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NASP Communiqué, Vol. 32, #7
May 2004

Journey to Thinking Multiculturally

New Series of Articles From School Psychology Students in Multicultural Counseling

By Tonika Duren Green, Series Editor

Culturally responsive school psychologists are in great need by the profession. As we celebrate and honor how far we've come and as well as the implications of Brown versus Topeka Board of Education (see pages 5 and 6), we must think about what it means for school psychology. While desegregation lay at the heart of Brown, equitable educational opportunity for students of color and students with disabilities rang loud and clear.  More importantly, Brown encouraged all of us to learn more about our diverse world.  This new section of Communiqué features the first of these culture-focused articles written by first-year specialist level School Psychology students from San Diego State University. Their papers have been edited specifically for this series (see page 34).

In their first semester Multicultural Counseling course, the students were challenged to take the journey to thinking multiculturally. This journey includes three major components: (1) developing knowledge of our own culture(s) and exploring our biases; (2) learning about a culture different from our own (e.g., interviews, cultural plunges, community service learning and research); and (3) developing multicultural competencies for working with diverse groups. The goal of this journey is to prepare school psychologists of the future who are multicultural thinkers and actors, who understand how racial, ethnic and socio-cultural factors influence student performance and who implement culturally-responsive interventions.

As the instructor of the course, I encourage students to evaluate and learn about themselves throughout the journey. I support examination of their own behavioral styles and cultural practices and encourage students to think about how they influence their own social and cultural development. This is an essential component in becoming culturally aware and responsive to the needs of students of color and all children, for that matter. I ask that you have an open mind as the students share their stories about their journeys toward learning about another culture. They recognize that the journey to thinking multiculturally is never-ending and forever evolving. Their stories are unique and their experiences brought each of them to different places professionally and personally. I hope that this series will encourage practitioners, trainers, students and other professionals to take their own journeys. This field needs it and the students and families we work with each day deserve it.

Tonika Duren Green, PhD, is on the faculty of the School Psychology Program at San Diego State University. The first article in this series appears on page 34 of this issue. This series of articles will continue in June and in the fall of 2004.