Instructional Strategies

A. Written Exercises

Especially recommended for this module are techniques encouraging learners to examine their own cultural attitudes and values that could affect their interactions with older adults from diverse backgrounds. This can be done by assigning:

  • A paper asking learners to examine the influence of their own cultural background on attitudes towards people of different cultures
  • Use of reflection (journaling), (See Eyler, Giles, and Schmeide), and/or
  • Reflective narratives about their own ethnic background, values and beliefs about health, health care, the interaction between spirituality and health, and death. In-class reports from these assignments and class discussions of similarities and differences are also valuable, especially in a class with learners from diverse backgrounds.

B. Case Histories

In addition to lecture, discussion, and reading assignments, case histories can be used to emphasize the importance of:

  • Spirituality in the health of ethnic older adults
  • Cultural competence in the health care setting.

C. Research

Have learners research the health beliefs, customs, and family systems of different ethnicities.

D. Interview

Have learners interview an elderly person from an ethnic background other than their own to recognize cultural and religious beliefs and practices.

E. Data Analysis

Ask groups to analyze census data and report the variations in characteristics WITHIN ethnic populations.

F. Health Care Analysis

Have learners analyze the system level indicators of cultural competence within a health care system in their own community.

G. Illustration of Acculturation Continuum

Assignments to interview members from different generations or times of immigration in the same ethnic population can help illustrate the acculturation continuum.