Exploring One's Family Heritage to Enhance Self‐awareness: A Step Toward Developing Cultural Competence. By: Desai, Priti P.; Dodor, Bernice A.; Carroll, Elizabeth B. Family Relations. Feb2020, Vol. 69 Issue 1, p76-91. 16p. 2 Charts.

Objective: To examine the effectiveness of a writing assignment that required undergraduate students in a diversity course to explore their family heritage. The purpose of this assignment was to increase self‐awareness of students regarding how structural characteristics of ethnicity, race, social class, and religion shaped the contributions family made to their emerging values, beliefs, and attitudes about interacting with others. Background: Instructors for family diversity courses need more instructional strategies that foster self‐awareness, which is commonly identified as a first step toward developing cultural competency. One such strategy is described in this paper. Method: A mixed method approach was employed, with both quantitative analysis of the frequency of responses from a course effectiveness survey and a descriptive narrative analysis of the text contained in 36 students’ family heritage reflective papers. Results: Most students reported increased self‐awareness of their family history, racial and ethnic identity, role of social class and religion on socialization, and acknowledged contextual experiences of privilege or discrimination. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that most students deepened their understanding of personal assumptions. They recognized the need to remain open to understanding and showing more empathy toward individuals from diverse backgrounds. Implications: Our results highlight the opportunity for instructors to be intentional in sequencing instructional activities, promoting respectful peer‐driven learning and dialogue, recognizing students’ worldview, and being open to faculty development opportunities.