Preparedness for Culturally Competent Social Work Practice

By Sharon Smith and Sharon C. Lyter.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The increasing diversity of our society presents a unique opportunity for social work educators to assess the “preparedness” of future social workers through traditional curricula for practice in multicultural contexts. The purpose of this study is to report on findings from an exploratory, mixed method examination of a judgmental, convenience sample of 70 students and 58 field instructors perceptions of preparedness for culturally competent social work practice through field internships. Study findings reveal the need for further attention to all of the competency areas identified. On each variable, the field instructors rated the students as less prepared than they perceived themselves to be with regard to cultural competence, understanding oppression, discrimination, ethnic-sensitive interviewing skills, advocacy, and awareness of how to address issues of policy for oppressed populations. Additionally implications of the finding that no European American student group members perceived themselves as better prepared for work in cross-cultural contexts and the need to initiate discussion regarding cross-cultural interpersonal dynamics in the field instructor-student relationship are addressed. Areas for further investigation of cultural competence in field education are also identified.

Keywords: Cultural Competence, Preparedness, Field Education

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.25-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.161MB).

Dr. Sharon Smith

Assistant Professor, Social Work Program, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, New Jersey, USA

Sharon Hines Smith, Ph.D., LSW is an Assistant Professor and Field Coordinator at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Social Work Program. Sharon C. Lyter, Ph.D., LCSW is an Assistant Professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Social Work Department.

Dr. Sharon C. Lyter

Assistant Professor, Social Work, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown, PA, USA

Sharon C. Lyter is an Assistant Professor in the Social Work Department at Kutztown Univeristy of Pennsylvania in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Dr. Lyter teaches and conducts research in the areas of cultural competence and social work practice, supervision, addictions, and parenting practices. Her current research examines group interventions with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.


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