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Rubric: Intercultural Competence - Global Citizenship Program

Asking questions about other cultures

Some questions may seem off limits depending on culture. In some cultures the old additive “don’t talk about sex, politics, and religion” is a misnomer. Establishing a relationship with someone or beginning with simple questions first is advisable. Awareness of someone’s discomfort with a question should be given special attention and changes in conversation should happen accordingly.

Do not assume that these activities should be completed face-to-face; use virtual technologies and social media tools as appropriate to connect students with others.

Encourage cooperative work were appropriate e.g. Webster Works or have “others” come in and cook, dance, create.

Additional considerations:

Be open-ended and meaningful: Use “food and flags”, to get to bigger questions. Resist stereotypes, assumptions.

  1. “Tell me about...”

  2. “How would you...”

  3. “Is this common...”

  4. “What are your beliefs about...”

  5. "How do you de-stress?  Have fun?"

  6. "Can you describe a typical day for you?"

Be respectful and tasteful: Ask tasteful and respectful "5 sense" questions.

  1. How close can we get?  

  2. How loudly may we speak?  

  3. How much interactivity shall we have?

Communicate clearly: in matters of money, consider the perceptions of dominant American culture.

  1. Do you have enough money to go to lunch?

  2. What is your asking price for speaking/performing at this event?

  3. How are similar events priced in your culture?

Soundly & roundly (holistically) diagnose behaviors

  1. How are you adapting to the food?

  2. How are you adapting to your role?

  3. Did you enjoy the warm shower “sometimes the handle is a bit tricky”?

  4. Did the dishwasher cycle? Sometimes it takes long to start.


Class activities

Classmate Interviews

Have student interview one another to teach the art of asking open-ended and mindful questions.

Guest Speakers

Invite speakers from different communities/cultures to come into the classroom and share. Encourage students to ask prepared questions of the guest.

Social Space Activity

Divide into groups. One group is to speak loudly, one group nearly whispers, one group is physically very close to everyone, one group requires 10 inches of distance from others.  Have the Groups Interact!

Social Gather RolePlay

Each person receives some play money.  No one knows how much others receive.  All must plan a “night out” together!  This would include dinner and being out on the town.

Cultural Observation Activity

Take students to a location where multiple cultures gather and have them observe then take notes the behaviours & interactions they’ve seen/experienced. Have a discussion/debriefing session to conclude activity.

Selected resources