Standard 3

Socio-Cultural Influences

The program provides candidates with opportunities and experiences to display an understanding of ways in which ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental factors influence pupil learning and achievement.   Candidates will learn skills to work effectively with pupils and their families from diverse backgrounds. The program provides candidates with an understanding and appreciation for diversity.

An understanding of the importance of developing cultural competence is provided to candidates in order to effectively serve diverse and changing communities.   The program provides candidates with an understanding of the ways in which educational policies, programs and practices can be developed, adapted, and modified to be culturally congruent with the needs of pupils and their families.

Introduction

Candidates develop an understanding and appreciation for diversity and the influence of diversity factors on learning and achievement. They also learn skills to work effectively with diverse populations. Demonstration that each content area has been satisfactorily learned and applied is evidenced by a passing grade in related courses, an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and a grade of “credit” for the

field practicum. The courses that address each of the specific content areas are listed and discussed below.

Candidates develop an understanding and appreciation for diversity.

The constellation of courses in the MSW program includes unique curriculum that provides both foundation knowledge of socio-cultural issues as well as specialized perspectives and practice skills for working with diverse groups. Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Cultural Diversity and Oppression, (S Wrk 213), lays a foundation for cross cultural competency that emphasizes: 1) the importance of understanding the role of oppression and social power in the lives of diverse groups, 2) the best practice methodologies for learning about diverse others, and 3) attention to the relevance of practice methods and approaches for diverse populations. For more information, see the S Wrk 213 CourseCalendar.

The phenomena of acculturation and assimilation are examined through readings, class discussions, and assignments. The framework for multi-systems social work practice in S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221, Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II, explores the practice implications of working with diverse populations. It includes readings on diverse populations based on ethnicity and gender.

The Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (S Wrk 224) provides an examination of value assumptions underlying theoretical perspectives and practice approaches. Students then engage in further examination of the relevance of conceptual frameworks for understanding diverse groups and providing services. The course also highlights the importance of a strengths based perspective by recognizing the healing and supportive resources of diverse groups. The Seminar in Couples and Families (S Wrk 227) provides knowledge in relation to how various cultures affect family organization and the possible consequences of diversity in mixed marriages. Field instructed practice (S Wrk 280/281 and 282/283) provides the experience for learning about diverse cultures in the context of the provision of services. PPS candidates work with a minimum of ten clients ethnically different from themselves for a minimum of 100 hours as part of the required field work experience in the schools. The Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, are infused with content on diversity to further develop an understanding and appreciation for its influence on the educational experience of students, families and schools. For example, the final two course sessions in S Wrk 274 are dedicated to matters of Striving for Equal Educational Opportunity.

Learn skills to work effectively with diverse populations.

Influence of Values: Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Cultural Diversity and Oppression (S Wrk 213) provides an assignment for students to self-administer a self-awareness interview schedule (Audio-Taping/Analysis Project)

This interview is taped, submitted to the professor in the beginning of the semester, and returned at the end of the semester. Students then listen to the interview and write a paper on their observations. The interview schedule includes questions that deal with student perceptions of diverse others and racism. The Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221) include lectures and discussion on the significance of self-awareness in effective service delivery. The Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (S Wrk 224) focuses students on the value assumptions that they may bring to assessment of diverse populations in relation to mental disorders. The Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Couples and Families (S Wrk 227) highlights the important role of family history in understanding individual behavior. From this perspective, students delve into messages and conflicts derived from their family history and their implications for work with diverse others. For example, see course content for Week3:Field Instructed Practice (S Wrk 280/281 and S Wrk 282/283) provides an opportunity to explore one's responses to diversity in the context of supervision and evaluation of practice.

Influence on communication: In Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Cultural Diversity and Oppression (S Wrk 213) students are familiarized with the significance of being aware of and working with diverse communication styles in practice settings. Several theory of practice courses develop these themes in the context of basic generalist skills (Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II, S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221, i.e. Skill Exercise), formative developmental influences of culture on communication styles (Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi Systems Approach, S Wrk 212), and implications of diverse communication styles for assessment and intervention processes (Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals, S Wrk 224). Field Instructed Practice (S Wrk 280/281 and S Wrk 282/283) provides practice experiences, supervision and evaluation of practice as means of recognizing and processing various communication differences.

Involving parents and families: Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Cultural Diversity and Oppression (S Wrk 213) provides a conceptual framework based on social power that identifies dynamics that may bear on parent involvement in school settings. Utilizing a multi-systems perspective, the theory of practice courses focus on issues that may arise in engaging parents in educational efforts such as family perception of school activities and school support for parent involvement. The Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi Systems Approach (S Wrk 212) course explores life span experiences that may influence a family’s management of family development points. The Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Couples and Families (S Wrk 227) examines life course stressors from the point of view of how families respond. Knowledge about what parent/family systems have experienced and how they have coped provides some insight into how they respond to school efforts to engage them in educational efforts. For example, see Week7. From a multi-systems perspective, the theory of practice courses examine specific case material and focus on familial and school related factors that promote or inhibit parent/family involvement in educational efforts. The Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221) focuses students on building working relationship with families that will facilitate parent/family involvement in school efforts. In the Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (S Wrk 224) students analyze examples from their practice. The purpose of this analysis is to assess factors that contribute to problems, such as family lack of involvement in school settings, as well as to identify strengths, such as school outreach programs, and providing families with transportation. The Seminar in Social Work Practice with Groups (S Wrk 225) provides knowledge in developing group activities (possibly in a school setting) that may promote and/or sustain family involvement in educational efforts. The Seminar in Social Work Practice with Communities (S Wrk 247) familiarizes students with the necessity of working towards the social and economic development of communities that support parent/family involvement in educational efforts. Field Instructed Practice (S Wrk 280/281 and S Wrk 282/283) provides the internship experience for students to engage with families and support their efforts in school involvement. The Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools I and II seminars (S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275) identify the responsibilities of social workers in school settings relevant to cultural sensitivity and parent involvement as well as skill in identification of interventions for problems that can interfere with parent/family involvement with schools. For example, see the content for week 9 in S Wrk 275 on Parent Involvement.

Intervention and Professional Leadership: An overriding framework that addresses value assumptions underlying treatment and intervention approaches is presented in Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Cultural Diversity and Oppression (S Wrk 213). Also, several practice courses examine the necessity of applying counseling techniques (i.e., process skills that build rapport and respond to client feelings) that are relevant to the client based on diversity issues such as socioeconomic class, gender, ethnicity and other factors. Basic generalist skills presented in the Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221) focus on awareness of utilizing techniques to engage the client that are relevant to the client’s cultural background. For example, students practice ethnographic interviewing in S Wrk 220 in the following Skill Exercise. The Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (S Wrk 224) focuses students on diversity concerns as they apply counseling techniques to building rapport in the assessment process. Also, students identify critical incidents in their practice that require particular attention to diversity relevant counseling techniques. The Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Groups (S Wrk 225) provides students with group counseling skills that can be formulated and/or modified to address specific diversity populations. Field Instructed Practice (S Wrk 280/281 and S Wrk 282/283) provides the practice setting for students to develop competency in utilizing culturally relevant counseling techniques; it also provides the supervisory support for students to examine the relevance of their counseling techniques in relation to client diversity issues. In learning to work effectively with diverse populations, candidates are continuously exposed to their professional and ethical responsibility to advocate for educational equity, social justice, and harmony among diverse constituencies in the educational setting. This responsibility is directly stated in the MSW and PPS program mission and content is infused throughout all courses to support the development and demonstration of this professional responsibility. Specific content related to the education setting is presented in S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools I and II.

Influence of diversity factors on learning and achievement

Influence on pupil learning: The two Social Welfare Policy courses provide basic foundation and application of policy knowledge relevant to understanding underlying value assumptions of policies that shape programs and service delivery for diverse children. These courses, in particular, identify social forces and dynamics that enhance or inhibit sensitivity to diversity concerns in providing services to children in school settings. Social Welfare Policy I (S Wrk 200) focuses on the philosophical and historical foundation of policy formation and implementation. Social Welfare Policy II (S Wrk 203) expands this knowledge to the a) examination of the linkage of social, economic, cultural, political, legislative and legal dimensions of policy, and b) exploration of methodologies that guide the task of developing, implementing, analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of services. Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi Systems Approach (S Wrk 212) provides a developmental framework for understanding pupil behavior from the perspective of cultural and social context. Pupil behavior that is a function of groups that pupils identify with or groups of which they may be members is also addressed.

Diversity issues arising from ethnic social identity that may affect behavior in school settings are explored in Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Cultural Diversity and Oppression (S Wrk 213). Practice issues arising from a multi-systems perspective on assessment, intervention planning and service delivery that may be relevant to children in school settings are explored in the Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221). Advanced Field Instructed Practice (S Wrk 282/283) provides an opportunity to learn the particular policy and legislative factors that govern the context of services to children in school settings. For example, see the content on special education from S Wrk 274 beginning with Week11. All facets of a social worker's role and purpose, skills, and perspective in working with different systems such as administrators, teachers, parents, and other health professionals in schools settings are addressed in the two School Social Work courses (S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275).

Influence on delivery of pupil services: Social Welfare Policy I and II (S Wrk 200, S Wrk 203) provide students with the philosophical and historical influences that have shaped the current status of policies that determine programs and service delivery for children in school settings. For example, see the S Wrk 200 content outlined for a class presentation on III/Education.

These two courses also familiarize students with the methods for analyzing programs/services and implementing culturally relevant services that address diversity concerns of children. Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi Systems Approach (S Wrk 212) provides students with knowledge of the organizational structures that are developmentally relevant to children, particularly in relation to diversity concerns. This course also identifies the types of supports inherent in children's diverse cultural groups and also those group supports that the school environment can provide to assure their academic success. In Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Cultural Diversity and Oppression (S Wrk 213) students learn about the powerful influence of stereotypes and oppression in the formulation of programs that can result in a poor match between student needs and services in school settings. The Seminar in Foundation for Social Work Practice I and II (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221) orients students to identifying supports and obstacles for pupil academic success from a multi-systems perspective that takes into account a wide variety of factors in the social and physical environment (e.g., school, community, society). The Seminar in Social Work Practice with Formal Organizations (S Wrk 246) addresses important administrative factors that impact social service agencies and the delivery of services. These factors include personnel management, leadership and conflict management, program and organizational planning, evaluation and supervision. PPS candidates have the opportunity to apply knowledge of social and cultural influences in the school environment during the second year of field instructed practice (S Wrk 282/283). Specialized knowledge and skills related to the school environment, such as classroom management (Week5), are taught in the Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools courses (S Wrk 274 and 275).

Creating effective learning environments: Candidates develop understanding of the demographic shifts which impact all practice contexts through content in policy, practice, human behavior and field courses. Social Welfare Policy I (S Wrk 200) and Social Welfare Policy II (S Wrk 203) present current information about the demographics of California and describe the corresponding policy issues and changes that result from demographic shifts. Cultural Diversity and Oppression, S Wrk 213, specifically addresses demographic shifts and the impact of these changes at the individual, family and community level. The school social work/CWA courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, provide content on how these demographic changes impact the learning environment and pupil learning.

In Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Cultural Diversity and Oppression (S Wrk 213) students learn about the role of the sociopolitical context of racism, sexism and other “isms” for shaping interactions between individuals of diverse groups in order to create effective learning environments. For example, see course content beginning with week 2 on Race/Ethnicity: . The course also addresses social identity issues relevant to both the pupil and teacher that may bear on the interaction between them.

The Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi Systems Approach course (S Wrk 212) presents unique developmental and life span factors and diversity issues that may influence teacher/pupil and pupil/pupil interactions. Theory of practice courses focus on skill development for utilizing relevant cross cultural interactions that influence the learning environment. The Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221) prepares students for the importance of utilizing cross culturally relevant interventions in building rapport with diverse others. The Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (S Wrk 224) and the Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Couples and Families (S Wrk 227) and Groups (S Wrk 225) prepares students to apply cross culturally relevant skills in their assessment and interventions with individuals and families, as well as with groups. For example, see one assignment from S Wrk 225 that addresses Diversity issues. These skills provide a foundation for practice with teachers coping with teacher/pupil and pupil/pupil interactions that reflect cultural differences and facilitate the creation of effective learning environment. Field Instructed Practice (S Wrk 282/283) provides students with the experience of applying their understanding of cross cultural principles to interactions between individuals of diverse backgrounds. The Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools seminars (S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275), focus on identifying cross cultural issues that may arise in the teaching environment.

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