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Numer: 84
Przesłano:
Dział: Języki obce

Promoting Cultural Awareness: Cross-cultural Misunderstandings

Gimnazjum
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Name of the task: Cross-cultural Misunderstandings

Source: adapted from Cultural Awareness by B.Tomalin and S.Stempleski, yet modified

Task: role-play

Level: intermediate and above

Aim: to increase learners\' awareness of the types of misunderstandings that can occur between people of different cultures

Age of the learners: teenagers and higher

Time: 45 minutes

Procedure:
1.The teacher tells the learners that, at one time or another, most of us have been involved in situations that have led to cross cultural misunderstandings. To make sure that the students understand what the teacher means, and encourage recall of similar incidents in the students\' own experience, he/she describes a cross-cultural incident in which he/she was involved. The teacher adds that the source of cross-cultural misunderstanding may result from: different modes of behaviour appropriate in particular situations, distinct patterns associated with areas of every day life, different attitudes/values/beliefs/expectations, different styles of verbal communication/non-verbal communication signals, etc.

2.Each student is asked to write down a cross-cultural incident that happened to him/her. If a learner cannot remember any, he/she is asked to recall it from a movie/book etc. The descriptions are placed in a box. If the learners have problems with recalling such incidents, the teacher may prepare descriptions of cross-cultural incidents before the lesson and put it into the box.

3.Small groups of students are formed.

4.Each group draws a description of one incident from the box. It is important to tell the learners that if they draw a description written by a person from their group, they must draw again.

5.In groups the learners discuss the incident and the source of misunderstanding. Then, they plan how to dramatize the incident. Finally, they perform their role-plays in front of the class.

6.The other learners determine and discuss the source of misunderstanding in the incident. They also propose their own solution to the problem, i.e. explain how they would behave in such situations (e.g. ask for clarification.) The teacher provides feedback and may suggest some other ways of coping with a misunderstanding (e.g. asking for elaboration, making sure if we understood the other persons\' behaviour/attitude/signal/intentions etc. properly etc.)


How is this activity linked to culture? How does it promote culture?

1.The activity highlights misunderstandings experienced by people in cross-cultural situations thus enhances learners\' cultural awareness i.e. encourages them to become more aware of the cultural differences.

2.It promotes deeper understanding of the foreign as well as the native culture. It shows the learners that their culture is not the only one, and the foreign culture is equally good, only different. This way the activity helps the learners to lose ethnocentrism, overcome prejudices and develop tolerance.

3.The activity presents different aspects of a foreign culture as compared to the native culture. The aspects that are compared depend on the students\' experiences and incidents described by them. The incidents may result from: different modes of behaviour appropriate in particular situations, distinct patterns associated with areas of every day life, different attitudes/values/beliefs/expectations, different styles of verbal communication/non-verbal communication signals, etc.

4.The use of role-play makes cultural differences vivid and memorable.

5.The role-play enables the learners to put themselves into the position of being member of a target culture and hence undergo training in emphatic behaviour.

6.Getting to know the cross-cultural differences highlighted in the activity and learning to cope with them will enable the learners to communicate more successfully with individuals from English speaking countries and overcome some possible misunderstandings.

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