Thursday, July 30, 2009

Embrace Diversity: Dynamics of Cross-Cultural Communication

Wow! That's a mouthful! Maybe I can try to say that in plain language. Thanks to a TBR Access & Diversity Grant, Chattanooga State is engaging in an all-out effort to recognize and publicize the value of a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff. A recently published brochure contains our diversity statement. Here is a portion of that complete statement:

"Chattanooga State is committed to maintaining an environment  of open access to learning while providing an enriched curriculum and  environment that celebrates diversity. We recognize the strength of our differences and celebrate our diversity as one of our strengths. Chattanooga State views diversity and inclusion as an educational imperative and essential for career preparation...."

Each of us should understand that diversity enriches our lives by offering us a glimpse into cultures beyond our own; however, verbal and non-verbal communication styles, whether intentional or not, often hinder cultural exchange. These tips can help overcome that obstacle.

Ten Tips for Cross Cultural Communication (Kwintessential Ltd.):
1. Slow down: speak clearly to make yourself understood.
2. Separate questions; avoid asking more than one question at a time.
3. Avoid "yes" and "no" questions since they are often misunderstood.
4. Take turns speaking: make a point and listen to the response.
5. Write information down if you are unsure about being understood.
6. Be supportive to those who struggle with language barriers.
7. Make sure you were understood by summarizing what you meant.
8. Avoid using slang; sometimes meanings may be misunderstood.
9. Watch your humor: many cultures view humor as a negative.
10. Maintain etiquette in communication to avoid misunderstanding.

To help you understand the value of cultural diversity and the importance of inclusion, we will have book displays over the next couple of weeks that feature books on a variety of themes about diversity.  The current display focues on teaching in a diverse classroom.   

Direct all questions to Dr. Mosunmola George-Taylor, 697-2552
Dean of the Mathematics and Science Division
Research Assistant, Ms. Lindsey Garth

Kwintessential Ltd. (n.d.) Ten Tips for Cross Cultural Communication. Retrieved January 12, 20009, from

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