A six module booklet was developed between 2017-2020 by a group of NEVET scholars and doctoral students from diverse personal, cultural, and academic backgrounds. The booklet was written and edited by Dr. Naomi Shmuel. All of the group members were involved in context-informed academic research and came from a variety of academic disciplines and professional fields, such as social work, psychology, anthropology, folklore, education, counseling, and more. This proved to be a valuable asset to our exploration and discussions, creating a unique perspective on families and individuals in transition, and the appropriate ways that professionals can be helpful to them. This included practical implications regarding the aims of the modules and suitable methodologies for effective training. The group shared a strong desire to make their academic research significant to the professional world and continued to explore diversity through workshops and training in the fields of social work, education, psychology, and counseling.
The social services and educational institutions in Israel function in an extremely diverse human environment which has consequences for professional encounters and the quality of services or education received by participants. Encounters between professionals and service users from diverse backgrounds are influenced by power relations and may contain different goals and world views that may lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. In order for professionals to be able to work effectively with clients of differing cultural, religious, ethnic, gender, and other backgrounds, they would benefit from training that explores the above challenges. This includes genuine self-reflection, critical thinking, and a re-evaluation of basic assumptions of service givers and receivers about concepts such as normative parenting, functional family, an enriching childhood, risk and protection of children, and the meaning of 'home' for families in transition. An awareness of complexity includes the ability to reflect on our blind spots, biases, stereotypes, and power relations and perceive hybridity and intersectionality. The group developed the following six modules of creative methods to facilitate active learning and discussion about these issues with immediate practical implications for the field.
We hope to foster a personal meaningful learning process that enables students and trainees to connect to both their own and other people's perspectives, stories, and life experiences. The modules are presented as teaching units to be incorporated into academic courses and are also recommended for use in training sessions for professionals working with people in multicultural societies.
The modules have been developed as an outcome of the DEMO project.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication solely reflects the views of the author and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
See here the modules booklet on DEMO's website: https://www.demo.erasmus-il.org/exploring-diversity