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The Educator|Resource of the Month offers creative pedagogical approaches to diversity and justice education. The resources featured are developed by experts in the field and map to the CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards competencies in diversity and social justice. Educators can use the materials for developing assignments or a variety of teaching activities.


Cultural Nuances in International Social Work Practice: The Philippines 

COVID-19 surprised the world because of its unique etiology and its impact on global society. Self-introspection took me to my country of origin—the Philippines, a distant archipelago of 7,641 islands. How could social workers in the Philippines effectively provide services during this pandemic when, according to the Asian Development Bank, more than 16% of the population lives in poverty?

Under these harsh conditions, social workers lucky enough to retain employment are faced with a new reality—figuring out how to manage their caseloads or lack of work under COVID-19 while also sustaining their health and the needs of their families. Acknowledging and handling emotions and fatigue and the need for self-care in this pandemic is a major ethical challenge facing social workers across the world, based on data from a recent study by the International Federation of Social Workers. In response to the situation in the Philippines, I delivered a live-streamed webinar on self-care for Filipino social workers and other mental health practitioners who are providing services to those affected by this pandemic. 

The webinar, Surviving While Serving the COVID 19 Pandemic: Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Social Workers and Mental Health Practitioners in the Philippines, unpacked several methods and interventions that address mental health and self-care needs in the unique context of Filipino culture. Sponsored by the Philippine Association of Social Workers, it was viewed by more than 3,500 practitioners across the islands. This Educator|Resource presents an abridged version of the original 2-hour webinar.

Teaching Resources

In the context of international social work practice, this Educator|Resource explores what approaches to self-care reveal about Filipino culture. Although using standard self‐care skills, the approaches are interpreted through a Filipino cultural lens situated in the unique social context of the country. Self-care skills are chosen that align with Filipino culture. Participants are encouraged to draw on their cultural philosophies—a mantra, a proverb, a belief, a code, or a prayer to cling to. Indigenous languages are interspersed, providing a source of validation for participants.

In addition to the webinar, several teaching resources offer background materials.

Q&A: Educator Pedagogical Approach

When has self-care been most applicable in your experience as a social worker and what do you do to achieve life balance?
My professional experiences as a social worker in the prison system, in schools, and currently in the university setting have been the most challenging... I assess my social work footprint daily, being mindful that life struggles are a process that cannot be controlled, but can be managed. 


About the Educator

Henrika McCoy.jpg

Guia Calicdan-Apostle, DSW, is an associate professor of social work at the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Stockton University. She is a university co-convener of the Committee on Campus Diversity and Inclusive Excellence and serves as the advisor to the Pilipino-American Students Association of Stockton.



The views expressed in the Educator|Resource are those of the
educator(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council on Social Work Education.

 Interested in contributing to the Educator | Resource of the Month? Please contact Dr. Yolanda Padilla, CSWE Diversity Center Director, at

Up Next for the


Curricular Guide for Environmental Justice
Committee chairs Cathryne L. Schmitz, PhD, and Rachel Forbes, MSW, preview the new Curricular Guide for Environmental Justice and present rich supplemental resources for social action.

Look for it in October 2020