Promoting Intercultural Competences in Collaboration between Police and Social workers
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Promoting Intercultural Competences in Collaboration between Police and Social workersTurku 11.11.2011
Mira Ojalehto, Education plannerTurku University of Applied Sciences
Immigrants, Police and Social workExperiences are based on Immigrants, Police and Social work (IPS) projectProject aimed at promoting the integration of third-country nationals in the EU countries byIdentifying good and promising practices in cooperation between police and social workDeveloping appropriate professional working methods with participatory and empowering aspects
Project was implemented in Finland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands and Great Britain 12/2009 - 5/2011Co-financed by the EU under European Integration Fund Community Actions for 2008
Three OutcomesIn a delicate subject the IPS project had quite ambitious goals which the project consortium managed to achieve
1. Comparative research of good and promising collaboration practices between police and social workBook published in March 2011
2. Professional development program for social workers and police officersJoint pilot courses for the professionals in spring 2011
3. Production of joint education model for futher education Online manual published in May 2011
Pilot CoursesThe course aims at promoting intercultural competences in cooperation between Police, Social work and Immigrants
Objectives of the course are toPromote integration and active citizenship in the multicultural society
Develop intercultural competences of the key professionals
Enhance collaboration between police and social work in the multicultural contexts
ApproachThe added value of the course is to train the two professional groups together by including perspectives of the immigrant communities
Interculturality between people in the society and in the communitiesbetween professionals and their clientsbetween different professions
Understanding that my experiences, thoughts and expentations are different from yours
Learning OutcomesThe course aims at enhancing the work competences of the practitioner. On completion of the education module the participant
has developed his or her awareness of integration as a two-way processhas developed skills to communicate, interact and negotiate with diverse client groups in the intercultural settingshas developed skills to work in multi-professional networks and to seek joint solutions and practices between police and social work
Key questionsIn the beginning we asked ourselves
What kind of cultural competent practices and competences do social workers and police-officers need when working with immigrants?
What challenges do we face in training police officers together with social workers?
What is common and what differs in the way the two professions work with immigrants? What are their roles and responsibilities?
Pilot course in concreteWe had common framework for the pilot course but each implementation was unique and adapted to national context.
Course structureExtent of the course: 6 ECTS3-8 contact days in a period of three months Discussions and independent learning assignments
Different options for implementationOpen access courseLocal or area based courseIn-house training
Pilot course in concreteComposition of pilot groups In Finland we had 18 students of whom 10 were police officers and 8 social workers.In the Netherlands they had 14 students of whom 7 were police officers and 7 social workers. There were also 5 participants with non-western background.In Sweden course was organized for local group of community police and social workers who already had some cooperation.In Spain course was a process consisting of several seminars
Contents and methodsIn the contents two learning themes were linked togetherMulti-professional collaborationIntercultural competences
CollaborationUnderstanding professional rolesLegislation and responsibilitiesCommon clients but different view pointsWhat are the possibilities and limitations of the professional?Tensions between the two professions What goes well and what doesnt work?
Contents and methods
Start with ice-breaking exercises which do not need to be related to the theme of the course but create a positive atmosphere. This helps to generate a good and confidential group atmosphere.
Begin by introducing the two professions and the professional roles and responsibilities of the participants. The participants are curious to learn more about each others professions.
It is important to give the participants an opportunity to share their thoughts, experiences and expectations about the professions of others.
Contents and methodsIntercultural competencesBecoming more knowledgeable about diversity, culture, and intercultural workFinding tools for a better connection between the professional and client (e.g. how to persuade without sanctions)Attitude and skills in the work place: Open mindednessRecognizing prejudice / assumptionsCommunication
Contents and methodsGive participants rehearsals which are confusing and have complicated instructions. This may lead to change: we need to look actively things from the migrants point of view.
Focus not on cultural differences but on looking for ways of improving the police-officers and the social workers ability to work productively in intercultural settings.
Professionals usually already have knowledge and skills (interaction, negotiating and networking) that are important in intercultural work. Sharing tacit knowledge through discussions with peer professionals is important.
ChallengesSome challenges according to our experiences
Involving immigrants in the planning and implementation processes to bring in the input of the different multicultural communitiesInvite immigrants as educators, participants and representatives of the immigrant community.
Confidential information in different organizations There are limitations in sharing information and the limits are not always completely clear. Participants can be afraid to share information.
Responsibilities, resources and power
ReflectionsThree days of training with some independent learning assignments is only a starting point for bringing about a joint reflective discussion on the intercultural competences attached to the work
Intercultural competence can be a fairly new topic for the participants. Even professionals with extensive working experience might need time to process knowledge, skills and attitudes related to these topics
ReflectionsManagerial level should be engaged. Also the superiors need to acknowledge that today work has new challenges and employees need to update or confirm their competences.
As educators we need to respect the experience of the professionals. Participants need time for discussions and for sharing their thoughts together.
Course can offer valuable time for self reflection and network building which wouldnt be possible in work place.
Educational material produced in the projectHalttunen, Lundqvist, Ojalehto, Tuominen & Vanhanen. (2011) Working Together for Better Integration - A joint professional development course on intercultural competences and cooperation for police and social work. Online manual.Download the manual: http://www.ips-project.fi/en/documents-and-publications.phpPublication of good practicesHeikkil, Danker, Cmez Ciriano, McLaughlin & Reubsaet (edit.) (2011) Working Together for Better Integration - Immigrants, Police and Social Work. Migration Studies C18.Institute of Migration: Turku.Download the webreport: http://www.migrationinstitute.fi/pdf/webreports.htm#Muut
Turku Univeristy of Applied Sciences Education plannerMira Ojalehtomira.ojalehto(a)turkuamk.fi
Turku Univeristy of Applied Sciences Project managerSari Vanhanen sari.vanhanen(a)turkuamk.fi
University of Turku Education coordinator Kia Lundqvist kia.lundqvist(a)utu.fi
Finland:Turku University of Applied Sciences (coordinator)University of Turku Institute of Migration SpainUniversidad de Castilla la Mancha University of Murcia SwedenUniversity of GothenburgThe NetherlandsUtrecht University of Applied Sciences United KingdomUniversity of Salford