This website showcases the work of the Mind Over Media European Network, which is supported by the Evens Foundation and the European Commission’s Literacy for All initiative. They provide a space for educators to share strategies and approaches for addressing teaching and learning about contemporary propaganda. The Media Education Lab maintains this website in conjunction with the crowdsourced online gallery of propaganda, Mind Over Media: Analyzing Contemporary Propaganda.
Dr. Michael Wesch, who teaches Anthropology at Kansas State University, is opening up his online course, ANTH 101, to everyone, as an experiment in pedagogy. Having distilled the basic insights of anthropologists into 10 lessons (starting with People are different), he’s developed 10 challenges, including Other Encounters). He has also drafted a new book as companion to the course, The Art of Being Human, which is being shared in digital format through the course site.
Given that his research focus is on the effects of social media and digital technology on global society, it probably makes sense that he is currently exploring how best to use an online course to share information even beyond his own university. The class begins June 5, 2017.
A few months ago, Sachiyo Shearman and Mariko Eguchi shared a request for participants in a survey they were conducting about the use of new media when teaching intercultural communication. They have now completed the survey and compiled the results, which they are making available to CID readers.
Here’s their conclusion:
“The majority of professors and instructors who we have surveyed use some form of experiential learning, ranging from in-class role playing, case studies, and simulation games, and to the assignments that involve intercultural contacts. Only about one third of instructors who we surveyed actually have incorporated computer-mediated intercultural encounter into their classes, and some ideas includes online guest lectures, in-class video-conferencing interview sessions, and using programs such as Soliya Net. We can categorize a variety of new media: asynchronous or synchronous platforms, text-based or audio/video based, or first generation or second generation web technology. There are benefits and limitations for each type of new media and examples are discussed in the chapter. Nowadays, we tend to combine these different types of new media, as we use it in our classroom. Our intention is not to say that new media technology is better than the conventional approaches to the intercultural pedagogy. All of the approaches of intercultural communication teaching – lectures, intercultural training, and study abroad programs, are indispensable. We believe that the use of new media in intercultural communication provides us with an additional valuable approach for us to facilitate students’ learning at the multi-dimensional level. When computer-mediated intercultural contacts are provided, students are actively engaged as they interact with students in other countries.”
Their results are being published as:
Shearman, S. M. & Eguchi, M. (Forthcoming). “I have to text my classmate in China!”: Use of new media in intercultural communication classes toward multidimensional learning. In N. Bilge & M. I. Marino (Eds.), Reconceptualizing New Media and Intercultural Communication in a Networked Society.
Diversity in the College Classroom is a collection of first-person narratives by multi-disciplinary faculty at the most racially diverse campus in the University of Wisconsin System. It reveals the complex, interior lives of college professors: how their experiences inform their teaching, relationships with students, and experimentation with innovative pedagogical approaches. All of the writers completed the University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s Summer Institute: Infusing Diversity into the Curriculum.
Table of Contents:
Foreword – Christine E. Sleeter
Introduction – Eugene Oropeza Fujimoto, Fay Yokomizo Akindes, and Roseann Mason
I-Quest: Searching for the Undivided Self – Linda K. Crafton
A Sense of Not Belonging – Damian Evans
“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations”: How I Finally Learned to Apply Vulcan Ideology towards Teaching and Learning – Peggy James
Opening (Again) – Maria del Carmen Martinez
The Transformative Power of Cultural Autobiographies – Dean Yohnk
Constructing Landscapes of Learning – Shi Hae Kim
The Sound of a Heartbeat: Of Students and Friendship and Life – Abey Kuruvilla
When “Education is an Exotic Land”: Using Metaphors to Construct Student Academic Identities – Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz
Building Diversity in Undergraduate Research – Mary Kay Schleiter
“This is Jeopardy”: Cultural Capital, Whiteness, and the College Classroom – Adrienne Viramontes
Hearing Color and Seeing Sound: Teaching Physics with Music – Dileep Karanth
Diversity Economics: Chipping Away at the Oxymoron – Farida C. Khan
Infusion of Diversity into the Organic Chemistry Curriculum – Vera M. Kolb
Diversity and Economics: A Tale of Two Countries – Marcelo Milan
Learning from Others: Engaging Students with People Diagnosed with Mental Illness – Helen Rosenberg
Afterword: Pushing for Greater Academic Access and Equity: Reflections on Facilitating Summer Institute – Thandeka K. Chapman
Teaching EFL with a Hidden Agenda:
Introducing Intercultural Awareness through a Grammar Lesson
Guest post by Dr. Paola Giorgis
Is there anything more standardized than grammar? How can it then work to dismantle the standard, favoring non-standardized and non-sterotypical readings and representations of individual and collective cultural identities, and promoting intercultural understanding?
Here’s a brief example of an actual unit of two lessons, which I conducted some years ago, on simple past during a course on English as a Foreign Language.
• a vocational high school with an art curricula in Turin, a city in the northwest of Italy
• a class of 25 students, the majority of Italian origins, a couple of students from Morocco, another three from Romania, and two from Peru. Most of the students of Italian origin came from families who had experienced migration, belonging to the third generation of what is known in Italy as the “internal immigration”, a phenomena which, from approximately the Fifties to the Seventies, moved families and work force from the south of Italy to the industries of the north. Continue reading “Teaching EFL with a Hidden Agenda: Introducing Intercultural Awareness through a Grammar Lesson”
When visiting Macau, I was surprised by seeing trilingual street signs (Chinese, Portuguese and English), a rare phenomenon in the US. A recent article in ELT Journal by Chiou-Ian Chern and Karen Dooley documents how such signs can serve as a resource to language teachers and learners. They conclude: “Environmental print . . . has become a useful, if politically complex, resource for learning English in contexts where language teachers once lamented the paucity of English input outside the classroom.” (p. 122).
Chern, C.-I., & Dooley, K. (2014). Learning English by walking down the street. ELT Journal, 68(2), 113-123. Available from: http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/68/2/113.full
(The full article is available to download for free as I write this, though that may temporary.)
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
New Zealand fashion students recreate modern-day wear from traditional Indian silk saris
In a unique celebration joining New Zealand and Indian cultures, 15 New Zealand Fashion Tech students won Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia, covering travel to the Bannari Amman Institute of Technology in India to participate in a five week Apparel and Textile Practicum. Students earned the awards by creating garments made from traditional Indian sari fabrics. The inaugural Resene Designer Selection showcased the hand-crafted silk from Southern India made especially for their garments. Four of the NZ students were Maori. The goal was to take students outside the classroom and give them an international and applied perspective.
Further information about this project is available in a New Zealand journal article entitled “A pattern for success” published in Educator Review, and in an Indian newspaper article entitled “Indian silk, New Zealand patterns”. Continuing descriptions by the students of their experiences are also available on their university’s website.
I just ran across an interesting example of applied intercultural dialogue that may be of particular interest either to students taking, or faculty teaching, courses on intercultural topics:
“Founded by students at the University of Pennsylvania in 2009, Dorm Room Diplomacy fosters intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding among an international group of university students. Dorm Room Diplomacy employs videoconference technology to facilitate virtual exchanges that help students to see the individuals behind reductionist cultural stereotypes.
The videoconference program occurs each academic semester, and the same set of 8 students join in a virtual dialogue with a trained facilitator each week. Dorm Room Diplomacy is entirely student-run, encouraging students to take ownership over the dialogue process, establish campus chapters, and empower themselves and their peers. As a non-partisan organization, Dorm Room Diplomacy does not engage in political activities or advocacy, other than the promotion of intercultural dialogue. “
For more information, and for the source of this quote, go to the website for Dorm Room Diplomacy.
Conquering the Cultural Barriers of Teaching in Thailand
By Charles McKinney
I moved to Bangkok, Thailand in January 2013 to earn my master’s degree as a full-time student at Webster University Thailand. I needed to find work to support myself. After two months of hunting, I landed a job at a private language school teaching English, something I was qualified to do as a TESOL-certified American with two years of previous overseas ESL expertise.
Having never taught Thai students before, I initially struggled to satisfy their learning needs. The students expected me to teach by talking; they wanted to participate as little as possible. My boss told me that, unlike American students who take an active role, Thai students are often quite passive learners.
Classes were mostly one-on-one, a new format for me. A few lessons were cancelled after students griped about my teaching methods, disliking the fact that I was following the textbook lesson plan precisely rather than teaching from my knowledge of the topics and using the book minimally. I started out teaching academic writing and grammar to adolescents who found the material dry; thus my challenge was to make it more interesting for them.
Really, I had no lessons in technique: my busy boss usually gave me the necessary resources to teach and then left me to figure out the rest on my own with minimum advice. So, after nearly a month of floundering to improve my teaching performance my boss decided to give me a two-month hiatus (although I did not know this at the time). It turned out she was right: I needed more time to adapt to the culture and the students.
A few months later, I was called back to teach a new academic writing class for a mid-career professional who wanted to return to school. This time I brought my computer with me, using the Internet as an aid to my lesson plan. I prepared PowerPoint presentations to convey the material in an engaging and orderly manner. Throughout the two-month class, we managed to build rapport and exchange cultural knowledge that helped us to understand one another as individuals.
“Here are pictures of my Buddhist monk ceremony, a rite of passage that many Thai men experience,” my student shared with me one day. In return, I showed him a student newspaper from my college days. “This is my pride and joy as former editor-in-chief of the paper; you can learn about my culture through this medium,” I told him. It was one of those cultural insight moments I cherished. As our class progressed, he gave my boss positive feedback about me – and my confidence in my new techniques improved.
I was not only the first American, but the first African-American teacher this school hired. I have now taught students from Bhutan and Russia as well as Thailand. This experience has taught me the values of patience, flexibility, humility and effective cross-cultural communication. Teachers can make a difference in students’ lives, especially in cultures that are drastically different from their own, but students also make a difference in their teachers’ lives. They learned some English, but I learned about their cultures. Creating a comfortable space for students to be themselves, and remembering that teachers also learn from their students, can foster wonderful intercultural dialogues.
Charles McKinney is a recent MA media communications graduate from Webster University Thailand. Having embarked on a rewarding career of ESL/EFL teaching as an expat in East Asia, Charles is hoping to secure an English Language Fellowship with the US Embassy for the new school year and is making plans to possibly join the Peace Corps next year. CID’s website was helpful during Charles’s master’s thesis research, and he wrote this essay as a way of giving back. Contact him through LinkedIn.
A lesson dedicated to the genocide in Burundi: An occasion of dialogue as a space of relationship among cultures
by Maria Flora Mangano
I am happy to share with you what happened recently in my class, during a lesson dedicated to the genocide of Rwanda and Burundi. I am currently lecturing on dialogue among cultures at St. Peter’s Philosophical-Theological Institute in Viterbo, Italy.
One of the students comes from Burundi; his name is Jean. He introduced himself during the first lesson, describing his background and choice of life as a religious. One day outside of class, he mentioned the war in Burundi and the genocide of 1993. In that moment he shared with me and two Italian students what it was like to be a Tutsi. In 2 or 3 minutes he described a few images of the genocide, which he lived through when he was 12 years old; thanks to God, all his family survived. I was shocked by his words and I asked him if he would be able to share his experience with the class, proposing that the students would both listen to his story and see part of the film Hotel Rwanda together. We could organise this special and unforgettable lesson in a couple of hours.
Jean prepared a powerpoint and presented the story of his country and the story of his family and relatives during those three terrible days of the genocide. I proposed to the class not to see the entire movie (which is quite long, so we saw only the trailer) but rather to dedicate the majority of the time to Jean’s personal story. I introduced the technical vocabulary, including genocide and shoah, sharing what these terms have meant in the last century and what they mean now. The 16 students come from 9 countries; some of them did not know even where Burundi was. I asked the students to try to create a space of relationship in which they could speak without any fear of offending or to be offended.
Jean was extremely clear in explaining the historical background, presenting the political and social aspects underlying the genocide. Then he shared his story with us. I am still speechless, shocked and impressed. It was the first time that one of my students desired to share what the genocide was for him and he prepared everything in detail. One young person who survived the genocide decided to offer his experience as a gift, not in revenge. He was able to share his memories, even if these are still dramatic and negative.
Jean said that in African culture the tradition is oral, not written and for this reason it is not possible to ask to him (or others) to write about their experience. He prefers talking over writing about it, but he never did so before this, as he said that the open hurts rest open even after time and sharing.
At the end of his time, all the students were so impressed and touched they could not speak. I ask the students to take time and then to try to share with Jean their feelings, also to try to thank him in a real way. I hope it will yet happen.
I am happy to share this wonderful experience of dialogue and sharing in class. I hope to be able to publish about it in the future. As scholar, I felt that this should be our way of teaching, especially given the discipline of communication we try to teach (and learn). Let’s go ahead to try to do the best with our students and in research on this issue. I am still convinced that we may try to re-write history through dialogue.
I am sharing what happened because it is uncommon to talk about the genocide of Rwanda (and Burundi) for people who survived this. It is still too early, as Jean told me. I consider this moment an important effect of dialogue among cultures, as this student chose to share his life with the class and he prepared the lesson on his own, without any help from me. He chose what to say, also decided not to show any pictures of the genocide and he carefully chose the words to describe those days. He also chose to first present the political and historical conditions as a necessary introduction to the genocide.
Afterwards, Jean reported that he felt understood by the class, so probably he was ready to share this moment. In the days since, I have received mails from him and from the others who have expressed their appreciation for that moment. I have the feeling that we built the space for relationship as the basis of dialogue during the course, and that this moment significantly enriched this space.