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Rethinking the Goal of Cultural Competence in Clinical Teaching

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Rethinking the Goal of Cultural Competence in Clinical Teaching Powered By Docstoc
					RETHINKING THE GOAL OF
CULTURAL COMPETENCE
IN CLINICAL TEACHING
Mary Jo B. Hunter
THIS IS A TOPIC THAT I HAVE GRAPPLED
WITH FOR MANY YEARS AS A CLINICIAN.

 Striving to teach law students and others to be
  competent at being cross-cultural is an
  unrealistic goal.
 The goal of teaching cultural consciousness is the
  goal that clinicians should aspire to
WHEN ONE CONSIDERS THE TERM
“CROSS-CULTURAL COMPETENCE” IT
CONJURES UP AN IMAGE OF:

   Some one who knows          Someone who is
    what to say as well as       culturally sensitive and
    what not to say              appropriately responsive
                                 and reflective
 The idea or sense of being cross-culturally competent
  infuses a sense of reaching a milestone or plateau in
  one’s evolving as to cross-culturally aware.
 It is a term that allows for the students of such
  awareness to have the false belief that they will one
  day achieve a competence of being cross-cultural.
 Such a definition is misguided if not totally
  incomprehensible.
PROFESSOR CHRISTINE ZUNI CRUZ:
 “I specifically reject the term “cultural
 competency” because I do not believe outsiders to
 indigenous cultures can become ‘competent’ in an
 indigenous culture; there are too many aspects of
 indigenous knowledge that are not accessible to
 outsiders of the culture, even to those outsiders
 who spend their lives studying the culture.
 (citation omitted.)”
DR. HEATHER W. HACKMAN
   Defined “cultural               Indicated that the term
    competency” as a “goal:          of “cross-cultural
    to learn skills to be able       competence” should not
    to relate across cultural        be used as a goal for
    lines”                           teaching lawyers as they
                                     prepare for the practice
                                     of law. Although it may
                                     be appropriate in
                                     discussions for social
                                     science professionals, it
                                     is insufficient for
                                     preparation of lawyers
                                     who need to understand
                                     the concept within the
                                     framework of justice.
A LAWYER SHOULD ALWAYS BE
CONSCIOUS OF THE LANGUAGE THAT HE
OR SHE USES.

 It is a cornerstone of our craft so we cannot afford
  to be careless with our words.
 It is our job as clinicians to teach our students
  the critical thinking required to be able to assess
  terminology and the impact of words.
 Since I teach law students about working on
  cases involved with the Indian Child Welfare Act,
  I am prone to address issues arising within our
  client base.
THE POINT OF THIS DISCUSSION IS:
   That when one believes that he or she has achieved a
    semblance of cross-cultural competence that the task
    is completed.
   If law students are taught with a goal of becoming
    cross-culturally competent, the possibility of becoming
    immune to the process of being cross-culturally
    conscious is lost.
   They become overly confident in their ability to relate
    to other cultures.
   Such a belief breeds condescension and the very
    purpose of the process is lost by the offensive attitude
    of those who believe that they are cross-culturally
    competent.
   No one can become cross-culturally competent in
    another’s culture!
IT IS NOT MY INTENTION TO RE-INVENT
THE WHEEL.

 The Five Habits of Professors Bryant and Peters
  are solid hallmarks of the pedagogy of cross-
  cultural teaching
 The process is most effective as a process used
  repeatedly to enhance a lawyer’s cross-cultural
  consciousness.
HABIT ONE ESPOUSED BY BRYANT AND PETERS
   To teach students to list and diagram similarities
    and differences between themselves and their
    clients.
HABIT TWO
   Encourages student to identify and analyze the
    possible effects of similarities and differences on
    the interaction between the client, the legal
    decision-maker and the lawyer as the three rings.
HABIT THREE
   Is named “parallel universes” as a method for
    students to explore alternative explanations for
    clients’ behavior. This is an important tool in the
    arsenal of cross-cultural consciousness.
HABIT FOUR
   Is called “pitfalls, red flags and remedies” and
    focuses on being cross-culturally sensitive.
HABIT FIVE
   Is called “the camel’s back”, this habit calls for
    the student to be self-reflective as to exploring
    his or herself as a cultural being.
EXERCISE 1
 You teach a clinical course which is primarily family law
 cases. Although it is not your usual practice, you and your
 students agree to visit a potential client at her home as she
 has a disability. Although she has use of a mobility service,
 her recent surgery has made it extremely difficult for her to
 move about and leave her home. She lives in a senior citizens
 complex for those who qualify for subsidized housing.
 As you drive the team of students, one female and one male,
 the female student starts to exclaim that she is unaware that
 they were meeting their potential client in a “housing project”.
 She says that she hopes that the apartment is clean and
 chuckles. You decide to refrain from commenting until after
 the interview.
 Once you are in the apartment, you and the male student
 remove your coats and sit down. The female student looks
 around and remains standing. The potential client asks her to
 grab a chair from the kitchen if she would like to sit. She
 obtains a chair from the kitchen and sits gingerly on the edge
 of the chair for the complete interview.
 Please consider what your approach will be to debrief this
 student. What “culture” is a part of this hypothetical? How do
 you address cultural differences in this context?
EXERCISE 2
 Your clinic represents Guardian ad Litems who work on cases
 involving the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Guardian ad Litem
 (GAL) represents the best interests of the child in child custody
 proceedings. You are conducting your weekly meeting with a team of
 students. Both students appear to be Caucasian students. Their
 client, the GAL is a Native American/American Indian woman who
 has represented many children over many years. You are meeting
 with the student attorneys to hear about their preparations for their
 initial interview with the client as to why she needs representation
 for an upcoming trial where the County is seeking an involuntary
 termination of the mother’s parental rights.
 One of the students informs you that her great grandmother is a
 Cherokee Princess. She states that although she considers herself to
 be Native American she is not “registered” as a member of the
 Cherokee Tribe. However, she informs you and her teammate that
 she knows a lot about Native issues as she has been to the
 reservation and has attended local cultural events such as powwows.
 She states that she should take the lead role in the interview as she
 already knows quite a bit about the culture. Her teammate looks
 surprised and a little concerned. You recall that her teammate was to
 have been the lead as it was her “turn” to handle an interview.
 You look at your interview outline for students and realize that the
 answer is not to forge ahead with their interview preparation.
 Rather, you need to intercede and redirect the students to a culturally
 conscious approach. How do you handle it?

				
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posted:6/24/2013
language:English
pages:16