Intercultural Awareness and Competence

Intercultural Awareness and Competence

Trecia McLennon

Intercultural Awareness and Competence

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intercultural Awareness and Competence by Trecia McLennon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Welcome

Intercultural Awareness and Competence

Welcome to the Online Intercultural Certification Program. We hope you’re ready for an engaging, rewarding online learning experience with plenty of reading, thinking, and writing.

Brock’s Human Rights and Equity’s (HRE) Intercultural Awareness and Competency training is a structured approach to building awareness and understanding of different cultural behaviours. This online workshop will help you create an environment where people of diverse cultures and backgrounds work together more easily and effectively.

Why do we need to become interculturally competent?

Our community is diverse. We all are surrounded by people who look, speak, think, or feel differently. Differences exist on many levels, including cultural and personal. Sometimes, these differences may get in the way of our daily interactions, though we may not even realize it. This intercultural certification workshop is aimed at increasing the capacity of our communities to work well across differences. Through this workshop, we aim to foster and develop a culturally inclusive, diverse, and safe environment for all.

land acknowledgement iconLand Acknowledgement

We acknowledge the land on which Brock University was built in the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum agreement. Today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples, and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous people.

The Two Row Wampum Belt

The Two Row Wampum Belt. source: honorthetworow.org

video iconWelcome Video

Thank-you for joining us in this online course from Brock’s Human Rights and Equity (HRE). In this brief introductory video, Trecia McLennon will explain to you what you will learn over the next three modules.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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modules iconWeekly Modules

The side navigation menu gives you access to the weekly materials that you are required to cover each week. Each week comprises lecture videos, along with related materials such as content slides, videos, assignments, quizzes, etc. There are three modules other than the course Welcome page in this course. You are encouraged to complete the modules in the following sequence. These are listed below for reference.

 

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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course description iconCourse Description

The purpose of this course is to provide you with a starting point to learn about intercultural communication, awareness, and diversity in educational settings. By the end of this course, you will know some key concepts related to culture (definitions, understanding of how cultures differ, the relation between culture and identity, and stereotypes). You will get an opportunity to reflect on what intercultural competence is and how it can be developed; and you will learn some strategies to overcome barriers to cross-cultural communication, and also become aware of how to deal with intercultural situations.

course objectives iconCourse Objectives

By the end of this course you will be able to:

question iconHow will the course work?

This course will introduce you to and engage you in discussing and practicing the essential attitudes, knowledge, and skills of intercultural competence.

There are three weeks in the course and each one contains short articles, videos, and discussions. Each week should take you no longer than two hours to complete, and you are free to move faster or slower through the steps, according to your available time. On most steps, we encourage you to personally reflect and make note of these reflections.

reflection iconReflection Note

Whenever you see this icon and title indicate a reflective activity that requires you to record your notes. You can do this in any way that you prefer – Word document, PDF, PPT, visual, audio, video, etc. We have also provided you with online forms so that you can capture your reflections and export a copy of your work. These notes might also be helpful aids in the synchronous discussions that vital to your learning and developing intercultural competency.

Brock’s Human Rights and Equity’s (HRE) Intercultural Awareness and Competency workshop is designed to develop cultural acumen and provides strategies for dealing with culturally diverse behaviours and approaches. Research shows us that building intercultural competency helps us to form more constructive relationships and yield improved results in our connections. Developing a value for different perspectives and ways of doing things gives us greater confidence in working with others respectfully and effectively. Over 90% of participants who have completed the intercultural certification program have indicated that they are now better able to manage cultural differences more skillfully.

poll iconIntercultural Sensitivity Test

This polling activity will indicate your level of intercultural awareness before you begin this course. Remember that this is not a test, so make your best guess. The results will give you an idea about the other participants’ experiences when it comes to intercultural interactions. Note that this activity is built in Google Forms. None of your personal information will be recorded.

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checkmark iconAre you ready to move on?

☐ Read the information on the course introduction page
☐ Viewed the Let’s Get Started video of the instructor
☐ Read all the course information provided (description and objectives)
☐ Understand how the course is going to operate
☐ Completed all poll questions for the Intercultural Sensitivity Test

next icon What’s coming up?

You can now move on to 1.0 What is Culture? by using the menu at the left or the navigation at the bottom of this page.

1.0 What is Culture?

I

What is Culture?

check mark iconWhat Is Culture? Checklist

Please watch all videos and complete the activities before continuing to Part 1.1

☐ Read the definition of “culture”
☐ Watch YouTube video defining culture
☐ Read & reflect on surface and deep aspects of culture
☐ Read about the cultural iceberg and complete the activity
☐ Reflection Note: Cultural Iceberg explanation
☐ Complete the end of session questions

outcomes iconBy the end of this module you will be able to:

heading iconDefining Culture

There are many definitions of culture, one of the most simple being: all knowledge and values shared by a group. Geert Hofstede was one of the first scholars to hold a large scale study in order to find out how cultures differ. He defines culture as:

“…the collective mental programming of the people in an environment. Culture is not a characteristic of the individuals; it encompasses a number of people who were conditioned by the same education and life experience. When we speak of the culture of a group, a tribe, a geographic region, a national minority, or a nation, culture refers to the collective programming that these people have in common; the programming that is different from the other groups, tribes, regions, minorities or majorities, or nations” (Geert Hofstede, 1980, p. 43).

According to Global Affairs Canada:

Culture rules virtually every aspect of your life and like most people, you are completely unaware of this. If asked, you would likely define culture as music, literature, visual arts, architecture, or language, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But you wouldn’t be entirely right either. In fact, the things produced by a culture which we perceive with our five senses are simply manifestations of the deeper meaning of culture – what we do, think, and feel. Culture is taught and learned and shared – there is no culture of one. And yet, culture is not monolithic – individuals exist within a culture. Finally, culture is symbolic. For example, a “home”, is a physical structure, a familial construct, and a moral reference point – which is distinct from one culture to another. See: Global Affairs Canada.

Hofstede's Definition of Culture. For Hofstede, culture is: Learned: Culture is acquired from very early age. Shared: People as a member of a community, a tribe, an organization. Trans-generational: Culture is passed on to future generations and changes very slowly.

What is Culture? Learned, Symbolic, Shared, Systemic, Dynamic

Source: Olds College OER Development Team. (2015). Professional Communications OER. Olds, Alberta: Campus Alberta. Retrieved from http://www.procomoer.org/.


Let us now see how scholars from diverse fields have been trying to define culture.

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Graffiti on a wall reading "We look at the same moon but live in separate worlds"
A representation of inequality among various sections of society through art. This graphic is also a powerful expression of the prevalent culture.

To summarize, culture is:

Learned: Through active and passive teaching and socialization

Shared: By and throughout groups in society.

Dynamic: This means culture is always changing, shifting, and evolving. It is not stagnant.

Systemic: Culture operates on multiple levels and is deeply ingrained in the structure, functioning, and organizing of society.

Symbolic: Culture affects and determines the meaning and interpretation of actions, words, concepts, and things (symbols).

culture symbols

Learned: Through active and passive teaching and socialization. Shared: By and throughout groups in society. Dynamic: This means culture is always changing, shifting and evolving. It is not stagnant. Systemic: Culture operates on multiple levels and is deeply ingrained in the structure, functioning, and organizing of society. Symbolic: Culture affects and determines the meaning and interpretation of actions, words, concepts, and things (symbols).


heading iconSurface and Deep Levels of Culture

Culture is a very complex topic, but there is at least one model to make this a lot easier to understand. In this section, we’ll examine Edward T. Hall’s iceberg model of culture and see what it can teach us.

Culture is often compared to an iceberg that has, as Hall states both visible (or external) and invisible (internal) parts. As practitioners of intercultural communication we want to be aware that ‘visible’ privileges a sensory interpretation of the elements that is inaccurate and can be an example of exclusive language.  From this point forward we will use the terms ‘surface’ and ‘deep’ in relation to Hall’s cultural iceberg.   The elements of culture that we can plainly perceive, such as the way we greet each other, the traditions we celebrate, and the food we eat are some of the surface aspects of culture and are represented by the upper portion of the iceberg. Aspects of culture which are less apparent include our beliefs, values and world views, which influence the surface parts of culture, are represented by the much larger portion of the iceberg underwater, deep culture.

Far below the “water line” is a culture’s core values. These are primarily learned ideas of what is good, right, desirable, and acceptable, as well as what is bad, wrong, undesirable, and unacceptable. In many cases, different cultural groups share similar core values (such as “honesty”, or “respect”, or “family”), but these are often interpreted differently in different situations and incorporated in unique ways into specific attitudes we apply in daily situations. Ultimately, these internal forces become tangible to the casual observer in the form of observable behaviours, such as the words we use, the way we act, the laws we enact, and the ways we communicate with each other.

It is also important to note that the core values of a culture do not change quickly or easily. They are passed on from generation to generation by numerous institutions that surround us. These institutions of influence are powerful forces that guide us and teach us. So, like an iceberg, there are things that we can perceive and describe easily… but there are also many deeply rooted ideas that we can only understand by analyzing values, studying institutions, and in many cases, reflecting on our own core values.

Source: www.languageandculture.com
Source: Beyond Culture (1976) by Edward T. Hall

heading iconCultural Iceberg: Practice

Importance of the Cultural Iceberg

It is important to appreciate and understand the surface and deep elements of culture in order to:

The Cultural Iceberg Activity

In the activity below, practice identifying the surface and deep elements of culture by sorting the given aspects of culture by dividing them into surface level (tip of the iceberg, easy to notice elements) and deep level (below the water, difficult to notice elements) of culture.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/intercultural/?p=3#h5p-5

reflection icon Reflection Note

You can complete this activity in any way that you prefer – Word document, PDF, PPT, visual, audio, video, etc. We have also provided you with an online form below so that you can capture your reflections and export a copy of your work.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/intercultural/?p=3#h5p-4

quiz iconCheck Your Understanding

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/intercultural/?p=3#h5p-6

next icon What’s coming up?

You’ve completed: 1.0 What is Culture? Now that we have an understanding of the identifiable aspects of culture, you can move on to 1.1 Exploring Identity and how your identity is informed by those aspects. You can access 1.1 Exploring Identity from the menu at the left or the navigation at the bottom of this page.

 

1

Explore Your Identity

check mark iconExploring Identity Checklist

Please read and complete all materials and activities before moving forward to Part 1.2.

☐ Read the definition of “identity”
☐ Reflect on what defines (your) identity
☐ Watch the “Who am I” Youtube video
☐ Reflection Note: Who am I?
☐ Watch Trecia’s video on Identity and the Diversity Wheel
☐ Reflection Note: Diversity Wheel
☐ Complete end of session questions

heading iconWhat is Identity?

Charcoal drawing of a hand that looks like it's made of many people. What is identity? Identity cannot be found or fabricated but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go.

Graphic by: Karla Machado Ortiz

Everyone struggles with existential questions such as, “Who am I?” and “Who do I want my future self to be?” These are simple questions with complex answers.

Identity includes the many relationships people cultivate, such as our identity as a child, friend, partner, and parent. It involves external characteristics over which we have little or no control, such as height, race, or socioeconomic class. Identity also encompasses political opinions, moral attitudes, and religious beliefs, all of which guide the choices we make on a daily basis.

Some of us are concerned with the impression we make; we can feel a core aspect of ourselves (such as gender or sexuality) is not being expressed, and therefore we can struggle acutely with our identity. Reflecting on the discrepancy between who we are and who we want to be can be a powerful catalyst for change.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/basics/identity

What defines identity?

Who am I?

reflection icon Reflection Note

You can complete this activity in any way that you prefer – Word document, PDF, PPT, visual, audio, video, etc. We have also provided you with an online form below so that you can capture your reflections and export a copy of your work.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/intercultural/?p=5#h5p-8

Types of Identities

Personal Identity Social Identity Cultural Identity
one woman with her eyes closed and her hand to her face Three dark skinned faces with tribal markings and jewelry faces from many different cultures

heading iconExploring Identity and Applying the Diversity Wheel

Let’s deep-dive to understand various aspects of our identity better. In this video, you will review the concept of identity, learn about the different kinds of identities we ascribe to, and the diversity wheel which enables us to reflect on ourselves and others in terms of similarities and differences.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

 

reflection icon Reflection Note

Below is an example of a diversity wheel. In the video there was an explanation of how to use the diversity wheel for an activity to explore your values.  To complete this activity:

  1. Think of individuals that you associate with frequently.
  2. Consider some of the dimensions that you are both aware of and assume to be true about the person you have chosen.
  3. Create a diagram (draw, use Powerpoint or another software platform, write in text, create an audio file, etc.) resembling the diversity wheel with the chosen name at the core. We’ve provided a fillable form below for your to capture your reflections and export a copy of your work.
  4. Answer the following questions:
    1. How do I treat this person differently, both in a positive and negative manner, based on what I know or the assumptions I am making about the person?
    2. Where are biases that I can identify?

The purpose of this exercise is to assist your understanding of social reality, as well as help you reflect on yourself and others in terms of similarities and differences that shape your life in a powerful way.

Diversity Wheel

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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quiz iconCheck Your Understanding

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/intercultural/?p=5#h5p-10

next icon What’s coming up?

You’ve completed: 1.1 Exploring Identity, you can move on to 1.2 Cultural Impacts on Identity & Group Membership by using the menu at the left or the navigation at the bottom of this page.

1.2 Cultural Impacts on Identity & Group Membership

2

Culture and identity

check mark iconCultural Impacts on Identity & Group Membership Checklist

Please read and complete all materials and activities before moving forward to Part 1.3.

☐ Read about Hierarchy and Dominant Culture
☐ Read and reflect on the the impact of Ascribed and Avowed Identities
☐ Watch the Youtube video “How our brains respond to people who aren’t like us”
☐ Watch Trecia’s video on In-group and Out-Group Attribution
☐ Reflection Note: Exploring Your Identity Workbook
☐ Complete the end of session question

heading iconBefore we proceed further let us get acquainted with some key concepts of Culture and Identity.

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In-Group and Out-Group Attribution

Why won't they take me along. Ingroup bias. Preferential treatment is reserved for those who are considered a part of the ingroup. Cartoon drawing of a woman looking shy approaching a group of three other teenagers who look at her with disdain

2 images - image 1 (In-group): 3 individuals dressed the same. Middle individual holds 2 milkshakes, saying "Who wants a milkshake". All individuals smiling. Image 2: Out-group. 3 individuals. Middle individual is dressed differently than the others. One of the others asks, "spare milkshake?", middle individual says "well, this is awkward"

Now that you are aware of the concept of in- and out- groups, let us now discuss the biases involved towards the out-group members in general; and the in-group favouritism.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

quiz iconCheck Your Understanding

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/intercultural/?p=31#h5p-20

reflection icon Reflection Note

You can complete this activity in any way that you prefer – Word document, PDF, PPT, visual, audio, video, etc. We have also provided you with an online form below so that you can capture your reflections and export a copy of your work.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/intercultural/?p=31#h5p-21

next icon What’s coming up?

You’ve completed: 1.2 Cultural Impacts on Identity & Group Membership, you can move on to 1.3 Inclusive Practices by using the menu at the left or the navigation at the bottom of this page.

1.3 Inclusive Practices

3

Inclusive Practice Tools

check mark iconInclusive Practices Checklist

Please complete the readings and activities before continuing to Module 2.0.

☐ Read the definition of the “Cultural lens”
☐ Read Trecia’s 4 step process on cleansing your cultural lens
☐ Watch “How Culture Drives Behaviours” video
☐ Read about ODIS Method to suspend judgement
☐ Watch Trecia’s video on Building an Intercultural Mindset
☐ Watch Comedy Central video
☐ Reflection Note: Comedy Central video reflection

symbols of inclusivity - joined hands of different colour skin, people with "no to racism" sign, gender equality, Pride flag, person using a wheelchair being greeted by someone standing

Now let’s look at some practices and techniques you can use to be more mindful and inclusive of people from different cultural groups.

Let’s talk about self-awareness because it is fundamental in raising cultural competence. One crucial area that needs close attention is that of our natural biases and how these can get in the way of making good decisions. An easy way to help us understand how people from different cultures view and interpret the world is to think of a cultural lens.

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heading iconThe Cultural Lens

We all wear a pair of unique lenses. Our lenses are formed by the culture(s) in which we live. These lenses filter the world for us and help us to make decisions as to what is right or wrong, acceptable, or unacceptable.

We all have a slightly different type of lens filtering our world which means that those with different coloured lenses, can and will see things differently to us.

So, the cultural lens analogy helps us understand that we all have a natural tendency to see things differently and that we typically use these perceptions to form judgments as to what is right, wrong, acceptable or unacceptable.

Sources: Cultural Lens Graphic, The Cultural Lens

"It is the acquired pair of glasses through which we see life" a quote by Mbarek A. Drawing of glasses with ink splots

Further Reading: Examine your LENS: A Tool for Interpreting Cultural Differences

Cleansing Your Cultural Lens

People don’t see the world as it is, but as they are, based on their perception. Our perception may be coated with varying debris of information, from various sources; we must make the effort to examine our data storehouse. Thus, cleansing the lens of our perception is important. Ultimately, the way we see the world does not change the world. It only changes the way we experience our lives in the world.

Let us heighten our sensitivity, seek new information, new ideas that broaden our perception. Let us start by understanding ourselves, especially acknowledging our influences as well as how we come to decisions about the world around us. Let us begin practicing the following steps towards raising our self-awareness.

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heading iconHow Culture Drives Behaviours

In the following video, Julien argues how we see the world through cultural glasses. By changing the glasses you can change the way you interpret the world.

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heading iconTools to Suspend Judgment

Have you ever found yourself in a new cultural setting thinking, “This situation feels strange,” or “I’m not sure how to read what’s going on right now?”.

When meeting and communicating with new people from different backgrounds it can be helpful to use different techniques to avoid making automatic judgments which can lead to cultural insensitivity.

What do these comic strips say? Did you encounter similar situations depicted in these strips?

2 comic strips. first: Four panel comic. First panel a white presenting person tells a girl with dark straight hair, "I went to a good chines restaurant yesterday". Second panel, white person describes sushi, dumplings, noodles in a bubble above their head while drooling. Third panel dark haired girl says, "but sushi is not chinese at all!". Fourth panel white person says, "whatever, it's asian" and dark haired girl's eyebrows are furrowed to indicated anger. second: First panel, elderly white woman pushing a stroller holding hands with two small kids asks dark haired girl, "are you the only child?". Dark haired girl says, "yes". Second panel, elderly woman asks, "Do you miss having siblings?" and dark haired girl says, "no." Third panel, elderly woman asks, "Is your childhood lonely and dull?" and dark haired girl says, "no." Final panel, elder woman says, "Then you must be narcissistic and spoiled". Dark haired girl has a dark scribble cloud above her head and frustrated wide eyes.

heading iconApplying ODIS Method to Suspend Judgement

The ODIS Framework

Click on the purple question mark icons below for more information.

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In the end, using the O.D.I.S. analysis allows us to have an honest, reflective dialogue with ourselves and helps us become more aware of our automatic reactions and emotions.

Further Reading: Tools to Suspend Judgement

heading iconBuilding Intercultural Mindsets

Now that we know how to avoid making automatic judgments; and have become more self-aware about our natural biases; let us concentrate on how we can develop intercultural competence in a sustained and continued manner. In this section, we will learn about the IDC or the Intercultural Development Continuum model which provides us a distinctive roadmap for developing intercultural competence in a progressive manner.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

 

reflection icon Reflection Note

Watch the video clip from Comedy central. Observe the characters in the video carefully and try to answer the questions that follow.

This is a reflective exercise. The purpose of this exercise is to help you understand how easily cultural misinterpretations can happen. This exercise should enable you to consider how the misunderstanding in this video could happen in the office, in friendships, in classrooms, in person as well as over text/email (especially in a COVID-19 world).

You can complete this activity in any way that you prefer – Word document, PDF, PPT, visual, audio, video, etc. We have also provided you with an online form below so that you can capture your reflections and export a copy of your work.

One or more interactive elements has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view them online here: https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/intercultural/?p=33#oembed-4

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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happy dance icon You’ve completed Module 1!

Time to do a happy dance.

next icon What’s coming up?

Now you can move on to Module 2.0 Communication Styles & Cultural Dimensions by using the menu at the left or the navigation at the bottom of this page.

2.0 Communication Styles & Cultural Dimensions

II

Introduction to Communication Styles _ Cultural dimensions

check mark iconCommunication Styles & Cultural Dimensions Checklist

Please complete the readings and activities before continuing to Module 3.0

☐ Watch Trecia’s video on Cultural Value Systems
☐ Reflection Note: Identifying Your Cultural Values
☐ Watch Trecia’s video on Cultural Specific vs General Knowledge Frameworks
☐ Watch video on Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions Model
☐ Watch Trecia’s video on High vs Low Context Cultures
☐ Complete the end of session questions

outcomes iconBy the end of this module you will be able to:

graphic of a hand reaching into a textbook pulling out a lightbulb

heading iconWhat are Cultural Values?

In this video, you will learn about cultural values that are basically the core principles and ideals upon which an entire community exists, and protect, and rely upon for existence and harmonious relationships. Let us explore how this concept is made up of several parts: customs, which involve traditions and rituals; values, which are beliefs; and culture, which is all of a group’s guiding values.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

Cultural Values: Examples

Note: The information presented below is not for comparison

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reflection icon Reflection Note

Identifying your Cultural Values

For this activity, you can choose to download and use this document, or use the form below.

If you choose to complete with the online version, identify the cultural values you connect with most and then answer the questions at that follow.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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heading iconCultural Knowledge and Dimensions

Now that you are aware of cultural values, and how our various beliefs, norms, and social practices shape our very existence, let us talk about cultural knowledge, and dimensions, and how we can use these dimensions to make comparisons among prevalent world cultures.

The concept of cultural dimensions is based on the idea that there are fundamental topics every culture has to deal with. Anthropologists and sociologists sought to define cultural dimensions in order to make different cultures comparable. Thus, dimensions can help to analyze cultural differences and their consequences.

Culture General Frameworks work with various cultural dimensions to provide a general perspective for comparing and contrasting cultures.  Let us now take a deep dive to understand these dimensions and how they are used by popular culture general frameworks namely Hofstede’s Six-Dimensional Model, and Edward Hall’s High-Low Content Cultural Communication Dimensions.

icons representing contrasting cultural dimensions, examples include dots lining up versus clustered together, dots in small pairs versus a tidy circle, a plate with chopsticks versus a plate with a fork, a single icon of a person versus many together
Graphical representation of contrasting cultural dimensions.

heading iconCulture-Specific and Culture General Knowledge Frameworks

In this video, you will be concentrating on culture-specific and culture general knowledge. You will learn about Confucian and the First Nation cultures, and how to use the culture general frameworks to compare and analyze various cultural dimensions.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
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Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

heading iconHofstede’s Six Cultural Dimensions Model

While human nature is inherited, culture is learned; however, individuals within all cultures vary based on differences, preferences, values, and experiences. Hofstede identifies cultural dimensions that are globally applicable and are reflected in all aspects of life, including family life, child-rearing practices, education, employment, and health care practices. Watch the video to know more about Hofstede’s six-dimensional framework.

Also, visit the link to 2.1 below to view how Hofstede’s dimensions are summarized on world maps, and also learn further about the cultural dimensions from Hofstede himself.

An interactive H5P element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/intercultural/?p=25#h5p-29

Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

If you’re interested in reading more about Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Model explore 2.1 Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions – Maps of the World.

heading iconHigh vs Low Context Cultures

The concepts of high context and low context refer to how people communicate in different cultures. Differences can be derived from the extent to which meaning is transmitted through actual words used or implied by the context. In this video, we are going to explore Edward Hall’s High and Low Context Culture General Framework.

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Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

Note: Although Edward Hall’s High and Low communication cultures refer to the values cultures place on indirect and direct communication, we should avoid stereotyping people based on the countries they may come from. We must keep in mind that high-context and low-context styles are not mutually exclusive. Each has its place and is preferred at different times or with different people, and thus we should not designate any individual or culture.

quiz iconCheck Your Understanding

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donut icon You’ve completed Module 2!

Time to break out the donuts!

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Now you can move on to Module 3.0 Unconscious Bias & Visioning from the menu at the left. 2.1 Hofsteade’s Cultural dimensions – Maps of the World is further reading if you are interested in digging deeper into the concept of cultural dimensions.

2.1 Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions - Maps of the World

4

Cultural Dimensions

heading iconHofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

Hofstede's cultural dimensions on a scale from zero to one hundred. Low Power Distance to High Power Distance Collectivistic to Individualistic Feminine to Masculine Low Uncertainty Avoidance to High Uncertainty Avoidance Short term orientation to Long term orientation Restraint to Indulgence

This section is for your information only if you would like to know more about Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions have two extreme poles that can be numbered with the values 0 and 100. The following dimension maps are based on this cultural dimension model. Each dimension has been derived by comparing many, but not all, countries in the world.

The findings are summarized into six world maps of the distribution of that dimension. Of course, in reality, there can be quite a bit of within-country variation; these maps should be seen as rough ‘climate maps’ of culture.Source: Geerthofstede: 6d-model-of-national-culture

For each dimension, we have included a brief ten-minute video in which Geert Hofstede explains that dimension. We have already covered the dimensions in lectures earlier. These videos are for your reference. You will see a visual of the corresponding map overlaid on the video. You can click on the map to see a larger version.

Power Distance

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Collectivism – Individualism

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Femininity – Masculinity

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Uncertainty Avoidance

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Long-term Orientation

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Thanks for reading further and checking out the Maps of the World! Now you can move on to Module 3.0 Unconscious Bias & Visioning by using the menu at the left or the navigation at the bottom of this page.

3.0 Unconscious Bias & Visioning

III

Unconscious bias and visioning

check mark iconUnconscious Bias & Visioning Checklist

Please complete the readings and activities before continuing to Module 3.1

☐ Read about how biases are formed
☐ Compare & contrast between explicit and implicit bias
☐ Read the definition of unconscious bias
☐ Watch Kimberly Papillon’s video on unconscious bias
☐ Read “Did you know?” section on unconscious biases
☐ Watch the Youtube video “Blindspots: Challenge Assumptions”
☐ Reflection Note: Understanding Unconscious Bias – What this means to you

outcomes iconBy the end of this module you will be able to:

Deconstructing our unconscious bias takes consistent work. We can't address it once and be done. We need to recognize these unwanted, deep-rooted beliefs and limit their influence on us.

Source: Unconscious Biases

heading iconHow are Biases Formed?

Biases are shortcuts our brain forms based on culture, our own experiences, things other people tell us, and institutional influences.

social media, socialization, culture, experiences, institutional influences

 

How are Biases Formed? Biases are shortcuts our brain forms based on our culture, experiences, things other people tell us, institutional influences and other external influences such as social media. When faced with situations or people, we use mental maps and patterns to classify them by making a number of automatic associations. Not surprisingly, our perceptions and assumptions based on these automatic associations are not always correct. Because our unconscious biases tend to be ingrained, it takes some work to disrupt them, but it can be done through active reflection and practising inclusive behaviors. Adapted from Microsoft Diversity training, eLearning Unconscious Bias

heading iconExplicit and Implicit / Unconscious Biases

Consider the following scenario:

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Now, consider the scenario below:

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Unconscious Bias Defined

Unconscious bias is a quick and often inaccurate judgment based on limited facts and our own life experiences. People can be biased about just about anything — not just things like gender, skin colour, or age, but also things like communication style or what someone does in their free time. Unconscious bias is not intentional — it’s part of the lens through which we see the world.

In our everyday lives, when people don’t fit our internalized expectations, we can sometimes have difficulty seeing their talents, motivations, and potential clearly — which can mean we interact with them less effectively.

When we understand how biases influence our behavior, we can take action to create an inclusive culture — one where everyone can contribute, innovate, and provide solutions.

Source: Adapted from Microsoft Diversity training, Unconscious Bias

Learn more about bias from Kimberly Papillon, Esq. Judicial Educator, Consultant, Regular Faculty at the National Judicial College.

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Often, unconscious bias can be difficult to spot because it is not the same as explicit bias or blatant bigotry.

For instance, perhaps you consider yourself to be a very open-minded, liberal person who would never use pejorative language about any group of people, but you would still quickly cross the street if you see a group of shaved heads with cigarettes stuck in their teeth walking towards you on the sidewalk.

Or, maybe when providing anecdotes to friends and family regarding people who have annoyed or irritated you in some way, you make sure to mention the race or ethnicity of those who are different from that of your own.

Have a look at some of the examples below:

4 panel comic. First panel: white-skinned woman asking white skinned woman with baby, "Aw! Is that your little brother?". Next panel: Same white woman asking dark skin woman with dark skin baby, "Aw! is this your son?". Third panel: White man asking white woman, "What colleges have you applied to?". Fourth panel: Same white man asking dark skinned woman, "Will you be the first person in your family to graduate high school?"

Image Source: CQ Your Bias workshop

Further Reading: What is unconscious bias?


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Now you know that our brains are wired to make assumptions, which can sometimes be off base. We may think it’s an honest mistake, but science calls it a blind spot or unconscious bias. So are you ready to challenge your assumptions?

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reflection icon Reflection Note

Understanding Unconscious Bias | What This Means to You?

This reflection activity encourages you to think about your approach to addressing the assumptions or blind spots that you may develop while engaging with others. You can complete this activity in any way that you prefer – Word document, PDF, PPT, visual, audio, video, etc. We have also provided you with an online form below so that you can capture your reflections and export a copy of your work.

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Let us now embark on a journey to explore how our deep-rooted ways of thinking can have a significant influence on our attitudes and behavior and can limit possibilities for ourselves and others.

out of shape white black female high income masculine short fit employed gay old cooperative low income strong optimistic religious reserved overweight weak tall young male

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You’ve completed: 3.0 Unconscious Bias & Visioning, you can move on to 3.1 Facts by using the menu at the left or the navigation at the bottom of this page.

3.1 Facts

5

Facts

check mark iconFacts Checklist

Please complete all of the readings and activities before continuing to part 3.2.

☐ Read and Reflect on Facts 1-6
☐ Reflection Note: The Trusted Team Activity
☐ Complete Project Implicit’s Unconscious Bias Test
☐ Read & watch YouTube video on Heuristics
☐ Reflect on how Heuristics can lead to Biases
☐ Read and Reflect on Combatting Unconscious Biases

heading iconFacts

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heading iconWhat Are Heuristics and Why Do They Matter?

person standing at the edge of three arrows going into three different directions

As we move throughout the world, we process large amounts of information and make many choices with limited amounts of time. Hence when information is missing, or an immediate decision is necessary, heuristics act as “rules of thumb” that guide our behavior down the most efficient pathway.

Heuristics are the name given to your brain’s mental reflexes and rapid insights. The human mind can only handle so much information at once, so the brain develops these shortcuts to help you compensate for limitations on time, mental energy, and information. In summary, the mind uses heuristics to simplify decision-making.

Heuristics are created due to prior experiences, and people often give these mental reflexes names such as common sense, intuition, or prejudice. But these shortcuts aren’t always optimal. In fact, heuristics are often inflexible toward change.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/basics/heuristics#understanding-heuristics

heading iconHow Heuristics can Lead us to Mistaken Conclusions?

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heading iconHow Heuristics Sometimes Leads to Cognitive Biases

How Cognitive Biases Shape Our World?

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Now that you’re familiar with how our mind is susceptible to various kinds of unconscious biases, the role of heuristics, and how they can impact our mind to form different kinds of cognitive biases, check the infographic below for more information. Are there any that have tricked you recently?

20 COGNITIVE BIASES THAT SCREW UP YOUR DECISIONS 1. Anchoring bias. People are over-reliant on the first piece of information they hear. In a salary negotiation, whoever makes the first offer establishes a range of reasonable possibilities in each person's mind. 2. Availability heuristic. People overestimate the importance of information that is available to them. A person might argue that smoking is not unhealthy because they know someone who lived to 100 and smoked three packs a day. 3. Bandwagon effect. The probability of one person adopting a belief increases based on the number of people who hold that belief. This is a powerful form of groupthink and is reason why meetings are often unproductive. 4. Blind-spot bias. Failing to recognize your own cognitive biases is a bias in itself. People notice cognitive and motivational biases much more in others than in themselves. 5. Choice-supportive bias. When you choose something, you tend to feel positive about it, even if that choice has flaws. Like how you think your dog is awesome — even if it bites people every once in a while. 6. Clustering illusion. This is the tendency to see patterns in random events. It is key to various gambling fallacies, like the idea that red is more or less likely to turn up on a roulette table after a string of reds. 7. Confirmation bias. We tend to listen only to information that confirms our preconceptions — one of the many reasons it's so hard to have an intelligent conversation about climate change. 8. Conservatism bias. Where people favor prior evidence over new evidence or information that has emerged. People were slow to accept that the Earth was round because they maintained their earlier understanding that the planet was flat. 9. Information bias. The tendency to seek information when it does not affect action. More information is not always better. With less information, people can often make more accurate predictions. 10. Ostrich effect. The decision to ignore dangerous or negative information by "burying" one's head in the sand, like an ostrich. Research suggests that investors check the value of their holdings significantly less often during bad markets. 11. Outcome bias. Judging a decision based on the outcome — rather than how exactly the decision was made in the moment. Just because you won a lot in Vegas doesn't mean gambling your money was a smart decision. 12. Overconfidence. Some of us are too confident about our abilities, and this causes us to take greater risks in our daily lives. Experts are more prone to this bias than laypeople, since they are more convinced that they are right. 13. Placebo effect. When simply believing that something will have a certain effect on you causes it to have that effect. In medicine, people given fake pills often experience the same physiological effects as people given the real thing. 14. Pro-innovation bias. When a proponent of an innovation tends to overvalue its usefulness and undervalue its limitations. Sound familiar, Silicon Valley? 15. Recency. The tendency to weigh the latest information more heavily than older data. Investors often think the market will always look the way it looks today and make unwise decisions. 16. Salience. Our tendency to focus on the most easily recognizable features of a person or concept. When you think about dying, you might worry about being mauled by a lion, as opposed to what is statistically more likely, like dying in a car accident. 17. Selective perception. Allowing our expectations to influence how we perceive the world. An experiment involving a football game between students from two universities showed that one team saw the opposing team commit more infractions. 18. Stereotyping. Expecting a group or person to have certain qualities without having real information about the person. It allows us to quickly identify strangers as friends or enemies, but people tend to overuse and abuse it. 19. Survivorship bias. An error that comes from focusing only on surviving examples, causing us to misjudge a situation. For instance, we might think that being an entrepreneur is easy because we haven't heard of all those who failed. 20. Zero-risk bias. Sociologists have found that we love certainty — even if it's counterproductive. Eliminating risk entirely means there is no chance of harm being caused. SOURCES: Brain Biases; Ethics Unwrapped; Explorable; Harvard Magazine; HowStuffWorks; LearnVest; Outcome bias in decision evaluation, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; Psychology Today; The Bias Blind Spot: Perceptions of Bias in Self Versus Others, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin; The Cognitive Effects of Mass Communication, Theory and Research in Mass Communications; The less-is-more effect: Predictions and tests, Judgment and Decision Making; The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; Wikipedia; You Are Not So Smart; ZhurnalyWiki

20 Cognitive biases that screw up your decisions.pdf

heading iconOutsmarting Yourself

By now, you should be aware that you, too have blindspots, although what they are is not as important as acknowledging that they exist. The good news is that whatever they are, you can outsmart them.

Let us now dive deep to understand the techniques that we can use as an individual to combat our unconscious biases.

Unconscious bias word cloud filled with words that say Race, decisions, measure, beliefs, people, behaviour, research, unfair, judgement, corporations, resepect, stereotypes, ethnicity, groups, social, unfair, implicit, preferences, reaction, cognition, subconscious, respect, ethnicity, subtle

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You’ve completed: 3.1 Facts, you can move on to 3.2 Aligning & Crafting Your Vision by using the menu at the left or the navigation at the bottom of this page.

3.2 Aligning & Crafting Your Vision

6

Aligning and Crafting your Vision

check mark iconAligning & Crafting Your Vision Checklist

Please complete the readings and activities before attending the final synchronous session.

☐ Read the How to Combat Unconscious Bias Tool Kit
☐ Read the Golden, Silver, and Platinum Rules
☐ Watch Trecia’s video on Crafting Your Vision
☐ Reflection Note: Crafting Your Own Vision
☐ Attend the final synchronous session (don’t forget to bring your collection of reflection notes from Modules 2 & 3)

heading iconHow to Combat Unconscious Bias as an Individual

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Always Remember the Three Rules

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This is the last leg of your journey for this online workshop. Throughout this course, you have been guided to broaden your outlook, cultivate an open attitude, become aware of yourself, develop awareness of others, and understand various cultural differences via established cultural general frameworks. Now you will summarize your learnings and make an effort towards crafting your own vision that would exhibit your intercultural competence and self-efficacy.

reflection icon Reflection Note

In this video, your instructor guides you on how to align and draft your own vision. You are required to submit your drafted visions as part of your Module 2 & 3 Reflection Notes Assignment in order to complete this course.
You can complete this activity in any way that you prefer – Word document, PDF, PPT, visual, audio, video, etc. You can download the vision template here. We have also provided you with an online form below so that you can capture your reflections and export a copy of your work.

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celebrate icon You’ve completed all of the Intercultural Modules!

Time to take a breath, relax, and pat yourself on the back.

Special Thanks

1

Special thanks to the Brock Human Rights and Equity Office and extra special thanks to Brock University Centre for Pedagogical Innovation.

The author would also like to thank her amazing unicorn son for ongoing inspiration and cheerleading.

This project is made possible with funding by the Government of Ontario and through eCampusOntario’s support of the Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS) and Central Virtual Learning Platform (CVLP). To learn more about VLS and CVLP visit: https://vls.ecampusontario.ca.