Can technology in the classroom change the culture of teaching and learning? Could this culture be more democratic and give a voice to participants who in regular seminars would not be heard? Let us listen to Hannah Peter an exchange student from Canada who talks about a Classroom Response System she has tried out as a teaching assistant in lectures at RheinAhrCampus. Then we hear from a professor Jalal Kawash, also from Canada who has been using Classroom Response Systems for years. Finally, Tsegaye Misikir Tashu from Hungary talks about a tool for Automated Essay Evaluation where professors can leave the reading and grading of essays to a computer program. Should we be scared by such innovations in the culture of teaching and learning?
absolutely learnable In our first category “absolutely learnable”, Hannah Peter from Canada who is both, an exchange student from Brock University in Canada and a course assistant at RheinAhrCampus explains what Classroom Response systems are and how they can change the culture and the teaching methods in the classroom. “How we learn” is as important as “what we learn” in the classroom. Hannah explains how new technology can help give students the confidence to “speak up” anonymously in a big group. She suggests ideas to change the culture of teaching by giving more power to the quiet and shy students.
absolutely teachable In the second category “absolutely teachable” Jalal Kawash, also from Canada talks about the teacher’s perspective of making the classroom more interactive. He is very positive about including CRS in teaching but also warns that technology can backfire when we are not careful about how we use it in the classroom.
In our final category ‘absolutely automated’ we hear from Tsegaye Misikir Tashu, from Hungary who talks about a tool for Automated Essay Evaluation which assesses, evaluates, and grades essays automatically without the professor even looking at them, by measuring how close the students get to the professor’s model answers. Is this a piece of educational science fiction?
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Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 1 June.
Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!
The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Hari Gautham Somasundaram
Assistants: Marina Jimenez Martin & Asim Zaman
In this episode we are going to have a look at adult education. Anne and I were lucky enough to be invited to the Volkshochschule Rhein-Sieg by Alexandra Haas. We took part in a very stimulating workshop day for trainers inspired by Alexandra’s previous project “Teaching Culture!”.
absolutely learner-oriented: Mechthild Tillmann, director of the Volkshochschule Rhein-Sieg, reports on 24 different work-shops in which teachers shared ideas about marketing, suggestopedia, podcasting in the classroom and other subjects related to their teaching. Following the idea of “teaching culture” and the “culture of teaching” the institution invited their own teachers to turn into learners and improve their methods.
We listen to Mauricio Virgens from Brazil and Andres Villamil from Columbia, two South American musicians who played music for us, and “bossanovarized” our busy lives a little. Mauricio speaks about his mission as a cultural ambassador for his native country Brazil and tells us how he keeps up his cultural identity through music. Of course, we also get to enjoy a bit of their music.
absolutely enjoyable: Katrin, one of the new staff at the Volkshochschule Rhein-Sieg, tells us how previous learning experiences of the participants can a be challenge for the teachers. She has noticed that learners seem to expect the same “learning culture” which they got used to when they were learners for the first time – years ago. However, one aspect seems to be important to all learners – that they learn faster if they are having fun.
Evi and Linda both work in adult education and explain to us how adult education creates its own culture. We also hear about their perspectives on gender issues and that adult education, just like health services, appears to attract women with a strong impulse to help.
The next show will be coming to you on 17 October from Anne Fox in Denmark.
Working in internationally mixed groups can offer a number of unexpected benefits, but also tremendous intercultural challenges. In this show we concentrate on how you can prepare yourself or other people to master these challenges.
absolutely un-teachable?: Thomas, an international project manager from Slovakia talks with Nicole who worked for the European project “Teaching-Culture”. In this project Alexandra Haas from VHS Rhein-Sieg together with 13 European partners developed a training course for intercultural awareness aimed at teachers of adult education in Europe. Nicole, one of the developers from Austria, tells us about her experiences in international teamwork situations. Even the culturally-determined differences of the daily agenda for meetings (e.g. meal times) turned into one of many challenges the international group had to master, because cultural differences influence teamwork and sometimes even the team spirit. We often think we are aware of these challenges, but in fact in international teamwork they often get in our way. However, the question remains whether culture can really be taught or can we only learn by experience?
absolutely essential: Keith Warburton from Global Business Culture helps clients from all over the world to develop levels of cultural awareness and understanding so that they can operate more effectively and profitably within the global market place. He can look back on a very long international career, working in several countries for over 18 years. He remembers the mistakes companies made when they started to work globally and explains how difficult it still is to convince a complete company to participate at intercultural training seminars. Today, everybody in a company, from the most senior top manager to the junior part-time admin staff is supposed to communicate effectively with clients and suppliers from other cultures. As Keith says, a company is only as strong as its weakest link so intercultural awareness training is essential at all levels of the company.
absolutely explorative: We wanted to know how experienced intercultural trainers attempt to teach culture. Do they use facts and figures and simply imform the participants about the different customs and habits of other cultures, such as how to present your business card in the Asian context? Or do they go outside the company with a whole group and make them explore the differences in case studies and simulations? We asked a group of intercultural trainers what the perfect intercultural training seminar would look like, how the learning group should be motivated and which exercises they would propose.
The next show will be coming to you on 30 May from Anne Fox in Denmark.
Thanks to all of you for your numerous comments after the first show – we were overwhelmed by your response! In our second show we ask ourselves: Can intercultural awareness be taught in a classroom? Can it be taught in online courses?
We start by giving you some quotations from the 17 comments of feed-back on the first show. Fernando, a Spanish student who is doing his internship in Germany explains how surprised he was to hear Germans discuss different olive oils as if they were wines. Alexandra gives examples of how you can teach intercultural communication by facilitating intercultural experiences between participants of different countries. Ana shares her experience of an intercultural business simulation between her university and universities in Sweden and Lithuania.
And then we ask you, the listeners: Have you got any experience with intercultural classes? Perhaps even online? How can we gain intercultural awareness? In our gossip column Tommy from Denmark tells us how the Mohamed-cartoons crossed his holiday plans in Egypt and in our look at our favourite podcasts with cultural contents we hear about solar radio for coffee traders in Ruanda.