Last week I was in Belgium in the beautiful city of Leuven for the SIETAR Congress.
SIETAR stands for the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research and their biennial congress is a very friendly affair. Of course a Congress is always very diverse, forgive the pun, and in addition diversity was one of the main themes of the Congress this year so todays show is also very diverse.
If you are listening to this from our website then you will see a beautiful image of the gothic town hall of Leuven. This is where we had the opening reception to the Congress and this is also where we heard the mayor of Leuven, Mohamed Ridouani, give a very inspirational talk about what you can do at local level to make people feel valued and included. Unfortunately I did not ask him to be on the podcast but we do have an interesting variety of people for you in the next 25 minutes or so.
Let’s play and learn. In this show we’ll be playing games and music and I’ll be announcing a new course if you are a teacher of adults in a diverse classroom and there’s news of an additional podcast episode coming in September, off-plan and in Danish.
Thank you to all those of you who have been following us on Facebook where we add links to interesting intercultural stuff and alert you when a new show comes out. Shoutout to Imad Zazi who gave us our 600th page like. Thanks Imad!
In today’s show we’ll be hearing how music can help children learn about global cultures.
In this show we re-vsisit the chat I had with George Simons in show 138. George you may remember is the creator of the Diversophy intercultural games. We also talked about other intercultural games and when I mentioned Barnga, which we described way back in show 43, he told me about another very effective intercultural game. You could tell this was a good one because it made people absolutely angry!
It’s not just anger which is a symptom of your being out of your comfort zone. I was surprised when Janice Ford, an Australian talked about this feeling of being absolutely distant. Janice Ford took a course with me at The Consultants-E where I help teachers intgerate ICT into their language teaching and is just one of the many interesting people I meet there from all over the world.
You’ve probably heard about Bollywood, the Indian film industry, and how it rivals Hollywood in scope and numbers of films produced so now we’re going to hear from Rebecca Chadwick, who’s just finished high school and is so mad about Indian film that she signed up to a years course at the Asian Academy of Film and TV in New Delhi and simply flew straight into her course at the beginning of July having never travelled further than Europe before. If you watch satellite TV you’ll probably understand why I’m calling this strand absolutely incredible when I contacted Rebecca shortly after her arrival to hear about her first impressions.
Now perhaps Rebecca might have benefited from being a member of Internations, a website designed to help expatriates all over the world cope with being stationed far away from home. My final guest on the show today is Malte Zeeck, co founder of Internations and my first question was about why such a website is needed. If you like the sound of internations and would like to join, then get in touch with me through this blog as I have some invitations available. Perhaps you were inspired by our last show to organise a foreign internship or semester exchange? You can also test your English by trying a short dictation taken from this interview here.
In this show we’ll be hearing about how games can help your intercultural awareness. We’ll also be following up on a couple of items from the last show by going to Iraq to hear more about the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq initiative which brought Arab and Kurdish Iraqis together to make music and we’ll be re-visiting the issue of the right of Saudi women to drive cars in cities. absolutely independent: In the last show we went absolutely independent when we heard about the Saudi women who were going to drive their cars on June 17th in a bid to convince the authorities to accept this practice. Actually June 17th was not meant as a one-off but as a start date, but it seems that the day went well with quite a few women driving their cars with only minor brushes with the police as a result. This is in contrast to what happened with a similar action in 1990 when the women then were harassed by the authorities and other citizens and described as ‘The fallen: Advocates of vice and corruption on Earth’. ‘A source of depravity’ and when other citizens were advised to ‘Take whatever action you see fit’ to bring them under control. What’s the difference between then and now? Perhaps that, because of social media, the eyes of the world were on Saudi Arabia on this occasion.
absolutely social So does social media such as Twitter and Facebook have an effect on culture? That is a question which I shall be exploring as part of a webinar organised by Christine Develotte and Fred Dervin on June 29th. More specifically we will be looking at whether social media can actually contribute to developing intercultural competences. You will find the link to the free webinar here.
absolutely playful We’ve covered games before and today we’re going to hear from George Simons working with Kati Volt about his Diversophy game, how it works and a bit of background about how the game is made. So how can you gain some intercultural awareness through a game? George Simons of Diversophy.com explains the game which started out as a face to face card game but now also comes in online and Android smart phone format. We also hear about sample cards in the game and how people react to them. In fact George and I had a great deal more to talk about; too much for one show, so you’ll be hearing more from George and his gaming approach in future shows. In the meantime you might like to try one of the Diversophy Android apps on your Smart phone.
absolutely musical Now let’s be absolutely musical and hear a little more about that incredible orchestra put together by audition on YouTube which puts together traditional enemies, Arabs and Kurds, to play together in an Orchestra which is due to perform at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn this coming October. In previous shows we have heard from Paul MacAlindin, the conductor and Karin Wolf, the viola teacher, as well as the RheinAhr Campus students whose task it was to find a way of raising awareness of the event. In this show I will play you an extract from one of the videos put together to explain the background to this very special orchestra. You can see and hear the whole video here.
absolutely desperate Did you know that this week is international refugee week? In Australia it was marked by an amazing reality show, Asylum Exit Australia: Go back to where you came from , in which over three consecutive nights you followed the journey of six ordinary Australians who made the refugee journey to Australia backwards; in the words of the programme makers :
Deprived of their wallets, phones and passports, they board a leaky refugee boat, are rescued mid-ocean, experience immigration raids in Malaysia, live in a Kenyan refugee camp and visit slums in Jordan before ultimately making it to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq, protected by UN Peacekeepers and the US military. For some of them it’s their first time abroad. For all of them, it’s an epic journey and the most challenging experience of their lives.
This is all about trying to walk in the shoes of others or leaving your comfort zone and is meant to confront viewers with their stereotypes of refugees as spongers and taking the easy option and so on. For the moment this has only been broadcast on Australian TV. But the TV company have added another way in which you can get a taste of what it might be like to have all your normal certainties suddenly taken away from you, in the form of a simulation. The game starts in Australia where, through some unamed political developments, you are suddenly in extreme danger of your life and need to escape. How does it feel to have to leave the place you consider home, to suddenly not know who you can trust? These are the sorts of issues which the game explores. You can try it out for free. I’d be interested to hear your reactions so do add a comment here after playing it. .
Ways to support “The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq”:
The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq would especially welcome your support on the various social media sites if you have a moment or two to spare.
Culture is often bound up in language and language learning and in our first category, absolutely educational, I found a very unusual way of learning a language….
For those of you who do not live in Europe I imagine that some of you sometimes think that we exaggerate the differences within Europe but when I talked to Natalia Pérez de Herrasti, a Spaniard living in Germany, I was introduced to a whole new perspective explaining the differences between Spaniards and Germans!
And if you want to test yourself on your understanding of some of these differences then I’ll be introducing you to the intercultural games from Diversophy which you can get on paper, in the virtual world, Second Life and as mobile phone apps.
Another app which I’ve just discovered is Google Translate for Animals. You can get this for Android phones and all you do is hold your phone in front of the animal to record what they are saying and Google Translate for Animals will translate this and speak the message for you. Unfortunately this is only in English at the moment but it really opens up a whole new world for us to interact with. There is also a video demonstrating how this works.
absolutely challenging But we’ll start with an intercultural challenge. This came up while I was talking to Natalia Pérez de Herrasti and took me a little by surprise as it was not something that I had ever thought about. So let’s be absolutely challenging and see if you know the answer to this little intercultural situation. I’ll give you some time to think about that and reveal my reply at the end of the show!
absolutely educational In our next category, absolutely educational, I’m going to let you listen to the homework of one of the students on the Communication Station course offered by UIC. What was her homework? To make a podcast about the Gay Pride carnival in London during which she learned a couple of intercultural differences along the way
absolutely first class This way of learning English won first prize at the British Council ELTON awards in February for innovation in English language teaching and in our next category, absolutely first class So let’s find out how the students react and how you can sell this as a language learning course.
absolutely oriental Natalia Pérez Herrasti who is Spanish has been teaching the language in Germany for almost twenty years. Natalia got in touch with us to tell us about the new four volume book she is writing in Spanish about a practical approach to intercultural communication, but our conversation ranged far and wide and the bit I want to play now is when Natalia suggested that one reason that the Spanish and Germans are so different is that the Spanish have a very oriental outlook. I really recommend a visit to Liu Yang’s exhibition of intercultural graphics as they are very thought-provoking.
absolutely playful So images are one way of thinking about intercultural situations and games are another. Diversophy is the name of a collection of games which can be played face to face, online in Second Life or on your mobile phone. The Second Life games are free and there is lots of information and free samples on the Diversophy website. I’m hoping to be able to talk to someone from the Diversophy organisation in a future show so that I can get behind the thinking behind playing to learn.
And talking of playing to learn, have you thought about that little conundrum that we presented you with at the beginning of the show? And to make that into even more of a game I have chosen Natalia’s intercultural challenge as the snippet to use in the online dictation game for this show. By the way, did you notice the date today? One of the items I mentioned on the show is not true! I wonder if you can guess which one? If not, then April Fool!