities for interaction and conversation with individuals from diverse groups. – Sit near them in class – Join them in group projects and discussions if given the option
• Have students use the internet to communicate with students from diverse groups at the university or with students in different countries. – Provides an opportunity to understand your own culture and country as well as increase awareness of its customs and values
• Have students join of form discussion groups with students from diverse backgrounds. • Have students form collaborative learning teams (e. g. , note-taking, reading)
• Alcohol and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State • CIA World Factbook • Cuseo, J. B. (1996). Cooperative learning: A pedagogy for addressing contemporary challenges and critical issues in higher education. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.
• Cuseo, J. B. , Thompson, A. , & Fecas, V. (2010). Thriving in College: Research-Based Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development (2 nd ed. ). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt. • Cuseo, J. B. , Thompson, A. , & Fecas, V. (2009). Thriving in College: Research-Based Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development Instructor Manual. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.
• Janis, I. L. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. (2 nd ed. ), Boston: Houghton Mifflin. • Kitchener, K. , Wood, P. , & Jensen, L. (2000, August). Curricular, Co-Curricular, and Institutional Influence on Real-World Problem. Solving. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston.
• National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) (2003). Job Outlook 2003 Survey. Bethlehem, PA: Author. • Pascarella, E. T. , (2001). Cognitive Growth in College: Surprising and Reassuring Findings from the National Study of Student Learning. Change (November/December), pp. 21 -27. • Pascarella, E. , Palmer, B. , Moye, M. , & Pierson, C. (2001). Do diversity experiences influence the development of critical thinking? Journal of College Student Development, 42, 257 -291.
• Pascarella, E. T. , & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How College Affects Students: A Third Decade of Research (Volume 2). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. • Smith, D. (1997). How Diversity Influences Learning. Liberal Education, 83(2), 42 -48. • Thompson, A. & Cuseo, J. B. (2009). Diversity & the College Experience. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.