Overview of key cultural differences - values, actions, beliefs - that influence the way we interact with people and the outcome 
Overview of key cultural differences - values, actions, beliefs - that influence the way we interact with people and the outcome.

The end of the year is fast approaching and no doubt, many of you are looking forward to some relaxing holidays and to the festivities of the season. December is such a great month when emotions run high for many people. Everything gets magnified, time accelerates, to-do lists get twice as long, it's now or never to beat the clock for all the things you vowed you would do before the New Year........... Then perhaps you're also thinking ahead to resolutions for the New Year...................
Well, my resolution for 2014 is to find more time (smile) and put more steam and effort into becoming a better intercultural skills trainer, to further myself professionally, to get out, meet more like-minded people, exchange experiences and network more. What's your 2014 resolution? Drop me a line.
Don't forget to register yourself for the AGM in Thun, 25-26 January, the deadline is end of this month. Alison Mackey, OUP, will address the evolution of second language interaction in the opening plenary while Jeremy Harmer, British Council, will look at the successful practice of music to see if there are ‘takeaways’ that we can apply to language practice.
For our SIG workshop, we have the honor of welcoming Linda Vignac, Vice-President of SIETAR France, who will show us how we can help learners to identify and measure their intercultural competence. She will also present current research on the subject and suggest how we might incorporate this knowledge in our teaching. (SIETAR stands for Society of Intercultural Education, Training and Research, a worldwide body that aims to enhance intercultural awareness in policy-making, business, education and civil society amongst other priorities.) 

This is the only workshop on intercultural skills in the entire conference probably because our SIG is new and the organizers haven't accumulated sufficient resources regarding who to invite. I will work on getting more speakers next year although SIG coordinators are not normally involved in inviting speakers for the AGM. If there are topics that interest you in this area, please send me your suggestions and I will see what I can do about it.

I would like to tell you about a neat little tool from Cultural Detective that lists on a map all the key cultural differences we all face when interacting with people from other cultures. The diagram below beautifully highlights all the important differences between human beings ie. our values, actions and beliefs that influence how we relate to others and which are often the source or culprits of miscommunication in daily life whether at work or at play.

Accompanying each dimension in this map is a detailed text explanation that you can access by going to the site (, and clicking on it to download a zip file to your computer. Click on the zip file to open up the pdf document. 

I wish you all very Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year. See you all in Thun in January. 


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