Reasons for taking the course
The main reason for taking this course was to increase my employability. Employers look for individuals with impressive communication skills, people who can understand and work with other people effectively, and people who can conduct research. By taking a course on psychology, an individual develops skills on how to structure an argument, discuss an idea objectively, and manage conflict, collaboration, and even leadership. The assignments and course projects also help to improve an individual’s ability to learn to find sources, analyze information, and present findings efficiently. I hoped that by learning the skills, I would be advantaged in the job market.
Ways in which the psychology class affected my diversity awareness.
First, attending the class made me learn more about my own culture. Besides the basic facts of the origin of my parents and ancestors, I also learned about the assumptions, values, and biases that I have developed due to cultural influences. I now understand that my viewpoint is unique, just like everyone else’s viewpoint. Self-awareness of my cultural background reminds me that my perspective is only a single perspective of understanding events and issues, and there are many more perspectives that are different and thus, I should embrace them too. The class has made me become less egocentric and therefore appreciate other people’s point of view and their varying experiences in life.
Secondly, I have come to recognize that when a person is different from others, it does not mean that they are deficient of anything, especially if the difference exists or is valued among members of the person’s cultural group. I, therefore, learned to deal with such differences by exploring my attitude and reaction towards the gaps and addressing any discomfort that I may have initially felt about it.
Ways in which taking the class affected my diversity understanding
Attending the course has helped me to understand that each individual is unique, and thus, I have learned how to recognize our differences. Today, I know myself better and the reason why I behave differently. On the other hand, since I have been sharing the class with people from different socio-economic status, different ages, physical abilities, political and religious beliefs, and even gender, towards the mid of the course, my relationship with my classmates improved. I can now understand them and their way of thinking better without judging them.
My understanding of other people’s culture has also changed significantly. After learning of the many diverse issues in society, I came to appreciate the role of different characters in the school and the community at large. It is now apparent to me that different individuals play different roles in society. I realized that diversity is not only about tolerating one another but also opening to the global community and preparing to respond to inquiries and ideas from a diverse population. I also understood that diversity is undeniable and it is necessary for individuals to manage it.
Ways in which the class affected my diversity skills
Being aware of the diversity in the class and society in general, I have learned to become an active listener in daily activities. Unlike before, when I was biased towards people and found it challenging to embrace certain people’s ideas; currently, I take time to listen and internalize other people’s opinions before reacting. As a result, I treat people with respect and listen to them with enthusiasm, which helps achieve a smooth flow of communication and healthy discussions. Listening has also improved my problem-solving skills to another level.
The class also improved my ability to manage a diverse environment significantly. I realized that it is crucial for people to understand and learn to manage various settings. Since people both in the class and outside have different views of events in life, I trained for different communication techniques for handling different people. My skills help me find the best solutions to class and life issues by starting with a diverse set of opinions and narrowing down to the best solution or combining several ideas to create a better one.
Steps to become a more diversity conscious individual
Effective communication is crucial to achieving a high level of transparency and openness, which is necessary for attaining diversity awareness. I, therefore, intend to be more curious to learn more about the cultural backgrounds of the people I interact with in society. I am also willing to answer questions and tell people more about my cultural beliefs. I believe that effective communication will result in increased awareness, empathy, and better understanding with my colleagues. To foster excellent communication among my peers, I will lead by example by opening up to more people, listening to people’s opinions keenly, and encouraging individuals to embrace each other’s ideas.
Furthermore, I will avoid clustering with individuals who share similar backgrounds. When people of the same background cluster together, they maintain the same ideas and values they hold while blocking the inclusion of new ideas. Moreover, it leads to division among people since other individuals feel like strangers to the team. It is, therefore, my plan to reduce the time I spend with people of my culture, and instead spend more time with people of different cultures so that I can learn their way of thinking, and try to see things with an open mind.
Benefits from valuing diversity
Information and increased creativity
The key to understanding the positive impacts of diversity include the concept of communication. Obtaining different information from varying sources before making a decision will boost my creativity (Bassett‐Jones, 2005). Interacting with individuals who hail from different cultures, perspectives, and socio-economic backgrounds will expand my creativity and innovation. I believe that embracing diversity will help me obtain diverse information from where I can pick the ethical concepts and merge them to get a better solution to issues, and thus, I will manage to achieve my goals.
The study of diversity has motivated me to feel a greater responsibility to understand events and experiences that initially seemed irrelevant to my own experience (Lee, 2012). My self-awareness has significantly developed, as I can form a sense of relevance and reason to connect to events, histories, and occurrences that previously seemed far unrelated to my contexts. I have noted a positive change in my thinking too in that I have started attaching greater importance of being aware of global issues and events outside my immediate context.
Greater understanding and managerial skills
The knowledge and understanding of high-level diversity concepts and the ability to have cognitive diversity will help me improve my communication and interaction with people in the future (Bainbridge, 2013). Being able to communicate well with people and motivate others to interact positively regardless of their differences will also assist me in handling employees in future should I succeed in my dream of starting a company. The knowledge of diversity is more inclusive and collaborative and thus, can affect leadership skills such as teamwork.
Effective communication helps individuals to know about each other’s culture and background.
Effective communication ensures that people from different backgrounds, religions, and cultures realize that they share something in common and thus, avoid problems that may arise between them. Through excellent communication, individuals manage to solve any chaos arising among people of different backgrounds. The ability to address the issue by sharing their problem-solving skills from various cultures is one way of promoting diversity (Conus & Fahrni, 2019). In a case where the matter requires the intervention of a more senior person, they would first embrace diversity to agree that they go to an older person for help. Effective communication not only promotes diversity among a group of people but also results in a positive ambiance between a group of people either learning or working together.
Healthy communication helps to eliminate misunderstandings between individuals
When people with different perspectives work together, they are likely to encounter misunderstandings since they view things from different angles. Consequently, effective communication enables information to reach the intended audience in its desired form, which helps to avoid disagreements (Idrus et al., 2010). It is, therefore, advisable that individuals maintain regular communication with different people because it helps a person to express their opinions.
Ways in which I will improve my communication skills
Listen more closely and more often
One way in which I intend to improve my communication skills to make it easier for other people to work with me is by listening attentively and more often to other people’s idea. I will also commit to staying focused and showing respect to anyone I am communicating with, regardless of their personality. I will also try to remain calm during a conversation and not get frustrated even if I feel like the other party is not being clear.
I also intend to commit to never interrupt a speaker when they are talking. The course helped me understand that interrupting people when they are talking makes them feel like their points are of little value. Therefore, I will train myself to be patient with other people. I will be giving every speaker enough time to express themselves until they are finished to create a conducive atmosphere where all parties can develop their communication skills with time.
My long-term diversity goals are to enhance diversity-related activities in my workplace to ensure that my workmates develop the knowledge and skills that are required for interacting and working effectively as components of a diverse society. I intend to apply what I have learned in this course in real life situation and help people in the community to understand and appreciate each other. I realized that the reason for most ethnic fights, hostility, and all other forms of discrimination arise from failing to understand each other. If people could understand each other, it would be easy to see things from each other’s perspectives, which can help solve many problems in society.
My short-term goal is to engage in activities and events that appreciate diversity and create awareness throughout the college and its surrounding. I believe it is not too late to promote diversity here in school. In the little time that I will be here in school, I want to commit to engaging and organizing activities that promote diversity in the school and the local community.
To achieve my long-term diversity goals, I will organize regular forums in the workplace where people can hold healthy discussions on the events affecting our world today. In the forum, people will understand the perspectives of people from different backgrounds, and probably they will learn to appreciate each other. I will also encourage my workmates to engage in teamwork and I would discourage the idea of a team having people of a similar background. I will lead by example by infusing with people of different cultures during team work.
To achieve my short term goal, I would try to reach out to the administration through the dean and request that the school invites a speaker who can talk to the school, during the International education week in November on issues about diversity. Other activities that I would recommend to be carried on during the session would include showing a film, for example, the 1994 Rwandan genocide story so that people can understand the severity of the adverse effects of failing to embrace diversity. I would also encourage the fusion of classmates during class discussions.
In the community, I will try to organize activities and games for youths, which can bring people together and make them interact. I would also set debates during the meetings where people can present their ideas freely. During the session, I would encourage individuals to listen to each other’s opinion patiently and with an open mind while reminding them that all ideas are valid and no category of people is more important than the rest.
Resources for honoring the commitment
To achieve the goals in my workplace, I will need human resources, including the CEO who can approve the activity to dispel fear among the employees. I will also need a diversity committee to assist in planning the events. The CEO will also advise on the availability of the board of directors to make the group complete with people from all levels in the organizations. For diversity in school, I need the support of the school administration and willing members of the student leadership team who can help convince students on the importance of the activity. In the community, I would request permission of the local authorities for any support the administration could offer.
Bainbridge, W. S. (Ed.). (2013). Converging technologies for improving human performance: Nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science. Springer Science & Business Media.
Bassett‐Jones, N. (2005). The paradox of diversity management, creativity, and innovation. Creativity and innovation management, 14(2), 169-175.
Conus, X., & Fahrni, L. (2019). Routine communication between teachers and parents from minority groups: an endless misunderstanding? Educational Review, 71(2), 234–256.
Idrus, Z., Abidin, S. Z., Hashim, R., & Omar, N. (2010). Social awareness: the power of digital elements in collaborative environment. WSEAS Transactions on Computers, 9(6), 644-653.
Lee, A., Williams, R., & Kilaberia, R. (2012). Engaging Diversity in First-Year College Classrooms. Innovative Higher Education, 37(3), 199–213.
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