Let’s set the scene. You are an intercultural trainer and you’re standing in front of a packed room filled with students who are required to be at your intercultural competence training when, let’s be honest, they’d rather be hanging out with friends. If you’re lucky you have the whole day (or a few days!) but realistically you don’t have that much time. So, where do you start when they don’t even want to be there in the first place? How do you spark their curiosity?
The above scenario may seem all too familiar to those working in the intercultural learning space. Whether you train students, faculty, or staff, it can be a challenge to engage participants in activities to develop their intercultural competences, especially when they may not perceive such skills as something they need.
What if you had in your trainer toolkit some quick and easy-to-adapt activities that could spark curiosity and create meaningful reflections to enhance intercultural competencies?
Here’s an example of such a tool. A very well known one that AFS uses is the Describe, Interpret, Verify, Evaluate (D.I.V.E.) exercise. The goal of this exercise is to help people consider multiple perspectives when confronted with unfamiliar intercultural situations or ambiguous circumstances. Trainers can take advantage of this exercise by showing a controversial picture, stopping a video before an unexpected final or even taking students on a field trip to hone their observation skills and spark their curiosity. While this might start in a training room, it will be part of the students tool box for every future intercultural encounter.
Drawing on AFS’s 70+ years of experience in facilitating intercultural learning, AFS Intercultural Programs will lead an interactive three-day workshop at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) which will introduce you to experiential learning activities used to foster curiosity and offer you the chance to facilitate said activities. The session is titled Inspiring Curiosity: Fostering Intercultural and Global Competence for Students, Host Families, Faculty, and Staff, and you can find it under Session II B, 26 on the SIIC website. Sarah Collins, the manager of the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program, and Marcela Lapertosa, the director of Education and Intercultural Learning at AFS Intercultural Programs, look forward to welcoming you at this course.
Designed for international education faculty and staff, trainers and others who are involved in developing global competence or intercultural diversity training, the workshop participants will:
- Explore the key elements of intercultural competence, such as self awareness, awareness of others, empathy, curiosity and perspective shifting
- Experience and apply effective experiential learning activities to foster curiosity
- Examine strategies to support learners in shifting perspectives as core to intercultural competence development
- Explore debriefing as a powerful tool to support meaningful learning
- Discuss ways of creating an effective program to develop intercultural competence in your own context.
Don’t miss the chance to expand your training toolkit and engage in exciting practical experiences to help you learn by doing. We will share with you all the tricks and tips we gained offering intercultural training to all age groups worldwide!