Adrienne Beck TESOL : Intercultural Communication and ... Adrienne Beck TESOL 530: Intercultural Communication

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  • Reflective Report 1

    Adrienne Beck

    TESOL 530: Intercultural Communication and Language Teaching

    Self-Reflection Report

    Azusa Pacific University

    Professor Gregory Bock

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    Articulate a Biblical rationale (or a rationale based on a faith tradition or world view of the students’ choosing) for learning and modeling intercultural sensitivity and competence. Jesus’ call to radically love our neighbor, even when the neighbor is a stranger, has given me way to explore new means for engaging with different cultural members and those ways that have fallen short. Specifically, Smith’s (2009) Chapter 6 touched on many of the concepts that have given me new methods to increase my intercultural sensitivity and competence. I will work to hesitate in immediately relating another’s culture norms, behaviors and practices to my own. As Smith (2009) notes that this can lead to quick and inaccurate judgments that lead to moral approval or disapproval. I will also work to exercise humility to my students in the classroom and by doing so this will help to create space for others and ourselves to reach our expected goals. I will continue to increase my cultural knowledge needed to navigate a new culture and identify new ways of repairing breakdown in communication due to cultural differences. Demonstrate the attitudes necessary for intercultural competence such as curiosity, openness, and readiness to suspend judgment of cultures. Through reading Chapter One by Smith (2009), ‘How to bless the nations’ it became particularly evident what caused Abraham’s failure in dealing with the unknown culture and as a result, what attitudes are necessary to lead to intercultural competence. Abraham’s fear, powerlessness, partial knowledge and perspective all gave way to his failure. It is obvious that as educators, travelers, and strangers, we must learn the dynamics of cultural differences so that we do not make the same mistakes of Abraham. We must learn to rely on our confidence and find a sense of security when we are presented with fear. We must learn to look through the eyes of the other culture when silence is the result of powerlessness. We must trust in our faith of God and as be careful not to use “partial” knowledge, stereotype or generalize our students or others. In addition, in Chapter 5 in which Smith (2009) outlined the various excuses in which we have fallen short in our attempts to engage with others, I was able to become more aware of my own excuses by relating them to Smith’s. This has led to awareness, openness, and reluctance to develop excuses. I will continue to keep the following quote by Smith as a reminder of an effective attitude. “If the aim is to love my neighbor as myself, then the most basic question is not what works pragmatically, or what is the least I can get away with, but rather what best honors the others with will whom I am engaging. Such honoring does not come for free” (p.97). Demonstrate the knowledge necessary for intercultural competence such as knowledge of social groups and their products and practices in one’s own and in another culture including knowledge of world views, beliefs, values, and norms of behavior. In completing the ethnographic report, I was given the opportunity to look at that various beliefs, values, norms of behavior and world views that make up Korean culture. This particular assignment allowed me to realize just what little I actually knew about this culture to which I have been affiliated with for over five years. By taking the time to

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    allow this new opportunity into my life, interacting with Dr. Kim and recording my observations, I gained a better understanding into all of these four different areas. Articulate a conscious understanding of one’s own and other cultural systems and how this affects TESL/TEFL.

    I developed a better understanding of my own culture in giving a definition of what Bennet’s describes a “little c culture’ and “big C culture” and also have become more consciously aware of my own culture when traveling outside. Having been raised in America, I was taught to voice my opinion and disagree in a respectful manner. Most of the time I was rewarded for my accomplishments (more so than others being an only child) and taught to be independent and genuine in my relationships with others. I was also raised in a culture that consumes both a lot of material possessions as well as food. It was not until I traveled abroad that I realized these qualities within myself and their contrast to the qualities and values of Koreans. I quickly learned within my teaching environment in S. Korea that I needed to be extremely respectful and careful in giving my opinion or disagreeing with Korean co-workers who were older than me in order to save face. I also learned that praising was not something my students were used to and as a result made them feel a bit uncomfortable. I began to notice that some of my students would go as far as to pretend they understood a linguistic concept in order to ‘save face’. Finally, I learned that my own instinct to give and share my opinions on a wide variety of subjects and topics was something my students did not have a lot of experience with and as a result would shut down communicatively. This forced me to build a safe and comfortable environment overtime where students gradually could begin to practice speaking on topics of interest.

    Through my assigned readings, videos, fellow classmates posts and my own experience, I have learned about other cultural systems as well as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes I bring to the classroom. This has and will continue to help me forge more effective intercultural relationships with my students and create a comfortable and effective learning environment for my students.

    Demonstrate the ability to effectively incorporate a cultural component in an ESL/EFL class that enables English language learners to acquire the attitudes, knowledge, and skills needed to develop intercultural competence.

    I have employed a number of strategies of my own and those outlined by McVeigh and Wintergerst (2011) that have incorporated a cultural component in the ESL/EFL classroom. By helping students to see how fundamental elements such as beliefs, values, norms and attitudes influence behavior, students can better understand the underlying cultural values from which the other is operating and as a result have a better chance of understanding and being respectful of each other. When I taught for Jeju Foreign Language H.S. in S. Korea I used a book titled Ugly Korean, Ugly Americans by Min Byoung Chul (2004) to show some of the key differences in values, norms and attitudes between Korean and American culture to my advanced class. This book does an excellent job of displaying the cultural differences in a humorous manner. I presented some of the less known differences to the students’ and had them give some examples of situations they might have encountered or heard of that related to each one. After discussion, I broke the student’s up into groups of four. Each group chose one cultural

  • Reflective Report 4

    difference and created a short skit to present to the class in a respectful way. The student’s skits were excellent and funny and demonstrated that they were not only more knowledgeable about American values, behaviors and norms but more aware of their own as well.

    Additionally, I found the activity by McVeigh and Wintergerst (2011) on pg. 15 – 16 (see Appendix A) to be useful in helping students to understand the fundamental values of a culture that influence one’s behavior. In addition, the lesson helps to increase their knowledge of the target culture and aids them in developing skills of cultural sensitivity. I have also implemented lessons on, ‘exploring the differences between written and spoken language’, ‘recognizing communication styles and registrars’, ‘exploring gender roles’, ‘exploring personal identity’ and ‘principles of multicultural education’ in an effort to raise student’s cultural awareness and promote cultural sensitivity and respect among their peers.

    Teaching students the concept of face is also extremely important in helping students to be successful in social interactions. Having taught in South Korea for some time, I learned the importance ‘saving face’ means in helping one fit into a social group and maintain social harmony. Problems can therefore arise when there exist differences about how face is shown and to whom it is shown to. Teaching the concept of face is no easy task. McVeigh and Wintergerst (2011) suggest helping students to “build awareness of the concept of face by using a contrastive approach to show varieties of responses to different situations as well as conversational gambits and responses that could be face threatening” (p.48). The activity ‘Maintaining Face’ by McVeigh and Wintergerst (2011) on pg 49 (see Appendix B) can be completed by having students work with another student who is from a different culture and does not share the same language. The teacher can have to students complete the activity, share the results with the class and give a summary of what this activity has taught them. This is one excellent activity to help students become aware of the concept of face in another’s culture as well as their own.

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    References

    Chul, M (2004). Ugly Koreans, Ugly Americans. BCM media Inc.

    Wintergerst, A. and McVeigh J. (