Teaching cultural diversity in first year human services and social work: The impetus for embedding a cultural safety framework. A Practice Report
This report outlines how the concept of cultural safety was introduced in a first year human services and social work course at an Australian university. The application of this concept as a central framework for contemporary practice illustrates how cultural safety can enrich cross-cultural teaching and practice from the first year of study. When a culturally safe approach is embraced, practitioners respect and acknowledge the uniqueness of each individual, their own cultural frame of reference, and recognise that it is the service user who deems the professional relationship as culturally safe. While individual and institutional constraints can prevent the integration of this concept in relevant curricula and limit the impact of cultural safety knowledge on first year students’ learning experiences, it is argued that a culturally safe philosophy should be embedded more systematically at individual and institutional levels, and throughout the student lifecycle, as a promising approach for cross-cultural encounters.