S: Learning Inquiry
FC: Learning Inquiry Product By: Marie-Claude Bigras
1: The following is a snapshot of the question that I wanted to learn more about... How can the empowerment approach be used with culturally diverse people in Social Work practice?
2: Reason for this question | The reason why I wanted to explore this question more is because of the population I already work with. I have learned so much about other cultures and their way of life. Working with culturally diverse groups has proved to me that building on their strengths and trying to empower them can be harder than expected. Due to barriers they are faced with. Asking this question has given me the opportunity to explore different ways I can assist and better work with culturally diverse people.
3: Sub questions that lead my inquiry | 1.What is the empowerment approach? 2. What is culturally diverse practice? / 3. What are the proponents of the empowerment approach? 4. What skills and techniques do you use with the empowerment approach? 5. What are the models/methods when using the empowerment approach? \
4: Sub questions that lead my inquiry (continued) | 6. Does cultural diverse practice change when genders differ? 7. Does the empowerment approach differ in the way one presents this approach depending on different cultures? 8. What paradigm does the empowerment belongs to?
5: Question 1 | What is the empowerment approach? Robins, Chatterjee & Canda (2006) outline the empowerment approach as "Empowerment refers to the process by which individuals and groups gain power, access to resources, and control over their lives (p. 94).
6: The Empowerment perspective has three different levels: Personal: feelings and perceptions regarding the capacity to influence and resolve one's own problems. Interpersonal: experiences with others to facilitate problem resolution Environment: it assumes that societal institutions can facilitate or thwart self-help efforts (Pillari, 2002, p.13).
7: Question 2 | What is culturally diverse practice? | Cultural diverse practice was hard to define. I did come across this definition that speaks about cultural competence. To me having the competence and putting the knowledge to practice works towards cultural diverse practices.
8: Definition... | The process by which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, language, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religious, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each (Miley, O'Melia and Dubois 2011,p. 61).
9: Question 3 | What are the proponents of the empowerment approach? Paul Freire was the founder of the empowerment approach he looked at the approach through an educational perspective. As quote from Freire 1973 (cited from Hyung Hun, 2006, p. 523) the origin of empowerment as a form of theory was traced back to the Brazilian humanitarian and educator Freire, When he suggested a plan for liberating the oppressed people of the world through education. Empowerment was most commonly associated with alternative approaches to psychological or social development and the concern for local, grassroots community-based movements and initiatives.
10: Proponents (continued) | Freire and Weiler (as cited in Hyung Hun, 2006, p. 527) stated that the oppressed or the disadvantaged can become empowered by learning about social inequality (i.e., conscientizing), encouraging others by making them feel confident about achieving social equality, and finally liberating them. His theory has been utilized in womens studies. In fact, the roots of the feminist pedagogy lie in his work. Freire also explains that the empowerment approach involves both power with and power within. (Hyun Hun, 2006)
11: Question 4 | What skills and techniques do you use with the empowerment approach? Empathy Listening Understanding of cultures but also not generalizing or stereotyping Being able to break down the language if needed Patients Self- Awareness Strengths (Murphy & Dillon, 2008)
12: Question 5 | What are the models/and or methods when using the empowerment approach? One method that I came across that would suit culturally diverse population is a cultragram. I found a great pod cast that explains all the different areas of the cultragram. The cultragram was designed by Dr. Elaine Congress
13: Figure 1. Visual Assessment Tools: The Culturagram - Interview with Dr. Elaine Congress. 2008. From Audio podcast.
14: Question 6 | Does cultural diverse practice change when genders differ? Hierarchy: depending on different culture family hierarchy is very important. In some households the eldest male is in control if the father is unable to be the head of house. Being aware of these cultural differences and understanding that in some families interactions may occur more through the head of house instead of being discussed by the family members. That is important. Gender differences: Understanding gender difference within cultures is also very important. In terms of males and females as being decision makers
15: Question 7 | Does the empowerment approach differ in the way one presents this approach depending on different cultures? I could not find the answer to this question. It is important to identify cultures and not dismissing that someone is from another culture. If their is a lack of understanding of the culture, one should take the opportunity to learn from your client or research that culture.
16: Question 8 | What paradigm does the empowerment belongs to? The paradigm that the empowerment approach belongs to is the interactionist paradigm. (L. Fehr, personal communication, Sept 9-10, 2011).
17: Conclusion | In conclusion, this project has thought me new insights into the empowerment approach and how to work with diverse cultures. \ Some of the questions that I posed as sub-questions were not fully answered by the research I did yet from performing this research, I was able understand and formulate an answer.
18: I did also become more aware of the self-awareness that is needed when working with others from different cultures. Also being aware of our own beliefs and values is key when working with people from other cultures. As explained before the empowerment approach is a theory that is hard to pin point in terms of where it comes from because it branches off into many different approaches i.e feminist | Conclusion Continued