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„Intercultural Competencies in Higher Education" – some issues and experiences with an intercultural train-the-trainer course at the Nekrassow University of Kostroma Russia . Overview. Why? Intercultural competencies in Higher Education What? Learning Goals and Learning Contents
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in Higher Education" –
some issues and experiences
with an intercultural train-the-trainer course at
the Nekrassow University of Kostroma Russia
A pattern of basic assumptions invented, discovered or developed by a given group (as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration ....) taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to these problems. (Edgar Schein 1985)
This silent language includes a broad range of evolutionary concepts, practices and solutions to problems which have their roots ... in the shared experiences of ordinary people. (Edward T. Hall 1959)
Need for intercultural co-operation in science and society
Bringing together ideas; synergy effects
Learning of disputing (a lot of cultures have no experience
in free debating (changing arguments))
-> The Higher Education has to take into account modules or subjects for gaining intercultural competencies
Especially in regions like Russia or Middle Asia there is the need to learn open mindedness for cultural differences beyond folklore and exotic.
In the last 100 years there was no chance to identify differences as cultural moulded; so people have no experience in anticipating cultural conflicts and in developing productive solutions.
In times of opening to the western world students and scientists need such learning chances to be able to join in international scientific dialogues (keyword: arguing culture) complementing their specialized knowledge.
Intercultural (self and foreign) awareness is much more useful than learning do‘s and don‘ts of concrete cultures
Intercultural Competencies in Higher Education: Empathy and changing perspectives
1. Teaching and learning are cultural determined!
2. So intercultural teaching and learning have to take into account intercultural aspects in a double way!
Experiences with an intercultural train-the-trainer-course in Kostroma (Russia) – best practices and lessons learned
Different points of interest
Different understanding of topics
Different activities as ways of learning
Different social learning settings
Deterministic definition: culture as collective programming of the mind (Hofstede)
Semiotic definition: culture as developed in communication processes (system of meaning) (Geertz)
Everyday life definition: culture as manners
Cultural studies definition: culture as an expression of the power-ful people – media are important transmitters (Birmingham School)
Conclusion: The aspect of power, media and culture (cultural studies) is in Russia much more important than in Germany!
The words „strange“ or „foreigners“ don‘t exist in the Russian language. It‘s difficult to understand concepts for which your language has no word.
This aspect refers to another traditional coping with foreigners as we are experienced.
Conclusion: We have to take in mind that there is not the same point of view.
Open discussions as we know in Germany are unknown in Russia; but reflections that follow artistic approaches like painting (individual cultural trees) or acting (nonverbal welcome rituals) are more practicable than in Germany; the same is with analysing written material (about cultural standards).
Conclusion: Russian students are unable to discuss without common ground (e.g. brainstorming) but they are very well in debating about wordings.At the beginning it‘s useful to use a methodological mixture – so you can find out the best instruments.
Hall: Germany – monochronic time orientation
Russia – polychronic time orientation
Hofstede: Germany – individualism
Russia – collectivism
Task: Reading and discussing wordings about these cultural tendencies
Students reflected the relativity of cultural standards
Students discussed about self-picture and foreign-picture
Conclusion: The cultural standards don‘t fit perfectly to an huge and varied country like Russia.
In games we very often implement the role of the neutral observer. Russian students hated this role and didn‘t manage it well.
Why: They are collectivistic programmed and so nobody wants to be put outside the collective.
1. The teachers have to be neutral observers.
2. We have to develop new (collectivistic) methods to compensate the functionality of an neutral observer.
Cultural standards – an euro-centric concept? How to optimize?
Cultural differences in teaching and learning – content and methodological consequences for the transfer of intercultural competencies modules
How to resolve cultural conflicts? The concept of changing perspectives in intercultural interaction has to be developed
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‚collective programming of the mind which distinguishes
the members of one category of people from another‘
(Hofstede 1991) -> unconsciousness; socialisation;
psychological mechanisms: emotions, cognition, behaviour
‚recipe for survival‘
(Lewis1998) -> understanding of the roots (history,
‚the book of rules for the social game‘
(Hofstede 2006) ->social interaction and intercultural misunderstandings
the things of the world
Self picture (I)
Self picture (I)
Self- und Foreign picture