Intercultural Communication in Language Education Teaching Mature / Lifelong learners Practice-Oriented Short Workshop
Reimagining Culture, Communication and Competence
The role of culture in communication is critical and well documented yet remains a challenging aspect to teach. Understanding and explaining how to communicate effectively and appropriately across differences is an essential component of language teaching. Since Hymes' (1964) introduction, notions of social competence have endeavored to explain the implications of personal, psychological and cultural elements affecting communication. Learners today, require meta-skills similar to Byram’s (1997) ‘Savoirs’ that embody a cultural awareness including sensitivity to differences, tolerance of ambiguity, willingness to adapt and cooperate, to negotiate meaning and develop understanding. This type of Meta-Cultural Competence (Reimann 2010) proposes that knowledge becomes competence when connected with experiences and the sensitivity to realize their significance. This presentation describes 10 categories of cultural orientations and communication styles used to objectively teach unfamiliar concepts. Considering the subjective nature of culture, creating a framework of relatable and comparable features, characteristics and criteria is necessary for synthesizing and understanding culture, building empathy and competence, while avoiding othering or perpetuating stereotypes. The categories to be discussed build on concepts established by Hall (1976) and Hofstede (1980), applying their models to the analysis of real critical incidents, which can be used to raise awareness and develop Meta-Cultural Competence.
Andrew is a coordinator of the English Program at Aoyama Gakuin University. His research interests include Intercultural Communication, Materials Design and Media Literacy. He has a PhD in Applied Linguistics and teaches classes on Communication, Comparative Culture and Media Studies. He is from Vancouver, Canada and enjoys cycling, nature and all adventures big and small.