Health Lesson 4 Cultural Compass Activity
Health Lesson 4 Cultural Compass Activity

Time: 30 minutes
Skills: Holistic Thinking and Cross-Cultural Communications
Objectives 3 & 4
Related Resources:
-  Cultural Compass
- Mental Health Ministries, “Jewish Families of Faith and Mental Illness” (2007, March 5). (4 min., 36 sec.) Retrieved from:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js0MbIknaRc
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “Asian American/Pacific Islanders and Mental Health” (2011, February 11). (6 min., 37 sec.) Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4iSGlAjneA&feature=related
-National Allianceon Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health in the Latino Community – NAMI NJ 2009 Conference in Spanish (English video) (5 min., 20 sec.) Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4iSGlAjneA&feature=related 
- Peers Envisioning and Engaging in and Recovery, “Mental Health Matters: Challenges in Native American Healing” (5 min. 41 sec.) Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qRE_XxfZFg
- QuranSpeaks, “Health and Well Being,” from Canadian Public Television’s Let the Quran Speak (2008, December 7). Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhPeuXF0IT0&feature=related

Pass out “Cultural Compass” to the students. “Your readings describe the enormous influence that culture can have on health and the ways which people interact with health resources. This exercise will help students think about their own culture(s) and the cultural messages that you go about health.

To build holistic thinking skills, this activity needs to be carried out in a multi-cultural classroom. If students have the same background, the teacher will need to provide examples of how the answers change based on culture/ethnicity/religion/nationality/etc.  One way that can be done is by showing a couple of videos about different cultural perspectives on a specific health issue. For example, the instructor could show the video clips on cultural perspectives on mental health – perhaps those not seen by most students.

Pass out “Cultural Compass” to the students.

To students:  “Your readings describe the enormous influence that culture can have on health and the ways in which people interact with health resources. This exercise will help students think about their own culture(s) and the cultural messages that these cultures may impart about health.

Instructions for the Cultural Compass:

o “First identify the culture(s) to which you belong. Culture can be based on many things such as: race or ethnicity, religion, the area in which you live (e.g. city or farm culture, your occupation (e.g. student culture), hobbies or abilities (e.g. gaming culture).
o “After you have listed all of the cultures with which you identify, circle one that is very important to you, or one from which you received lots of health-related messages.
o “In each corner of the compass, list the beliefs or messages that you received as a member of your culture about these things. What messages, for instance, did you receive about what you should do or be as a man or a woman? How do people in your culture act when someone they love is very ill or dies? What about mental illness, which is emphasized in our readings and videos?

Once students have completed the activity, lead a discussion in the messages that they received and the ways in which those messages have influenced their lives and health-related behaviors.

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