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Intercultural Learning. Suzi Aadland September 15, 2010. What are our goals?. Increase your knowledge of the basic concepts of intercultural communication Identify your personal responses to cultural differences Understanding does not imply agreement. Why is this important?.

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intercultural learning

Intercultural Learning

Suzi Aadland

September 15, 2010

what are our goals
What are our goals?
  • Increase your knowledge of the basic concepts of intercultural communication
  • Identify your personal responses to cultural differences
  • Understanding does not imply agreement
why is this important
Why is this important?
  • So you are able to communicate effectively with people of other cultures
  • So you are able to function on intercultural teams
  • So you can understand the impact of your work in a global and societal context
  • Employers desire these skills, and you will need them to be successful in your career
  • What is your culture?
  • What makes you who you are?
  • There are a number of cultural attributes that may be different for each culture. Name as many as you can.
cultural characteristics


Ethnic or national origin



Geographic region

Urban/suburban/ rural location


Cultural Characteristics
cultural characteristics continued
Cultural Characteristics (continued)
  • Individual vs. Collective
  • Verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Relationships
  • Time concepts
  • Space concepts
  • Gender roles
  • Hierarchical structure
  • “Globalization” has a negative connotation; equates with colonialism and/or imperialism
  • Intercultural includes international and multicultural groups
  • “1. Belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group. 2. Overriding concern with race.” (American Heritage Dictionary)
  • “1. A stereotype is a standardized conception or image of a specific group of people or objects.” Such as: “All teenagers love rock & roll and have no respect for their elders” or “In England it rains all the time.” (
  • “3. To give a fixed, unvarying form to.” (American Heritage Dictionary)
  • “NOUN:1a. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts. b. A preconceived preference or idea.
  • 3. Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion.” (American Heritage Dictionary)
cultural functions
Cultural Functions
  • Culture is coherent, learned, and shared
  • Culture ranks what is important
  • Culture furnishes attitudes
  • Culture dictates behavior
    • From “Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace” by Beamer and Varner
culture is coherent learned and shared
Culture is coherent, learned and shared
  • “Common Sense is common only to a particular culture.” (M. Bennett)
  • Russia - 1930’s law regarding speculation…immoral profiteering. (Beamer & Varner)
  • What is an example of a US law that changed culture?
culture ranks what is important
Culture ranks what is important
  • Cultural value orientations
    • Freedom, equality, democracy, humanitarianism, progress, activism, achievement, practicality, informality, morality (good vs. bad)
    • Basic necessities, such as food, shelter, safety
culture furnishes attitudes and dictates behavior
Culture furnishes attitudes and dictates behavior
  • Business
  • Religion
  • Gender roles
  • Government
  • Communication styles
what resources are available
What resources are available?
  • Campus/community
  • Personal contacts
  • Books, publications
  • Web resources
  • Speakers in other classes
  • Personal experiences and observations (be careful!)
what in the world just happened
What in the world just happened?
  • How do you evaluate your experiences?
  • What criteria do you use?
  • D-I-E Model
    • Describe
    • Interpret
    • Evaluate

(Two men holding hands)

unwritten rules
Unwritten Rules
  • What are the unwritten rules of harmony in your family?
  • What are some unwritten rules of getting ahead as a student?
  • What will be the unwritten rules of getting ahead in your career?
learning styles
Learning Styles
  • Competitive vs. cooperative
  • Lecture
  • Memorization
  • Experiential
  • Question & debate all presented
  • Open discussion & feedback
  • Environment
learning styles21
Learning Styles
  • “Western students attribute success to ability, and failure to its lack; Asian students attribute success to effort and failure to its lack.” (Klopf, 2000)
communication barriers
Communication Barriers
  • Language differences
    • Idioms
    • Slang
  • Non-verbal perceptions
  • Cultural (personal) perceptions, interpretations
  • Tension, apprehension, fear of making a mistake; discomfort
slang british english







On the job

Slang – British English
slang british english24







To knock up


To bomb

Slang – British English
everyday idioms how would you explain these
Everyday idioms – how would you explain these?
  • Shoot!
  • You kill me!
  • Down the road
  • Break the ice
  • Good to go
  • Heads up
  • Get a sense of
  • Get your foot in the door
  • You bet! You betcha! & Yup!
  • Any time
  • What’s up?
  • On the ball
  • Give it a shot
  • Keep your chin up
  • Chime in
a successful advertisement in europe
A successful advertisement in Europe

“Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”

exercise cultural reinforcers
Exercise – Cultural Reinforcers
  • “Little children should be seen and not heard.”
  • “A woman’s place is in the home.”
  • What other “proverbs” can you think of that reinforce our culture?
exercise cultural reinforcers28
Exercise – Cultural Reinforcers
  • “Never, never catch a lion by the tail. But if you do: Never let go!”
  • “Russia is big and the Czar is far away”
  • “The ill-mannered child will find a father wherever he goes”
  • “Sweep only the front of your own door”
exercise cultural reinforcers29
Exercise – Cultural Reinforcers
  • “Nothing done with intelligence is done without speech”
  • “Those who know do not speak and those who speak do not know”
  • “A zebra does not despise its stripes”
  • “The spit aimed at the sky comes back to me”
ivanhoe international center suzi aadland@sdsmt edu 394 6884 http international sdsmt edu

Ivanhoe International CenterSuzi.Aadland@sdsmt.edu394-6884

Lower level of Surbeck Center, next to Student Activities & Leadership