“My Way, Your Way, Our Shared Cultural Identities” is an innovative inter-cultural communication project involving schools from Bulgaria, Italy, Spain and Sweden. Its rationale is based on the understanding that mobility, an integral part of our increasingly globalized world, presents challenges arising from the cultural differences that are an intrinsic part of people’s complex identities. Therefore, knowledge and awareness of how culture impacts communication is essential in effective cross- cultural communication. The project seeks to
- develop students’ understandings of the interrelated nature of language, culture and communication;
- develop students’ skills to spot, reflect and deal with culture bumps;
- enhance students’ confidence when encountering unfamiliar environment;
- develop students’ presentation skills;
- train students to conduct interviews to extract relevant information, analyse it, and present it in both oral and written form;
- develop students’ curiosity towards different cultures and languages;
- to prepare students for study and work in inter-cultural settings;
- hone students’ IT skills through utilizing innovative applications;
- develop a broader view of what European identity means to foster responsible citizenship skills;
- enrich teachers’ classroom instruction methods and schools’ curricula.
This project builds on the rich experience all schools have with mobility to design a learning resource for training students to take stock of their inter-cultural experiences and develop understandings of the interrelated nature of language, culture and communication. The resource pack will contain critical incidents and videos based on the experiences of the participants from the project and their peers who have already taken part in study abroad programs. The methodology used to design the resource pack will use the culture assimilator, a cognitive approach in inter-cultural training based on the meaning attribution method. During the preparation stage, participants will be trained through simulation games and inter-cultural training activities aiming to develop their sensitivity and awareness of identity formation, empathy, ethnocentrism, values, stereotypes, the dynamic and emergent nature of culture and strategies to decenter and re-frame in order to negotiate meanings. This learning resource will be beneficial on two levels – through the process of its designing and the outcome itself.
As the participants experience cultural variation, they will be gaining knowledge about what, how and why cultures do their shared practices; through the culture-contrast approach and reflective practices they will gain insights into the value systems of both their own and other cultures; their insights will help them develop skills of successful communication in diverse settings and will result in the production of learning resources for use by all who are interested in inter-cultural education. The interactive nature of the resources will have a double effect – develop students’ IT skills and make the materials appealing to a wide on-line audience. In addition, both teachers and students will learn to deal with culture by adopting the culture assimilator approach , which will enrich their classroom practices and the school curricula in FL, Literature, History, Psychology, Art and PE.
1) “Cultural Detectives in Action”- an OER pack for analyzing culturally diverse behavior, which consists of:
-20 critical incidents (text, video, art, photography);
– teachers’notes .
The resources record and enact misunderstandings based on cultural differences drawn from students’ authentic experiences. The resources will be accompanied by teacher’s notes explaining the rationale, objectives and procedure to assist educators who will be interested in implementing these in their practice. The critical incidents and the teachers’ notes will be available online and on paper to all participating schools to integrate in all classes where culture is an issue. Also, they will be a convenient tool to prepare students who are to embark on a cultural exchange. Their on-line status will make them accessible to an audience outside our immediate school communities and will ensure its wider impact. The resource will be translated into the naive languages of each partner.
2) Intellectual Output: “When in Rome…” – this will be an interactive resource whose purpose is to raise awareness of cultural facts about our own countries through the inter-cultural journeys the main characters from each country take and the challenges they encounter.
This will be an animated cartoon game with a webapplication, which will practice inter-cultural learning in a fun and innovative way.