Counseling the Culturally Diverse

Counseling the Culturally Diverse

This week I’m beginning a course on multicultural counseling. I can’t wait to jump in.

One of the textbooks we’re using is Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice, 6th Edition (Wiley, 2013), by Derald Wing Sue and David Sue. Here’s a bit of the description from the book’s product page:

Filled with numerous examples, authentic vignettes, and practical case studies, Counseling the Culturally Diverse, Sixth Edition remains the best source of real-world multicultural counseling preparation for students and an influential guide for professionals.

The first chapter (which is as much as I’ve read so far) begins with the personal (and professional) journeys of two readers of the book, as well as the author’s own such reflections. From the reflection questions on the very first page, readers of this sixth edition get the sense that they, too, are in for a challenging and invigorating journey. The first reflection question is:

In what ways do our personal reactions to topics of race, gender, sexual orientation, and oppression have to do with counseling diverse clients?

Then there is:

Who are you as a racial/cultural being? How often have you thought about yourself as a man/woman, White individual/person of color, or straight/gay?

The underlying assumption behind the question is that those in so-called majority statuses in each of the above categories will not have thought as much about such identities as those in minority statuses have. Indeed, this not having to think about it characterizes what folks refer to as white privilege, male privilege, and so on.

Self-understanding around issues of culture, the book suggests, is essential to the development and effectiveness of a counselor/therapist.

Finally, the author says,

[The book’s] goals are to enlighten you about how counseling and psychotherapy may represent cultural oppression and to provide a vision of change that is rooted in social justice.

I hope to have a chance to report more about the book in the future. (And if any of you reading this post has read Counseling the Culturally Diverse, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or via this contact form.)

The book is here at Wiley and here on Amazon (affiliate link). In both places it’s available in print or electronically. Via Wiley, you can look at the full Table of Contents here (pdf) and read the first chapter in full here (pdf).

Review of Wiley’s Organic Chemistry (11th Edition)

This past school year my wife took a full-year Organic Chemistry class. For her textbook she used Organic Chemistry (11th edition) by T.W. Graham Solomons, Craig B. Fryhle, and Scott A. Snyder (Wiley, 2014). With gratitude to Wiley for the review copy, what follows is her assessment of the textbook.

 

The Approach of the Textbook

 

9781118133576.pdfOrganic Chemistry is divided into 25 chapters, covering the standard terrain like “Aldehydes and Ketones” (chapter 16), “Alcohols and Ethers” (chapter 11), and “Carboxylic Acids and Their Derivatives” (chapter 17).

It hits the core basics in the beginning and then goes through all the essential mechanisms. There’s even a chapter on NMR (chapter 9: “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Mass Spectometry”), in which the reader learns, among other things, about the chemistry behind an MRI.

The book’s product page says:

A central theme of the authors’ approach to organic chemistry is to emphasize the relationship between structure and reactivity. To accomplish this, the text is organized in a way that combines the most useful features of a functional group approach with one largely based on reaction mechanisms. Emphasizing mechanisms and their common aspects as often as possible, this book shows students what organic chemistry is, how it works, and what it does in living systems and the physical world around us.

 

Chapter-by-Chapter

 

Each chapter has explanations of concepts with Practice Problems and Solved Problems scattered throughout the reading. (Solved Problems essentially model what you are supposed to be doing in the Practice Problems.) At the end of each chapter, there is a summary of the chapter and more Problems, the answers to which are in the accompanying solutions manual and study guide, sold separately. (The textbook includes just an eight-page “Answers to Selected Problems” appendix.) The full solutions manual is essential for making your way through this textbook.

Solved Problem
Example of a Solved Problem

“A Mechanism for the Reaction” boxes appear throughout the book (beginning in chapter 3). These show

step-by-step details about how reactions take place so that students have the tools to understand rather than memorize organic reactions.

These boxes helped me really understand the mechanisms and do a lot better at solving the problems. The Table of Contents includes a listing of all the places they appear.

There is also a “Concept Map” at the end of a number of chapters, which shows how the concepts are connected and relate to each other. I found this to be an excellent study tool and aid to solidifying what I had read in the chapter. This is part of the “Summary and Review Tools” that the authors include in an attempt to “accommodate diverse learning styles.”

Organic Chem_Summary and Review Tools
End-of-Chapter Summary Section, Chapter 6 (Ionic Reactions)

 

New in the 11th Edition

 

In this 11th edition there is the addition of a section called “Why Do These Topics Matter?” This feature seeks to “show the rich relevance of what students have learned to applications that have direct bearing on our lives and wellbeing.” For example, in chapter 10, the authors note:

[T]here is a natural molecule that combines radical chemistry and molecular shape in a way that can cause cell death. Chemists have used this knowledge to fashion a few anticancer drugs.

Personally, I was so focused on the class itself that I found myself skipping over a lot of these. They’re well-done, though, and others may appreciate their inclusion. Students can, after all, have a hard time connecting organic chemistry to the “real world,” and it’s easy to get stuck in the details (“Its melting point changed!”) with little awareness of the concepts’ larger import. So I see why they took this approach; I think it’s a smart one.

 

What I Found Helpful

 

In a nutshell, here is what I found most useful about the book:

  • The graphics and drawings of molecules are conceptually clear and a good aid to learning.
  • The chapter on infrared spectroscopy is a good one–this is potentially itself a whole additional course.
  • The writing is straightforward and clear. As I read the book, I could tell it is a revision of a revision of a revision….
  • Organic Chemistry prepared me very well for taking the American Chemical Society standard exam.
  • It helped reinforce the lectures in the class.

 

Minor Points of Critique

 

The pictures at the beginnings of the chapters feel a little out of place. For example, chapter 10 (“Radical Reactions”) begins with a picture of a bowl of blueberries. Granted, this is present because blueberries are an example of an antioxidant, to be covered in that chapter, but some of these images don’t feel aesthetically consistent with the rest of what’s in the book. The graphics and overall design and layout are consistent and well-executed; it’s just that the photos (including the cover photograph) feel a bit off, compared with the rest of the book’s design. All told, however, this is a minor critique.

The binding appears to be glued (not sewn), which is unfortunate for a book of this magnitude. I didn’t carry it around that much (at over 1,000 pages, it’s heavy–to be expected), but it’s still in good shape after a year of use at home. There is an e-book option for those who are willing to be at as screen more often.
 

Concluding Evaluation

 
Organic Chemistry is a very solid teaching of the core concepts and mechanisms of organic chemistry. To professors who are considering a course text, this one is a worthy choice. To students who are considering (or have been assigned) this text, a book like this requires diligence to get through, but it will serve you well!
 
Find Organic Chemistry at Amazon here (affiliate link) and at Wiley’s site here.

Blogging for Dummies

A dear friend recently remarked (wryly) that he saw a lot of “for dummies” books on my shelves. One of those books is a sort of bible of blogging: Blogging All-in-One for Dummies.

Blogging All in OneWhy blog? I answered that question a year ago, shortly after starting Words on the Word, and again six months in. More than a year later, I’ve had the chance to spend some time with Susan Gunelius’s massive work.

It consists of “8 Books in 1,” or “minibooks,” as Gunelius describes them inside. Each minibook (and each chapter therein) is meant to stand alone. (It’s easy to read and use the book this way.) The minibooks range from 65 to 136 pages each. A basic glossary and carefully compiled index round out the 700+ pages in the book. It carries like a phone book, but with thicker paper, still of the newsprint variety.

The work aims to be (and is) “a complete guide to blogging, all in one place.” The author writes “primarily for a beginner audience–people who have never blogged,” but as noted below, there is plenty of advanced information for even the “skilled bloggers” she also has in mind.

Here are the eight overarching topics that Gunelius treats:

  • Book I: Joining the Blogosphere 

    Blogging 101–from the history of blogs to the types of blogs, including motivations behind different blogs and how to make them successful. This is a sort of quick start guide. Particularly helpful for beginners here are the screenshots showing the various parts of a blog (comments, trackbacks, home page, etc.). The “Blogging Rules and Ethics” section is essential reading.

  • Book II: Niche Blogging 

    Niche blogs “usually fill a void that other, larger blogs are missing but audiences want.” There are some drawbacks to niche blogging, Gunelius notes, like a smaller audience and less traffic, but there are still unique opportunities for monetization (which she treats more at length later in Book VII) and building relationships with others who have a similar area of interest.

  • Book III: Corporate and Business Blogging 

    Using examples of business blogs (“Companies That Do It Right”) like Southwest Airlines, Zappos, and Wine Library TV, the author shows how to build an online brand through blogging. She notes a “fine line… between publishing promotional content on your business blog that is useful and valued by readers and publishing so much promotional content that your blog is viewed as all marketing and no substance.” There are practical, simple pieces of advice, too: have a giveaway contest, include social media links for sharing your blog posts, responding to comments. The content here is not exceedingly advanced, but addresses appropriately the target audience of … well… dummies (i.e., beginners).

  • Book IV: Choosing a Blogging Application 

    This is one of the most useful minibooks. Even if a would-be blogger is ready with good content, topics, and publicity, knowing what medium to use can be a challenge. Here Gunelius offers a guided tour (again, complete with screenshots) of WordPress, Google Blogger, TypePad, and Tumblr. She includes both free and paid options in her analysis. I’ve been using WordPress for a year, and had no idea about all the free themes available at the WordPress Themes site she mentioned.

  • Book V: Blogging Tools 

    Once you’ve got a blog, this minibook looks at SEO (search engine optimization), measuring blog traffic, using images, blog feeds, and more. This is probably the most advanced material in the book, that even non-beginners will find useful. Her almost pastoral admonition to “try to refrain from checking your blog’s statistics every day” (i.e., “worrying about daily traffic fluctuations”) is a needed one for many bloggers.

  • Book VI: Promoting and Growing Your Blog 

    More advanced material here. She covers contests, guest blogging (whether you do it elsewhere or host it on your blog), “social bookmarking,” and other ways to increase site traffic.

  • Book VII: Making Money from Your Blog 

    Most bloggers (hopefully) realize blogging is not a terribly lucrative business, especially not in its initial stages (i.e., first couple years). But there are still ways to make money from blogging–whether that is through ad placement, merchandising, or participation in affiliate programs. Gunelius begins this minibook as she so often does, with the big picture: “[Y]ou need to determine what your blogging goals are and then decide whether publishing ads on your blog in an attempt to make some money matches those goals or runs counter to them.” Especially helpful is the short section on the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines for any “material connection” a blogger has with a company or product they are reviewing or advertising.

  • Book VIII: Microblogging with Twitter 

    Ah, Twitter. I wrongly predicted its demise just months after its inception. “Microblogging” might be too strong a word for how some people use the site (“wordbutchering” could be more appropriate?). I’m not sure Gunelius’s “Everyone is tweeting!” assessment is completely on target, but she is right, I think, that Twitter and other “microblogging” services go beyond what just 140 characters of text can offer. And because microblogging is “convenient, far-reaching, and free,” bloggers ought to pay attention to it. Gunelius takes the reader deep into the world of tweeting, URL shorteners, hashtags, and third-party Twitter applications.

Blogging All-in-One for Dummies is engaging and easy to read. Gunelius is clearly an expert on this topic, and this encyclopedic work bears that out. Copious screenshots and diagrams give visual reinforcement to the text throughout. The index and clearly delineated chapters make it a highly useable reference work–one which I know I’ll turn to often as I continue to blog! It’s a great one-stop shop for bloggers or those who would be bloggers. Yes, even still in 2013.

You can see more about Blogging-All-in-One for Dummies at Amazon here (affiliate link) or here (Wiley’s product page, including an excerpt and the full table of contents). The book’s “cheat sheet” is available here. Many thanks to Wiley for the gratis review copy for the purposes of my writing an objective review.