We used the critical incident technique to create the learning resources in this blog.
A critical incident between members of different cultures is a culture clash when the participants behave in strange ways and this causes feelings of confusion, surprise, anger, amusement, etc.
Cultural clashes are usually based on values and beliefs learned as people are socialised in their community. However, when we are faced with a behaviour that seems foreign to us, we should refrain from jumping to conclusions – in fact, oftentimes, people behave in a certain way for personal and not necessarily cultural reasons – so we should carefully consider the context of the interaction reflecting on the complex factors that affect it – purpose, participants, setting.
Below is a screenshot from an article that captures the history, evolution and practical application of the technique – this particular shot is interesting as it outlines the possible areas/causes of misunderstandings when cross-cultural interaction is in full swing.
Teachers can use the materials as starting points for discussion on cultural differences in their FL classes or when they prepare their students for travel abroad. In some materials we have given suggestion for the procedure which is essentially to
- identify the problem,
- make assumptions about the reason behind it and
- make comparisons with their own behaviour based on the values that have caused the culture clash.
The culture-contrast approach is beneficial to apply in the FL classroom because it enables learners to de-center, become less ethnocentric and judgmental and potentially more empathetic towards difference.
You can read the critical reading resources here. Feel free to comment and give us feedback. Thank you!
You can find a lot more stories in the countries blogs which are accessible through the main menu on the right.
We have used the materials below in our training seminars with students. They are good resources to learn how to write a critical incident ourselves and what topics to explore to develop a good range of stories.
For the rationale of the project and some key terms explained, click here
Below is the presentation done during the first project meeting in Bulgaria.