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D10_E5 Intercultural Communication Skills_Yuri Kagolovsky & Kathryn Brillinger

  1. The Space in Between “Between even the closest human beings infinite distances exist yet a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)
  2. The Space in Between Intercultural Communication (ICC) Skills Kathryn Brillinger Dr. Yuri Kagolovsky Conestoga College Kitchener, Ontario OCASI, 2009
  3. A Practical Model for ICC Development Yuri Kagolovsky, internationally-trained MD, MSc (Health informatics) and 2-time immigrant Kathryn Brillinger, MEd (TESL), 20 plus years experience in settlement language teaching and 10 plus years in teacher training
  4. Goal of this Workshop • to increase awareness of Intercultural Communication Competence (ICC) and its impact on interactions
  5. Individual Cultural Competency ability to interact effectively with individuals from differing cultures knowledge of one’s own cultural practices and paradigms and those of others intercultural skills to effectively participate in diverse communities ability to analyze interconnections between local and global systems ability to help solve intercultural conflict
  6. Stages of Cultural Competence • Unconscious incompetence (e.g. foisting a handshake on a devout Muslim of the opposite sex) • Conscious incompetence (e.g. insisting a newcomer follow your rules because he decided to come here) • Conscious competence (e.g. self-conscious attempt to modify behavior) • Unconscious competence (mindful and reflective adaptations of situation to accommodate diversity)
  7. Organizational Cultural Competency set of congruent behaviors, practices, attitudes and policies changes made for a particular case/group benefit everyone - based on principles of Universal Design (UD) an accountability/grievance process established expertise and training available internationalization of materials underway
  8. Areas of Diversity In addition to the categories of ethnicity, race, religion, and nationality, we can apply this training to • Gender • Age (Veteran, Baby Boomer, x, y and …) • Education (1st generation, generation 1.5) • Profession • Socio-economic/employment status • Sexual orientation • Wellness/illness • Abilities/disabilities, mobility etc.
  9. Inter-Cultural Communication Success • Everyone can experience • Everyone can contribute • Everyone can learn Immigrant-serving agencies need to demonstrate best practices. We will need ICC training in order to do so. Today is a great first step!
  10. Approaches to Gaining Cultural Competence • The culture-specific approach gives information about individual cultures - usually a business/marketing model. • The culture-general approach starts with an understanding and awareness of cultural issues before culture-specific information is given. This is an educational approach which reduces the chance of stereotyping and encourages a principled approach. • This workshop is a blend of both approaches. Further study would involve looking deeply at various groups (e.g. Confucian Heritage Cultures, East Indian, Middle- Eastern, etc.) and applying the principles.
  11. Striving for a Balance: Continuums NOT Stereotypes
  12. O’ Canada! Riddle: What stays in one corner yet can travel all over the world? O Canada, Drew Brook-Cormack, 1000-pc jigsaw puzzle
  13. Prejudice and Discrimination • Prejudice – A negative personal attitude towards a member or members of a racial or cultural group • Discrimination – Observable adverse behavior towards such group members • Prejudice + Discrimination + Organizational/Dominant Group Power = Deliberate denial of recognition, power, and privilege
  14. Intercultural Communication Training Needs • personnel with intercultural skills • intercultural experts • research and knowledge in cultural practices • workplace and material internationalization (Huisman & van der Wende, 2005)
  15. Nadia-Alysha-Zahra-Tameera
  16. Problem: The “Surface” or “Saris and Samosas” Approach • Assumption that English-speaking Canadians have no ‘culture’ (and no accent!) • Visible/surface cultural differences are doable: try out clothes, foods, dances, arts, sports etc.
  17. Problem: The “Surface” or “Saris and Samosas” Approach Norms and values tend to be prescribed rather than described. We get upset about the wrong time orientation, distance, handshake, greeting, socializing style, relationship value, parenting style, etc.
  18. Problem: The “Surface” or “Saris and Samosas” Approach • Deep/core beliefs are left unexamined. We don’t ask: “What is a husband/wife/child? Who taught me to think this? What is the race/power situation? Who holds the cultural imperative? Am I privileged because I am white/female/straight/tall etc?”
  19. CULTURE “The water that bears the ship is the same that engulfs it.” (Chinese Proverb)
  20. Defining “Culture” • There are many different definitions of “culture” • We needed a definition that could be operationalized within the principles we identified for successful intercultural communication • The definition we came up with: Culture = Shared Meaning
  21. Culture = Shared Meaning – This “shared meaning” informs values, beliefs, standards, language, thinking patterns, behavioral norms, communications styles, etc. – Culture guides the decisions and actions of individuals and groups over time. – Cultures are always changing but the change is not always obvious except in hindsight.
  22. “Shared” Meaning • Cognitive (concepts, ideas) • Affective (emotions) • Behavioral (procedures, rules, rituals)
  23. Cultural Boundary Lines • Cultural boundaries and the groups we belong to are fluid • We can belong to multiple groups
  24. Why do intercultural communication (ICC) skills matter? Stories, stories, stories and … a sad story of a woman who taught ESL and the memory she left with a learner.
  25. Context: Factors Influencing Shared Meaning • History • Folklore • Personality • Literature • Politics • Entertainment • Gender roles • Communication • Power Technology • Geography • Fads • Employment status • Economy These factors create the context • Religion in which meaning is • Social stratification shared. They also • Philosophy impact on and are • Morals and ethics impacted by ICC.
  26. Historical and Geographical Perspective • ICC is not just about Canada’s work in integrating newcomers. • These factors and their interaction with ICC have impacted and are impacting on people's lives in both beautiful and tragic ways.
  27. Task • On your own, look at the pictures on the slide. Choose 2 people who, within the context of their lives, have impacted (either positively or negatively) on the intercultural context. Consider what factors were involved in their impact. • Compare your choices with a partner. (4-5 minutes) • Share an example with the whole group.
  28. Continuum of Perspectives Global Personal
  29. Seven Principles of Successful ICC
  30. Principle #1 We are cultural beings in our verbal, non-verbal, and pre- verbal behaviors, in which the pre- and non-verbal are often underestimated in their impact on ICC.
  31. The non-verbal trumps the verbal
  32. Haptics (the study of touching behaviour) Seven types of touch: *positive affect (support, appreciation, inclusion) *playfulness *control (compliance, attention wanted, response needed) *ritual (greeting/leave- taking) *hybrid (mix some of above as in a hug good- bye) *task-related *accidental Jones and Yarbrough (1985)
  33. Oculesics (the study of eye contact) • attentive focus/challenging stare • shifty-eyed/respectful looking away • flirtatious up-look/“adultery of the eyes” • lustful glance/complimentary notice • attempt to control fear/bad presentation skills • attempt to access vocabulary/lack of attentiveness or ability
  34. Gesture • The triangle • The wrist • The hand to heart • The 3 per utterance
  35. Principle #2 We are unaware of how our cultures inform our perceptions, cognitions, emotions and actions. e.g. Kathryn going to a workshop in Mexico City.
  36. From Monochronic to Polychronic (Chronemics) Monochronic Concepts • one thing at a time is best - concentrate on the task at hand • time commitments/deadlines/schedules are serious • adhere religiously to plans
  37. Polychronic Concepts • Do many things at once • Distractions are acceptable/interruptions are acceptable • Commit to people and relationships not time • Change plans often and easily
  38. Principle #3 Culture provides unstated sets of rules by which we operate, and we unconsciously reward and punish others for following or not following these rules
  39. The Persian concept of “ta’arof” involves language, discourse, culture etc. • Central concept = warm welcoming, praising, politeness and good manners • Origins in the Arabic term for “mutual recognition” • Essential ability for negotiating relationships • Involves offers, compliments, exchange of pleasantries, food, gifts, and invitations • Expression of selflessness and humility - necessary for keeping face - “shaxsiiyaet” and showing sincerity and respect - “ehteram” • Can be interpreted as empty formality or ritual courtesy by NA but runs much deeper - has no equivalent in NA culture • Iranians can be dismayed by a lack of ‘ta’arof’ in our classroom cultures (Cultural info from Eslami, 2005)
  40. Guan Xi (Collectivism) • A study of students from Taiwan found that the majority of students mentioned a concern with having to learn to be independent (Swagler & Ellis, 2003). • The subjects explained the problem as an absence of guan xi “an extensive interdependent relationship among all one’s family and social connections in which favors are exchanged necessarily.” (p. 424) • Being independent is contrary to the Chinese ideal of guan xi or collectivism and was described as a “serious ordeal.” (p. 425) • Being able to be independent was found to be a crucial factor in being able to adjust to North American education (p.425). • We need to help students feel supported as they learn to live without extensive guan xi.
  41. Renqing (humanized obligation) • Chan (2005) describes renqing as social favors that are exchanged in the form of goods, money, information, status, service and affection according to implicit rules • involves courteous rituals, exchange of resources, reciprocity, maintaining and using useful ties and nepotism • “Teachers with high scores on renqing were evaluated by their students as significantly better than those less concerned about renqing.” (Chan, 2005)
  42. Face • Dominant concept in interpreting and regulating social behavior • Must be maintained and enhanced • Each person in a social group is responsible for saving his/her own face and the face of others • The teacher, having a higher social standing, is expected to adhere to a higher standard of ethics and to maintain self- control • The teacher should not “argue” with the students • The teacher should protect the face of the students, the other teachers, and the institution “I lost a lot of face by being unable to answer the question. How could he do that to me? I really have no face now.” (Chan, 2005)
  43. Principle #4 We are unaware of our own level of inter-cultural sensitivity and skills Let’s look at Bennett’s Model.
  44. Changes must occur in three areas.
  45. Principle #5 Building inter-cultural communication skills is an ongoing, recursive process requiring cognitive, affective and procedural changes
  46. Proxemics (the study of distance in interaction) • Public (teacher to class) Traditional • Social (classmates Forms of chatting) Greeting • Personal (student asking teacher after class) • Intimate (friends in class whispering)
  47. Task • Look at the handout on intercultural paralinguistics. Share a story with a partner about any aspect. (4-5 minutes)
  48. Principle #6 Inter-cultural communication is the responsibility of each person involved. e.g. The ‘soft skills’ debate for newcomers.
  49. Principle 7 Inter-cultural communication necessitates a re-distribution of power. e.g. Some examples from Canadian history
  50. Task : Your Stories • Take 2 minutes and write down a few of your own stories from your life and work. • Share one with a neighbor. • Let’s all share a story from each side of the room.
  51. Break-Time • 10 minutes
  52. Intercultural communication is occurring and … Something has disturbed me Something has disturbed someone Something has disturbed the environment
  53. My Intercultural Life
  54. What Can Be Done To Improve ICC?
  55. A Balanced Approach Creating A Space In Between
  56. Creating a Space in Between Non-negotiable Negotiable Task Three: Part A
  57. Cultural Perspective Examining other cultures provides mirrors in which we can see ourselves – what the anthropologist Margaret Mead (1934) called “the looking-glass self”
  58. Development of ICC Competencies • Cognitive – e.g., knowledge of how different cultures tend to operate • Affective – e.g., awareness of how easily we can punish individuals and subvert our own goals when our cultural expectations are being violated • Psycho-motor – e.g., the ability to diagnose intercultural issues, to develop and implement strategies to improve ICC, and to assess the success of such strategies
  59. Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions • Individualism to collectivism • Egalitarianism to power distance • Tolerance to avoidance of uncertainty • Competitiveness to harmony There are many cultural factors but breakdowns in communication are not always caused by cultural differences!
  60. Seven issues to consider when intercultural communication goes wrong: • Is it language? • Is it discourse? • Is it culture? • Is it the situation or context? • Is it a systemic barrier? – E.g., racism, discrimination, nationalism • Is it someone’s personality? • Is it me?
  61. Is it language? “You must not” versus “You don’t have to…” “impotent” versus “important”
  62. Is it discourse? How loud? How long? How passionate?
  63. Is it culture? • All the examples we’ve shared.
  64. Is it the situation or context? e.g. time available for a counseling session, # of students in class, lack of funding, economy etc.
  65. Is it a systemic barrier? – E.g., racism, discrimination, nationalism
  66. Is it someone’s personality? Is it someone’s head space at this time?
  67. Is it me? • My mom always said . . .
  68. Developing ICC Repair Strategies • Asking someone why they do something culturally can cause a defensive reaction – e.g., asking a Muslim why he does not shake hands with women or asking a Mennonite why they marry so early • “Why” questions can be seen as promoting potentially unfavorable comparisons and “otherness” • Therefore, we recommend an invitational approach that can create a dialogue and allow for shared meaning
  69. Repair Strategies: Seven Questions • What does <this> mean to you personally? • What does <this> mean to you as a member of your group? • What does <this> mean to your group? • What does <this> mean to the community where you live? • What does <this> mean to the society of the nation/country? • Do you know the history of this phenomenon? • If <this> does not happen, what would it mean to you (your group, your community, society)?
  70. Task: Using the Seven Questions • Take 5 minutes and ask a partner the questions about an intercultural idea or an non-negotiable that you don’t share ‘space’ on. • Let’s all share experiences – one from each side of the room.
  71. Summary • We have looked at examples of intercultural communication and some strategies and principles that can be learned. • We need to increase our ICC skills. • We need to determine and exemplify best practices in ICC in our programs.
  72. Inter-Cultural Communication Success • Everyone can experience • Everyone can contribute • Everyone can learn We need to demonstrate best practices. We will need ICC training in order to do so. Today is a great first step!
  73. Moving Forward • What are some things you will stop doing, re-consider doing, and start doing (3 of each) to help yourself and newcomers in our intercultural journey? • Compare your list with a partners.
  74. The Space in Between “Between even the closest human beings infinite distances exist yet a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)