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Cross-Cultural Awareness For the Reference Desk

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Title: Cross-Cultural Awareness For the Reference Desk


1
Cross-Cultural Awareness For the Reference Desk
  • Richenda Wilkinson Margaret Mellinger
  • Oregon State University Libraries

Poster Presentation for ACRL 12th National
Conference, Minneapolis, April 7-10, 2005.
Open minds. Open doors.TM
2
What is cultural awareness?
Open minds. Open doors.TM
3
What is cultural awareness?
  • Culture is the shared assumptions, values, and
    beliefs of a group of people which result in
    characteristic behaviors.
  • (Storti, 1999)

Open minds. Open doors.TM
4
What is cultural awareness?
Open minds. Open doors.TM
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What is cultural awareness?
  • Culture can be visualized as an iceberg 10 of
    it is visible above the water (behaviors), and
    90 of it is hidden under the water (assumptions,
    values, and beliefs that drive behaviors).

Open minds. Open doors.TM
6
  • Cross-cultural awareness is a developed sense of
    the impact that cultural background and
    differences have on our social interactions. It
    implies a commitment to creating an environment
    that supports members of underrepresented groups,
    and that encourages multiculturalism and
    continuous learning about ourselves and others.
    (adapted from Winston, 1995).

Open minds. Open doors.TM
7
Stages of Cultural Awareness
  • Storti (1999)

Open minds. Open doors.TM
8
Stages of Cultural Awareness
  • Unconscious incompetence (blissful ignorance)
  • Conscious incompetence (troubling ignorance)
  • Conscious competence (deliberate sensitivity)
  • Unconscious competence (spontaneous sensitivity)

Open minds. Open doors.TM
9
Stages of Cultural Awareness
  • Unconscious incompetence (blissful ignorance)
  • Unaware of cultural differences Unaware of the
    possibility of making cultural mistakes or
    misinterpreting others behavior. Have no reason
    at this stage not to trust your intuition.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
10
Stages of Cultural Awareness
  • Conscious incompetence (troubling ignorance)
  • Realize there are cultural differences unsure
    of what the differences are and how numerous or
    deep they may be. Unsure of your intuition.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
11
Stages of Cultural Awareness
  • Conscious competence (deliberate sensitivity)
  • Know there are cultural differences, and what
    some of them are try to modify your own
    behavior to be sensitive to differences Have to
    make a conscious effort know you can figure out
    what to do if you can remain objective

Open minds. Open doors.TM
12
Stages of Cultural Awareness
  • Unconscious competence (spontaneous sensitivity)
  • No longer have to think about what you are doing
    in order to be culturally sensitive (in a culture
    you know well) culturally appropriate behavior
    comes naturally you can trust your intuition
    because it has been reconditioned by what you
    know about cross-cultural interactions.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
13
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
Open minds. Open doors.TM
14
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
  • 1 Obtain top level support
  • For any diversity initiative to succeed,
    leadership must provide a commitment to the
    process. Diversity training and cross-cultural
    awareness fit very well with library missions and
    professional practices.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
15
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
  • 2 Research best practices
  • There are many wonderful books and articles
    available. We have provided some of these in our
    bibliography.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
16
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
  • 3 Identify partners
  • Identify the agencies, groups or individuals in
    your community with whom you might partner for
    training, or tap as consultants or facilitators.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
17
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
  • 4 Conduct a needs assessment
  • A needs assessment instrument can be used to
    determine the focus of the training program. The
    developmental level of the participants is
    important. Assess the groups current needs and
    attitudes and readiness. Understand the
    demographics and the needs of your community.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
18
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
  • 5 Develop objectives
  • Based on the needs assessment, decide what the
    focus of the training will be.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
19
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
  • 6 Design informational and transformational
    programs
  • An example of informational programs would be
    communicating the mission, policies, procedures
    and service ethic of the library to new
    employees. Transformation programs are those
    that provide opportunities for employees to
    develop their cross-cultural skills, attitudes or
    beliefs.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
20
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
  • 7 Use various methods and media
  • If the focus of your training is skills, you
    might use role playing, communication exercises,
    storytelling, videos, simulations, vignettes,
    etc. For building knowledge and awareness, you
    might use short readings, self-assessments, or
    presentations by expert guest speakers. If your
    focus is on attitudes and beliefs you bring in
    outside facilitators to lead the group through
    exercises and discussions.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
21
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
  • 8 Allow participants to establish ground rules
    for behavior
  • Diversity issues are complex, and people need a
    safe space to explore them. Encourage
    participants to be open to different ideas and to
    refrain from personal attacks on others.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
22
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
  • 9 Assess the effectiveness of the training
  • Ask the participants to evaluate their knowledge
    and cultural awareness before and after training
    sessions to determine if the objectives are met.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
23
Creating Effective Diversity Training Programs
  • 10 Realize that training is a long- term process
  • Cross-cultural awareness doesnt happen in one
    session, so training should be viewed as ongoing,
    integral part of orientation and continuing
    education in the library.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
24
Self-Assessment Checklist for Cross-Cultural
Communication
Open minds. Open doors.TM
25
Self-Assessment Checklist
  • I speak slowly, audibly and distinctly.
  • I keep my sentence structure and vocabulary
    simple.
  • I avoid jargon or slang.
  • I allow extra time to communicate with someone
    whose first language is not mine.
  • I am sensitive to the emotional state of library
    users.
  • I appreciate different ways of communicating.
  • I do not judge people on their accents or
    language fluency.
  • When I experience frustration or sense conflict
    in a cross-cultural situation, I ask myself,
    Whats really going on here?
  • I consider the effect of cultural difference on
    messages being transmitted and I check my
    assumptions.
  • I adapt my style to the demands of the situation.
  • I listen as much as I speak I do not interrupt.

Open minds. Open doors.TM
26
Self-Assessment Checklist
  • I rephrase the library users question to be sure
    I understand.
  • I check to see if I have been understood, and I
    rephrase and repeat my answers and instructions
    as needed.
  • I am objective and neutral when handling
    reference requests.
  • I like to learn as much as possible about other
    cultures, especially those of members of my
    community.
  • I am aware of resources within my community that
    serve international students, visitors, workers,
    and citizens.
  • I am aware of services for persons with
    disabilities.
  • I look for ways to improve library services to
    underrepresented groups.
  • I understand that politeness, consideration,
    caring and sensitivity can yield positive
    responses in all people.
  • I treat all library users with the same high
    level of respect, attention, and courtesy.
  • (adapted from Liu, 1995 and Valuing Diversity
    Part III, 1987.)

Open minds. Open doors.TM
27
OSU Libraries Progress
  • What we have done thus far
  • Gained top-level support
  • Researched best practices
  • on campus, in the library literature and in
    corporate, training and social science
    literature.
  • Identified partners on campus
  • Team Liberation http//oregonstate.edu/groups/team
    liberation/
  • Office of Diversity
  • Affirmative Action Program
  • Difference Power and Discrimination program
  • Ethnic Studies department
  • Multicultural, Women and GLBT Centers
  • Committed to Diversity committees of the OSU
    Office of Diversity
  • Several individuals on campus known for expertise
    in diversity training

Open minds. Open doors.TM
28
OSU Libraries Progress
  • Whats next?
  • Institutional Review Board Approval
  • Needs Assessment
  • Develop a training program and schedule
  • Embedded in students current training
  • Diversity training and lecture series open to all
    staff and faculty
  • Assessment

Open minds. Open doors.TM
29
Bibliography
  • Selected Bibliography
  • lthttp//www.oregonstate.edu/mellinma/ACRL2005/bib
    liography.docgt

Open minds. Open doors.TM
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