Intercultural Communication Takes Center Stage at Steinbeck Chapter Event

Mar 13th, 2015 | By | Category: Chapters, Steinbeck
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Brandon Lambert

Brandon Lambert

By BRANDON LAMBERT

—More than 40 educators, graduate students, and administrators gathered February 7 at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) for the Steinbeck Chapter’s first event of 2015, “Intercultural Communication in the Language Classroom.” Practitioners and future practitioners alike heard from those engaged directly in scholarship and teaching across cultures, and they participated in interactive sessions that encouraged application and critical engagement. To support the development of student interpreters, simultaneous interpretation was offered into Chinese by MIIS Translation and Interpretation students. “The focus on intercultural communication in the day’s sessions made having interpreters a natural fit,” said Netta Avineri, Steinbeck Chapter coordinator.

The event featured Dr. Barbara Birch of Fresno State University with “The English Language Teacher as Agent of Social Change,” Piper McNulty of DeAnza College with “‘You’ve Changed!’”: Authenticity and Blended Cultures,” and Dr. Carolina Serna of CSU Monterey Bay with “Valuing Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in our Classrooms.” These presentations and interactive sessions dealt with a range of issues, including managing conflict, demonstrating sensitivity, and valuing diverse culture in language classrooms.

Through the discussion of research and practice, many participants thought that they walked away with concrete strategies and meaningful information to inform their teaching and enhance their students’ learning. Graduate students from MIIS were especially interested in hearing diverse perspectives on the issues of intercultural communication that present themselves in courses and classroom debates.

“It was inspiring to see so many from around the region come out on a Saturday morning to discuss such important and relevant issues,” said Joanna Pushee, a graduate student at MIIS. “We often discuss the challenges and opportunities related to addressing culture in our classrooms. After the event I feel even better equipped to handle these challenges and take advantage of the opportunities.”

The chapter Board is proud to regularly bring members together, facilitate the exchange of knowledge, and support the development of in-service and preservice teachers. With the success of events such as these, the Steinbeck Chapter is looking forward to future events that similarly encourage dialogue and exchange around relevant issues in our language classrooms.

Brandon Lambert is a MA TESOL candidate at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

 

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