Why cross-cultural communication?

Why cross-cultural communication matters?

Cross-cultural communication (intercultural communication) is a field of study that investigates how people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate, in similar and different ways among themselves, and how they communicate across cultures. It is a broad field with elements from different disciplines. It positions itself in the realm of arts and social sciences.

Origins

Thi si sone version of its orgin.

It began during the cold war of the 20th century. During the Cold War, the United States economy was largely self-contained as the world was polarized into two separate and competing powers: the east and west. We had two Germans – East and West.

However, changes and advancements in economic relationships, political systems, and technological options began to break down old cultural barriers.

Business transformed from individual-country capitalism to global capitalism. Thus, the study of cross-cultural communication was originally found within businesses and the government both seeking to expand globally.

Businesses began to offer language training to their employees. Businesses found that their employees were ill equipped for overseas work in the globalizing market.

Programs were developed to train employees to understand how to act when abroad e.g. USA, Japan, now China. With this also came the development of the Foreign Service Institute, or FSI, through the Foreign Service Act of 1946, where government employees received trainings and prepared for overseas posts. There began also implementation of a “world view” perspective in the curriculum of higher education.

Cosmopolitan Perspective  

In 1974, the International Progress Organization, with the support of UNESCO and under the auspices of Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor, held an international conference on “The Cultural Self-comprehension of Nations” (Innsbruck, Austria, 27–29 July 1974) which called upon United Nations member states “to organize systematic and global comparative research on the different cultures of the world” and “to make all possible efforts for a more intensive training of diplomats in the field of international cultural co-operation … and to develop the cultural aspects of their foreign policy.”

In the past decade, there has become an increasing pressure for universities across the world to incorporate intercultural and international understanding and knowledge into the education of their students. International literacy and cross-cultural understanding have become critical to a country’s cultural, technological, economic, and political health. It has become essential for universities to educate, or more importantly, “transform”, to function effectively and comfortably in a world characterized by close; multi-faceted relationships and permeable borders. Students must possess a certain level of global competence to understand the world they live in and how they fit into this world. This level of global competence starts at ground level- the university and its faculty- with how they generate and transmit cross-cultural knowledge and information to students.

Aspects of Cross Cultural Communication

There are several aspects that may be perceived differently by people of different cultures. These may include:

  1. Perception of Time: In some countries like China and Japan, punctuality is considered important and being late would be considered as an insult. However, in countries such as those of South America and the Middle East, being on time does not carry the same sense of urgency.
  2. Perception of Space: The concept of “personal space” also varies from country to country. In certain countries it is considered respectful to maintain a distance while interacting. However, in other countries, this is not so important.
  3. Non-verbal Communication:  Cultures may be either Low-context or High-context: Low-context cultures rely more on content rather than on context. They give value to the written word rather than oral statements. High-context cultures infer information from message context, rather than from content. They rely heavily on nonverbal signs and prefer indirectness, politeness & ambiguity

The study of languages other than one’s own can not only serve to help us understand what we as human beings have in common, but also assist us in understanding the diversity which underlies not only our languages, but also our ways of constructing and organizing knowledge, and the many different realities in which we all live and interact.

BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Different languages and cultures represent a national barrier which is particularly important for organizations involved in overseas business.

Individual linguistic ability is also important. The use of difficult or inappropriate words in communication can prevent people from understanding the message.

Poorly explained or misunderstood messages can also result in confusion. We can all think of situations where we have listened to something explained which we just could not grasp.

Attitudinal barriers resulted from cultural differences and identities.

Cosmopolitanism

First published Sat Feb 23, 2002; substantive revision Tue Nov 28, 2006

The word ‘cosmopolitan’, which derives from the Greek word kosmopolitês (‘citizen of the world’), has been used to describe a wide variety of important views in moral and socio-political philosophy. The nebulous core shared by all cosmopolitan views is the idea that all human beings, regardless of their political affiliation, do (or at least can) belong to a single community, and that this community should be cultivated. Different versions of cosmopolitanism envision this community in different ways, some focusing on political institutions, others on moral norms or relationships, and still others focusing on shared markets or forms of cultural expression.

Nationalism, ASEANism, and Cosmopolitanism

Thai people love Thailand. They are proud of their languages and cultural heritage.

Thailand is a member state of ASEAN. What is ASEAN? One may wonder. ASEAN may be perceived as an association; it may be perceived as a legal agreement. The ASEAN identity is a man-made one, so it is artificial.

ASEAN requires less of nationalism, more of cosmopolitanism.

Logical Relationships: Cohesive Devices and Coherence

Logical Relationships (With or Without the ‘Conjuncts)

Are you reading or writing something? Do you write an email? If you say ‘YES’, then you need to pay attention to ways to take your writing logical and easy to digest.

In a coherent text, sentences (ideas) are connected. When two sentences (in a coherent text) stand next to each other, they are related to each other in some manners. A sentence is a unit of thought, two sentences = two ideas.

  • The latter sentence may add more information to the former one.  (Additive Relationship)
  • The information expressed in the latter sentence may contradict the former one. (Adversative Relationship)
  • The latter sentence may express the time consequence in relation to the former one. (Temporal Relationship)
  • The two sentences may express the causal relationship. (Causal Relationship)

Identify the following relationships

We should not give Tim a pay rise. He is good at gossiping /chatting at work. His work performance is poor.

We should hire Jenny. She can speak good English. She can also speak some Japanese.

Sentences 1+2 = causal relationship

Sentences 2+3 = additive relationship

His wife died in 1999. In 2000, he moved to Phuket and married a rich local woman.

Jim came here two years ago. Now, he’s the director of the department.

man.jpgThree Reasons Why You Should Study at DPU.

The first reason why you should come to DPU is all about its teachers. In deed, DPU is full of good teachers.

In addition to its good teachers, DPU has a good learning environment.

What’s more? DPU offers lower study fees.

In conclusion, …..

How to integrate elements of English into your classroom

How to integrate elements of English into your classroom

Janpha Thadphoothon

Every teacher has opportunities to use English in his or her classroom. Using English helps develop the students’ self-confidence and ward off their fear of speaking in English. Here are some ideas for Thai school teachers to do when they want to use more English in the classroom. Below are 9 tips of how you can enrich your class with elements of English.

1. Vocabulary Prepare useful and interesting words beforehand and introduce them in the classroom. The concept of ‘One word – one class (OWOC); is helpful. Find/prepare at least one new word for the student. For example, a math teacher may

2. Giving simple instructions In many cases, simple instructions are helpful. Expressions like “Are you ready?” can be effective. Do you have any questions? / Do you understand?

3. Words of Wisdom There are plenty of inspiring words that you can use to add salt your instruction. Proverbs or saying like ‘Time is money’ can be illuminating for your students. You can print it out at the bottom of your handouts.

4. Songs Students love music. Music always works if you know how to use it.  If you can sing or play a musical instrument like a guitar, it’s great. If you can’t, you can use the sings from Youtube.

5. Stretching Activities Students love to walk around and do some active activities. You can ask them to follow your instructions. Ask them to touch their heads, touch their ears, shoulders, etc. This is suitable for all levels.

6. Date and Time As teachers, you can ask the students many questions relating to time and date. You can write on the board the date in both Thai and English. Read the English version to your students every day. They will get used to it.

7. Share your cross-cultural communication experience Share with the students your trip to Singapore or Japan. Let them know that people around the world use English. If you have never been to other countries, read and tell them about it.

8. Go Geography If you have a map in the classroom, you can use it to integrate English. Every classroom should have a world map inside.

9. News and Trendy Vocab New words such as Thailand 4.0 or startup can be introduced to the students.

The key is to be consistent and systematic. Do it every time you meet the students. Soon, they will gain more confidence and start to feel at ease with English. If the teacher uses English, likes the language, they students will imitate their teachers, for sure. It is not too difficult, you can do it.

The Five Buddhist Monasteries on Ko Kret Island

If you have been to Ko Kret island, you might have seen several Buddhist temples there. How many of them are there?

Ko Kret Island

I have been to the island. I took many photos there. On the island, there are altogether 5 monasteries. They are as follows:

1. Paramai Yikawat Temple

This is the largest temple on the island.

Wat Paramai Yikawat

2. Chin Plee Temple

About 500 meters from Paramai Yikawat temple, you will see the second monstery called Wat Chim Plee, another significant Buddhist temple.

Wat Chim Plee

3. Salakul Temple

This is the only Thai Buddhist temple on the island.

Wat Salakul

4. Sao Thong Thong Temple

This temple has several unique pagodas. A lot of sacred objects as well as merit-making opportunities, including fish feeding.

5. Pailom Temple

Two giant Hongsa (mystical birds) statues gearing the main ordination hall

A Mon-style temple

Creative Tourism for Sustainable Development

Tourism brings in advantages and disadvantages. The preferred approach is to make tourism, defined as interactive human activities, less harmful to the society and environment. This can be done through the inclusion of human participation and practices, including beliefs and regulations that are sustainable.

Participation is the key to sustainable development.

Another term related to creative tourism is ‘green tourism’. International tourism as well as domestic one need to be done with regards to the well being of the environment. Examples include the use of less plastic and recycled products.

Green tourism

Another is the cultural dimension. This tourism should be done in ways that would enhance the sustainability of the local way of life. In many places, tourism is destroying the local way of life. Tourism is the culprit.

Some may suggest dimensions of creative tourism. One of the characteristics is the combination of tourism with other sustainable development projects. Green implies good health – this includes the green concept of health tourism.

Event Horizon & Reflecting on One’s Past

The past is part of our reality. One looks into the past for many reasons. Sometimes, it is for no obvious reason or motivation. We are always in search for deeper meaning of our lives and existence.

An event that we have created and experienced may or may not stay with us. We can’t hold on to every event in our lives. Essentially, there is the point from which nothing can return. But our memory is still a mystery.

Looking back or thinking forward is sometimes accidental and when that happens or experienced by us, we feel strange and many times, we feel lucky to feel that way, and it is blessing. For one thing, it proves that we are human not materials. We have more than atoms and material construction.

Memory

Memory,

You must be my enemy.

Often, you let me down.

You often bring me pains and suffering.

Memory,

You are heartless.

Sometimes, you make me cry.

You are cruel, without mercy.

Memory,

You are my friend.

Sometimes, you bring me joy and laughter.

You bring me strength and hope.

Memory,

You are following me,

Or I am following you?

You follow me like my shadow.

Memory,

Who are you?

By Janpha Thadphoothon (12 January 2009)

Form Poems

One of the form poems is a shape poem. A poem that has a shape of a diamond is called a diamante poem, which has seven lines.

Here are some examples:

Anger (1)

Mad, Violent (2)

Burning, Tormenting, Destroying (3)

Fear, Shame, Hostility, Rage (4)

Fighting, Hurting, Killing (3)

Low, Ugly (2)

Darkness (1)

Love

Beautiful, Carefree

Giving, Supporting, Helping

Kindness, Compassion, Unity, Cooperation

Sharing, Caring, Forgiving

Peaceful, Merciful

God

“The Last Train to Zona Verde” by Paul Theroux

I’ve been reading The Last Train to Zona Verde by Paul Theroux for two weeks. It’s not that I am a slow reader, it’s just that I enjoy reading it again and again. This is one of my favorite quotes:

“Time is a factor in travel, one of the most crucial, though it didn’t matter when I first started travelling as a youth, and latter as a middle-aged man: I believed I had all the time in the world then. My travel was open-ended.”

Theroux (2013, p. 349)

I like it. I like his language. Besides, I agree with the author that time is important in life and in travel. When I was young, time was on my side. Now, I’m a middle-aged man ( I think). I feel that time is no longer on my side. It moves too fast. Time is nobody’s friend.

Reference

Theroux, P. (2013). The Last Train to Zona Verde. New York: Mariner Books.

Some Benefits of Reading

Some Benefits of Reading

By Janpha Thadphoothon
June 4th, 2020

When was the last time you read a book, newspapers, or a substantial magazine article? Do your daily reading habits center around Facebook updates or tweets? If you’re one of countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out: reading has a significant number of benefits. In this article, I discuss just a few benefits of reading. They are as follows.

To start with, reading everyday helps improve our memory. Reading involves complex mental activities. When a person read, his or her brain works harder. Research shows that mental challenges like reading and doing crossword puzzles may help to preserve brain health and stave off symptoms of Alzheimer’s in old age (Wilson, 2014). In other words, reading is good for our brain. As they say, reading is good for the mind as exercise is good for the body. So, reading is a must for us all.  In sum, it is evidenced that reading is good for our memory. This gives us a good reason why we should read more often.

Reading is more enjoyable when it is done by a swimming pool.

Besides, reading everyday helps improve our thinking skills. As we can imagine, reading demands that we think more deeply. For example, when we read newspapers, we think about reasons or causes of human behavior. Research conducted by Twist et al. (2007) found a positive link between positive attitudes towards reading and scoring well on reading assessments. In general, high achievers read more books. In fact, they learn from the books they read as well as from the teachers. It is evidenced that reading is good for our thinking skills. That’s why we should every day.

Reading brings a lot of benefits. It is good for memory. It improves our thinking skills. What’s more, it is enjoyable. These benefits mean that we should read every day. Nowadays, we can also read online. The more we read, the better our lives will be. Let’s start reading today.

References

Robert S. Wilson PhD, Patricia A. Boyle PhD, Lei Yu, PhD, et al: “Life-span Cognitive Activity, Neuropathologic Burden, and Cognitive Aging.” Neurology, Vol. 81. 2013.

Fresh Air and Good Health

Fresh air is necessary for all of us. We can tell the difference between poor air and good air. In places with clean and fresh air, we often feel relaxed and happier. Fresh air is good for our physical as well as mental health.

Baan Banana Resort

At a resort near the mountain, I feel that my body is responding well with the fresh air, especially the air early in the morning. By the way, the name of the resort (with Fresh air) is Baan Banana Resort, located in Nakhorn Nayok province, Thailand’s eastern region.

Fresh air is abundant in this resort.

Fresh air has been shown to help us digest food more effectively. Food tastes better with fresh air. When we breathe more fresh air, our blood pressure and heart rate improve. Besides, fresh air strengthens our immune system and reduce obesity rates.

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