Tag Archive for 'intercultural'

IATEFL+++ Côte d’Ivoire +++ Palestine +++ Kenya +++ culturally responsive teaching +++ Absolutely Intercultural 194

Focusing on a Skype call in Palestine
Today we’ll be hearing about some amazing efforts by an English teacher in Côte d’Ivoire to get his students confident in speaking English. Our contributor’s name is also interesting! Then we’ll be talking to a Palestinian teacher I met at the IATEFL conference earlier this year whose students used Skype to show how a Palestinian wedding is arranged. And we’ll be hearing about church services in Kenya. We also have news of additions to our website and a new newsletter that you can subscribe to if you are a teacher who wants to be more culturally responsive in the classroom. In fact we have a couple of other new things up our sleeves before the end of 2015, so stay tuned!

absolutely Palestinian
Did you know that September 17th is Global Collaboration Day, a new initiative to open the classrooms of the world to others. One person you may like to hook your class to is Atiyyeh Hussein Al-Habal who is using Skype to overcome the constraints of travelling in and out of Palestine. Listen how his 13-17 year old students’ perspectives have been widened by connecting up with classes in Russia, Romania and the UK by Skype even including a short play showing how a Palestinian wedding is arranged. Atiyyeh Hussein is looking for opportunities to connect so do get in touch if you would like it to be one of your classes. You will find his email here or you can contact us and we will pass on your details. In Skype you can have an audio only connection or audio with video. Video takes more bandwidth so my first question was why was it important to use video?
How many of you have Internet at home?
absolutely rebellious
At the IATEFL conference in Manchester earlier this year I met Nda Kouassi from Côte d’Ivoire who was experimenting with his English classes. Listen as he tells us how absolutely rebellious he is in a country where not only the curriculum but also the teaching methods are prescribed. I also wondered how Nda Kouassi’s ideas were filtering to his colleagues…

absolutely party
In our final slot, we will travel to Kenya. You may remember that I featured my daughter and one of her schoolmates in show 188 on a school trip to Kenya. The Danish students were each hosted in private homes and Caroline’s family took her to church on Sunday. This was like no other church service Caroline had ever experienced before so let’s go absolutely party.

Remember that if you would like to connect with an upper secondary boys school in Palestine that Atiyyeh Hussein is looking for more partners. If you have an idea for the show then contact us. And don’t forget to take a look at the new page on culturally responsive teaching on our website where you can sign up to a newsletter collating together ideas and information as well as links to available training. Don’t forget that September 17th is Global Collaboration Day!
There’s even more coming in the next few weeks so we should have an exciting end to 2015. The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on October 2nd so until then, stay tuned!
Don’t forget to like us on Facebook or leave a comment on iTunes and stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Anne Fox




SIETAR +++ Third Culture Kid +++ Shelley Morrison +++ Lisa Liang +++ Alien Citizen +++ Absolutely Intercultural 192 +++

Hemispheric_Twilight_-_Valencia,_Spain_-_Jan_2007In May I attended the SIETAR conference in Valencia, Spain and today I’m going to bring you two very different tastes from the conference. SIETAR is the Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research and we will be hearing about third culture kids and how to train people to work well together online.

absolutely virtual
I met Shelley Morrison who does intercultural training online from Seattle. Many people do this and many people offer online coaching but what intrigued me about Shelley was that she runs live training sessions lasting up to 8 hours online which I hadn’t heard of before. Let’s hear why companies ask Shelley Morrison to give them intercultural training online. My first question to Shelley was who do you train and what do you train them in?

absolutely third culture kid
A third culture kid or TCK is a child brought up by parents of different cultures in yet another culture. Especially for families that move around a great deal while the children are young this will have a number of effects some good and some bad on the children. What can you do if this was your childhood? Lisa Liang’s session was actually a one woman play in which she gave us a glimpse into what it was like to grow up in so many different cultures. We have put together a few links where you can see some extracts from Lisa’s play as well as links to a podcast show she did where she discusses much more about the issues involved. It’s not often you go to a conference and watch a play but that’s what I did at the SIETAR conference where I saw Lisa Liang’s piece Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey which was all about her perspective on a nomadic life as a child as a result of her father being sent to different locations as part of his work. After seeing it I had many questions so let’s find out first what is it that qualified Lisa as a third culture kid or TCK as it is often referred to.

Lisa will be performing her play in Cape Town on the day this show goes out so all the best to you Lisa. I can see from your Facebook page that you have made it to the conference already!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook or leave a comment on iTunes and stay tuned!

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on August 7th so until then, stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox



Image: “Hemispheric Twilight – Valencia, Spain – Jan 2007” by DiliffEget arbejde. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Absolutely Intercultural 191 +++ Storytelling +++ Germany +++ Pakistan +++ Canada +++


The focus oIMG_3748f today’s show is on storytelling and we hear from students and how they have used story telling in different situations including in work and at university. We also hear from an exchange student from Pakistan and learn about some of the cultural differences between Germany and Pakistan.

absolutely influential

We have grown up with stories all around us. I’m sure you can all remember that one person at school who was always really good at telling stories and had the attention of everyone in the room and left you begging for more? Well on today’s show we hear how students from the RheinAhrCampus utilize story telling in various everyday aspects of their lives. I had the opportunity to speak with Franziska Lang, who explains how in her classes storytelling is used as a method of teaching to encourage students to plan their own internationalisation.

absolutely attractive

I speak with Crispin Becher who had a booth at our International Day at the University. Crispin was representing the German-Canadian association. He was advertising Canada to the new students and using his stories from abroad to entice others to take on an exchange semester there. On the show he talks about how he managed to attract attention to his booth as well as why storytelling would be beneficial for his future career.

absolutely eye-opening

Then I interviewed Amama Farooq who is from Pakistan. She studied in Turkey and is now an ERASMUS exchange student in Germany and talks about the differences between the two cultures and her learning journey towards understanding a new culture.

absolutely improved

I speak with Tatjana Lietz who is a student in the International Business Simulations course at the university. For this course, the students work in a company to produce marketing videos. As a part of this course, the students organised a press conference to showcase their work. Tatjana speaks about how she used story telling to create an interesting and entertaining press conference.


And please do not forget to visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Editor: Laura McGuire




IATEFL +++ Manchester +++ Pakistan +++ Nepal +++ Bangladesh +++ Afghanistan +++ Zimbabwe +++ Cameroon +++ Absolutely Intercultural 190 +++

web-banner-2015-url-hashtag-330x250In this show I will be taking you to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. For example why do people learn English in Pakistan? And what do you think the best way of delivering training would be to the semi-literate migrant workers of Bangladesh? This show includes snippets of recordings made at the IATEFL conference in Manchester last month.
IATEFL stands for International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language and it is the word International which attracts people from all over the world. The conference is quite large but of course not everyone can afford the time and money to attend. So it’s really great that there is now a very professional service during each annual conference, streaming sessions and interviews online. If you are curious to see more then go to https://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2015 where you can watch for free all the recordings that were made right up until the next conference in April 2016.
IATEFL is for teachers of English but intercultural matters often emerge because you have foreign teachers working far away from home, you have the question of whether it is right for the English language to dominate globally as it does right now and you also have questions about how far teacher training dreamed up in the West can be translated to other contexts, to name just a few of the issues which regularly come up at the IATEFL conference.

absolutely fresh-faced
Umesh Shrestha talks about what Nepalese teachers expect their teacher trainers to look like. While Umesh is Nepalese, he works for the British Council and he often meets resistance … though maybe not for the reason you think:

absolutely mobile
There was a great deal about using mobile devices to learn English at IATEFL and perhaps unexpectedly this is also relevant to countries such as Pakistan where dumb (as against SMART) phone ownership is much higher than internet accessibility. We heard at the start of the show Bilal Ahmad talking about the direct financial effect of learning English so let’s now hear how Pakistanis are using their radio and their mobile phones to learn English as we go absolutely mobile:

We also heard about mobile learning for not just English but also intercultural communication from Mike Solly of Britain’s Open University who is hoping to build a collection of video content to view on your mobile phone for the migrant workers of Bangladesh. In this case video content helps train a target group that is often semi-literate.

absolutely military
Tarek Walizada explains why army officers in Afghanistan spend 15% of their officer training on English.

absolutely bottom-up
For our next two slots we’ll be moving to Africa to hear from two of the most inspirational speakers of the IATEFL conference. If you have the time to watch these two plenaries on the IATEFL website I really think you will find it worthwhile. Common to both was an absolutely bottom up approach to change. The first plenary speaker was Ann Cotton who discovered that there was not a systematic bias against girls in Zimbabwe. If you move on to the plenary recording you will find out that Cotton set up an organisation called CamFed which not only gives girls an education but helps them in the many other ways they need in order to set up an independent and useful life for themselves. This is a wonderful example of a bottom up initiative where Cotton helps by listening to those in need.

The next extract features Harry Kuchah Kuchah from Cameroon who learned how to teach classes of 250 students by enlisting their help. I must admit that this was not what I was expecting to hear with my head filled with stereotypes of authoritarian African teachers! Watch the full plenary here.

In the next show I produce at the beginning of July we’ll be hearing from Atiyyeh Al-Habal who links up his students in a very rural school of Palestine,Kharbatha Al-Mesbah, west of Ramallah, with classes all over the world and in fact he’s looking for more partner schools so if you are interested then mail him at honoredboy@hotmail.com

Thanks to IATEFL for allowing me to use the recordings.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and stay tuned!

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on June 5th so until then, stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox




Mongolia +++ Aberdeen +++ Kenya +++ Inside Out +++ Absolutely Intercultural 188 +++

IMG_0116In this show we are going to go to Mongolia, to Kenya and to Aberdeen. There IS an over-arching theme but I wonder if you can guess what it is?

absolutely late
At the high school in Grenaa students there have the chance to go on an exchange trip to Kenya. Last year our family hosted a student from Nairobi and in January it was my daughter’s turn to go to Kenya. Let’s be absolutely late and hear Mia Fox and her friend Karoline Fogh talk about the trip. In fact there is much more to tell about this trip which I might feature in a future show.
Don’t forget that if you have any comments or ideas for future shows you can always contact us through this website or through our Facebook page.

absolutely Aberdeen
We’ve heard a great deal about being an exchange student over the years on this podcast. Today we’re going to talk to students who have travelled abroad for the whole of their degree. What were they expecting? Let’s go absolutely Aberdeen and hear from Amalie and Gwen from Denmark, and Josephine and Saga from Sweden who all met after starting a degree course in Aberdeen, Scotland.

absolutely Mongolian
Now we’ll hear from a scientist who went to do some fieldwork in Mongolia. Tony Fox had never been to Mongolia before and was working there in an international team including US, Chinese, Mongolian, Russian and Korean scientists last July. What was the most noticeable thing about the landscape? Next I could not resist asking about the Mongolian round tents known as yurts or gers. Are they really still commonly used?

absolutely Inside Out
Back at the school in Grenaa, Denmark, I talked to Karoline and Mia about an international art project their class is involved with. So if you have a group of people who want to participate in the  Inside Out project then just go over to the website and have a go.

The over-arching theme? Well, the link was that every one of those segments involved one of my immediate family! Sort of Fox News?

So, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and stay tuned!

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on April 3rd so until then, stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox




Absolutely Intercultural 183 +++ Internship Abroad +++ Intercultural Preparation +++ tourist-industry +++ First Impressions In Germany +++ Australian +++

 Vladimir on his bike tourIsn’t it great to experience new cultures by travelling to different parts of the world? Four weeks ago I spent my holiday in Andalucía, in Spain. I have wanted to go there for a long time: Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla – the place names have always sounded attractive to me.
On the first day my wife and I took part in a guided bicycle tour in Malaga – and by chance – we met Nils Langer. He told me that in the framework of his studies at the university he is completing a tourism internship in a Spanish bicycle shop
Quite a number of my students take on internships abroad in order to gain intercultural awareness and to improve their language- and transferable skills. They are culturally immersed in their host country much more than during a regular holiday. Working as an intern abroad provides them with insights into foreign work environments and working styles. Afterwards they benefit from the new international contacts they made during their internships abroad.

absolutely prepared
On my holiday in Spain, I took part in a guided bicycle tour in Malaga. I was rather surprised when I found out that our very competent young guide; Nils Langer was a German student from Lippstadt – doing his internship in a shop which offers guided tours for tourists in a variety of languages. First I asked him what his main tasks during his internship were and if he recognized any improvement of his intercultural skills.

absolutely dressed up
Sandra Elsom – an Australian guest lecturer at RheinAhrCampus in Remagen, – recognized a great number of intercultural differences right when she came to Europe. She even noticed that Germans are physically different from Australians and it made her a bit uncomfortable. Would that mean that size matters after all?

absolutely extraordinary
I interviewed Vladimir Jescht the native Russian owner of Bike2Malaga, The Guided Tours& Bike Rental Shop right by the sea. In the brochure Vladimir calls himself the “bike adventure specialist”. He does not only offer bicycles for rent but also – as we heard from Nils – offers international tours for tourists. I asked him to explain the concept.

And please do not forget to visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Editor: Younes Jaber




Absolutely Intercultural 179 +++ Up With People +++ Social Intercultural Projects +++ Intercultural Behaviour +++ Intercultural Ambassador +++

If you like the podcast then please also LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

People say that gaining intercultural experiences improves your transferable skills, your ability to adapt to new situations. However, getting in touch with other cultures may also change your personal preferences, conventions and habits. Sometimes this process can even take place unconsciously but it still changes your way of thinking dramatically. So, should we start printing warnings on travel brochures? “Warning: This trip to France could seriously change your view of the world?”

And should we be worried about “passive traveling” – because it’s not just the person who went abroad who undergoes intercultural behavioral changes but also the people in the culture they visit who are influenced by the foreigner’s cultural behaviour.

Have you ever noticed serious changes in your own values and outlook on life after a longer stay abroad or even in your own culture by exposure to people from different cultures? Please don’t hesitate and share your experiences with us on our Facebook page.

absolutely up with people
There are a number of well-known non-profit organizations who manage social and intercultural projects all over the world. I was lucky enough to get in touch with representatives of Up with People. This organization combines education, international travel, leadership development, and art performances all with the aim to bring the world together through service learning and music. I asked Shamus and Brekken – who already took part in some of those organized, intercultural projects – to explain how it all works.

absolutely hands-on
I asked Shamus to explain to us why their “up with people-project” in Mexico was a kind of challenge and how that project was well illustrated by a tree of hope.

absolutely changed
Antao Moura from Brazil has also gained a great number of intercultural experiences during his life. Like Brekkan and Shamus he noticed that some of those experiences will change you and have a lasting impact your personal outlook on life. I asked Antao why, after so many travels to different parts of the world, he does not really feel typically Brazilian any longer.

absolutely ambassador
However, sometimes, when your character or your behavior has changed after a longer stay abroad, in touch with several different cultures, you remember and appreciate the benefits of your original culture. Gia and Anh – both native Vietnamese, studying in Finland and spending their semester abroad at RheinAhrCampus in Germany, will tell us what exactly has caused intercultural change and why. In various situations they have adopted the role as an intercultural ambassador.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 4th of July.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

And please visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann


Editor: Younes Jaber




absolutely intercultural 159 +++ Rotation Curation +++ Culture Shocks +++ Jordan +++ Working in an international environment +++

Our new editor, Elena

Our New Editor from Spain: Elena Colunga Caballero. Welcome to our team!

So what should we be listening to in this podcast:
How do you personally try to gain authentic information about a country  and culture that you are interested in? Do you trust the official view of the foreign office website? Or do you go straight to Wikipedia? How about listening to some real people from that country? This way you will get the unofficial story from the citizens themselves. Perhaps it could be interesting to listen to a father of two children who can tell you what it is really like to take the two on public transport or to a restaurant? This is inside information that you may not find in any of the official publications of the country. Under a system which is called Rotation Curation Movement, Karsten Kneese will host the twitter account of I_amGermany for a week starting next Monday.

absolutely twitter
Let us explore what you, the listeners can find out about his culture if you follow him during that week. In our first category “absolutely twitter” I asked Karsten how the Rotation Curation Movement has developed since it started in Sweden last year. If you are interested, please find “I_amGermany” on Twitter on Monday and follow Karsten around for a week. This is grass-roots journalism on Twitter that I think you should not miss. You have the opportunity to find out the real story from real citizens without having to travel to the country.

absolutely stereotypical
I spoke to a group of students from the German-Jordanian University who jumped in at the deep end and decided to spend a whole semester in Europe. In our second category “absolutely stereotypical” I asked them what their parents and friends had warned them about before they left.

absolutely international
In our third category “absolutely international” I am talking to a young but very well travelled person. After spending all her holidays abroad since she was 15 she has also studied in France and has now started doing her practical training in the department of Languages /International Affairs at the University of Applied Sciences, Koblenz. I asked Elena from Spain what her friends and family had said when she was planning her big step.

absolutely different
Let us now return to the group of Jordanians who told me that in their country it would be very unusual for a lecturer to go to the university by bike, because there seems to exist a bigger “power distance” between lecturers and their students. We also learn that in Jordan, if you get invited to dinner you have to refuse several times in order to be polite before you finally accept. So one of the students politely said “No” to a dinner invitation in Germany but then learned the hard way that here you only get one shot, and he was not invited again. In our last category “absolutely different” I asked the students to explain major cultural differences which they have observed during the first weeks in Europe.

Our next show will again be coming to you on 2nd of November from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

And please visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Elena Colunga Caballero & Karsten Kneese



absolutely intercultural 158 +++ Flat Class +++ Julie Lindsay +++ Vicki Davis +++ Thomas Friedman +++

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Flat Classroom Project 2010In the last three shows we’ve been hearing about Corporate Social responsibility, different attitudes to it and how to promote it. In this show we’re going to move away from business and hear about a very special project which helps to globalize the attitudes of students of all ages.

absolutely flat
The Flat Class project started in 2006 when two teachers, one in Bangladesh and one in the US discovered they were both studying the same book with their classes and decided that it might be fun to link their classroom discussions together.

The book was ‘The World is Flat’ by Thomas Friedman in which Friedman discusses the forces which are leveling the global playing field. The project has just grown and grown with many more classrooms involved and different topics being explored such as racism and digital identity. And now six years later the originators of the Flat Classroom Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davies have written a book to help teachers implement these global connections in their own classrooms. The book is called ‘Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds’ and I was lucky enough to be able to speak to the authors a couple of months ago when it first came out.

absolutely Amazon
By the way, in the six years since this show started we have mentioned quite a number of books on this show and we have now collected them together in an Amazon store. So you will find a link to this book and all the others here.  You don’t pay any more to buy them through our store and every purchase contributes a little to the running costs of the podcast so if you’re thinking of buying, consider using our new store. There is a permanent link at the top of this blog page but in the meantime you can get a sneak preview below.

See more from the video from which I took a couple of extracts here.

Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann on October 5th so stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

Recordings and editing done with the help of Hindenburg Journalist Pro

absolutely intercultural 156 +++ Corporate Social Responsibility +++ Theory & Practice +++ Sceptical Point of View +++ Turkcell +++ Success stories +++ European Companies +++ Non-Profit Organization +++

Today I am going to talk about CSR which is short for “Corporate Social Responsibility”. In postmodern times, “Corporate Social Responsibility” has enabled companies to do something good for society and to give something back to the community. Some companies may plant trees or donate money and others might start working in close cooperation with Non-Profit and  Non-Governmental Organizations to help people in need. I visited an intercultural Erasmus Intensive Program at Yasar University in Izmir, Turkey, where I got in touch with the big Turkish telecommunications company called “Turkcell”. Together with Corporate Responsiblitly Specialists from Turkcell and university lecturers, who teach CSR-related aspects of marketing we talked about good practice examples of CSR but also about the dark sides of the concept.

absolutely helpful
Turkcell afford to have a dedicated department which only deals with CSR issues. In our first category Burcu Haylaz tells us, how their company is doing charity work in Turkey and how quickly they took action after a horrific earthquake struck the province of Van in Eastern Turkey in 2011. Besides that I was really captivated by the “Snowdrops” project for young women and by the idea of the digital moneybox for collecting contributions from the wider public.

absolutely sceptical
Unfortunately not every company is really practicing CSR to genuinely help others. Some companies are rather trying to help themselves. Often the campaign appears like 100% marketing for the company. In this category I talked with Ann Knaepen from “Leuven University College” in Belgium, Carla de Lima from the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança in Portugal, Dr. Reka Jablonkai from “Corvinus University” in Hungary and Anne Burke from the “Letterkenny Institute of Technology” in Ireland. Together we talked about the phenomenon of “Green Washing”. This means, that companies that have a bad image in society, are using low-input CSR measures to artificially clean their own image. Green Washing, the negative side of CSR, seems to be an activity which flourishes in the shadow of all the good practice examples of corporate social responsibility. So I guess we need to be careful when we hear about large companies practicing CSR. There is a chance that they may be doing good things for the wrong reasons. Oxfam and Turkcell on the other hand seem to be great examples of companies and organisations that seriously and honestly try to improve the lives of all their stakeholders, not just their customers’.

absolutely idealistic
In our last category I would like to come back to our Turkcell CSR specialists. Together with them and the Turkish lecturers, we discussed theoretical aspects of CSR and their practical implementation. My Turkish colleague Duygu Turker who teaches CSR at the university asked Derya Kökten from Turkcell what factors in her view make a CSR activity successful. It is refreshing to hear how the university lecturers and the practitioners were working together on building this bridge between theory and practice in our seminar. I think such encounters, in this case hosted at Yasar University in Izmir, provide excellent opportunities to share important knowledge and to create a network so that students and lecturers from universities and the specialists from companies can work together to find the best solutions.

Our next show will again be coming to you on 3 of August.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Markus Scherer



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