Learning with Palms is built on opening our hands to others with cultural humility.  In achieving this we harness the unique energy of cultural diversity to build a community of wisdom thinkers.

From Cultural Humility to Wisdom Thinking

Culture forms the basis of almost everything we do. Culture determines how we act in almost every situation.  It is the means by which human beings communicate, perpetuate and develop their knowledge about, and attitudes toward life (reality). The patterns of meaning that are embodied in inherited conceptions and expressed in symbolic form are what we sometimes call common sense, which makes it easy for us all to take it for granted.

Since 1961 Palms has prepared individuals and organisations to work effectively in culturally diverse environments and situations.  Nourishing humility is what dispels the cultural suspicion and fear that undermines community harmony and growth.  While culture is often ethnically based, the training frameworks used by Palms allow and assist work cultures, religious cultures, generational cultures, or any sub-cultures to build competence for enhancing engagement with others.  

Enhancing Cultural Humility

Initially we offer a Free Seminar to assist a community or workplace to clarify the vision, mission and objectives leaders and members seek to achieve.  We can then devise and deliver a customised module of sessions to explore the various cultures and sub-cultures and unpack the strengths that each can bring to growing as a community. As understanding builds, participants should witness excitement around the enrichment of a community through the diversity of strengths.

Further support in the form of correspondence units or ongoing advice can be provided as required.

Session Outline

Nourishing harmony and growth in Culturally Diverse Communities

Understanding the challenges of the diverse cultures within a community will improve daily interactions and communication and allow all to better support one another.  Participants will develop the empathy, knowledge and skills required for cultural competence and humility.  As various strengths are nourished and harmonised more ambitious objectives can be set and achieved.

1.1: Is it Culture or Personality? (90 min)

A prelude to understanding how culture impacts personal work styles, interpersonal behaviour, engagement in a community or workplace, and ultimately the achievement of desired outcomes in whatever we do. Learning to sing in harmony, with all utilising their strengths, will mean your team happily fulfills their potential.  A minimum of 12 participants required for this interactive session.

1.2: Cross-Cultural Simulation (150 mins)

An experiential simulation provides an opportunity to highlight how culture can determine behaviour. It inspires us to examine how we respond to cultures different to our own.  Requires a minimum of 14 and maximum of 28 participants.

1.3 Some Theories of Culture (150 mins)

  • Defining Culture and Exploring Change

Participants will consider a theoretical, conceptual, and broad view of culture.  They will explore definitions of culture, as well as some of the symbols of cultures and sub-cultures that may be familiar to them. They will also examine how cultures might change.

  • Cultural Complexities

Cultures have up sides and down sides depending on where you fit within them. Participants will examine some of the complexities to help them appreciate the benefits and dangers of culture, and how one might wittingly or unwittingly become an agent of positive or disruptive cultural change.

NB: The Essential Foundation can be provided on a single day, though participant focus will be improved if 1.1 and 1.2 are scheduled on day 1, followed by Session 1.3 in the morning of day 2.

It will be effective to schedule these sessions on the afternoon and/or evening of Day 2.

2.1    Learning from Cultural & Colonial Mistakes (90 Min)

Valuable for all Australians and especially valuable where a community has First Nations people represented.  Indigenous Australians will speak of cultural clashes that have impacted on their lives across generations. The session highlights some of negative outcomes of Australia’s colonial history, as well as the struggle towards achieving understanding and reconciliation between cultures.

2.2    Reflecting (60 mins)

A First Nations spiritual celebration and peaceful reflection may be arranged with appropriate notice.

2.3    Personal Strategies for Engaging a New Cultural Context (120 min)

An examination of cultural tensions, potential culture jolts, and techniques for approaching people of a different culture will enable participants to develop a plan to enhance the experience of crossing cultures for themselves, or empathy for others seeking to engage the dominant culture to which they belong. This session is especially useful for those expected to take on leadership roles in a multi-cultural context or seeking to work in a new cultural context.

3.1    Field Trip (Up to five hours including a mealtime)

Theoretical learning needs to be contextualised against practical experience. This field trip involves engage the “other” in a community with a culture different to one’s own.

3.2    De-brief (120 min)

Participants evaluate the experience of the Field Trip by exploring further what might be gained from crossing cultures, considering how they now might approach and develop more effective cross-cultural engagements and explore cultural humility as a realistic, effective approach to adjustment.

Learning styles and timing

Community learning is best achieved when all are provided the opportunity to learn together.  This can only happen if time is given to explore each idea conceptually, practically, and experientially. It takes a little longer, but all take back to their community a unique perspective and ability to contribute in a more engaged, flourishing community.

  • Sessions 1.1, 1.2, 2.2 & 3.1 are mostly interactive whereby learning is achieved by engaging in an experience either simulated or in the real world.
  • Sessions 1.3, 2.1 will be presentations by speakers interspersed with Q&A opportunities.
  • Session 2.3 & 3.2 consist of discussion between learners who have undertaken a common experience or reading.