Deborah Cron, clinical associate professor, applied and received a public affairs assessment grant to promote and assess evidence of student learning in her department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The title of her project, “Using the Power of Social Influence and Impact of Entertainment to Provide a Broader Cultural Awareness and Increase Empathy in Students of Communication Sciences and Disorders” is described by Dr. Cron below. For more information about her reflective assignment, visit the Public Affairs Toolkit.
The Undergraduate Assessment Objective for CSD 495, Observation Clinical Practicum, states that Students will demonstrate cultural competence and ethical leadership by reflecting on and discussing the needs of individuals served in the Communication Sciences and Disorders clinical setting and how clinicians/teachers strive to meet these needs in a culturally competent, individualized way, through least biased, best clinical practices.
The assessment assignment for this undergraduate course requires a 1 1/2 page observation of an SLP therapy session observed during the semester that describes actions they as a therapist could take to deliver Speech-Language therapy to that client in a culturally competent, individualized way, through least biased, best clinical practice.
Two class periods of this two credit hour course were devoted to lecture, discussion, and video presentation of “Cultural Humility: People, Principles and Practices,” a 30 minute documentary by Vivian Chavez, a San Francisco State professor that uses music, interviews, archival footage, and images of community, nature and dance to explain why we need Cultural Humility, not simply Cultural Competence.
Class responses to this video via written comments were most enthusiastic, showed a deep interest in learning more about other cultures, and a definite surprise at the expanded definition of diversity from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools that states, “diversity is represented in many forms, such as differences in ideas, viewpoints, perspectives, values, religious beliefs, backgrounds, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, human capacity, and ethnicity….” Therefore, the students learned that not only do African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians have distinctive cultures, but so do youth gangs, divorcees, senior citizens, and college students. In addition to expressions of surprise and interest, a number of students seemed genuinely at a loss as to how to gain more information about other cultures. “Where do you look for further information to practice cultural humility/competence?” My typical response was, “use the internet, talk to colleagues, read books, see films.”
My course, like all courses, has limited seated time to expand further on this topic as it is necessary for students to also learn a sufficient amount about clinical methods to make their observations meaningful. But I wanted to find another way for students to expand their experiences. I have lost count of the healthcare professionals I know who have shared a story about a film that finally made them commit to their career choice. The power of the performing arts to enlighten as well as entertain is undeniable.
I propose to use the social influence and impact of entertainment to provide a broader cultural knowledge base to students by establishing a small library of theatrically released films relevant to professionals in the field of healthcare and communication disorders and provide extra credit opportunities for students in my class who are willing to write reflection papers on these films. If possible I would also like to schedule at least one “movie night” followed by a talk back with faculty and community leaders knowledgeable on the themes presented in the selected film.
Films would be selected with input from CSD department faculty and assure relevance to all three disciplines within the department including Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Audiology, and Speech Language Pathology; therefore selections would be available to impact students throughout the department, not only those with goals to become Speech Language Pathologists. The checkout system already in place for therapy materials could accommodate the checkout of items in this film library as well. The idea for a “movie night” could eventually be expanded to include other interested departments within the College of Health and Human Services. Funds from this grant would be used to purchase films.
The reflections would provide a written product that would be submitted as samples of student work, therefore contributing to a body of student work that will provide qualitative and quantitative data for research on the effectiveness of the practice. I am available to fulfill the eligibility selection criteria by attending meetings throughout the semester to participate in the desired “community of practice dedicated achieving greater clarity with regard to teaching and learning the public affairs mission” at Missouri State University.
Examples of films that would be included:
My Left Foot: a 1989 Irish film directed starring Daniel Day Lewis. It tells the true story of Christy Brown, an Irishman born with cerebral palsy who could control only his left foot. Christy Brown grew up in a poor, working-class family, and became a writer and artist.
The Miracle Worker: The story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan
Children of a Lesser God: An adaptation of the Tony Award winning stage play about a hearing speech teacher and deaf custodian who have conflicting ideologies on speech and deafness.
I am Sam: The story of a father with a developmental disability and his 17 year old daughter
Diving Bell and the Butterfly: True story of the Elle editor who suffered a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body
Taare Zameen Par-Like Stars on Earth: Reissued by Disney, a 2007 award winning Indian drama about an eight year old who excels at art, whose teacher suspects that he is dyslexic and helps him to overcome his disability.
Temple Grandin: The 2010 biopic about an autistic woman who revolutionized practices for humane handling of livestock on cattle ranches.
Young At Heart: British documentary about a chorus of twenty-two senior citizens with an average age of eighty.