Personal Growth 36 possible points

* What are at least two ways in which your “diversity skills” have been affected by taking this course? (8 points)
* What are at least two steps that you need to take to become a more diversity-conscious individual? (8 points)
Personal Growth
Although credit hours in Behavioral Health are mandatory in my degree plan at University Maryland University College, I chose to receive lessons in diversity because I believed that in doing so, I would gain invaluable knowledge about different cultures throughout society. Fortunately, my preliminary thoughts and reasoning behind taking the course were far exceeded as I began interacting with peers on various topics throughout the lesson plan. By diving into the assigned reading material, portraying my thoughts concerning diversity topics in writing on a weekly basis, working with others to complete assignments, and engaging in professional dialogue with students of various cultural backgrounds, I was able to increase my awareness, understanding, and skill level when concerned with the topics of equality and diversity. Furthermore, I was able to reflect back onto past experiences and determine what steps that I, as an individual, need to take in order to become a more diversity-conscious individual.
Diversity Awareness
As I stated above, I feel that through completing this course, I was given the tools needed to increase my overall knowledge of diversity related issues in our society. More than most, my knowledge in the area of diversity awareness was significantly expanded upon. Primarily, my knowledge in the aforementioned topic of awareness in diversity was increased by my learning that diversity pertains to more than racial equality between Caucasians and African Americans. Throughout the learning process, I was afforded the opportunity to gain insight into several cultures that have been faced with injustice and inequality for reasons that can be attributed to nothing more than their skin color and/or religious beliefs. The lesson that taught me this came in the form of discussions about Native Americans and the recent up rise in their efforts to be seen by fellow Americans as equal.
Secondly, my awareness in the topic of gender equality was significantly expanded upon. Through various readings and discussions I was able to learn how all women, regardless of race or ethnicity, have fought to be viewed as equal to their male counterparts. Title IX was instrumental in my understanding of the problems faced by women not so long ago. Through the implementation of Title IX, women have earned the right(s) to equality in areas such as admittance to collegiate institutions, the right to pursue identical career paths as men, the continuing pursuit of education while pregnant, the right to share learning environments with men, and the protection against sexual harassment while performing these endeavors (titleix.info, 2013).
Diversity Understanding
Throughout the past seven weeks, I was given a substantial amount of information that increased my understanding of diversity and the world that I live in. Through this increase in understanding, I have come to the realization that diversity is about much more than simply avoiding the judgment or stereotyping of others. Additionally, understanding issues in diversity encompass more than just tolerating those with different skin colors, sexual orientation, and/or religious beliefs.
In addition to what I stated in the paragraph above, this course proved valuable in reminding me on the values that our country was founded upon. The United States Declaration of Independence (1776) declares that that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. These words, in my opinion, speak volumes about understanding diversity. Through the writings of our forefathers, I am reminded that freedom and the pursuit of liberty are things that our country has fought for before. This fact provides me with hope that as descendants of those who have previously fought to end oppression and bring forth equality, we have what it takes to change our society for the better.
Diversity Skills
The importance of diversity skills and interpersonal communication is valuable in today`s society. Through gaining insight into various diversity skills, I have come to the realization that the implementation of these skills allow for people to view the differences of others from a more understanding perspective. These lessons were provided to my fellow students and I early in the learning process. Having been introduced so early, they were able to pave the way for our understanding of each other as well as for the various backgrounds from which we came.
Aside from being able to understand the differences that I and my fellow students have, I was also able to learn how to consider such differences in communicating with them. By taking the course, I now understand what my fellow students want to convey aside from the literal meanings of their words. I understand that their actions as well as mine are reflections of our diverse cultures and social backgrounds. Perhaps, I can say that the most important diversity skill that I was able to learn was the skill of relating to the feelings and ideas that other people of different culture, social background, or gender want to express. I am also able to express myself more clearly to my fellow students.
Self Reflection
Although this course has increased my knowledge of diversity related issues occurring within the boundaries of the society in which I live, there are undoubtedly steps that I can take to become a more diversity-conscious individual. For starters, I plan to become more immersed in issues that cultures are currently faced with. I no longer wish to take a back seat, so to speak, regarding problems that necessarily to do not affect me directly. Through this course of instruction, I have realized that although I may not share the same gender or skin color as others, we are a all part of the larger human society and will inevitably have to stand accountable for the treatment of others.
Secondly, I plan to further my implementation of diversity skills in everyday life. This course of instruction has motivated me to seek out those of differing cultures in an attempt to increase both my knowledge and the understanding of others.
Diversity Benefits: 10 possible points
What are at least three specific benefits that you will gain from valuing diversity? Support your response with evidence from your text and/or other materials (e.g., personal journals and conference posts, in-class presentations, external sources).
Valuing diversity has had many benefits for me. Firstly, I was able to gain an appreciation of the diversity that we have at school and on the community where I live. I can now appreciate more the privilege of being with other people of other races and of different sexual orientations. In other words, I now have a greater appreciation of the world. This appreciation gives me the feeling of contentment, security, and courage to speak my thoughts and my views to people of diverse cultural backgrounds with the knowledge that I am doing it for the right reasons and through the right ways. I picture myself not just a part of small group or race but a part of a much greater organization – I am a part of the entire human family. Secondly, by valuing diversity, I can now have a better understanding of past and current issues or conflicts that nations have and are facing. And accordingly, help avoid making the same mistakes that would result to such conflicts. Thirdly, valuing diversity helps me make informed decisions on how I must interact with other people. Each of us, because of uniqueness, can have a special place and role in the organization that we are in. Only by valuing this uniqueness can we maximize our contribution to the betterment of the organization, because only by valuing diversity can we have a non-bias evaluation of our and other people`s capacity to contribute. Not only by valuing diversity can gain a higher respect for others but a higher respect for ourselves as well. Whenever, there was a group activity in my class and in the community where I live, I find it easier to achieve the activity`s goal when I and my peers value each other`s uniqueness. These three-fold benefits are supported by the findings of the research made by Duce & Ahmed (2008), entitled, “Valuing Diversity: Exploring Faith and Culture,” where she showed that when people, especially the youth value diversity, they tend to work more harmoniously with each other, enjoy each other`s company, enjoy the task that they are given, and reach the goals of a particular activity much faster, than those groups who have conflicts as a result of not valuing diversity.
Diversity Communication: 14 possible points
* What is the role of communication in promoting diversity awareness? Provide in-text citations from your text and/or other external sources. Use APA format. (6 points)
* What are at least two ways in which you will improve your communication skills to help others work more productively with you? (8 points)
Role of Communication in Promoting Diversity Awareness
Understanding can only come through communication. As people communicate with each other, they will become ore acquainted with each other`s thoughts and feelings and the more they will understand each other. Without communication, a person can only assume what the other is thinking and act according to these assumptions. In a similar way, I only came to really understand my fellow students when we started talking to each other, especially when we did things together and help each other with our lessons. Communication with people of other race helps us understand them better, because our communications with them helps us to share a common experience with them, and this common experience gives us an awareness of diversity. Communication also makes learn the various dimensions of diversity as well as gain an appreciation of them. When I was just starting to learn how to communicate with my fellow students I slowly came to realize that there are differences between the communications styles of each race and also between genders. Without personally communicating with them I would have not known this. The knowledge that I gained from my communications with them has help to become aware of our differences and use this awareness to develop ways on how I can better understand them and how can I help them better understand me. My experience in communication with my fellow students and with some other people in our community proves what the curriculum overview of the Penstate College (2013) for the subject Diversity Awareness says: that communications can serve as sources of factual information about other people.
It can be inferred from my aforementioned answer that facts about other people`s culture, ethnicity, and other dimensions of diversity are essential in having a meaningful and efficient communication with other. In other words, such facts can help us hone our communication skills. Knowing what others believe in, the things they value, and the norms that they adhere to are all essential information in making an effective communication. Hence one way of improving my communication skills is to obtain as much information about the people I usually talk to. Having knowledge of such, I will be able to initiate conversations with them as well as relate with them. Another way of improving my communications skills is by seeking for opportunities to talk with other people. Nothing helps better in learning something than exercising what we already know. Practice makes perfect – as the good proverb says. Brandywine, Rubenstein & Maluniu (2013) explained that developing advanced communication skills have to start with our simple interactions with other people and then progresses with practice. I person should always use every opportunity to communicate to practice what he or she has learned from previous communications, learning new things in the process.
Diversity Goals: 8 possible points
* What are at least two of your most important diversity goals for the future?
Diversity Goals
Having been able to understand deeply what the lack of understanding and appreciation of diversity to societies, I`m now determined to help other is gaining the same understanding as I do about diversity. I want to help others learn the importance of other people. I want to share my thoughts with the future generations. In other words, I want to be able to teach students like I am one day. In the future I would like to devote my time as a teacher. I believe that by sharing my knowledge, the faster and easier it will be to achieve my second diversity goal discussed below. By sharing my knowledge and my personal view the more likely that people will join me in bring to life my ideas.
My second diversity goal is to help build an organization which will help individuals communities achieve community goals. The organization which I will help build examine the problems that the community faces. An accounting of the human resources will also be conducted. After the accounting process, the problems will be matched with the resources that the community has. I will help in organizing communities address their problems, such as their problems in livelihood, with security, education, etc. I am sure that each community has diverse talents which remain unutilized up to this day. The organization which I will help build will identify these talents and put them into use for the benefit of the entire society.
Diversity Actions: 16 possible points
* What are three specific ways you will achieve your diversity goals and contribute to creating an environment that values diversity? (Specify whether contributions will have a personal, community, or global impact.) (12 points)
* What resources will you need to honor these commitments? (4 points)
Ways to Achieve Diversity Goals
The first on my list of diversity actions would be obtaining more knowledge about diversity. While, the knowledge that I have now may be sufficient in helping, primarily, me, I believe that there are still a lot of things to learn about diversity, as well as about the discrimination issues that we are currently facing in this generation. Knowledge is power, and I want to get as much knowledge as I could. Moreover, I believe that diversity related issues are complex, so I will really need to have more knowledge and experience in giving solutions to them. This diversity action will primarily contribute to the realization of my first diversity goal. This diversity action will have its impact, primarily, on the personal level.
In connection with my first Diversity Action, my second goal is to join a civic organization where I can learn, firsthand, the nature of the diversity related problems that we are encountering in our country and perhaps in the entire world in general. I want to have a firsthand experience of how solutions conceived, formulated, planned, and executed. I want to sufficient leadership skills, and the most efficient way to do this is to be under an excellent leadership now. My experiences that I will gain from this diversity action will greatly help me in achieving my second goal – certainly, I will need to have excellent leadership skills in order to help create an organization that will organize communities. This diversity action will have its impact on the community, and perhaps in the entire world.
Thirdly, as I pointed out earlier, communication skills will play an important role in understanding diversity, or in having diversity awareness. I would like to add, that excellent communication skills will also be indispensible in achieving the two goals which I listed. Accordingly, I need to have excellent communication skills in order to teach and share my views. I have to make sure that I`m not misunderstood. I would also need such skills when I engage in creating the aforementioned organization. In order to develop such skills I may need to take some curses in communication. This diversity action will have an impact, primarily, on the personal level.
Resources
One of the major resources that I will need in achieving my diversity actions is financial resources. Furthering my education, such as taking courses on communication skills development will require monetary budget. I will also need “intangible” resources, such as the support of my family, my friends and the school where I graduated and learned the important lessons about diversity. Such support can help keep an eye on my goal, and give me strength to continue to press forward. I understand that there will be obstacles in the future, but with my determination and the support of the people and institutions close to me, I am sure that I will be able to honor my commitments.
References
Archives.org. (2013).The Declaration of Independence. Retrieved from: .
Brandywine, A., Rubenstein, B. and Maluniu, K.R. (2013). How to Develop Good Communication Skills. Retrieved from: .
Duce, C. and Ahmed, S. (2008).Valuing Diversity: Exploring Faith and Culture. Retrieved from: < https://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/sass/ValuingDiversityExploringFaithandCulture.pdf>.
Pennstate College (2013). An Overview on Diversity Awareness. Retrieved from: .
The Margaret fund of NWLC. (2013). 40TH Anniversary of Title IX: The Next Generation. Retrieved from: .