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).
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.
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.