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Custom Intercultural Training Models Essay

What has been called the “intellectual”, “classroom”, or “University” model has dominated the field of intercultural training. This kind of training teaches to understand differences and similarities among cultures which students get to know. They study the customs and lifestyle of a specific culture. Methods used are: attending lectures, watching movies, reading books and newspapers, and watching and taking part in presentations. Some reviewers have asserted that this approach fails to use the latest method­ologies, that the training is not adapted to the wide variety of overseas experiences, and that the training experiences have not been designed to bring about meaningful changes in behavior.

The Simulation Model

One response to the critics of the university model has been the “area training” model, also called the “simulation” model. This training model emphasizes affective goals, culture-specific content and experiential pro­cesses. Unlike the intellectual model, the trainees are active participants in the learning process, which is derived from the here-and-now experiences in which the trainees are involved. This model relies on reproducing for the participants the situations and conditions which closely duplicate the actual overseas site and assignment. Albert Wight (1970, p. 3) lists several advantageous elements of the model: (1) it is trainee-centered rather than trainer-centered, (2) it requires trainee responsibility for the learning process, (3) it is based on problem solving skills rather than information transmission, and (4) trainees learn how to learn. While the benefits of the experiential model still hold sway, it may be that the participants are learning the wrong skills experientally for the anticipated sojourn if they are not being trained in the country of their sojourn.

The Self-Awareness Model

A totally different approach to training is taken by the advocates of the “self-awareness” or “human relations” model of training. This approach uses experiential processes, has affective goals, and is so culturally general in its content that “culture” learning must be an extrapolated outcome. Emphasis is placed on the group of participants as a functioning unit, and attention is given to the roles assumed and responsibilities accomplished. Trainers in this model use the T-group and role playing methods. The goal of the T-group is to bring into the consciousness of the participants their own feelings, emotions, and unconscious responses to unstructured activities designed to encourage change in the individual’s self-perception, attitudes, and behaviors. Downs (1978, p. 97) asserts that this “creates a self-delusion of skill and awareness which is often not there and which is irresponsible to do”.

6.1.2.4 The Cultural Awareness Model

In contrast to the self-awareness model, which perpetuates and elabo­rates on American norms, the cultural awareness model attempts to bring this very ethnocentrism into focus. While both models stress affective goals and emphasize an experiential process, it is in the area of the culture general approach that they differ widely. In the self-awareness model, emphasis is on the individual self, with cultural general understanding being an expected by-product. In the culture awareness model, emphasis is on cultural in­sight, with individual awareness an expected by-product (Bennett 1985). However, this model has minuses. It processes primarily in the verbal mode and it de-emphasizes intellectual processing in the group. Finally, there is no guarantee that any member of the given culture is representative of the cultural norms of that society, nor that the individual is an articulate spokesperson for such norms. In short, the in­formant may not be very informative, or worse yet, may be misinformative.

The Interactional Model

This training model uses face-to-face interaction with the foreigner in order to find out the useful frames of behavior with a different culture. The model can be showed on the example of international programs, like the Work &Travel program for students from all over the world. The interactional model faces some problems too. Different reviewers state that using a single model of intercultural training may not be enough to fully prepare students to feel properly and work effectively in a new culture (Chen & Starosta 1998, p. 267). Better results may be achieved through using a combination of different training models. By attending carefully to building the program, through content bal­anced with process, culture specific with culture general, cognitive with affective, the trainer has to model new ways of learning for the participants to prepare them for the unique educational opportunities inherent in study abroad. This form of learning builds bridges between the so-called “ivory tower” academic environments where the learners are so familiar to each other and the “real life” potentials of learning in other cultures. As Kolb (1984, p. 31) suggests, “It involves the integrated functioning of the total organ­ism-thinking, feeling, perceiving, and behaving.” The multidimensional training model seeks precisely such integration.

Custom Intercultural Training Models Essay

Code: Sample20

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