In February 2019, AFS/Sentio delivered an interactive workshop at Languages Canada’s 12th Annual Conference – “On Common Ground: A shared commitment to quality and integrity in Language Education” where over 250 faculty, staff and of Canadian universities and language institutions in Winnipeg, MB gathered. Linda’s session “Facilitating Global Competence in Your Students While Developing Yourself” took an inside out development approach where attendees considered how our own cultural identity affects our intercultural interactions.
Developing the learner’s intercultural competence is increasingly recognized as a significant objective along with linguistic competence. Beyond the traditionally called culture as an add-on at the end of the language lesson we are working to reconceptualize within the framework of intercultural competence. This begins with the educator knowing oneself in order to effectively understand and bridge to cultural other.
At Global Villages-Calgary, CEO John Taplin shared that students from Venezuela, Japan, Korea and Taiwan and beyond are invited to 70 classroom hours of intercultural competence learning embedded in language instruction with the GCC as the core curriculum. The instructor supplements the GCC blended learning content with other topics and vocabulary to manage cultural similarities and differences, diverse as learning styles, dating customs, etc. Students must score high intermediate English (level 5 of 8) in proficiency to take the GCC. The students report gaining:
- Better understanding of other cultures which will help in international business
- Improved understanding and confidence in living in a new culture while in Calgary, Canada.
- Ability to resolve initial cultural misunderstanding with host mother which improved homestay experience.
When asked if the GCC course was interesting and useful, one student replied,“I realize I don’t need to feel guilty about having different cultural values.”
In 2018 alone, over 500 language students worldwide took the GCC. In addition to language and intercultural competence gains, students seek work and immigration options as Canada experiences a phenomenal growth in international student numbers.
Below are the Global Village international students receiving their AFS/Global Villages Global Competence Certificate. Source: Global Villages –Calgary