I wonder if you can tell where I’m based just because of what I produce online! This is one of the questions we’ll be looking at in this show. We’ll also be asking whether non-native speakers of English can be examiners for a prestigious English qualification and how you can use your multi-cultural background to start a business
So we won’t be mentioning Australia in this show but we will be visiting almost every other continent. Starting in Europe, I was very honoured to be asked to be a judge in the 2011 European Podcast Award and I can’t tell you how difficult it was to decide. There are so many different types of podcast, long and short, fly on the wall documentary to fictionalised reality. Dogme-style, what you see is what you get to expertly produced with delicious sound. By the time this show comes out you’ll be able to check out who the winners are in the different categories and the different countries.
Enough on Europe, let’s start the show in China where there is a huge demand for English qualifications as young Chinese look for at least part of their training abroad. The two main exams which will show you are able to tackle a university course in English are TOEFL and IELTS. Both of these have a spoken part of the test and in the IELTS exam this is done in the presence of a real live human being instead of on computer. So does the IELTS examiner always have to be a native speaker? I spoke with Tinting Yang who now counts among her many other activities that of IELTS examiner. Let’s find out what went through her mind as she decided to apply for the job.
What is the value of internet chatter? Can you tell where someone comes from by the way they communicate online? Can you even speak about nation building as part of that online dialogue? These are some of the questions which Koleade Odutola tackled in his doctorate which has just been published as a book. The title of the book is Diaspora and imagined Nationality, and looks mainly at how Nigerians around the world define themselves and their country in their online dialogue. Koleade is himself Nigerian and has lived in the UK but mostly in the USA where he teaches at the University of Florida. Let’s go absolutely digital and find out whether online dialogue helps Nigerians define what being a Nigerian means. The sub-title is USA-Africa Dialogue and Cyberframing Nigerian Nationhood and you can buy from it the publisher as well as from the American version of Amazon.
Our final guest on the show today is a great example of how you can turn your multi-cultural heritage into a sound business proposition. Alexa Kovacs was brought up in Switzerland and is of Hungarian and British parentage and has recently started a business selling beautiful clothing and accessories which she sources in a surprisingly direct way. The business is called Orphelia and it’s really well worth a visit for the visual beauty alone. So let’s go absolutely beautiful and hear more about how Orphelia works. I really do recommend a visit to Alexa’s site as a feast for the eyes.
This show we will be mainly about storytelling as we meet the author of a book about intercultural communication and explore the art of story telling in Africa and as you will hear this does not just mean talking. We’ll be talking to the author of a new book on the grammar of culture and finding out the role of stories there and finding out some of the key features of story telling in the African tradition.
Natalia Pérez de Herrasti told us about the first volume of her new book called Grammatica del la Cultura, the grammar of culture. As you can guess the book is in Spanish. So why do we need to be aware of the grammar of culture? We discover that this is a way of making sense of the stories or critical incidents that are the starting point for so much intercultural training.
And now for the first time on Absolutely Intercultural you will be given a taste of African story telling. This is not just a case of ‘Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin’. This is absolutely participatory. Oluwatoyin Kole from Nigeria was invited to demonstrate African story telling technique to a University of Florida class on Social change through communication. So first came a bit of pre-session training. Then we’ll hear an extract from the story which concerns a couple who have long been married but have not been able to have children. The husband consults the local diviner who says… If you want to experience the full story then you will have to follow this link. We also hear the start of the discussion after the story had ended.
So you heard the man! Let’s hear your stories. If you have any stories of critical incidents which happened to you or which you heard about and which made a difference to the way you think about things then let’s hear them. You can add them as a comment to this blog or you can send us an audio recording which we can include in our next show or we can arrange to meet you online so that we get a more interactive version.
In this show we’re going to be taking you to Nigeria, the Netherlands, France and the US. One of the great things about the Internet is the niche marketing it allows. One example of this is the radio show Culture Shock: Nigerians in America on Splash FM in Nigeria and which is also podcast. It’s billed as a new talk radio show connecting Nigerians in Nigeria to Nigerians in America and hosted by Abimbola Ishola and Kunle Ayodeji. We’ll also be hearing from Philipe Rosinski, intercultural coach for international business presenting his thoughts about why the coaching approach works in intercultural situations and later talking about some of the cases he has dealt with.
I’d also like to say hi to Nina Liakos in Maryland who interviewed me about a week ago about this podcast as part of her efforts to learn about how to podcast with the help of the Evonline sessions sponsored by TESOL every year in January. Nina, you did a fantastic job! It was a pleasure talking to you and very relaxing to be the interviewee for a change.
absolutely Nigerian So let’s start the show by hearing from show number 21 of CultureShock Nigerians when they asked about the types of experiences and impressions newly arrived Nigerians to America had. You can hear more by going to cultureshocknigerians.com where you’ll find all the shows to date since it started last autumn. Thanks to Kole Odutola who alerted me to the show and to the producers for allowing us to bring you snippets. We’ll also hear from a Nigerian comedian Seyi Brown and his experience of coming to the US in 2008.
absolutely doctoral Now if your interest in intercultural matters is academic you may be interested in a doctoral summer school open to any PhD student in the field which is going to take place in Denmark in early July at Roskilde University. It’s called Identity and Interculturality and will feature some of the greats in the field such as Michael Byram and Claire Kramsch. The 5 day summer school will concentrate on research methods and costs only 50 euros. The deadline to apply is February 28th. Thanks to Fred Dervin for alerting me to that and he is also one of the convenors of the summer school which will take the form of lectures, workshops and roundtables.
absolutely universal Another way of learning which is becoming very popular these days is through coaching. Our next slot features Philipe Rosinski who gave an hour long webinar on his experiences as an intercultural coach. The webinar was organised by SIETAR which is the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research and you can enjoy the whole webinar on their website for free. In the first extract, we’ll hear how Rosinski needed to adapt the coaching approach so that it was a little less American.
absolutely mixed Rosinski has written books about intercultural coaching, the latest one is called Global Coaching, while the earlier Coaching across Culturesdescribes the tool he has developed to help individual and teams find out their strengths and weaknesses in the intercultural area. You can try out the individual tool for free by clicking here. What it does is highlight your preferences in terms of a whole range of orientations such as hierarchy, multi-tasking, formality and communication styles and compares them to your abilities in those areas. In a team situation it would help for example to discover if half your team preferred to multi-task while the other half are expecting tasks to come one at a time. The orientations are those which tend to differ in different cultures and build on the ideas of the pioneers in intercultural communication such as Hofstede and Edward T Hall. I tried the test and discovered that I might have difficulty working in a very hiearchical setting for example. Let’s hear now how Rosinski could apply the results of the test to a team of Dutch and French employees involved in a merger.