Academic journal article Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development

Development of Counseling Trainees' Multicultural Awareness through Mentoring English as a Second Language Students

Academic journal article Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development

Development of Counseling Trainees' Multicultural Awareness through Mentoring English as a Second Language Students

Article excerpt

This study reports the development of trainee multicultural awareness through a content analysis of reflections on mentoring English as a second language students. Identified themes show relationships with the Multicultural Counseling Inventory (G. R. Sodowsky, 1996) and White Racial Identity Attitudes Scale (J. E. Helms, 1990). Results suggest that guided experiential components of multicultural training can be effective.

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One important aspect in acquiring multicultural counseling competencies is that counselors reflect on their interactions with culturally diverse clients. Interaction models (Brislin, 1986; Comas-Diaz & Jacobsen, 1991; Hays, 2001; Helms, 1995; McIntosh, 2001; Pedersen, 1994) have recommended that counselors examine personal reactions to race, culture, defensiveness, White privilege, class, and power status. Recently, trainers have shown how trainees in their examination of the client-counselor interface shift their focus alternately between their own beliefs and attitudes and the worldview of the culturally different client (Arredondo & Arciniega, 2001; Daniel, Roysircar, Abeles, & Boyd, 2004; Toporek, 2003). Using growing self-reflection skills, trainees build on multicultural competencies: awareness of values and biases, knowledge, and skills (Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992).

Vasquez and Vasquez (2003) advocated a nontraditional multicultural course in which trainees begin a self-reflective process and move toward understanding the alternative worldviews of clients and their families. For this learning to occur, the multicultural curriculum must be experientially based and process oriented. Other trainers (Faubert & Locke, 2003; Heppner & O'Brien, 1994; Kim & Lyons, 2003; Sandhu & Looby, 2003; Santiago-Rivera & Moody, 2003) have also supported this view. The first author has written on trainees' practice of the self-reflexive process in experiential, community-based activities to develop multicultural competencies (Roysircar, 2002, 2003a, 2003b, 2004; Roysircar, Webster, et al., 2003). She has provided thick descriptions of trainees' reflections on critical incidents with clients that resulted in trainees' "increased understanding of self and others, and a greater appreciation and respect for differences" (Roysircar, 2003a, p. 34) as well as in an increased ability to "retell the story, incorporating the client's worldview and correcting one's assumptions, values, and biases" (Roysircar, 2004, p. 663). The present study examined such training.

Multicultural competency training is shown to be effective when delivered in a multicultural context, such as on-site activities and community outreach, and sustained over a period of time (DeFrino, 2003; Manese, Wu, & Nepomuceno, 2001; Sweet & Estey, 2003; Uchison, 2003; Wilczak, 2003). Serving English as a second language (ESL) elementary and middle school programs is a form of community engagement that helps trainees gain firsthand experience in multicultural and linguistic issues in the educational system of the United States. However, multicultural training opportunities in naturalistic settings are limited for graduate counseling students. The present study addressed this gap in training. In a multicultural counseling course, the first author emphasized that trainees participate in an interactions project and write self-reflection process notes. The study briefly described this activity as well as evaluated it. Trainees' self-reflections were examined for the development of alliance in their mentoring work with middle school language minority students learning English as a second language. Another purpose was to examine the construct validity of alliance themes that arose from the process notes by examining their relationships with the Multicultural Counseling Inventory (MCI; Sodowsky, Taffe, Gutkin, & Wise, 1994), White Racial Identity Attitudes Scale (WRIAS; Helms, 1990), and Multicultural Social Desirability Scale (MCD; Sodowsky, Kuo-Jackson, Richardson, & Corey, 1998). …

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