March 11th 2009 10:33 pm

4Cs-SF Cross Cultural Rhetoric

4Cs-SF Cross Cultural Rhetoric

I attended one of the best workshops I’ve been to at any convention today.  The web site on CCR (in the picture) has a lot of the detail from the workshop.The workshop began with a focus on the macro and each stage of the workshop worked from that perspective to the micro.

Susan Thomas, from Australia, spoke of her work building a writing program with an emphasis on connecting globally.  “It is one thing,” she said, “to have students from Sydney talking to one another,” but getting them to talk to students across the world broadens their horizons in extraordinary ways.

Helle Rytkonen, a Stanford professor, spoke of her collaboration with a class in Sweden using Marratech (video conferencing) software.  Her focus is much like mine in the classroom–an emphasis on exposing the invisible, the cultural things taken for granted by our students.  She said, “normalcy has many faces” as she described the way her students, and those in Scandinavia, connected to learn about what they share and what is different between them.  She showed a YouTube video called How To Shower: Men vs Women, which is shown to both classes and they all connect on the male vs female norms.  But then, as the course progresses, students begin to recognize differences in the political and social expectations of their cultures.  US students learn to see themselves as foreigners see them–and students in other lands see that students in the US may not fit what they expected.  It was a fascinating way to bring the globalization issue into the classroom.

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