The study of intercultural communication has a rich and interesting history. That's one of the reasons that I study it. There is a long history of government organizations training people to be better intercultural communicators (e.g., diplomats). Out of this training comes some helpful and long-lasting intercultural training exercises. "The Parable" is one of those exercises. Below is the parable as it appeared in a 1973 Unesco document (pdf). Read the story and then rank in order that characters that you most approve of. The person that you approve of at the top and the bottom would be the person that you least approve of.
If you are curious, see also Dr. Ting-Toomey's version of The Parable.
Dr. Hart's classroom instructions:
- Write down on a piece of paper, in rank order, the characters whose behaviors you most approve.
- Break into groups of 4 to discuss your results. Create a rank list for the group.
- What have you learned as a result of this activity?
- Can anyone point to something in your past that shaped the values you used in this activity? Who/what programmed you?
- Value: “A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable” (TheFreeDictionary.com).
If you are curious: More related activities from CSU Fullerton faculty (pdf).
"Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes"
Another famous intercultural training activity was created by Jane Elliot. What are the steps in Jane Elliot's Blue Eyes / Brown Eyes Experiment?
This is a clip that I edited and posted on YouTube. I use this clip in my Intercultural Communication course to introduce students to methods of using intercultural training to reduce prejudice.
How effective do you think this method is?
Any ethical concerns?
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See more about me at my web site WilliamHartPhD.com.