The Link in the Lesson: Using Video to Bridge Theory and Experience in Cross-Cultural Training

The Link in the Lesson: Using Video to Bridge Theory and Experience in Cross-Cultural Training

Anthony Fee (The University of Sydney, Australia) and Amanda E.K. Budde-Sung (The University of Sydney, Australia)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-800-2.ch002
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Video is generally seen as a passive, primarily didactic teaching method; an approach at odds with contemporary cross-cultural training which tends to emphasize highly interactive ”experiential” methods. In this chapter we draw on contemporary theories of learning to argue that video-based cross-cultural training is, in fact, more flexible than it is given credit for, and can play an important role in developing learners’ cultural intelligence. In doing this, we outline several practical and creative ways in which video can be used to develop cultural intelligence.
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Cross-Cultural Training: From Didactic To Experiential

We use the term ‘video’ to refer to audio visual material in all its forms, from amateur clips available on the Internet, to television commercials, to extracts from stylized motion pictures. It includes documentary or ‘reality’ style footage depicting natural interaction between people, as well as highly scripted dialogue; video produced for training purposes or for other purposes. It can include DVD, videotape, or digital AV files, and can range from extracts of just a few seconds to several minutes in duration. We define ‘cross-cultural training’ as any formal training or education program designed to empower learners with the knowledge and skills to facilitate effective cross-cultural interaction (Black and Mendenhall 1990). This definition is intentionally broad. It encompasses learning that occurs within different settings, including schools, universities and corporate training rooms. It also includes training for various purposes, from generic undergraduate or postgraduate courses, to specific pre-departure preparation for expatriates, or targeted corporate diversity programs.

Forms of CCT are often classified based on the method used, with a distinction being made between cognitive or didactic approaches which emphasize the transfer of cultural knowledge and information, and interactive or experiential learning approaches, which aim to engage learners emotionally through participation in authentic or simulated cross-cultural interactions (e.g. Gudykunst, Guzley and Hammer 1996; Fowler, et al. 2004). For instance, written cultural briefings and standard ‘chalk and talk’ lectures are classified as didactic, while role plays and authentic cross-cultural group discussions are experiential (Gudykunst, et al. 1996).

Early forms of CCT were based on the dominant university model focusing on didactic/cognitive methods. While simple, inexpensive and flexible (Black, et al. 1990) this model has been criticized for its inability to accurately replicate ‘real world’ situations, for presenting learners with pre-defined problems rather having learners discover or identify problems themselves, and for placing learners in a passive, rather than active, position (e.g. Harrison and Hopkins 1967). These criticisms led to the development of experiential learning approaches to CCT, which first appeared in the late 1960s. Experiential learning models aim to engage the learners emotionally through participation in real or simulated cross-cultural interaction.

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