Monday, November 29, 2010

Multicultural Competence

WHAT: In the case study proposed I am an athletic trainer with no multicultural training, at an athletic training facility with no multicultural guidelines or resources.  It’s my duty to be a culturally competent professional and develop a program to promote the health and well being of my students and clients.  While developing this program I’ll consider staff guidelines, program materials, available resources, and interpersonal relationships that are inclusive and empowering for participants.
SO WHAT: Multicultural competence refers to the ability to work effectively with people who are of a different culture, which is essential when working with others (Gill & Williams, 2008).  Multicultural competence includes three general areas including: awareness of one’s own cultural values and biases, understanding of the client’s worldviews, and development of culturally appropriate intervention strategies.  When developing my program I plan to touch each aspect of D’Andrea and Daniels’ model of RESPECTFUL sport psychology, as described in the text, to promote the health and well being of my students and clients.
NOW WHAT: D’Andrea and Daniels’ model of RESPECTFUL sport psychology includes 10 factors to think about when dealing with people whose psychological development, athletic performance, and team membership are affected by cultural and contextual variables (Gill & Williams, 2008).  RESPECTFUL is an acronym which stands for religious and spiritual identity, economic class identity, sexual identity, psychological maturity, ethnic and racial identity, chronological challenges, trauma and threats to well-being (injury, abuse), family history, unique physical characteristics, and language, location of residence.  My plan will encourage students to keep all these factors in mind when dealing with athletes in and outside the training room.
                Obviously multicultural education should be a critical element for all athletic training education programs.  Regardless of an athletic trainer’s particular professional setting or responsibilities most individuals are confronted with issues of race, sex, class, and culture on a daily basis.  As the head athletic trainer in this particular setting it’s my duty to engage students in meaningful and critical instruction on how to confront these issues. 
The first thing I would do as the program director is ensure my peers and those working under me are multicultural competent.  I would establish staff guidelines on how issues like these should be appropriately dealt with.  After I was confident in my staffs abilities to handle such situations I’d have each student sit down with his/her individual Approved Clinical Instructor  and improve self-awareness by challenging them identify their own personal history, race, ethnicity, and culture.  Individuals must be able to identify these aspects within themselves before being able to effectively communicate with others.  The next thing I would do is create a class for the students they are allowed to take during their first year in the program, which promotes student dialogue, exploration, and sharing among the group.  Allowing the students to communicate within a group can help individuals loosen up and possible change their negative feelings.  Assigning assignments which require students to include pertinent issues relative to diversity, race, culture, and discrimination can help instructors better understand student beliefs.  I would encourage students to take other courses the university offers that may help promote deeper, more critical levels of thinking.  Courses like cultural anthropology, woman’s studies, social problems, religious studies, non-western culture classes, psychology and physiology classes, and many others like this.  Courses like these that are universally offered will help to give student a solid background on multiculturalism.  Having other university instructors give their insight into these aspects of multiculturalism may be helpful to students.  I would definitely require students take a Sports Psychology course like we’re required to now.  The last thing I would do is require the students in the program attend diversity training at least once a year.  I would make it a yearly requirement which must be completed prior to beginning his/her clinical observation hours, just like OSHA training.
CONCLUSION: It’s obvious that multicultural competence is important in all heath related profession, especially athletic training.  Regardless of health professional’s particular setting or responsibilities most individuals are confronted with issues of race, sex, class, and culture on a daily basis.  For a professional to deal with these issues correctly he/she must have the appropriate course instruction or guidance which is my goal as the head athletic trainer at this setting.
Geisler, Paul R.  “Multiculturalism and Athletic Training Education: Implication for Educational and Professional Progress.” Journal of Athletic Training 38.2 (2003): 141-151.
Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champain, IL: Human Kinetics

Monday, November 15, 2010

Team Building & Social Support

Case #1: In the first case study proposed I am teaching a middle school physical education class for seventh graders.  The students in the class are a diverse group of boys and girls with varying interests and skill levels.  My goal with these students is to use team building strategies to increase group effectiveness by enhancing group cohesiveness.
Case #2: In the second case study proposed I’m an instructor for an older adults exercise program at the senior center in your community.  The participants in this exercise program come to the center three times a week for one hour sessions that include individual exercises like weights, machines, and stretching, as well as group instruction.  As the instructor of this exercise program it’s my goals to use social support strategies and foster social support among group members.
Case #1: Team building is a method on helping the group increase effectiveness, satisfy the needs of its members, or improve work conditions with the overall aim being to increase group effectiveness by enhancing group cohesiveness.  Team building can be characterized as team enhancement for both task and social purpose (Gill & Williams, 2008).  It can be reduced to five categories including: distinctiveness, individual positions, group norms, individual sacrifices, and interaction and communication.  When working with these students my plan will implement these five categories of team building to increase group effectiveness.
Case #2: Social support refers to the number of friends, relatives, or social involvements and conceptually as denoting a vague sense of belongingness or acceptance.  More simply put, social support is the exchange of resources between at least two individuals perceived by the provider or the recipient to be intended to enhance the well-being of the recipient (Gill & Williams, 2008). There are three broad types of social support including: direct assistance (tangible support), advice (informational support), and encouragement (emotional support).  These three types can be reduced even further to 8 forms of social support.  When working with the individuals in the senior exercise program my plan will implement these eight forms of social support.
NOW WHAT:  For both case studies proposed I would begin by helping each individual develop their own performance goals to increase their commitment to the programs.  I’d encourage them to set S.M.A.R.T. goals, which can be reevaluated at any time and changed based on progress.  S.M.A.R.T., which stands for smart, measurable, achievable, realistic, achievable, realistic, and timely, is an acronym for a number of ideal criteria that should be considered when setting fitness goals (Siegert, Richard, and Williams, 2004).
Case #1: After helping each individual establish his/her own performance goals I would sit down with them and get to know each of them better as an individual.  I’d make it my goal to find out something special about each individual.  Next I would sit all the students down at once and help them establish group goals.  For these students their group goal could to all get the Presidential Physical Fitness Award at the end of the school year.  This is a good way of developing pride in group membership, team commitment, and a sense of team identity.  Another way to develop these aspects is making t-shirts that the students can wear during the physical education class.  All of these are examples of the first team building category, distinctiveness.  The next thing I would do with these students is put them through a simple workout to identify the high, moderate, and low skill level exercisers.  This is a good example of both the second and third team building categories, individual positions and group norms.   I may even have the most experienced exercisers lead individual workout sessions or have them help less experienced exercisers.  This is an example of the forth team building category, individual sacrifices.  After I’ve divided the class into each skill level I’d begin the program, continually evaluating the overall group goals and each individuals goals.  I’d also have periodic group meetings to discuss how things are progressing, which a great example of the last team building category, interaction and communication.  By implementing these team building techniques I can reach my goal of increasing group effectiveness by enhancing group cohesiveness.
Case #2: Like case study #1 after helping each individual establish his/her own performance goals I would sit down with them and get to know each of them better as an individual.  I’d make it my goal to find out something special about each individual.  It’s my goal implement the eight forms of social support into my exercise program for this group.  The first of these forms is listening support, which is when others listen without giving advice or being judgmental.  The second form of social support is emotional support, which is when others comfort and care for you and indicate they are on your side.  The third form is emotional challenge, which is when others challenge you to evaluate your attitudes, values, and feelings.  These first three forms can be implemented during sit down sessions with each individual separately or as a group.  The forth form of social support is task appreciation, which is when others acknowledge your efforts and express appreciation for the work you do. Task appreciation can be as simple as verbally acknowledging an individual for reaching fitness goals.  The fifth form is task challenge, which is when others challenge your way of thinking about your work in order to stretch you, motivate you, and lead you to greater creativity, excitement, and involvement.  An example of this is when motivating an individual, which will lead to greater involvement.  The sixth form is reality confirmation, which is when others are similar to you, see things the way you do, and help you confirm your perception of the world.  The seventh form is tangible assistance, which is when others provide you with financial assistance, products, or gifts. This could be as simple as rewarding individuals with t-shirts or other tangible rewards after reaching his/her fitness goals.  The last form of social support is personal assistance, which is when others provide services or help, such as running errands or offering expertise, to help you accomplish your tasks.  By implementing these forms of social support the members in my exercise program at the senior center will feel comfortable and confident.
CONCLUSION: Social support and team building techniques can be extremely effective in sports and exercise.  The two can enhance physical activity for all those involved in many ways including developing group cohesiveness and effectiveness.  By implementing the forms of social support and team building a health professional such as ourselves can help all individuals and groups effectively reach their fitness goals.
Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champain, IL: Human Kinetics
Siegert, Richard, and William Taylor. "Theoretical aspects of goal-setting and motivation in rehabilitation." Disability and Rehabilitation 26.1 (2004): 1-8. Print.