Intercultural Experiences Prior to the Educational Program: Occupational Therapy and Social Work Students

Journal of Culture and Values in Education

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Field Value
Title Intercultural Experiences Prior to the Educational Program: Occupational Therapy and Social Work Students
Creator Tétreault, Sylvie
Bétrisey, Carine
Brisset, Camille
Gulfi, Alida
Schaer, Martine
Leanza, Yvan
Kühne, Nicolas
Description In the health and social professions, including occupational therapy and social work, interactions and exchanges with people are essential. Populations encountered by professionals in these fields are becoming increasingly diverse in terms of age, origin, language, health status, and socio-economic background. Sometimes, professionals can have potential misinterpretations regarding intentions and actions, health beliefs and practices, or verbal and non-verbal communication. To overcome obstacles related to practice in a context of diversity, universities must develop students’ intercultural competence. Scientific literature stresses the importance of encountering diversity to improve awareness and sensitivity and to bring attention to biases and prejudices. Considering students’ intercultural experiences before their formation could be a basis to achieve this educational goal. The present study aims to document this topic. Semi-structured interviews with 51 first-year students from two educational institutions in French-speaking Switzerland were conducted to capture the participants’ descriptions of these experiences in private or professional contexts. The interviews were transcribed and submitted to a thematic analysis approach. A thematic map was generated and three main themes emerged: (1) perception of diversity; (2) communication challenges; and (3) transformation of attitudes toward the “Other.” They are described and discussed in terms of developing intercultural competence. Recommendations regarding intercultural education emerge from these findings.
Publisher Journal of Culture and Values in Education
Date 2020-07-01
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Format application/pdf
Source Journal of Culture and Values in Education; Forthcoming Articles
Language eng
Rights Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Culture and Values in Education

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