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This module has 4 short video scenarios each comprising two parts. The scenarios are designed to bring out two key points. First, there is nothing unique about cross cultural communication or Asian cultures rather the standard principles of sound and empathetic communication applies, although we believe it is more necessary than ever to strive for empathetic engagement, understanding, politeness and affirmation. Second, we feel there is very little that is truly unique about online interactions. Most of the standard principles that apply to face-to-face interaction also apply in cyberspace. If there is any difference it is that extra care has to be taken when communicating online because many of the standard communicative queues such as body language, facial expression and vocal intonation are not available online. So we believe one has to be extra careful and sometimes it's preferable to reach beyond the medium in which you are working and seek to augment the communication through different channels.
The video scenarios and their descriptions are as follows:
The scenario focuses on learning how to help students grasp the concept of critical thinking and to understand the expectation that they go beyond rote-learning, and question and debate the issues set before them. It covers matters relating to individualism and critical thinking, rote-learning, plagiarism and expectations of originality, intellectual curiosity as key to long-term success, and learning and life.
The scenario focuses on an understanding of how social bonds and group behavior work and how to help students both benefit from group situations and work around negative group dynamics as necessary. It covers matters relating to social bonds and the group hierarchy, status and respect, and gender and expectations.
The scenario focuses on gaining awareness of how different people listen and perceive empathy and learning habits, and techniques for active listening in a variety of cultural contexts. Understanding will be developed around why affirmation and encouragement are essential to successful teaching and learning and how perceptual differences and cultural frameworks demand flexibility and sensitivity. It covers matters relating to listening and empathy, and affirmation and encouragement.
This scenario focuses on matters relating to anger and disapproval, refined and coarse behaviour, and feedback, criticism and affirmation in relation to teaching/learning situations using synchronous communications technology.
You might like to play through each of the four scenarios at the beginning of the module. Or, you can work through them once you've read the materials. The scenarios are integrative to the extent that they have not been designed to deal discretely with particular section topics. For each scenario, you'll see that one part demonstrates a less appropriate way of dealing with a situation, while the other part demonstrates a better way of dealing with the same circumstance. We don't want you to be too judgemental about the less appropriate forms of communication. It's useful to ask why certain attitudes and behaviour might be exhibited in such situations. This will form a sounder basis for considering the more appropriate modes of communication demonstrated. Again though, we don't want you to think that better means the best and only way of dealing effectively with the communication issue at stake. You might think of other ways of dealing effectively with such situations.
We hope these scenarios provide useful discussion points for the module coverage. A set of activities has been designed for each scenario to help guide and support your understanding.
Please note that the scenarios are based on various perspectives provided by Deakin staff interviewed in developing the module. All scenario participants, both teaching staff and students, are professional actors. No real Deakin teachers and students are featured in the scenarios.