Purpose: Diverse undergraduate students can play a critical role in increasing the number of culturally competent clinicians in the future. However, exploring how these students develop cultural and linguistic awareness is crucial. This study examined the development and assessment of cultural and linguistic awareness among a diverse group of undergraduate students who completed a dedicated course on cultural and linguistic diversity in communication disorders.
Method: We conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses to evaluate student growth. Ninety-seven undergraduate students from a public Hispanic-Serving Institution completed an adaptation of the ASHA's Cultural Competence Checklist: Personal Reflection at the beginning and end of a 16-week dedicated course. We analyzed the item responses using a paired t-test, and factor analyses were run to explore the potential presence of underlying constructs. We also analyzed open-ended students' reflections at the end of the semester.
Results: Students exhibited significant gains in cultural awareness. The exploratory factor analyses of the Personal Reflection responses at the beginning and end of the semester resulted in similar percentages of explained variance but by different item groupings. Students' reflections converged into two broad categories: (1) topics related to the course content and (2) student comments reflecting internal processes.
Conclusions: A dedicated course with relevant content may positively influence growth in cultural awareness in diverse undergraduate students. We discuss pedagogical challenges and potential mitigating approaches to develop and evaluate cultural awareness. Overall, our study offers insights into the development of cultural understanding among diverse undergraduate students and provides actionable recommendations for promoting a more inclusive and culturally responsive learning environment.
Greene, K. J.,
Méndez, L. I.
Teaching Undergraduate Students about Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Assessment and Pedagogical Challenges.
Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders, 7(2).