About the Toolkit for Culture and Communication (Available with ESL Handbook)

The United States has always prided itself on being a multicultural society. Now the University of Houston Office of Intellectual Property and Carol Archer, Ed. D, of UH Continuing Education present the Toolkit for Culture and Communication—a multimedia approach to developing interpersonal, intercultural communication skills—designed to move individuals beyond diversity and into community. By presenting culture bumps (or cultural differences) in a new and positive way, this approach differs from most multicultural approaches in that it acknowledges and validates cultural differences while creating meaningful relationships.

The six modules focus on developing and practicing the following specific cultural and communication competencies:

Detailed Modules

  1. The ability to manage emotional responses to cultural differences and life changes
  2. The ability to recognize and adapt to specific cultural behaviors such as communication styles, spatial and time orientations
  3. The ability to self-reflect on one’s own expectations in behaviors and values and to recognize others’ expectations and values and
  4. The ability to use cultural differences to create and maintain cross cultural relationships

In the process, students also practice the academic skills of:

  • (1) prediction
  • (2) evaluation
  • (3) self-reflection
  • (4) classification
  • (5) visualization
  • (6) comparison
  • (7) analysis
  • (8) synthesis

Furthermore, two sets of ESL material for beginning to intermediate and for intermediate to advanced level students are available for each of the six modules. The Toolkit thus provides an ideal structure for Dual Learning Classrooms with a mixture of American-born and other-born students.

The Toolkit consists of three to five experiential activities in each of the modules, audiovisuals, and video segments—including a 15-minute drama that depicts specific examples of culture bumps between a young Texan and his Middle Eastern classmate. Four young people from Syria, Venezuela, Korea, and the United States act as culture bump guides for the hour-long video that is included in the Toolkit. A complete instructor’s guide is included for implementing all of the activities in the Toolkit along with 13 8-1/2 x 11 color posters, two black and white posters, four puzzles, 32 value blocks, 18 “Name it and Claim it” cards and 12 Culture Bump Trivia cards.

The following is a brief description of the six modules in the Toolkit.

Module One: Perceptions—It provides a remarkable experience of “walking in the other fellow’s shoes”—non-threatening—it allows a glimpse of oneself through the eyes of other people. A brief writing along with focus activity and a final self-reflection activity as well as three experiential activities.

Module Two: Culture Bumps—a focus activity and a final self-reflection activity Visually and emotionally connects the relationship between different perceptions and cultural differences or “culture bumps”—offers a glimpse of connecting “beyond culture bumps.” A brief writing along with a focus activity and a final self-reflection activity as well as well as Culture Bump Trivia and the mini-movie Brian and Aziz.

Module Three: Values and Behaviors—Deepens the knowledge of the relationship among values, behaviors and perceptions. Provides a structured means of discovering and accepting one’s own “cultural self.” A brief writing along with focus activity and a final self-reflection activity as well as four experiential activities.

Module Four: Cultural Communication Patterns—Gives a fun view of five different cultural communication styles. Provides activities to discover one’s own styles in various situations and to expand one’s repertoire of communication styles. A brief writing along with focus activity and a final self-reflection activity as well as three experiential activities.

Module Five: Cultural Commonalities—Uses the previous four modules to provide a structured format for transforming one’s own culture bumps into authentic relationships. A brief writing along with focus activity and a final self-reflection activity as well as three experiential activities.

Module Six: Cultural Adjustment Cycle and Emotional Intelligence—Provides a model for understanding the stages of change (including cultural adjustment) as well as specific strategies for navigating the stages successfully. Also provides a model for increasing one’s emotional skills. Two brief writings along with focus activity and a final self-reflection activity as well as five experiential activities.

Moving through the Toolkit is an enjoyable and informative experience that leads the participants on a cyclical journey in discovering the answer to two questions:

Why are we different? How are we the same?

In discovering the answer to these two questions, participants emerge with the skills and knowledge that allow them to step beyond diversity into creation of community.

For more information on the Toolkit for Culture and Communication, contact:

Carol M. Archer, Ed. D  cma@culturebump.com