Monday, April 15, 2013

Third Stop...Cross Cultural Competency

All of us have had the “stranger in a strange land” feeling before. We have all visited places where we felt just a little apprehensive of the unfamiliar. We have used skills of adaptation and observation to help us navigate the unknown. We tend to think more, move less and engage in a different way. These feelings can be all too real when we experience other cultures.

But culture is a strong part of our daily lives. And differences can influence service standards and interpersonal communication. Working with the public, we encounter a diversity of individuals in the process of transitioning between primary cultures and secondary cultures. As the world becomes more globalized, Cross Cultural Competency becomes a pertinent skill for the workplace.

At a staff or departmental meeting, try this experiment! It is designed to help illustrate understanding cultural intersections and demonstrate challenges when leaving your comfort zone! Completion of this module grants up to 1 hour of training credit. Upon completion, submit the participants using the form on Harriet.

Note: This is a group activity. Facilitator must fill out form and list all participants.

  1. Grab a piece of paper and a pen.
  2. Draw a vertical line down the center of the paper.
  3. One the left side of the paper, write the following with your dominant hand:
    • Write your name in cursive.
    • Write the word "psychiatrist" in cursive.
    • Write the sentence "I am writing this with my dominant hand."
    • Draw a tree.
    • Write today's date.
  4. On the right side of the paper, use your non-dominate hand to do the same:
    • Write your name in cursive.
    • Write the word "psychiatrist" in cursive.
    • Write the sentence "I am writing this with my non-dominate hand."
    • Draw a tree.
    • Write today's date.
  1. Did you have trouble with this exercise? If so, what adjustments did you make to better complete each task?
  2. Did you notice any of your peers experiencing difficulties accomplishing any of the tasks? If so, did you notice any techniques they used to complete each task?
  3. If you were required to use your non-dominate hand for the remainder of the day, how do you think you’d feel?
  4. How would you relate this experience to a person moving from one culture to another?
  5. How does this exercise specifically relate to language barriers during library transactions?
  6. Having finished this exercise, how do you believe this will change the way you interact with those transitioning between cultures?
When you have submitted the participants at this station, you will receive the your medal and get up to 1 hour of training.   You have until June 14 to complete this exercise.

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