Type of Tool: Intercultural learning exercise
Target group: Teenagers / Young adults
Material / Equipment needed: Cards with everyday situations; questionnaire; flipchart with table to be filled in
Duration: approx. 65 minutes
Stage 1 - 15 min
Stage 2 -30min
Stage 3 - 20 min
Aim: Raise awareness about cultural identity in order to have a successful intercultural communication and build up tolerance.
The tool aims at building up tolerance on the basis of raising cultural awareness. It has three stages involving the use of body language to cope with problems in different everyday situations, a questionnaire to analyze differences in body language and behavior, and presentation of culture-specific jokes and analyzing how different the things we laugh at are.
Activity No.1 (STARTER)
Participants are divided into pairs. They are given cards with information about where the activity takes place (e.g a hotel, a restaurant, a train station, a hospital, a taxi). Student A is a receptionist/doctor/waitress etc., student B is a guest at the hotel/a patient/a customer, etc facing a problem and his/her task is to explain his/her problem to his/her partner in 1 minute. Both members of the pair can only use their mother tongue and body language. They cannot use the same language! Students report back what the situation was and talk about their feelings and the difficulties they faced. If some of the pairs do not succeed to sort the problem out within one minute, the other participants are asked to guess what the situation was.
There is a debriefing after the activity focusing on cultural identities, similarities and differences between cultures, intercultural communication.
Activity No.2 (MAIN DISH -Cross-cultural trivia)
Participants work with people from their country and fill in a questionnaire circling true/false (whatever stands for their culture).
While answering the questions, people should think of examples of critical incidents based on their personal experience to illustrate some of the issues raised.
After answering all the questions, the groups will have to report back. The facilitator will summarize the results by filling a table.
During the procedure mentioned above potential critical incidents and embarrassing situations based on the different cultural background are to be discussed.At the time of the discussion the students are expected to become more aware that their way of doing things is not the only way and to become more tolerant toward the ‘otherness’.
Acticity No.3 (DESSERT - A Culture-specific Joke)
Participants work with partners from their own country and they have to think of a culture-specific joke. A member of each group presents the joke to the others and students analyze together the response of the other groups. A discussion whether people from other cultures will find the joke funny or not and what the reasons are is to follow.