Diversity in the Student Population

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Margaret Campbell speaks about Diversity in the Student Population

Margaret Campbell speaks about Diversity in the Student Population

On September 26, 2013 Margaret Campbell, Instructor, Learning Services, Student Development spoke to SIAST Instructors about Student Diversity. The session gave an introduction to intercultural awareness and strategies.  Margaret spoke about pragmatics which is defined as, “The ability to use appropriate language in a given communicative situation.” (Canadian Language Benchmarks, 2012) or “The ability to use language to carry out everyday functions in culturally appropriate ways” (LCastro, as cited by Louw, Derving & Abbott, 2010).

Changing Language for Needs of Listener or Situation

Changing Language for Needs of Listener or Situation

Margaret gave examples of following ‘unwritten’ rules such as: taking turns in conversation, staying on topic, adding new topics, clarifying if misunderstood, verbal and nonverbal cues, personal space and facial expressions, eye contact and gestures.  She also discussed what types of problems that we might experience due to pragmatics and steriotypes and generalizations. Culture was also discussed as being more than food and traditions: ‘Culture is the way we do things around here.” (NorQuest College, 2010, p. 15) It is important to note that people who speak two languages may not be bi-cultural that is they speak two languages however they are not culturally aware.

Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity

Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity

The Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (Benett, M.J., 1993) was reviewed with the two major mindsets discussed: Monocultural and Intercultural.  There were examples given for each stage from denial to adaption. The session ended with Margaret giving a number of tips regarding dealing with people from another culture.

Listen to the podcast here.

Communications: Classroom Talk

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Communications 1                    Tracy Wilson facilitates a Communication Activity using the Star Quilt template

On October 23rd, Deanna Speidel, Tracy Wilson and Margaret Campbell spoke about Communication and how it is used in the classroom.  Deanna Speidel, Aboriginal Services Instructor went over the seven Cs of Communication with the other facilitators providing examples of the types of communication: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete and courteous.

Communications 2                                   Instructors are discussing different types of communication

The four communication styles were also discussed: passive, aggressive, passive aggressive and assertive.  Tracy explained that many cultures, including indigenous come from a passive communication style.   Which means that as instructors we need to be aware that students may not have the skills yet to ask for what they need.  Tracy also explained that it is very rare that a person comes a family with assertive communication which is where we all want to be.  In assertive communication a person is clear when stating their feelings, needs and opinions. In fact this type of communication is taught.

Communications 3                                                   Tracy and Deanna in front of the Star Quilt Communication Activity

You can listen to the podcast here.