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Dr. Monica Roth Day Teaching Scholar, WTFS 2012-13 University of Wisconsin Superior ADVANCING STUDENT UNDERSTANDING OF AMERICAN INDIAN COMMUNITIES USING.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Monica Roth Day Teaching Scholar, WTFS 2012-13 University of Wisconsin Superior ADVANCING STUDENT UNDERSTANDING OF AMERICAN INDIAN COMMUNITIES USING."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Dr. Monica Roth Day Teaching Scholar, WTFS University of Wisconsin Superior ADVANCING STUDENT UNDERSTANDING OF AMERICAN INDIAN COMMUNITIES USING DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS Thank you to Provost Faith Hensrud and OPID for supporting my research.

3 Scholarship of teaching and learning Research question: Does teaching about developmental assets have an effect on social work students’ knowledge and skills necessary to work with American Indian peoples? Research impetus: Students continue to believe general stereotypes and apply deficit-based thinking, even after being provided with strengths-based information on the positive aspects and resources of American Indian communities.

4 Understanding the impact of assignments Content analysis: Secondary data analysis (from previous semesters) was utilized to understand students’ perspectives (baseline), and create assignments related to developmental assets. Research intervention: The project implemented developmental assets content and assignments in a “Social Work Practice with American Indian Communities” course. Final Analysis and Findings: Analysis will take place of Spring 2013 assignments in June once course is completed. A comparison will be made between the assignments from previous semesters (before developmental asset content was added) and upon intervention in Spring 2013.

5 Understanding strengths-based social work and its importance when working with American Indian communities The philosophy of strengths-based practice is “out of struggle, humans can rise to find news ways of being” (Saleeby, 2006, page 9). It is in contrast to a deficit-focused approach. All people – individuals, groups, families and communities – have strengths. There are resources in all environments. Struggles can also be sources of challenge and opportunities. Social workers do best by collaborating with clients/consumers/communities.

6 Conceptualizing strengths-based practice using developmental assets in American Indian communities Developmental assets: Apply the strengths-based approach and reframe the way social workers approach working with communities. Focus on the strengths of the community in raising children and supporting growth into meaningful roles in the community. 1.External assets are the needs of young people. 2.Internal assets are the values the guide kids’ behaviors. Provide a framework to develop activities to support the development of specific assets in children, families and communities. Provide a framework to determine if students can learn and apply strengths to working with American Indian communities.

7 What are developmental assets? “Developmental assets” is a term used to describe “40 common sense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible, successful adults” (Search Institute, 2003).

8 What do these assets mean for preventing high risk behaviors in American Indian youth? If a significant number of these external and internal assets are present, the youth is less likely to engage in at-risk behaviors (Search Institute, 2003) Support (external) Boundaries and expectations (external) Commitment to learning (internal) Positive values (internal) Social competencies (internal)

9 What assets help American Indian youth thrive? Developmental assets can also support youth to thrive, or to grow and develop in a positive way. If a significant number of these external and internal assets are present, the youth is more likely to thrive (Search Institute, 2003). Support (external) Boundaries and expectations (external) Positive values (internal) Social competencies (internal) Positive identity (internal)

10 Understanding students’ skills (baseline) Content analysis: Secondary data analysis was completed of a course assignment from 2011 and The assignment was related to the Indian Child Welfare Act and application in a case study. Purpose: It was thought that students had difficulty applying a strengths-based approach to social work practice with American Indian communities. The content analysis provided evidence-based understanding regarding this belief. Process: A coding sheet was established using the key terms and phrases for each developmental asset. Assignments were then coded. Information for each code was placed in a Excel document, then reviewed for themes.

11 Initial findings Themes indicating a strengths-based approach The following assets were reflected in student assignments: “Support” (external asset) 1.It is important to be raised within a family (extended family). 2.Family provides the foundation for cultural identity. 3.Safety and stability promote a child’s development. “Empowerment” (external asset) 1.A child must grow up in his/her own culture. 2.It is important for a child to participate in his/her own culture. “Positive Values” and “Positive Identity” 1.Values and traditions of the culture are important. 2.A child must know the values and traditions of his/her culture in order to develop a strong positive identity.

12 Initial findings Themes indicating a deficit approach Only four developmental assets were reflected, and those were limited. Students’ beliefs regarding the motivation of the tribe to follow the Indian Child Welfare Act reflected deficit thinking. A significant number of students believed that the tribe was only trying to maintain its enrollment numbers, and not promote the mental health and well-being of the child. Stereotypes were in place regarding alcoholism and drug abuse. Students stated the biological family and the tribe were unable to care for the child. Students focused on the child as an individual, rather than as a member of a family and community.

13 Intervention Assignments reflecting developmental assets Interventions: First, content on developmental assets was formally inserted into the course during the fourth week. Following, major course assignments required students to apply developmental assets content. 1.Article reviews 2.Case studies 3.Discussion of concepts and issues Content analysis: Analysis of the same assignment, related to the Indian Child Welfare Act and application in a case study will take place in May/June 2013 once the course is completed and grades have been submitted.

14 Resources Saleebey, D. (2006). The Strengths Perspective in Social Work Practice. New Jersey: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. Search Institute. (2003). Únique Strengths, Shared Strengths: Developmental Assets Among Youth of Color. Insights and Evidence, 1, 2. Accessed at institute.org/research/insights-evidence/november-2003.http://www.search- institute.org/research/insights-evidence/november-2003 University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Social Work. (2009). Using the Seven Traditional Teachings to Raise Healthy Anishinaabe Children. Duluth, MN: University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Social Work. Accessed at University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Social Work. (2009). Raising Healthy American Indian Children in Grand Portage. Duluth, MN: University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Social Work.


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