Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum: Exploring Ethnic Identity and Appreciating Cultural Diversity in a Group of Nursing and Social Work Students

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 1:45 PM

Yuen Megson, BSc, MSc
School of Nursing & Midwifery, University of Salford, Salford, United Kingdom

Learning Objective 1: describe an interactive way of helping nursing students to explore their ethnic identity and relate its relevance to nursing practice.

Learning Objective 2: relate the evidence underpinning the above method of teaching and learning about ethnic identities

Purpose: Students on a nursing and social work programme expressed difficulties in a seminar on the development of ethnic identity. As the seminar leader, who came from an ethnic minority group, I felt that there had to be a better way of engaging students in identifying with and sharing aspects of their ethnic identities with peers and seminar leaders. Chavez and Guido- DiBrito (1999) in their review of how ethnic identity influences adult learning called for educators to create multicultural learning communities where there is balance between the different cultural norms. To achieve this, Gardner (1997) supports different activities that encourages reflection, discussion and using visual, written and relational learning styles whilst Warren (2004) supported mixed group, inclusive practices Method :  Students were asked to bring in 3 items that represented or signified their ethnic identity. They had to tell their peers what the items were and how they represented their ethnic identity (Gardner, 1999 and Warren, 2004). An evaluation of the session, using a questionnaire (May, 2002 and Travers, 2001) was conducted which focused on five aspects of learning : what they had learnt about their peers, about themselves, issues encountered in their preparation and why did they think they occurred, application to practice setting and effectiveness of the method of learning.Results: The data collected suggested that students had a better understanding of their peers from diverse ethnic groups and reaffirmed their own ethnic identities, which is reflected in the models of ethnic identity development (Phinney 1990 and Chavez 1998).

Conclusion: The change adhered to legislation and to Equality & Diversity Strategy for the University. Ways of making the curriculum more accessible and strategies to promote student integration helps in creating a better understanding of ourselves and our service users