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Intercultural Dialogue in the Military Science Curriculum

Lynn-Eddy Zambrano, Project GO Intercultural Dialogue Facilitator, Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC); CPT Wil Lynch, LARC-ROTC/Project GO Liaison, ROTC; Mana Mohtasham, LARC; and Chris Brown, LARC, San Diego State University
Sponsored by LARC

In the spring of 2011, the Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC) and the Department of Military Science/Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at San Diego State University (SDSU) conducted a series of cross-cultural dialogues between cadets and international undergraduate and graduate students. A pilot program of Project GO (Global Officers), a Department of Defense initiative administered by the Institute of International Education for the National Security Education Program (NSEP) and the Defense Language Office, student-to-student dialogues are part of the broader Project GO effort “aimed at improving the language skills, regional expertise, and intercultural skills of future military officers.” In this workshop, four key SDSU Project GO team members will present, from the perspectives of their specific roles in the pilot, the conceptual bases of the program, its implementation, outcomes and new insights:

Mr. Chris Brown, Program Leader: the integration of leadership theory and practice into experiential cross-cultural activities with specific reference to Ken Wilbur’s integral systems model and the work of Ronald Heifetz.

Ms. Lynn-Eddy Zambrano, Dialogue Session Facilitator: building community and creating the dialogue space; scaffolding experiential, discussion and dialogue activities. Samples of effective strategies will be demonstrated.

CPT Wil Lynch, ROTC liaison for the program: the integration of cross-cultural competencies and interactions into the military science curriculum.

Ms. Mana Mohtasham, Program Coordinator and former international graduate student: the role of international student participants, technical and adaptive challenges for them, and approaches to overcoming obstacles.

Designing VoiceThread Activities to Promote Intercultural Competence

Erin McCloskey, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Images and video are useful springboards for intercultural competence development, but we must carefully design visually-based activities to ensure meaningful learning. In this workshop participants will learn how to use VoiceThread, a flexible, easy-to-use, web-based tool, to promote intercultural competence by learning through visuals.

In foreign language education, we often fall prey to a “Field of Dreams” mentality about intercultural communicative competence (ICC): if we provide cultural content, the students' ICC will magically develop. While the Internet can solve the “access problem” by delivering abundant sources of cultural information to our desktop doorstep, access will never equate with learning. Students must be carefully shepherded through a process of interpreting, relating, discovering and interacting with that content in order to become more interculturally competent (Byram, 1997).

This workshop will help language instructors to consider the essential components of an educational experience that promote ICC, and how to design an activity to include those components, using images as the catalyst. Only then will we ask how a particular tool, in this case VoiceThread, can help us to achieve those objectives. This workshop targets VoiceThread because its main purpose is to facilitate engagement with visual images (still and moving). Photos and videos are rich sources of cultural content, readily available, appropriate for all language levels, and excellent catalysts for intra- and intercultural investigations. By allowing students to comment on images or videos, respond to each other and respond to an instructor, VoiceThread promotes the three kinds of interaction that are desirable in technologically-mediated learning: student-student, student-instructor, and student-content (Moore, 1986). Also, VoiceThead allows various modes of expression (written, audio, video), which is useful in the language classroom. Finally, VoiceThread offers instructors several ways of organizing those interactions and customizing the degree and nature of the control they exert over the learning experience. The workshop will address how VoiceThread can be used both by instructors to promote ICC and by students to demonstrate their competence.

Techniques for the Teaching and Assessment of Intercultural Competence

Peter Ecke, Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language, and Literacy (CERCLL), University of Arizona

This workshop will examine techniques that are potentially suited for the teaching and assessment of intercultural competence (ICC) in study-at-home and study-abroad contexts. Participants will start out discussing the concept of ICC, objectives for the teaching of ICC and the need to assess progress in the development of ICC. They will then explore and analyze a variety of teaching and assessment techniques and their usefulness in different learning environments.

Techniques that will be examined are (1) quantifiable multiple choice tests, (2) self-assessment questionnaires, (3) critical incident analyses, (4) simulation games, (5) reflective journals, (6) interviews, and (7) portfolios, used for teaching and assessment purposes. Some data will be presented from a research project with participants of a one-month summer study abroad program to illustrate the potential of two of these techniques.

In the last part of the workshop, participants will choose a technique and work in small groups on a project in which they will design their own unit for the teaching and assessment ofa specific aspect of ICC development.

The Interface of Language and Culture

James P. Lantolf, Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER), Pennsylvania State University
Sponsored by CALPER

The focus of this workshop is on the interface of language and culture as manifested in linguistic and conceptual metaphors. Metaphors are not merely ways of speaking but represent the ways in which a community thinks and acts grounded in specific kinds of culturally organized experiences. The workshop first considers how metaphors (and related forms of figurative language, e.g., metonymy) are constructed; next it will discuss cross-cultural differences in metaphors; it will then explore some of the most recent pedagogical approaches on teaching and learning metaphors in second language classrooms. Participants will have the opportunity to develop a lesson for the teaching of metaphor in their particular language. Examples will be drawn from English, Chinese, Spanish, Russian and Korean.

The Use of Images in the Development of Intercultural Competence

Szu-Yueh Chien, University of Georgia

A picture is worth a thousand words. A brief overview of theoretical and research foundation in using images to understand and to help students develop the intercultural competence will be provided. Participants are asked to bring their laptops and several images they took when they traveled in foreign countries.

Hands-On Training on using Web 2.0 to Teach Culture

Mohammed Tamimi, University of Arizona

This workshop aims at training K-16 teachers on using Web 2.0 tools to teach culture. Participants will be introduced to techniques, strategies, and examples that use such tools in teaching culture. In addition, participants get to work in groups to develop their own lessons to teach culture using such technologies.

Documenting Interculturality with LinguaFolio

Carl Falsgraf, Center for Applied Second Language Studies, University of Oregon (CASLS), and Adriana Brandt, IUPUI School of Education
Sponsored by CASLS

This workshop will show practitioners and researchers how to use the Interculturality module of LinguaFolio Online to enhance and document learners emerging cultural awareness. Based on the work of Michael Byram and the notion of interculturality from the Common European Framework of Reference, this approach rests on the idea of an encounter. An encounter could be with a person of a certain culture or through media that creates some sort of impression. When learners experience an encounter, they begin by recording their emotional response to the encounter. They then reflect on the background knowledge they brought to the encounter and what knowledge they might need to better understand the encounter. Finally, they posit changes in their actions or behaviors going forward. This represents an iterative record of the learners' attempts to come to terms in their own personal way with the challenges posed by a cultural encounter. Participants will be shown how the tool can be used and its pedagogic and theoretical underpinnings. They will also be able to view and analyze existing student reflections. All participants will be given access to LinguaFolio and have an opportunity to develop lesson plans incorporating the Interculturality module.