Archive for March, 2010

absolutely intercultural 105 +++ Didgeridoo +++ lifelong learning +++ power distance +++

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absolutely nominated
Our podcast has been nominated for the European Podcast Award – please help us win the prize by voting for us. Just click on the German and the Danish  flag and vote for Absolutely Intercultural. The address is http://www.european-podcast-award.eu/ and basically all you need to do is to give us a star rating for both content and design and then click the Vote button and that’s it.  Thank you in advance!

absolutely down-under
As I am preparing to leave Australia soon, in my mind I am trying to compile a collection of lasting impressions that I gained during my stay in down-under. Now, for this podcast my challenge was – to capture one specific sound that would be emblematic for Australia. For me, personally, this would probably be the incredible bird sounds that I have already shared with you in previous shows. However, I have a feeling that for others the sound of the didgeridoo captures the Australian spirit best. In a small country town of the Hinterland I was fortunate enough to meet a part-blood Aboriginal and his daughter, both, producers and players of these Yirdakis, which is the real name for these curious wind instruments developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia since at least 1500 years ago. In our first category, I wanted to find out what exactly you have to do to produce this typical sound and where the name “didgeridoo” comes from.

absolutely lifelong
We are still talking about learning – can you imagine going to school again for the rest of your life? And to sit in class and listen to what a teacher tells you? Or maybe there are other forms of learning out there?
Lifelong learning is often promoted by institutions of adult education, so we have interviewed Ulla and Beate, who both work for adult education institutions. Ulla works for the Folkuniversitetet in Sweden and Beate for Volkshochschule Köln, in Germany. I asked them whether there is a recognisable culture of lifelong learning, and what makes people want to carry on learning throughout their lives.

absolutely distant
It is incredibly rewarding to work with people who out of their own free will decide to improve themselves and constantly set themselves new challenges by integrating into new learning situations.
Two of these people are Jakub and Mariusz, two Erasmus students from Poland, who spent a summer semester at RheinAhrCampus in Remagen. In our last category they describe a stark difference between the student-professor-relationships in Poland and in Germany. Geert Hofstede describes the intercultural dimension behind this as “power distance”. It is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions (here the students) expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
Now, the observation of the two students totally confirms Hofstede’s theory. Power Distance in Poland is much higher than in most other European countries and in particular than in Germany. So it was to be expected that Polish students found the idea of a German Professor as a colleague and a friend very disturbing. However, we started our interview with the Polish students’ observations about Europe. They report that while the European idea is still new and exciting in Poland the Germans do not seem to appreciate or even question it any longer because they simply take Europe for granted.

The next show will be hosted by Anne Fox in Denmark on 02. April.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Dino Nogarole


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absolutely intercultural 104 +++ Anna Lindh Foundation +++ English Out There +++ Real English +++

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Follow live coverage of the Anna Lindh Foundation forum 5-7 March at http://annalindh.wordpress.com

In this show we will be finding out about a rather different way of learning a language, in this case English. How about just going out on the street and talking to people? In today’s show we’re going to be exploring whether you could learn a language mainly by speaking it with other people.

If you like what you hear in these shows then why not go along to the European Podcast Award website where we have been nominated for the EPA. Just click on either the Danish or the German flag and vote for Absolutely Intercultural. The address is http://www.european-podcast-award.eu/ and basically all you need to do is to give us a star rating for both content and design and then click the Vote button and that’s it.

absolutely real
The difference between textbook English and real English is often very wide. Michael Marzio an American based in the South of France recognised this and started recording street interviews for language learners back in 1992. These interviews are freely available on real-english.com where they have been edited into a series of lessons to make it easier for non-natives to understand English as she is spoken. So what, for example, do the Great British or American Public have to say about what the Italians are like? What I like about this is that it gives you the opportunity to study all sorts of adjectives and it also shows you stereotypes in action. Michael Marzio makes all the material available free of charge on his Real English website so if you want to brush up on your pronunciation for example, it’s well worth a visit.

absolutely out there
Jason West in the UK has taken the concept one step further with his approach, called Languages Out There in which it is the students who go out on the streets and do the interviews directly with the public, having first practiced the target language in the classroom. Where did the idea come from and how does it work? We will also find out what one of his students thinks. Eri is from Japan and has just completed two weeks with English Out There. Now you may be thinking this is a wonderful idea but if you don’t live in an English speaking country then not for you. I asked Lize Odendal originally from South Africa but now working in Shanghai China for EF what she thought about the idea for her students. Well Jason has been giving that problem some attention and has come up with an online version of English Out There which involves using social networking sites such as Facebook. We’ll be finding out more about that option in a later show. But the online option is one reason that Jason has started making many of the lesson ideas freely available on the Languages Out There website. So if you’re curious then go along to the website and take a look

On the day this show comes out I shall be in Barcelona attending the Anna Lindh Foundation forum from which I’ll be blogging and recording material for future shows. The aim of the forum is to bring people from Europe and the mediteranean area together in an effort to promote mutual understanding and collaboration. The forum is organised around an Agora, an exchange of ideas, and a Medina, a market place for building project partnerships. I’m very curious and looking forward to it. You can follow the event at the forum blog and I will also be blogging about the event at my blog.

Don’t forget to vote for us in the European Podcast Award! The next show will be brought to you by Laurent Borgmann on March 19th and to be honest I’m not sure whether that will be from Australia or Germany so stay tuned!

The next show will be coming to you on 19 March from Dr. Laurent Borgmann.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Dino Nogarole


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