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The 4 th Congress of the International Society for Cultural and Activity Research Sydney Australia, Oct 1 st, 2014 Intercultural Understanding through.

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Presentation on theme: "The 4 th Congress of the International Society for Cultural and Activity Research Sydney Australia, Oct 1 st, 2014 Intercultural Understanding through."— Presentation transcript:

1 The 4 th Congress of the International Society for Cultural and Activity Research Sydney Australia, Oct 1 st, 2014 Intercultural Understanding through Dialogue between Japanese and Chinese University Students Tomomi SAKAKIBARA Tokyo Gakugei University, Japan Chengnan PIAN China University of Political Science and Law, China 1

2 International Research Project “Intercultural understanding between groups generated as a participatory process to dialogue communities connecting university classes in East Asia” (Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), PI: Sun Ah OH) Intercultural understanding as a “relationship coordination between individuals in groups”, instead of an “individual’s cultural adjustment” or a “relationship coordination between individuals”. Aimed to develop lesson methods and to improve the theory 12 researchers from Japan, China, Korea and Vietnam collaborated on constructing “dialogue structure between groups” in their university classes, for students with different cultural backgrounds to generate “dialogue community”. 2 Dialogue community Relationship coordination b/w individuals in groups Individual variation

3 Study 1 Purpose 1.to develop university classes where students participate in intercultural dialogues through exchanging letters. 2.to examine the process by which students develop their intercultural understanding by participating in these classes. Participants 23 Japanese 6 Chinese university students Six classes from May to June, ChinaJapan Time 1May 17May 19 Time 2May 31May 26 Time 3June 14June 16 3

4 Dialogue theme (Time 1) “The talk on a cell phone in public transportations” Japan (Tokyo)NOT Allowed China (Beijing)Allowed Japan: China: 4

5 That’s the way it goes! Ethnocentric views and questions (Time1) 5 “NO!” for allowing a phone call in public transportation, because… Consideration for the persons with a heart pacer. Being able to sustain quiet environment Being able to hear announcement. etc… Letters to China “(In Japan) we refrain from talking on cell phone, considering the safety of people with heart pacer or blind people being able to hear the announcement. Do you care for those people? Are priority seats available for them?” (Group 1) “As a fundamental matter, what makes you talk on a cell phone even in a train. (Group 2) (thoughts/ questions)

6 Questions from China (Time 2) 6 1. Receive letters (thoughts/ questions) 4. Send letters (answers & further thoughts) 2. Individual thoughts 3. Group discussion Reason for not talking on a phone? Should be able to talk freely as it is a public area. “What is the motivation for keeping this rule?...Public transportation is a public area. Why not talking on a phone? …We believe we should be able to talk on a phone anytime in a public area” (Chinese Student).

7 Awareness of culture (Time 2) 7 1. Receive letters (thoughts/ questions) 4. Send letters (answers & further thoughts) 2. Individual thoughts 3. Group discussion Maybe “PUBLIC” means different in China? “We thought that there may be a gap in the meaning of “Public””(Group 2) → Letters to China: In Japan… “We believe that the public area is not one’s own, so selfish behaviors are considered as bad mannered. It is important that everyone spend comfortable time there” (Group2). “It is the virtue in Japan to be unselfish in public area and to be considerate for other people.” (Student #12)

8 Answers and further questions/comments from China (Time 3) 8 1. Receive letters (answers & further thoughts) 2. Group discussion 3. Individual thoughts4. Whole class discussion Public area is a free place. We do not care about other people’s eyes “Once we are outside house, it is a public space. It is a very free place and usually no one interfere with other’s behaviors…” (As an answer to the Q in Time 1: “What does ‘public area’ mean in China?”) Isn’t it stifling to restrain your behaviors? “…Don’t you think that restraining your behaviors at pain is obstinate behavior in a way?” There seems to be a lot of contradiction in your explanation. “If it is important to keep quiet environment, why is it allowed to talk in a public transportation?”

9 Now, I am Not Sure… Relativization of cultural beliefs 9 Confused… “After all, it is Japanese culture” “(We just take it granted to be quiet in a train or bus and not to talk on a phone, so don’t have a reason”) After all, it is Japanese culture… because we are Japanese, we refrain ourselves from various behaviors in public areas. It is a national character… Well, thinking too much, I am not sure now. Think as hard as I might, I couldn’t reach to any other reason than ‘national character’” (student #15) Importance in understanding the cultural difference relatively “I felt that the biggest point was the ‘difference in culture and values’ … About the use of cell phone in public area, it is not that one is right and the other is wrong. It is more important to understand each other what is “taken as granted” in one’s culture/custom” (Student #23)

10 Developmental process of students’ intercultural understanding 10 Ethnocentric views and questions e.g., It is matter of course to refrain from talking on a phone Realization that presupposition is different e.g., meaning of “public” may be different bet/ Japan & China? Being aware of culture and explain the background (dialogue between cultures begins) e.g., being considerate to others is a virtue in Japan Becomes uncertain about own belief/value e.g., Now I am not sure why talking on cell phone in a train is bad. CHINESE STUDENTS CHINESE STUDENTS New belief/value Point out the contradiction

11 Developmental process of students’ intercultural understanding 11 Ethnocentric views and questions e.g., It is matter of course to refrain from talking on a phone Realization that presupposition is different e.g., meaning of “public” may be different bet/ Japan & China? Being aware of culture and explain the background (dialogue between cultures begins) e.g., being considerate to others is a virtue in Japan Becomes uncertain about own belief/value e.g., Now I am not sure why talking on cell phone in a train is bad. CHINESE STUDENTS CHINESE STUDENTS New belief/value Point out the contradiction

12 Study 2 Based on Study 1, the procedures were modified in Study2. Not focusing on cultural differences when providing dialogue theme. Discomfort caused by cultural difference should emerge naturally through dialogue between students. Participants: 18 Japanese university students (divided into 5 groups) 20 Chinese university students (divided into 4 groups) Total of 6 Classes from May to June, 2012 JapanChina Time 1May 24May 25 Time 2May 31June 1 Time 3June 7June 8 12

13 Discuss and Illustrate the typical situations within culture (Time 1) Information about China Information is provided that it is allowed to talk on a phone in a train. 1. Write short stories Illustrating typical situations in which a person talking on a phone in a train made people felt unpleasant. 3. Prediction Predict the situation of the story in which Chinese people feel unpleasant with a person talking on a phone in a train. Actually, in China... Even if a phone call is allowed in China, people must feel unpleasant in these situation…

14 Example story of Japanese students [In a train…a phone rang of a woman sitting in front of Eriko, Machiko and Yukiko] W: Hello. Thank you for your work today…. Yes, Yes.. I am fine with it… Y: (It sounds like a call from a company. It must be hard to work…) M: (What! She took a phone?! Unbelievable!) M: [in a small voice] Don’t you think it is unacceptable! It is a public area. E: But she talks in a small voice, and it sounds it is from work. I think it is unavoidable. Y: Right… She must be new at work, and also shows the cares for others (in a train by talking in a small voice), so it is OK. M: Really!?...well… [The woman hung up a phone from work and sighed once. Then, she began to make a call.] W: Hello? Ta-kun? Is it OK to talk now? Well, like, my boss just called… M: (What!? Ta-kun? She is calling her boyfriend?) Y: (Really!? She calls here?! She is still in a train!) W: Cannot make a date on 24 th. It’s sucks! I am telling you. (My boss is) so annoying! [getting louder] M: [in a small voice] No way! It is far beyond a breach of manner! She could care less about others around her, couldn’t she!? She is old enough (to know better). Y: And is that the conversation to do now? That’s just complaints. E: And she talks too loud!! Annoying. Everyone watches her. (…continues) 14

15 Because “many people will be annoyed when it is allowed” (Time 2) Read the stories of Chinese students. 4. Group discussion about the difference between Japanese and Chinese stories Compare them with expected stories. 1. Thoughts and Opinions 2. Share stories with other groups Group discussion (the commonality and the difference in stories) “No” for allowing a phone call in public transportation Because…“some people want to sleep”, “The voice tend to be louder than usual when talking on a phone, so many people will be annoyed when it is allowed”, “I believe we should care for others around you in a public area”, “feel unpleasant and there will be no order” etc…

16 Similarities and differences within culture (Time 2) Read the stories of Chinese students. 4. Group discussion about the difference between Japanese and Chinese stories Compare them with expected stories. 1. Thoughts and Opinions 2. Share stories with other groups Group discussion Stories of 5 groups in Japan were compared, Similarities: Loud voice is Not allowed, Content of the conversation matters, Showing the care for others reduce the unpleasant feeling, People tend not to warn right away. Differences: Situation and gender of the characters varies, Rationalization for a negative act varies (i.e. breach of manner vs annoying others) (the commonality and the difference in stories)

17 Example story of Chinese students In a summer day with a bright and clear sunlight, Min, Lee, and Hon went out to play together. They were very happy at first, but it was ruined by the incident in a bus. Everything was as usual at the beginning, little too many people and little crowded. However, the situation changed totally when a fat person got on a bus. As soon as s/he got on, s/he kept calling on a phone, his/her voice got louder and louder, and never cared for others’ feelings. People around him/her had to suffer from him/her spitting every once in a while. Min frowned and said to Lee and Hon, “Look at that fat person. It cannot be helped to talk on a phone, but his/her voice is very loud. Very annoying!” Lee answered “Right. It is silly talk. Don’t want him/her to talk on a phone except emergency. Very bad”. Hon also said “everyone looks coldly at him/her. How come no one warns him/her”. “Let’s not” said Min shrugging. “The fat person looks scary. We don’t want to get in trouble. We should be patient while it is tolerable.” (…continues) 17

18 Similarities and differences within culture (Time 2) Read the stories of Chinese students. 4. Group discussion about the difference between Japanese and Chinese stories Compare them with expected stories. 1. Thoughts and Opinions 2. Share stories with other groups Group discussion What was your impression about Chinese stories? → “we are similar”. “What make people unpleasant is surprisingly similar between China and Japan” (Group 3) “Even though there are rules in Japan and not in China, people feel unpleasant with similar things” (Group 4). e.g., loud voice makes feel unpleasant, do not warn right away, showing the care for others matters…

19 The image of Japanese are strict and serious !? (Time 3) Read Chinese student’s expectation and thoughts about Japanese stories. “Chinese students take rules of public area in Japan surprisingly strictly” (Student #1). “I felt that Chinese students’ image of Japan is very strict and serious” (Student #3). 2. Read Chinese students’ thoughts about a phone talk in a train We are similar

20 What cause the differences in students’ reaction? What cause the differences in students’ reactions in Study1 and Study2? Study1: ”There is no right or wrong. It is difficult to understand each other” Study2: “We are similar than we have expected!” Effect of the procedure? Study1: Cultural difference was emphasized when given a dialogue theme. Study2: Variation within culture was discussed before intercultural dialogue More study is needed… 20

21 Implication for the future study 21 Ethnocentric views and questions e.g., It is matter of course to refrain from talking on a phone Realization that presupposition is different e.g., meaning of “public” may be different bet/ Japan & China? Being aware of culture and explain the background (dialogue between cultures begins) e.g., being considerate to others is a virtue in Japan Becomes uncertain about own belief/value e.g., Now I am not sure why talking on cell phone in a train is bad. CHINESE STUDENTS CHINESE STUDENTS New belief/value Point out the contradiction

22 Implication for the future study 22 Ethnocentric views and questions e.g., It is matter of course to refrain from talking on a phone Realization that presupposition is different e.g., meaning of “public” may be different bet/ Japan & China? Being aware of culture and explain the background (dialogue between cultures begins) e.g., being considerate to others is a virtue in Japan Becomes uncertain about own belief/value e.g., Now I am not sure why talking on cell phone in a train is bad. CHINESE STUDENTS CHINESE STUDENTS New belief/value Point out the contradiction Emotional Reaction

23 What is expected beyond…? 23 Ethnocentric views and questions e.g., It is matter of course to refrain from talking on a phone Realization that presupposition is different e.g., meaning of “public” may be different bet/ Japan & China? Being aware of culture and explain the background (dialogue between cultures begins) e.g., being considerate to others is a virtue in Japan Becomes uncertain about own belief/value e.g., Now I am not sure why talking on cell phone in a train is bad. CHINESE STUDENTS CHINESE STUDENTS New belief/value Point out the contradiction Emotional Reaction Construct more stable interpretation of belief/value? Flexible dialogue → emergence of a new “culture”?


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