Training Second-Year MSW Students to Improve Cultural and Linguistic Competence


Purpose: Cultural competency is a critical construct in social work education. This study investigated whether a grant-funded training program completed in tandem with second-year field placement and second-year Master of Social Work (MSW) curriculum could improve the cultural competence of MSW students. Method: Ninety-nine trainees completed the program over the 3-year grant period funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Cultural and linguistic competence was measured at the beginning and end of the training program for each cohort using a preexperimental design. Results: Findings suggest that MSW students saw improvement in their communication, values, and attitudes with respect to cultural and linguistic competence. Trainees did not report improvement on the Physical Environment subscale portion of the measure. Discussion: Results suggest that training can improve knowledge, values, and skills on cultural and linguistic competence. However, trainees may not have adequate authority to make an impact on the environment of their field placements.

Publication Title

Research on Social Work Practice