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Building intercultural communicative competence one activity at a time

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Presentation on theme: "Building intercultural communicative competence one activity at a time"— Presentation transcript:

1 Building intercultural communicative competence one activity at a time
Pablo Muirhead, Ph.D. WAFLT November 2nd, 2013 Intro Martha is the (TITLE) of the Milwaukee YMCA She is …. She heads… This will be a very interactive and sensitive honest discussion. A trained facilitator has been placed at each table to ensure participation. PRE-WORK- (1)Who took the Harvard Test on Bias-raise hands? Were you surprised at the results? (2)Did you read Peggy McIntosh’s “ White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”” which encourages and White students to investigate their experiences with racism. (3)Responses from question-”How would your life be different if you were another race”? “ Have you experienced oppression or were denied an opportunity or experience based on gender”? – READ examples they handed in

2 Intercultural Communicative Competence
THE PERSONAL Connection between Language & Culture Conceptualization of Culture THE PROFESSIONAL Intercultural Communicative Competence

3 Culture as an iceberg What do you see? And now?


5 Culture is… … tantamount to perspective
… intertwined with issues of power … products and practices

6 In other words… “Culture is a fluctuating embodiment of a group’s products, practices and perspectives. Inseparable from language, culture is also impacted by issues of power as it can be used to marginalize or privilege.” Muirhead, P. (2009). Rethinking culture: Toward a pedagogy of possibility in world language education. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 6(4), Pablo Muirhead

7 How is culture integrated into the teaching of languages?
THEN NOW IDEAL Pure focus on language “Culture” limited to upper-level coursework (through literature) Recognition of importance of culture Struggle to make it natural part at all levels Moving toward deeper understanding of culture Subconsciously infusing culture in lessons Inextricable link between culture and language visible in classrooms Students gain multiple perspectives that help them challenge societal injustices

8 Having a single cultural perspective.
AVOID BEING CULTURE BOUND Having a single cultural perspective. Not being able to adopt different points of view.

9 CULTURE POWER Perspectives Products Practices Pablo Muirhead

10 the 3 Ps PERSPECTIVES What can we gain? PRODUCTS Family meal PRACTICES
Sobremesa Pablo Muirhead

11 What products do you associate with this? PERSPECTIVES:
PRACTICE: Gemütlichkeit PRODUCTS: What products do you associate with this? PERSPECTIVES: What perspectives do you associate with this?

12 Unspoken Rules Read the unspoken rules of behavior associated with your culture. Take on the role of someone from this culture when speaking to others but DO NOT share this information with others. THEN, get to know several people by… Introducing yourselves. Talking about your roles as language educators. Sharing the impact of your intercultural immersion experiences.

13 (INTERCULTURAL) COMMUNICATION To study another language and culture gives one the powerful key to successful communication: knowing how, when,and why to say what to whom.


15 First impressions Our subconscious acts on its own and we often make assumptions as a result. These can often be completely innocuous but sometimes they can be very detrimental. You are about to view a series of images. Share your first impression with a neighbor.

16 Young or old woman?

17 Man Playing Horn... or Woman's Silhouette?
Hint: woman's right eye is the black speck in front of horn handle

18 Woman in vanity... or Skull?
Hint: move farther a bit from screen and blink to see the skull or the woman (looking at the mirror)

19 Two Faces... or One? Hint: two faces side profile or one face front view

20 A Rabbit... or a Duck? Hint: the duck is looking left, the rabbit is looking right

21 Reflections… Chances are… …you and your partner didn’t see the same thing at first. …you may have struggled to see both representations all the time. Fact is… …impressions and decisions are made very quickly. …we will gain a bigger picture of issues if we can first suspend judgment.

22 Harvard Hidden-Bias Tests
Excellent resource for self- reflection. Multiple tests are available to measure your subconscious. Find at

23 Bennett Model Experience of Difference Development of Intercultural Sensitivity
Denial Defense Minimization Acceptance Adaptation Integration ETHNOCENTRIC STAGES ETHNORELATIVE STAGES Lange, D. L. (1999). Planning for and using the new national culture standards. In J. K. Phillips & R. K. Terry (Eds.), Foreign language standards: Linking research, theories, and practices (pp. 57 135). Lincolnwood, Illinois: National Textbook Company.

24 I haven’t left my little bubble yet…
DENIAL Individual does not perceive cultural differences, or avoids them. Focus on PRODUCTS ETHNOCENTRIC STAGES

25 DEFENSE Individual demonstrates intolerance toward differences.
There “they” go speaking Spanish again. DEFENSE Reflect on own cultures Individual demonstrates intolerance toward differences. ETHNOCENTRIC STAGES

26 MINIMIZATION Individual downplays
I like to think of myself as color blind. I don’t see a person’s race. MINIMIZATION Individual downplays differences and takes on belief that everyone is the same. ETHNOCENTRIC STAGES increase contact with cultures studied

27 I don’t understand but I’m okay with that and am open to learning.
comparisons & contrasts ACCEPTANCE Individual begins to value the richness that cultures offer. ETHNORELATIVE STAGES

28 tolerate greater ambiguity
I see things differently now and can better understand why others feel the way they do. ADAPTATION Individual begins to develop other perspectives and skills to get along better with “others”. tolerate greater ambiguity ETHNORELATIVE STAGES

29 I have acquired various lenses through which to understand the world.
INTEGRATION \ Individual is able to view the world from multiple perspectives. challenge societal injustices ETHNORELATIVE STAGES

30 Reflecting on these stages, prepare to answer some questions.
Denial Defense Minimization Acceptance Adaptation Integration ETHNOCENTRIC STAGES ETHNORELATIVE STAGES Pull out your phones and text your responses to...

31 Reflecting on these stages, prepare to answer some questions.
Denial Defense Minimization Acceptance Adaptation Integration ETHNOCENTRIC STAGES ETHNORELATIVE STAGES And now respond to…

32 Developing ICC It’s a gradual process
Move from seeing cultures from the OUTSIDE  IN to the INSIDE  OUT

33 To seamlessly weave culture and language, we need to…
Make relevant to students’ lives. Reclaim curriculum by developing standards-based thematic units and using the text as a resource. Develop multiple perspectives.

34 Useful Strategies Write from a different perspective.
Weather from different parts. Interview community members. Activities in the community. Listen to and work with music. Reenact an event. Noticias del mundo hispanohablante. Thematic Units: Immigration, Chicano Civil Rights, U.S. in Latin America, Identity 10 Chairs of Wealth

35 p. 13 Language Exchange Objective: Create an opportunity for Spanish- dominant English-language learners and Spanish learners to interact on an even playing field. Suggestions: Create the least structure possible so that the exchange flows organically from students. Suggest they bring pictures, scrapbooks, etc. to share with one another. Divide time evenly between English and Spanish. Results: Students are motivated to practice because of the realness factor and perspectives can be gained from one another.

36 Mil Gracias Pablo Muirhead
I hope you were able to reflect today on the art of teaching. As we return to our students and try new strategies, let’s stay in touch to support one another. Feel free to contact me!! I look forward to hearing from you.

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