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The Cultural Genogram: Enhancing the Cultural Competency of Social Work Students

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In response to an increasingly culturally and ethnically diverse population, accredited social work programs in the United States have been mandated to provide students with course content regarding cultural diversity as it pertains to race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, ability, and sexual orientation. Typically, social work educators transmit this content to students by way of regular didactic teaching. While useful for imparting factual and descriptive content about diversity, this method of teaching is generally inadequate in stimulating students' cultural awareness and sensitivity, which research indicates are critical to the development of cultural competence. More useful in stimulating students' cultural awareness and sensitivity is a teaching method that incorporates experiential learning activities with an interactive group format. One such experiential learning activity is the cultural genogram, which challenges students to examine the development of their cultural values, after which they critically explore these values in a group setting with other students who have different experiences and perspectives. This article describes the cultural genogram, its use in an undergraduate introduction to social work class, and a retrospective study of its usefulness in stimulating the cultural awareness and sensitivity of social work students.
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Keywords: Cultural Competency; Experiential Learning; Genogram; Social Work Students

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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