This book is a collection of papers presented at the Second International Conference on Intercultural Communication Competence held at Graz, Austria in April 2006. Funded by the European Commission (EC), this two year long project aimed at developing hands on practical tools in the field of Cross-Cultural Learning Styles (CCLS), particularly the difference in the approaches to higher education between India and German-speaking European countries (Austria and Germany).
The compilation is structured into two main sectors. The first deals predominantly with current challenges to higher education today, clearly underlying that research in the field of education increasingly focuses on intercultural aspects playing an even more important role in the rapidly internalisation of higher education systems. Light is shed on specific aspects within higher education, such as intercultural training methods which are of importance as the numbers of exchange students increase. Alexander Thomas says in his article, ?Globalisation, however, makes cross-cultural studies on culturally adequate teaching methods?a topic of utmost importance in order to ensure that acceptable and productive ways of cross-cultural training can be provided.? In addition, topics such as integration of multicultural literature, the effectiveness of distance learning, as well as the design of programmes taking into account the cultural aspects, are covered in this section. Thomas discusses standards specific to USA, China, the Czech Republic and Germany, thereby showing that culture assimilators can be useful in enhancing intercultural competencies.
From this general account on challenges to higher education today, the reader is taken to the core of many cross-cultural frictions. Here Shatabdi Ghosh Laskar presents her article on the definition that ?culture is a complex concept that shapes the way we comprehend and understand the world. It includes region, country and society-class that we are born into, such as gender, race or national origin. It also includes the groups we join or become part of. For example, we can acquire a new culture by moving to a new region or by a change in our economic status.? Summarised and presented under the umbrella of ?intercultural communication, stereotypes, assessment tools? there are ways to improve communications strategies and intercultural training. Here every action cares for every learner and influences the teaching relationship which is rich in attention, devotion and acknowledgement. Beyond linguistic difficulties and opposing concepts, the other ?feels? that he/she is totally accepted in his/her uniqueness while the trust shown to him/her by the teacher prompts acceptance of the other in turn and acceptance of the latter'scare.
The concluding section presents a comprehensive summary and identifies directions for further research.
The book provides theoretical information, empirical evidences and some practical recommendations on how to tackle the communication barrier between different cultures and is meant for a limited readership.
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