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Intercultural Dialogue: Petru Dumitru


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eTwinning Conference 2008

eTwinning Conference 2008

Published in: Technology, Education

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  • 1. Intercultural learning opportunities
    • Petru Dumitru
    • Project coordinator and Web editor
    • European Schoolnet, Brussels
    • and a group of teacher guests
    • [email_address]
  • 2. Workshop structure
    • Introduction
    • Theoretical background
    • Intercultural learning activities in schools
    • Intercultural learning opportunities offered by European Schoolnet
    • Questionnaire for participants
    • Message to teachers
    • Just for fun
  • 3. 1. Introduction
  • 4. 2. Theoretical background
    • Culture: a set of attitudes, beliefs, behavioural norms, basic assumptions and values that are shared by a group of people (A way of life)
    • Intercultural communication: occurs when people from different cultures interact
    • Intercultural learning: entails communicating cultures and learning about one’s own culture and other cultures.
  • 5. Factors affecting intercultural communication
    • Perception : the ability of any individual to gather information, assess it and understand it. Perceptions vary from a culture to another
    • Cultural values : a set of norms which characterises a culture
    • Social organisation : family (the smallest unit of social organisation) and society
    • Language
    • Non-verbal cues : communication patterns in the form of gestures, facial expression, eye contact, movement, using time and space.
  • 6. Barriers to intercultural communication
    • Anxiety or stress
    • Assuming similarities instead of differences
    • Ethnocentrism: a negative approach of judging attributes of other cultures by relating them to the own cultural norms
    • Stereotypes and prejudices
    • Nonverbal misinterpretations
    • Language differences
  • 7. Face-to-face vs. computer-mediated communication
    • ICCMC reduces human interaction to words (is faceless, lacking nonverbal cues)
    • ICMC allows authorship modification: (cutting and reposting someone’s message is common in an online context)
    • “ Plastic identity” (changeable identity) of the online users may conflict with the communication norms in certain cultures
    • Use of humour (attitudes, habits and beliefs characterising an individual or groups of individuals) may generate misunderstanding when partners from other cultures perceive things differently
    • People who use a second/third language to communicate may have a different level of understanding of irony, sarcasm and cynicism
    • Silence may be perceived differently by individuals representing different cultures; people who seem more silent or passive could be seen as “less important” versus active participants.
  • 8. 3. Intercultural learning activities in schools
    • To ensure successful intercultural communication activities :
    • A common language or a common communication system;
    • Information about other cultures
    • Putting the own culture in the context of the world cultures ;
    • Eliminating prejudices and accepting cultural diversity: avoiding classifying world cultures in two categories: major and minor
    • Ability to empathise: putting oneself in someone else’s shoes to minimise negative emotions and feel what the others feel (emotions play a crucial role in communication)
    • Communicative attitude of the partners
    • Achieving balanced interaction : leaving out any tendency of victimisation or paternalism.
  • 9. Benefits in school projects
    • Knowledge level
    • Raising intercultural awareness
    • Putting one’s own culture in a wider context
    • Providing opportunities for intercultural learning in a real context
    • Opportunity to exchange ideas.
    • Skills level
    • Acquiring/improving ICT skills
    • Providing a real communication context with people from other cultures
    • Practicing communication in a second language, in a real life context
    • Learning to work collaboratively at a global scale
    • Experiencing teaching and learning across the curriculum
    • Developing critical thinking
    • Increasing students’ motivation to learn.
  • 10. Limitations in school projects
    • In school projects, intercultural computer-mediated communication may be limited by a number of factors:
    • Curriculum and time constraints
    • Lacking knowledge of a second language or poor and inadequate language skills
    • Lack of face-to-face cues
    • Lack of equipment, unreliable or unavailable Internet connection and technical difficulties at school
    • Integrating a project into the curriculum/or matching two or more different curricula
    • Lack of basic computer skills
    • Different school calendars
    • Cultural differences and differences in cultural expectations
    • Technological differences
  • 11. 4. Intercultural learning opportunities at European Schoolnet
    • Spring Day for Europe Overview: Petru Dumitru
    • Spring Day for Europe in schools: Peter Rasmussen, Denmark
    • myEUROPE , 8000 schools working on European citizenship and intercultural activities: Marleen Spierings. The Netherlands
    • 50 Years Together in Diversity : Stamatios Papadakis, Greece
    • Energy education in a multi-cultural context : Ylva Guntsch-Malmhav, Sweden
    • FuturEnergia , the voice of young people in Europe to respond to climate change: Lidia Minza, Romania
    • Learning objects , a modern methods to experience other cultures from an early age: Andreea Silter, Romania
    • Collaborative projects , a successful path to cultural understanding; Viljenka Savli, Slovenia
    • Online chats or language learning in a real intercultural context; Petru Dumitru
  • 12.  
  • 13.  
  • 14.  
  • 15. Chats
  • 16. Chats
  • 17. 5. Questionnaire
    • In the context of intercultural activities involving classes from different cultures and based on your experience, please list:
    • three benefits resulting from intercultural learning activities
    • three limitations to intercultural learning activities
    • three solutions that help overcome barriers to intercultural learning activities
    • In your view, what is the most relevant element that has to be considered to achieve understanding in intercultural learning activities?
  • 18. 6. Message to teachers
    • There are no forms of technology that can revolutionise the classroom while bypassing the teacher. If there is a change, it will be in the way teachers and students create the context of a classroom and the interaction that takes place among and between the people who make up the life of a classroom.
    • Teachers should see networks as an opportunity to learn more about teaching and learning by finding out how it is supported and directed in different countries. I would suggest they see themselves as modelling learning .
    • Margaret Riel, 2005