Understanding Diversity: A Learning-as-Practice Primer

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9780534348106: Understanding Diversity: A Learning-as-Practice Primer
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This powerful book addresses the issues of diversity from the perspective of individual differences rather than stereotypes. Part I deals with development of self-awareness--from the inside out--and Part II deals with development of awareness of others--from the outside in. The authors make no assumptions about the cultural, racial, or ethnic background of their readers. The perspective of the book is that all people are strongly shaped by culture, including white, able-bodied, heterosexual persons of European ancestry who consider themselves to be the dominant culture in North America and Western Europe. The authors offer information and exercises that help readers learn to assess cross-cultural situations and interact personally and professionally with others who are likely, because of their cultural backgrounds, to have different values, perceptions, behaviors, and expectations of how people should act towards them. Throughout the book, readers will find examples that will help them see how cultural expectations may shape their own reactions to common situations. For example, readers may have experienced feeling offended when someone asks what they consider to be an intrusive question, or they may have felt anxious when alone in an elevator with a person of another race or a disheveled, unkempt person. As readers learn about their own ingrained assumptions, they will begin to develop an appreciation of others' values and beliefs. This primer provides a learning-as-practice model where readers, through the use of exercises, strategies , and conceptual material, first recognize and develop their own communication styles and then work on how they interact with others.

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About the Author:

Barbara F. Okun, Ph.D. is Professor of counseling psychology at Northeastern University. She has coordinated the combined school and counseling psychology doctoral program, teaches graduate and undergraduate courses and has trained helping para-professionals and professionals nationally and internationally. She is currently affiliated with Harvard Medical School and trains psychiatry fellows at Cambridge Hospital in family therapy. She has trained family court judges for state and national judicial organizations. Dr. Okun maintains a diverse clinical practice in individual, couple, and family therapy. She is the author and editor of books, journals, chapters and articles.

Review:

"I am excited about this (book). It suggests a new approach to learning about diversity, one that focuses on self (always works well with our students!) and is practical in terms of application. Because we talk a lot about 'use of self' in human services, the development of the individual as a helper is at the core of what we teach and the text will mesh well with our philosophy. What is most exciting to me and what other texts don't do well at all is get right down to the 'nitty-gritty''learning culturally-sensitive skills.' The behavioral focus'.will set this text apart from those now available."

"The book is important and quite relevant, because it provides an alternative approach to how diversity is being taught. I did find the book quite interesting and very appropriate for today's issues. I like the way it was broken into identification of self and then moving on to interrelationships with others."

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Okun, Barbara F., Fried, Jane, Okun, Ma
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