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Session 3 - Diversity

Overview of Course

Introductory Session

Family and Values

Individual Counseling 1

Individual Counseling 2

Individual Counseling 3



checkmark Objectives: To promote awareness of diversity including cultural, racial/ethnic, disabilities and sexual/gender issues; to promote the value and strength of diversity and to increase cultural competence


I. Check In5
II. Reports on Challenges 10
III. Warm Up 5
IV. Diversity: Lecture and Discussion 10
V. Diversity Activities (see below) 45
VI. Break15
VII. Diversity Activities
Choose from the following activities to heighten awareness of and sensitivity to diversity

A. Guided Visualisation

B. Find Someone Who . .

C. Diversity Definitions

D. Specific Cultural Issues

E. Culture Interview

F. Self Assessment

VII.Assign Challenge10



II. Challenge Reports

Process Questions:
  • With whom did you share a value?
  • What was his or her reaction?
  • How did you feel?
  • Was there good communication between you and the other person?

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III. Warm Up - Initial Identity

Ask each participant to think of a word that describes them presently or describes the way they would like to be that starts with the same letter as their first name. (Itís O.K. to brag). The leader starts by announcing her description and first name. The person to the left then says the leaderís description and name and adds her own. This continues around the circle until everyoneís description and name is in the chain. It goes around the circle again until everyone has had a chance to repeat the entire chain

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IV. Diversity Lecture and Discussion

Before starting the activities, stress the following points:
  • importance of being comfortable working with people who are different, both as people you are counseling and as colleagues
  • many groups share certain values, traditions, ways of behaving and life experiences which are different from our own
  • however, not all members of a given group are identical - Kinds of things which may be different include: age- socioeconomic status - regional culture - sexual orientation - religion - physical or mental disability
  • Diversity Is Positive. By learning about other people and other cultures, we learn more about our own culture and expand the way we think about the world and how we approach life.
  • Media often reinforces stereotypes
  • It is better to admit that we know very little about a person or culture and to gather information than to make assumptions.
  • Often the more someone knows about differences, the more comfortable he or she will be with people from other cultures
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V. & VII. Diversity Activities

A. Guided Visualisation From Youth Reaching Youth
Lead the group through an exercise to recall the first time they discovered that not all people were like them. Ask everyone to relax and get comfortable and to close their eyes. Tell them to think back to when they were 4, 5, or 6 or perhaps a little older. Where did they live? Who were their friends? Who were their familyís friends? Ask everyone to try to remember the first time they met someone who was clearly different from them. This could be a person of a different race, a different religion, someone who did not speak their language or someone with a physical disability, etc. Come forward in time until you can remember an encounter. How old were they? How did they react? What was the situation? How did their family respond? What were their feelings at the time? Give everyone a chance to think about these questions and then ask the group to open their eyes and come back together as a group.

  • Ask people to share what they remember about this experience.
  • Write down feelings and reactions as they are described
  • Ask if and how feelings have changed over time
  • Families influence how children react to people different from themselves
  • People are exposed to different people at different ages and to different degrees
  • Given past experiences, people have a variety of responses when meeting someone who is different

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B. Find Someone Who . . .
Stress that even though a group may look fairly similar, one of the differences will be in what people know about diversity. This exercise will show us some of the things people know and perhaps some areas where no-one has experience or knowledge.

Give each member a copy of the "Find Someone Who" form and ask them to move about the room asking one question at a time to each person. If the person fits the category put his or her name or initials by that item. Do not ask anyone a second question until you have asked each person one thing.

Discussion. Look at items that were easy to complete and those which only one or two people (or perhaps no-one) could complete.


Has values about race that are different than their family of originís values

Knows someone with a physical disability

Knows someone who is African American

Has felt put down because of gender

Has felt put down because of age

Speaks a foreign language

Knows someone who is HIV positive or has AIDS

Knows someone who is Native American

Has attended a celebration in a culture different from their own

Is French

Knows someone who is mentally retarded

Has eaten Indian food

Knows a Latino or Latina

Has a family member with a disability

Knows someone who is gay, lesbian or bisexual

Knows someone who is Asian-American

Has had training in cultural diversity or cultural competence

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C. Diversity Definitions
Prepare index cards with a term relating to diversity on one card and its definition on another. Divide the cards into three sets: general terms; terms related to racial diversity and terms related to sexual diversity. Definitions can be found at Diversity Dictionary, a service of the University of Maryland.

Count off by 3ís to divide the group into three small groups. Explain that each group is going to become the experts on one aspect of diversity: general terms; race and ethnic terms; and sexuality and gender terms.

Each group gets a set of cards with terms and definitions. Working as a group they have to match each term with its definition. When they have completed the task, each person gets a full set of terms and definitions to check their answers.

When all groups are finished, each person selects one term to report back to the large group. The report could include something they know about the term from another source, a personal experience they have had with the term, a friend or family memberís experience, etc.

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D. Specific Cultural Issues
Divide into four groups based on interest in the following articles:

Our Shining Black Prince Eulogy delivered by Ossie Davis at the funeral of Malcolm X

Re-examining the Model Minority Myth: A Look at Southeast Asian Youth

Latino or Hispanic: What's in a name?

Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality by Wilmer Stampede Mesteth, Darrell Standing Elk and Phyllis Swift Hawk

Each group reads and discusses the issue presented in the hand out and reports a summary back to the large group.

These handouts are chosen to present controversial issues and stimulate thought and discussion.

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E. Culture Interview
Each person chooses a partner and they interview each other using the questions on the Culture Interview Sheet.

Debrief in terms of what did you discover about yourself, about the other person? Was it easier to do the interviewing/be interviewed than it was in the last class?


Tell me about your cultural background.

What positive influences has your cultural background had on you?

What negative influences has your cultural background had on you?

How has your cultural background influenced your view of other cultures?

What culture would you most like to learn more about and why?

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Have each person complete a self assessment of their knowledge about and attitudes toward cultural diversity. The questions from the Find Someone Who activity can be answered by each individual. Follow with group discussion of the questions.

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VII. Assign Challenge

Challenge: Have a conversation with someone different from you in terms of race, ethnic background, sexual orientation, physical or mental challenges, or age (if you choose age, make sure the difference is large enough that the person is likely to have a different perspective than you). From this conversation learn one way this "difference" has affected the person's life.

Report on:

What I did:

How I felt:

What I learned:

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