Sara Herrala
The OmaPolku pilot training on culturally sensitive guidance was completed in early October. Overall, it was a success. The study counsellors learned new things, we heard interesting perspectives and collected good feedback, writes Sara Herrala, manager of the OmaPolku project.

Training about Culturally Sensitive Guidance was a success

The OmaPolku project's pilot training on culture-sensitive guidance was completed in early October. Our aim was to make the participating study counsellors aware of the impact of their own background and culture on their counselling work and understand why cultural sensitivity is an important part of counselling. In the training we provided them with tools to develop their own work as well as culturally sensitive thinking in the school environment, in order for them to better take into consideration youth and their families from different backgrounds.

During the trainings in the spring, we heard about the experiences of multicultural youth. In the autumn, immigrant parents were invited to participate as experts by experience in a training day on home-school cooperation. We heard a wide range of perspectives and experiences from study counsellors, young people with an immigrant background, immigrant parents and researchers. We were also lucky to have the professional team of trainers from Osuuskunta Ote as our partner!

Good and constructive feecback

in total 35 study counsellors from secondary schools in Uusimaa participated in the training. Following this pilot training, we received very good feedback about the training's goals and results and good ideas for future development.

84% of the respondents felt that the training helped them to better understand what culturally sensitive counselling means and why cultural sensitivity is an important part of counselling work. Four out of five felt more aware of the impact of their own background and culture on their counselling work and said they better understood how cultural sensitivity should be reflected in counselling interactions.

Koulutusten mainoskuva, jossa teksti Kohti kulttuurisensitiivistä ohjausta koulussa.

The training also addressed structural racism and its effects. More than 80 % of respondents felt that after the training they had a better understanding of the effects of structural racism and how to dismantle racist structures and practices.

The study counsellors said they had gained new insights into how multicultural youth plan their lives the issues that affect their educational paths. They felt that, thanks to the training, they now have a better understanding of the factors that influence home-school cooperation.

Big demand for training

We are very happy that almost all of the study counsellors said that they are now better able to take into consideration young people from different cultural backgrounds and their families in their work. They also said that a similar training would be useful for all school staff.

I think the pilot training was a success! We received a lot of good feedback and ideas for future development. Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to organise the Culturally Sensitive Guidance trainings during the OmaPolku project. During the last year of the project in 2022, we will be able to integrate it into the selection for updating education for study counsellors. Hopefully we will succeed, as the feedback we have received shows that there is a great demand for the development of culturally sensitive skills now and in the future.

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