Intercultural Dialogue: Petru Dumitru


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eTwinning Conference 2008

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Intercultural Dialogue: Petru Dumitru

  1. 1. Intercultural learning opportunities <ul><li>Petru Dumitru </li></ul><ul><li>Project coordinator and Web editor </li></ul><ul><li>European Schoolnet, Brussels </li></ul><ul><li>and a group of teacher guests </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  2. 2. Workshop structure <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Theoretical background </li></ul><ul><li>Intercultural learning activities in schools </li></ul><ul><li>Intercultural learning opportunities offered by European Schoolnet </li></ul><ul><li>Questionnaire for participants </li></ul><ul><li>Message to teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Just for fun </li></ul>
  3. 3. 1. Introduction
  4. 4. 2. Theoretical background <ul><li>Culture: a set of attitudes, beliefs, behavioural norms, basic assumptions and values that are shared by a group of people (A way of life) </li></ul><ul><li>Intercultural communication: occurs when people from different cultures interact </li></ul><ul><li>Intercultural learning: entails communicating cultures and learning about one’s own culture and other cultures. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Factors affecting intercultural communication <ul><li>Perception : the ability of any individual to gather information, assess it and understand it. Perceptions vary from a culture to another </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural values : a set of norms which characterises a culture </li></ul><ul><li>Social organisation : family (the smallest unit of social organisation) and society </li></ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul><ul><li>Non-verbal cues : communication patterns in the form of gestures, facial expression, eye contact, movement, using time and space. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Barriers to intercultural communication <ul><li>Anxiety or stress </li></ul><ul><li>Assuming similarities instead of differences </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnocentrism: a negative approach of judging attributes of other cultures by relating them to the own cultural norms </li></ul><ul><li>Stereotypes and prejudices </li></ul><ul><li>Nonverbal misinterpretations </li></ul><ul><li>Language differences </li></ul>
  7. 7. Face-to-face vs. computer-mediated communication <ul><li>ICCMC reduces human interaction to words (is faceless, lacking nonverbal cues) </li></ul><ul><li>ICMC allows authorship modification: (cutting and reposting someone’s message is common in an online context) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Plastic identity” (changeable identity) of the online users may conflict with the communication norms in certain cultures </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>People who use a second/third language to communicate may have a different level of understanding of irony, sarcasm and cynicism </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  8. 8. 3. Intercultural learning activities in schools <ul><li>To ensure successful intercultural communication activities : </li></ul><ul><li>A common language or a common communication system; </li></ul><ul><li>Information about other cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Putting the own culture in the context of the world cultures ; </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminating prejudices and accepting cultural diversity: avoiding classifying world cultures in two categories: major and minor </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>Communicative attitude of the partners </li></ul><ul><li>Achieving balanced interaction : leaving out any tendency of victimisation or paternalism. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Benefits in school projects <ul><li>Knowledge level </li></ul><ul><li>Raising intercultural awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Putting one’s own culture in a wider context </li></ul><ul><li>Providing opportunities for intercultural learning in a real context </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity to exchange ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>Skills level </li></ul><ul><li>Acquiring/improving ICT skills </li></ul><ul><li>Providing a real communication context with people from other cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Practicing communication in a second language, in a real life context </li></ul><ul><li>Learning to work collaboratively at a global scale </li></ul><ul><li>Experiencing teaching and learning across the curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Developing critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing students’ motivation to learn. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Limitations in school projects <ul><li>In school projects, intercultural computer-mediated communication may be limited by a number of factors: </li></ul><ul><li>Curriculum and time constraints </li></ul><ul><li>Lacking knowledge of a second language or poor and inadequate language skills </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of face-to-face cues </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of equipment, unreliable or unavailable Internet connection and technical difficulties at school </li></ul><ul><li>Integrating a project into the curriculum/or matching two or more different curricula </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of basic computer skills </li></ul><ul><li>Different school calendars </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural differences and differences in cultural expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Technological differences </li></ul>
  11. 11. 4. Intercultural learning opportunities at European Schoolnet <ul><li>Spring Day for Europe Overview: Petru Dumitru </li></ul><ul><li>Spring Day for Europe in schools: Peter Rasmussen, Denmark </li></ul><ul><li>myEUROPE , 8000 schools working on European citizenship and intercultural activities: Marleen Spierings. The Netherlands </li></ul><ul><li>50 Years Together in Diversity : Stamatios Papadakis, Greece </li></ul><ul><li>Energy education in a multi-cultural context : Ylva Guntsch-Malmhav, Sweden </li></ul><ul><li>FuturEnergia , the voice of young people in Europe to respond to climate change: Lidia Minza, Romania </li></ul><ul><li>Learning objects , a modern methods to experience other cultures from an early age: Andreea Silter, Romania </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative projects , a successful path to cultural understanding; Viljenka Savli, Slovenia </li></ul><ul><li>Online chats or language learning in a real intercultural context; Petru Dumitru </li></ul>
  12. 15. Chats
  13. 16. Chats
  14. 17. 5. Questionnaire <ul><li>In the context of intercultural activities involving classes from different cultures and based on your experience, please list: </li></ul><ul><li>three benefits resulting from intercultural learning activities </li></ul><ul><li>three limitations to intercultural learning activities </li></ul><ul><li>three solutions that help overcome barriers to intercultural learning activities </li></ul><ul><li>In your view, what is the most relevant element that has to be considered to achieve understanding in intercultural learning activities? </li></ul>
  15. 18. 6. Message to teachers <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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 . </li></ul><ul><li>Margaret Riel, 2005 </li></ul>