“But I Wouldn’t Do That!”:
Julie A. Dodge
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Consistently future and current social workers, educators, and helping professionals of many fields participate in all kinds of cultural competence and diversity training and still fail to recognize the “other”. They over-report their ability to connect with people different than themselves, which inevitably leads to poorer service outcomes. Over and over I have heard the same story. Someone would describe the actions of a person of a background different than their own and say, “Well, I wouldn’t do that!”
This curriculum argues that we fail to connect well with persons different than ourselves because we fail to try and understand how the other person might think and feel based on their culture, experiences, values and beliefs. By practicing cultural empathy, which is grounded in cultural humility, I believe that we can develop better interpersonal and professional relationships with persons who have backgrounds different than ourselves, which in turn may lead to better results in our work and partnerships.
The curriculum includes a number of features. The Introduction includes a rationale for teaching cultural empathy, as well as a theoretical pedagogy. The goals and objectives of the curriculum are also included. Chapters two through five contain the primary instructional content.
Each instructional chapter begins with a preparatory section that includes the goals and objectives for that section, suggested time frames, resources needed, and suggested books or articles. Each chapter also has an accompanying Keynote presentation. The instructional narrative in each chapter aligns with the Keynote presentation, typically indicated by the same heading and/or picture on each Keynote slide. Each chapter also includes tips that I have picked up while teaching this material, as well as discussion questions and other suggested activities. Handouts or other materials to accompany each chapter can be found in the Appendix.